Definition of God - one thread to rule them all

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

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    While that may work in a church before some adoring congregation, how can it be expected to work on a forum that is essentially a science forum and is overseered by the scientific methodology.
    So revising my definition of God...
    An unscientific concept, essential to religions, that is used to explain the evolution of the Universe and life.
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Mathematics = God (sans motive)
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  5. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Earlier I pointed out that there are many gods and we really need a list with each god receiving it's own specific definition.

    I think that is the only proposition that can be in the least viable however I suspect both atheist and theist will focus upon the god most popular in Western culture.

    However we still need a short list of "christian" gods (even before we entertain Jewish or Muslim gods and possible different views within each of them).

    Surely no definition can be complete unless the aspect of "God, Jesus, the holy spirit and the holy ghost are included in the definition ... so I expect that a Catholic definition will be different to a Church of England...I actually don't know in so far as I have not looked anything up so as to support my point.

    However I have no doubt that any comprehensive definition of God constructed by say a member of the Church of England will differ from a definition constructed by a member of the Catholic Church.

    In fact I expect that within either church if we say assembled a group of twenty from each church some time would pass before agreement would be reached within either cult.

    So a somewhat universal definition can only be rather unspecific.

    Key points would entity that is intelligent, that is all powerful, and created everything and I doubt we can safely go past that point and even though a theist will object the obvious qualifier must be added that this entity is unevidenced in the sense it seems unable to be the subject of a scientific theory or model which more succinctly can be reasonably labelled "myth".

    I was again watching the Atheist experience and you do find many callers approach their claim that they can prove the existence of "God" (invariably the Christian God) by presenting a definition which they have constructed, most occassions referrencing a creator, and offering no more than a statement to the effect that someone must have created the universe and only god could do that...therefore god proven.

    Their inability to reason is most common.

    Finally one must ask what does it matter to have a definition when the simplest definition will not meet mutual acceptance between a theist and a realist..I doubt if any theist will agree to "myth" being included in even the simplest of definitions and I expect that a realist will insist that without "myth" any definition can only be misleading.

    The creationist, as that title suggests, can only view cosmology from a position that there must be a point where everything came into being and that "came into being" of course automatically suggests to them there was a point of creation and, rather than considering options, announce a creation point proves that a creator is responsible. Perhaps the most obvious flaw with creationist thinking is it is confined to a very narrow consideration, rather no consideration, of possibilities outside their dogma.

    Speculation to pre big bang does not find a creation from nothing but some offer a reasonable notion of how things could have been to avoid looking at a condition of nothing...we have a placeholder...the quantum foam...whereas creationist bleat as they throw themselves under the wheels of big bang cosmology "You can't get a universe from nothing" yet their belief is that their mythical creator "willed" everything into existence intelligently designing "stuff" and willing it into being...mmm that sounds like creating something from nothing.

    And so any definition of God perhaps needs some reasonable description of that creation event that is fundamentally central to the myth of creation and any theist must be a creationist...

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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Every once in a while, James, it would behoove you to take a moment to ask yourself whether you really want people seeing you in a particular way. Your pretense of ignorance is, to the one, kind of unbelievable, given that we've discussed this, before. To the other, okay, if you insist, I will believe you really don't know.

    But, really, we've been through this, before, like this version from last year:

    And that, even, after I told you↗ it's not quite that you're one-trick, but anti-identification and magically missing the point really don't work. So, to reiterate what I told you last year↗—(and was reminding you at the time)—affirmative arguments are risky. And if I only noted myself back to before you were a member at Sciforums in order to explain why I didn't believe your pretense of ignorance, well, here we are again. How unsurprising.

    And yet, instead of actually using that alleged knowledge in some worthwhile manner, you waste your time playing childish word games.

    Again, at this point it's just not surprising.

    But, see, James, I actually told you what my problem with that was. So, yes, yes, reiterate yourself, as much as you want, but skipping out like that doesn't help.

    Nor is it suprising.

    Your inability to say anything useful is hardly a surprise.

    I don't see why you're obliged to follow his.

    Deal with him? Why is this part so confusing to you, James: Get a clue. That's how you could fucking deal with him.

    Jesus, fuck-all, James, he doesn't even have to try. You're so anxious to be led around by bullshit in order to complain about "theists", you'll let anybody pretending a halfassed whiff of religion say whatever the fuck they want. Here's another example of you letting someone lead you around by the nose so you can feel righteous:

    James, to say you didn't know because you weren't paying attention would be both a reasonable start, and charitably incomplete. "Trying to make reasonable deductions from the things he had written"? Let's go back to one of your wisecracks, James: "To be an expert on criticism of religion, I'd say one has to know something about God. You might disagree." Okay, look, if you had a clue, you would have known there was no point in trying to make reasonable deductions out of pretentious retort.

    You did get close, though:

    Hey, remember that time I told you↗, I don't give a damn specifically about the theists any more than anyone else? And I went on to explain, their religion is a problem to me when it is a problem to me. And I noted that around here they're generally annoying, but nobody says we have to keep them around if they're utterly full of shite. And then I wisecracked, well, okay, maybe you do. And what did you say↗? "Yeah, I do, and I've explained why, many times, at length".

    Well, yeah. So, you went so far as to complain, "Nobody - least of all me - is preventing you from engaging with Vociferous on your own terms. Why do you spend your time criticising me instead?" So, let's stop and think about that for a minute: Are you joking? Tell Vociferous I don't criticize him; I dare you. And toward that end, well, yeah, the thing is, James, he's the sort of person your staff stopped doing much about because you would get all paranoid about suppressing political views whenever anyone sought to discuss what to do about certain ranges° of disruptive behavior.

    It sounds like I believe that he is not being honest or not arguing in good faith? Duh. To wit, "I'm more interested," you asserted, "in learning about his position than I am in having another fight with somebody on the internet just for the sake of it." The first part I get; the second, though, was nullfied even in its moment by your own approach. But, even still, he's one of the people we keep around despite conducting himself in a manner utterly full of shite, because you say so. No, really, James, there's no point in trying to reel in some of this conduct because you made your point by objecting and overriding your staff. Seriously, he's one of those under the rubric of wondering what political view would be suppressed by obliging him to behave with some manner of consistent integrity. What, did you really not know? Learning his position? Okay, then.

    Let's be clear: Once upon a time, Jan Ardena so annoyed people you started a thread for him, in which you invited theists to come tell you about God so you could disagree with them. This was one of a few things happening in the moment that inspired a different thread. When you revived that thread a year later, Jan Ardena was part of your concern. When the thread revived again, a year after that, the entire focus was Jan Ardena. You then closed the thread because the fourteen-hundred post digression about Jan Ardena was off topic, and flagged him for his conduct.

    It's not that you're failing to deal with him as I would like, James. You're failing to deal with him according to any functional pretense you would―... er ... well, that's the thing, isn't it? Whatever your concern about religion, raising Jan as an idol to rail against is certainly easier, and probably more emotionally gratifying from day to day, than doing anything useful.

    Two and a half years, and the best atheists could come up with was to cry and close the thread on the grounds that their own digression ran off topic?

    Whatever else, James, that's failing to deal with someone. It is, whether "theism", or "anti-evolution", or whatever, failing to deal with something.

    If not for the atheist reviving the thread to call out Jan Ardena in particular, for the sake of playing word games, why would that fourteen hundred post digression exist?

    Clearly, you considered this point already, having made more official decisions about that portion of the thread, so why reserve that discussion behind a pretense of ignorance? Do you think you're playing to an audience? Like, maybe the fourth wall won't notice?

    But, seriously, someone went out of their way to summon Jan back to that thread, and if the subsequent atheistic vice isn't surprising, well, this is Sciforums, after all.

    These pretenses of ignorance aren't clever, James.


    ° While you never enumerate particularly, it is true that time and repetition have established data points around certain dearths. You are, to the other, also known to resent any sympathetic association with these elements you protect even fallaciously.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    James, please make sense. Consider, for instance, that you have in the past described yourself as an educator, while in the moment, your fisking technique presents as if your reading comprehension is disrupted:

    There are four sentences in that quote. The first is its own problem; the other three, yes, that's something to come back to once we get through all your fallacies and nonsense:

    One of the reasons you don't understand really is prejudice, James. There are a couple things, here. The pretense of ignorance just doesn't work, to the one, but there is also your habit of reframing. "Do you think it is wrong to ask the theists to explain what they believe and why, in regards to their religions?" That may be your line in this moment, but not what we were discussing at the time. Or, like you said, lately, "To be an expert on criticism of religion, I'd say one has to know something about God", but back then you were blaming theists for your behavior.

    That you can't follow the issue isn't surprising; as with the clumsy fisk job, your method seems intended to present a pretense of confusion. But as I said, the difference between a religious or theological discussion, to the one, and a political arugment, to the other, is an important component in establishing your boundaries regarding religion. And your response is its own manner of demonstrating the point:

    "Do you think it is wrong to ask the theists to explain what they believe and why, in regards to their religions? I don't see what you're getting at. Are we atheists supposed to guess at what theists believe or defend?" — Those are your own straw men.​


    You're doing that introductory-brochure gloss↗ thing, again. Also, it's an interesting sleight, insofar as its part of how you change the subject away from what you don't know how to deal with. The word was, monolithic. I don't disagree that we largely discuss monotheism, but even within that classification there exists a range of diversity you pass over. And the differences, James, have practical implications.

    To wit:

    No, really. We were discussing your inability to see beyond "theists". Stop pushing your responsibilities onto other people.

    Meanwhile, there are practical differences.

    You're being ridiculous, James. You're unbelievable. Or, if you really want me to believe that pretense of ignorance and incompetence, then, okay, I will, but it only further discredits you.

    (Hint: It was the same two and a half years you quoted and discussed earlier in your post. The same two and a half years in which you resent the idea that some critics don't know much about what they criticize, yet refuse to show any actual knowledge, instead slipping further into fantasy and projection, even inventing gods and believers to scold.)

    "Is that a problem?" Are you changing the subject? To rewind: I had commented on a particular two and a half years, which began with a period including you asking theists to come tell you what to react to, and then the next thing we do, after the episode connecting then to now closes, is come back to this, to come say something so James can disagree.

    The problem, generally, is essentially the same as it ever was. In the moment, though, it's a matter of what counts as problematic. It's not surprising that you go right back to this routine; like I said, you don't have any real affirmative thesis about God. As such, all you seem able to do is ask religious people to tell you what to think about.

    "We could," you remind, "potentially discuss any or all of those", but why would we? Inasmuch as it ought to be obvious that our reason why depends on whatever circumstance brings one of these before us, the assessment and response will be different according to the diversity even within monotheism.

    To reiterate what I said before, the predjudicial compression of diverse religious beliefs, justifications, and behaviors into a monolithic totem. It's how you managed to mislabel Vociferous; you couldn't tell the difference.

    And that probably has a lot to do with why you need someone to say something for you to react to, instead of coming up with an affirmative thesis of your own.

    Look at your topic post:

    ¶1 Complain about religious people ("because religious people can't agree on a definition of God").

    ¶2 Ask believers to tell you what to consider ("here's a dedicated thread where you can post your preferred definition of God").

    ¶3 Assesrt to judge what they tell you ("We can, of course, discuss whether the various definitions are reasonable ....")

    ¶4 Complain about religious people ("Generally, I have found that religious people aren't very good at explaining what their God is, except in very vague terms").​

    First, religious people aren't supposed to agree on a definition of God; that's your own fallacious demand. Toward the same point, we should note again that they're not necessarily supposed to be good at explaining God, except in vague terms; again, that's your own fallacious demand. You're not really qualified to judge, and, furthermore, you have shown your own criteria dysfunctional and self-centered°.

    One thing your topic post lacks is any thesis of your own. In the end, you want people you already think are wrong to come and tell you what to tell them they're wrong about. It's all a reaction, an assertion against something else. What your topic post lacks is any affirmative assertion of your own on the subject.

    "Is that a problem?" you ask. Only if you're pretending to be useful.

    Turning back to the brochure gloss, for instance: "A God is often defined to be omnipotent," you wrote, continuing, "gods often are not, if for no other reason than they have other gods to contend with." That's one way of putting it, but contention of any sort is not really part of it. The simple fact of other gods, as such, creates an inherent limit about what passes for omni; I can't count the occasions and variations reiterating that subject deities are not monotheistic godheads, that whatever limits or binds such a God becomes God. To the other, your statement about omnipotence is also an affirmatve, albeit reactive, assertion. And reaction is an important consideration. One could also say a monotheistic godhead is inevitably omnipotent and omnipresent. Which, in turn, is the thing about polytheism; while, "it is not usually assumed that all gods are one God", the various deities are bound to their roles by some overarching authority. Chronos, even, was unsuitable for this role in Greek philosophy, as there would emerge an Unmoved Mover. This is a logical outcome. It is one thing if God is often defined to be omnipotent, but religious belief tends toward the frail finitude of the believer. This isn't really different from polytheism.


    ° e.g., #7↑, above:

    "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.

    As I said, it does occur to wonder what you are expecting who to say, and what you are looking for in that information. And it is true, the difference between a religious or theological discussion, to the one, and a political arugment, to the other, is an important component in establishing your boundaries regarding religion.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    It really is a strange change of subject. When we consider the paragraph as a whole and what it purports a response to, your agreement, "that the current thread pretty much assumes that we're dealing with monotheists", really does read like a change of subject to set up the gloss about capital G and small g.


    On the point of monotheistic belief tending toward the frail finitude of the believer, and not really being so different from polytheism, as such, part of what your argument overlooks is what people do with their beliefs. To reiterate: You have found that religious people aren't very good at explaining what their God is, except in very vague terms? They're not supposed to be. If I could explain why that one Saiki K holiday episode was so damn funny in our context, I would. But while there is much to worry about in the redemptive monotheistic stripes that would seem to form the object of your concern°, you're not addressing it in any useful way, so pretenses of your care about the harms these beliefs do to the believers themselves read like mere platitudes at best; and if the problem really is the point where their unsupported beliefs start having detrimental impacts on other people, you really are going about it in a counterproductive manner.

    If Aldous Huxley had written, of Mysterium tremendum, "In theological language, this fear is due to the incompatibility between man's egotism and the divine purity, between man's self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God", you wouldn't ask↗, "He's not one of those theists, is he?" More to the point, he's Aldous fucking Huxley, and, yes, he wrote that, so are you suddenly confused about whether or not he believes in the God you want to criticize? But the mysterium tremendum of Otto's description is part of a longer heritage of metaphysical mystery, including the purpose of life and meaning of death. Dr. Stacy B. Day, in 1986, penned a summary overview↱ of the proposition, per a Christian social framework, that death is not the Mysterium tremendum.°°

    What cracks me up about the Saiki K episode is the explanation of ritual, because while the lofty discourse of Otto, Huxley, and Day, among others, is not without practical merit, nor the egocentric neurotic crisis of particular American Christianism somehow not problematic, it's also true that, in Japan, and you can actually watch this happen, tossing a hundred-yen coin into a box and clapping one's hands together twice is, for many people, just a way of stopping to smell the roses, or contemplate abstraction. It is a calming gesture, and if I recall from witchcraft what is described as, "ground and center", this is essentially a very well-conditioned version. In the anime episode, there is a particular sort of joke going on about making simple things into a big deal and screwing up multicultural holiday expressions. In its own context, sure, it's kind of funny. But in the moment, when even compared to what goes on in Kansas or Kentucky ... or Florida ... or Virginia°°° ... if Jan Ardena is the problem, really, I'm not sure where to begin.

    And if one part of redemptive monotheism that isn't so different from polytheism and some other theistic habits around the world, it is a focus on the immediate and practical. If, for instance, we note the Angel of Tuesday, Zamael, under Archangel of Tuesday, Khamael°°°°, but can't find an angel listed for Trumpler 16 or even Eta Carinae in particular, my point is, there might be a reason. And if it feels obscure why the Pleiades are associated with rain, well, it is true we can see them, and therein we find our answer to the question. But, to the other, if there is an ancient Greek spirit of Eta Carinae, I don't know what it is. As near as I can tell, aside from being part of Argo Navis, the star does not seem significant in Greek myth. In Chinese astrology, Eta Carinae is called Heaven's Altar, but that becomes a different, albeit related question.

    After all, what is astrology about? While notions of gods and celestial influence allude to grand and complex systems, what people seek therein pertains to everyday life. Perdurabo once asserted that the Universe is in equilibrium, which is essentially true, but he also went on to declare that one outside that system could overturn the Universe, though his force be that of a feather. Don't give it too much thought in the moment; it's a lie inside a lie.

    It is, actually, slightly ironic that the Angel of Tuesday has anything to do with what Perdurabo has to say about anything, but it's a complicated sort of irony. There's an twentieth-century saying: It's a Satanic drug thing; you wouldn't understand.

    Still, though, was a time when somebody knew which angel was in charge of seven o'clock in the evening on Tuesday. This tells us a little bit about where religious focus was. Did the average Christian in the fifteenth century know why they might believe this? No. To what degree were the people who translated and speculated about the manuscripts, and compiled and calculated the lists we have access to, average Christians? They simply weren't.


    Here is a contrast: Existential questions of life and death, purpose and meaning, to the one, and, What day is it? to the other.

    Most religious people's focus, James, has to do with daily life. Say what you will about how ridiculous some religious priorities sound, but we're also assessing neurotic outcomes. As I considered, in a related discussion↗: If frail humanity individually and collectively sets ritualistic hooks with affecting superstitious, and thereby neurotic, influence, the results include neurotic accretions to an otherwise sublimated idea of perfection compared to the frailty we witness, endure, inflict, and fret over.

    By the time we get to Kim Davis, that's a lot of neurotic accretion separating the believer from the sublimated contrasting perfection that you find not very useful because it's hard to judge. And if we think her context of questions about what constitutes proper sexual relations are neurotic, consider that even Mishnah Sanhedrin has occasion to address the incel question↗, and as I've noted before↗, it's unlikely the early third-century version compiled in the fifth century was the original iteration. Mishnah Berakhot includes practical advice on defecation and associated hygeine, i.e., wiping your ass. And then there's the one with Rav Kahana hiding under his stepfather's bed in order to learn about marital relations.


    ° It's hard for anyone else to understand what that object of concern is when you can't tell us.

    °° We need spend neither time nor money chasing the full article; the point is that it exists, and discussion of metaphysical mystery has a long place in Christian and other monotheistic discourse. Indeed, perhaps that entire paragraph is wasted, but it is unclear whether this aspect really is so obscure that whatever knowledge you think you're reserving from discussion would include it.

    °°° There's a weird Trump joke in there, because Pat Robertson apparently thinks what the President calls the "Chinavirus" spread through cunnilinguis, and put on your Trump voice, here, because apparently the 700 Club preacher thinks the virus comes from a woman's vagina. You know, the vachinavirus.

    °°°° Davidson, 343. Also, don't fuck with Gabriel on Monday, as he holds both posts. There is also a table of angels governing the hours of day and night on the next page. An angel's work is never done, it seems; just ask Gabriel, sometime around nine in the evening on a Saturday night. Notable, however, is that Davidson's cited sources include Barrett, ca. 1801, and Mathers, ca. 1888. In our context, yes, that's actually kind of funny. If we want to reach back to early 1440, it gets even funnier, because we're back to square circles and Augustine of Hippo ca. 130 CE. More seriously toward the subject, though, we can also attend Noll, from a twenty-first century vantage, and if—

    Western Protestantism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was moving from establishment forms of religion, embedded in traditional, organic, premodern political economies, to individualized and affectional forms adapted to modernizing, rational, and market-oriented societies .... Theological method came to rely less on instinctive deference to inherited confessions and more on self-evident propositions organized by scientific method. (4)​

    —the use of a pretense of scientific method somehow confuses, it shouldn't. Barrett, and then later, Mathers, both seem to have answered the prospect of learned ignorance with a derisive snort and satisfyingly meticulous failure.​
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Last year, you complained—

    —yet, here you are, once again, asking theists to lead you around by the nose and tell you what to criticize. Yes, your posts speak for themselves, like two and a half years ago, when you needed theists to tell you, "What does God do?"↗; then you patted yourself on the back for that one, months later, as preface to asking theists to tell you, "What does God want?"↗; you invited theists, and Jan Ardena in particular, to take up the "opportunity", to provide "Evidence that God is real"↗, in order to, "give them a fair hearing"; you revived a dormant thread↗ in order to discuss what you know about what you criticize by complaining about theists in order to justify poor behavior. Do you see the pattern, yet? Comparatively, when you're ready to put something forward, you actually make up a fake deity and believer to scold↗, and your excuse↗ is quite literally to blame theists for your own conduct—"Meh. Even if that were true, maybe there's no need for more, especially given the typically poor showing by the theists in those threads."—just like you did in reviving the thread discussing what people know about what they pretend to discuss.

    But after you finally closed that thread because an atheist called out Jan Ardena and some people just couldn't deal with what happened next—so you needed to blame the theist for making you close the thread because the atheistic digression was too far off topic—you went right back to asking theists to lead you around by the nose. Really, little over two hours later, you offered↗ people who "believe in souls" an "opportunity" to "explain", and "present [their] best evidence"; eight minutes later↗ you used a similar pretense to give "believers" a "dedicated thread" where they can post, and you 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". It seems about all you can do, to say things like, "I have seen claims", or, "I've seen lots of arguments", and then ask people to come say stuff so you can disagree. This thread provides a great example; as we see in both the topic post and #7↑, what the believers have to say will be assessed according to your own fallacious criteria and definitions. And when you found that discussion distressing, you needed to open a new one↗, because, "In another thread, I have been collecting definitions of God from both theists and atheists", and, "have noticed that some of the definitions that theists have given", do not, "appear to describe the God of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) very well at all". Apparently, the present thread failed to produce the result you were hoping for.

    This time later, though, one thing you're right about is that your posts do speak for themselves. I reiterate my point↑:

    • But what are you criticizing? You don't seem to know ...

    ("In this thread? Nothing, except where the proffered definition doesn't make much sense.")​

    ... At least, not until someone you don't trust tells you what to criticize.​


    —no, I was referring to you directly. Like I said, what are you criticizing, and the functional, observable answer, which you actually then affirmed, is that you don't know what you're criticizing until someone tells you what to criticize.

    Still, on the more general question:

    And yet, in the context of what people know about what they criticize, here we are, all this time later, and you still can't be bothered. Are you still going to hide behind theists? You're glossing it, again, James. Firstly, okay, sure. Secondly, okay, but what does that mean? As to what that tends toward, you're being pretty specific, and while I get what you mean, there are limits and, well, let's think of it this way: That's precisely what you've refused to bring, and not necessarily evident in the broader consideration of other atheists, and especially here at Sciforums. And your end result is more a matter of wishful thinking. Sounds nice, but around here, it's just not in evidence.

    Is this one of those times when other people are supposed to go get your evidence for you? You know, like you did↗ in the thread about what people know? Is there something you have in mind, or did you just need to say, "perhaps you haven't noticed"?

    Okay, James, let's take a moment for this. Are you aware of the recent bit about a woman who is "covered in Jesus' blood"↱? It's kind of an astonishing—Poe's Law come to life—video. Her circular reasoning and changing of subjects aren't unfamiliar maneuvers, and one need not be covered in His blood to play those games. But when it comes to "the point where their unsupported beliefs start having detrimental impacts on other people"↑, yeah, actually, I'm not looking forward to figuring out how to get through to her or her congregation, but perhaps you might explain just how it is you think asking her to submit to your judgment per mocking, fallacious, self-satisfying criteria, will do anything useful toward attending the harms she might bring to herself or others?

    Yeah, it's probably still merely an opinion that treating people like that with such determined disrespect only entrenches many of them more deeply in their beliefs, but please do give us your opinion on how bullshitting them like the arrogant, relativist, amoral atheistic stereotype they prejudicially expect will magically (see what I did, there?) accomplish what useful outcome.

    Still, even the less insane will only tolerate ignorant, self-satisfying mockery for so long. What do you really think you're accomplishing?

    1) It's your thread.

    2) As an atheist, you're allegedly one of the smart ones. Y'know, compared to, "theists". It's like another time you asked me why I was criticizing you instead of someone else; it was your thread, and for all your running circles around someone, you shouldn't have been getting led around by that kind of cheap, contrarian gaming.

    3) Inasmuch as religion, religious beliefs, and religious people can present a threat of harm, you're just not helpful; you're part of the problem.

    4) Y'know, we've been through people's behavior, before. We've had this discussion for years. Cry to me some more, why don't you, about the dishonest behavior you require at Sciforums↗. This is what you cultivated. This is what you wanted. This is what you traded out rational discourse for. So, yeah, cry to me some more, James.

    James, how many years, and, what, were you just not paying any attention to anything I said? They're human. They're neurotic. Some of them are dangerous.

    What, have I been too subtle?
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Perhaps I have been too subtle. Or you're glossing, again.

    To be particular—

    From an atheist perspective, it is not really necessary to disprove the Lutheran God, then the Baptist God, then the New Age Prosperity Jesus, then Jehovah of the Witnesses, then the Anglican God, then the Presbyterian God, and so on. The relevant arguments tend to apply to all versions of Christianity, and beyond.

    —you are aware there is more to discuss than disproving God?

    In such circumstances, I can only further stress the importance of having a clue what one is on about.

    No, that's not quite it.

    You ought to be above childish and truculent fallacy. You have, after all, described yourself as an educator.

    James, look at the people who have you so wound up. Jan Ardena? SetiAlpha6? Bowser? Vociferous? To reiterate: You're so anxious to be led around by bullshit in order to complain about "theists", you'll let anybody pretending a halfassed whiff of religion say whatever the fuck they want.

    At some point you really ought to be able to do better than blithering ignorance. I mean, really, after all these years, and you still can't figure it out. Right? That is, you're not just playing for the fourth wall, right?

    Stop hiding behind religious people, James; that's cowardly.

    There is, James, something often referred to as the historical record. Perhaps you haven't noticed. One wonders what people mean when they talk about God? Well, there's a large body of literature in the historical record. To wit, in the question of what people know about what they criticize, you might be, "something of an expert on atheist critiques of religion, having 'read up' on them extensively in the past"↗, but if you read up some on the record itself, instead of just the political argument against what you don't like, you will find value.

    It's actually one of the things I use. In the notes to these posts, for instance, I cite Davidson (1967), which is well enough, but to what degree would it be more useful if I went out of my way to cite Barrett (1801) and Mathers (1888)? Well, not insofar as the Davidson note on [3/6] above is concerned, but now we have a more direct reason to consider Francis Barrett. The Magus is what it is, a poorly-sourced compendium and calculation of magickal superstition from preceding centuries, but it is also part of the historical record, and within its context rather striking. In Book II, on page fifty-six, one of the lists of angels you would find if trying to figure out what Davidson drew from various sources is footnoted, "Tritemius on Spirits", which refers to Steganographia, by Johannes Trithemius. And while there is much that could go here°, Trithemius, as an abbot, was much influenced by Nicholas of Cusa, and therein you will find the joke about square circles, Augustine, and learned ignorance.

    And if history is a lie agreed upon°°, then what, really, do we do with those portions of the historical record that do not necessarily purport to be true? To wit, the literary record, and if Alex Carp's↱ 2018 review of Lepore's, These Truths, is a bit heavy for our moment as it piles up, we might consider that it was Lepore's novel drawing calls from the Oxford English Dictionary. More to the point—

    Why, at a time when facts are more accessible than at any other point in human history, have they failed to provide us with a more broadly shared sense of objective truth?

    Part of the reason, Lepore has surmised, is that too much historical writing—and perhaps too much nonfiction in general—proceeds without many of the qualities that readers recognize as essential to experience: "humor, and art, and passion, and love, and tenderness, and sex… and fear, and terror, and the sublime, and cruelty." Things that she calls "organic to the period, and yet lost to us." Lepore's training as a historian, she's said, tried to teach her that these things did not contain worthy explanations. In graduate school her interest in them "looked like a liability, and I took note."

    —there is value in the literary, artistic, and cultural record. Joyce Carol Oates↱, in discussing Moby Dick, considered, "what Lawrence called the 'scrimmage of things' which prose fiction can provide--the fascinating, dense specifics of life". And if I joke that life provides examples, Barbara Regenspan's↱ article for The Forward, responding to a dispute about a television series depicting Orthodox Jews, arrived even since I wrote the bit about Rav Kahana. And where you might front pretenses of caring about the harms religious beliefs and behaviors might inflict upon believers and other people, it is the insight of art and culture that tells us so much we cannot necessarily find in other aspects of the source record.

    Elaine Pagels writes, of her own experience:

    Many of us, of course, have left religious institutions behind, and prefer to identify as "spiritual, not religious". I've done both—had faith, and lost it; joined groups, and left them. To my own surprise, I then went back, seeking to understand what happened, and to explore how the stories, poetry, music, and art that make up religious traditions have grown out of specific communities and institutions, yet sometimes still resonate.

    What matters to me more than whether we participate in instiutions or leave them is how we engage the imagination—in dreams, art, poetry, music—since what each of us needs, and what we can engage, obviously differs and changes throughout our lifetime. What fascinates me most are the experiences that shape, shatter, and transform those who initiate or engage them—experiences that precipitate us into new relationships with ourselves and with others.


    Meanwhile, your formulation presumes religious people require some manner of defense, and while any given day will include many, many religious folk who do, in fact, need some manner of defense, that's not actually what you're referring to. Another version, perhaps more direct, was last year↗, when you postured, "You're telling me you think it's unreasonable to ask theists what their God does in the world?" And if that's what you were doing, sure, whatever. But it wasn't. And, similarly, it's not, now.

    The literary record burgeons with discussion of what God is and does, and what people believe. Asking is one thing, but what you get is one person's opinion, and then another, and so on. The answers don't necessarily translate to theists, or theism, in general, and inasmuch as you might wonder of theists at Sciforums, well, look at the field you've cultivated. Asking people you think are wrong to jump through hoops so you can tell them they are wrong just isn't constructive; nor do such endeavors utterly fail to be indecent. And, face it, even in this field, cultivated to your need, you found yourself in over your head, and sought to further constrain the question↗. If you really were about care for harm, and such, you wouldn't be doing it this way.

    You're focused on the God you need, not what believers experience. And it's why people like Jan Ardena or Vociferous can get to you like they do. It's why Bowser is so confusing you need to hide behind me↗. It's why you're so anxious to be led around by nose that anybody pretending any halfassed whiff of religion can tell you whatever they want.


    ° Including considerations of mythography↗; additionally, it is easy to forget Cardinal Cusanus also treads into pandeism, was suspected of pantheism, and has useful credit in the history of medicine—the taking of the pulse rate. Trithemius, meanwhile, was not entirely off the mark; the real value of his work turned out to be cryptography. To the other, the occult context influenced later superstition, including Dee, and thereby even affected the reign of Elizabeth I.

    °° Attributed to Napoleon.
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    No, James, that you say, "This should be obvious", does not make it so. Indeed, it would not be a surprise if you believed there was plenty of evidence to support your self-characterization, but expect other people to go find for you. Then again, I'm quite certain there exists a theist, somewhere in the world, who can satisfy your needs, but it might go better if you were capable of expressing those needs in some manner that isn't antisocial.

    You're chasing after your own strawstuffed caricatures. This is why you fail, and will continue to fail.


    The William Davidson Talmud. Translated by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz. (n.d.) 2 May 2018.

    @JoyceCarolOates. "absolutely. "Moby Dick" is the greatest of American novels in its vision, execution, language, & what Lawrence called the "scrimmage of things" which prose fiction can provide--the fascinating, dense specifics of life." Twitter. 22 April 2020. 9 May 2020.

    Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels. New York: Free Press, 1967.

    Day, Stacey B. "Death Not the Mysterium Tremendum: A Summary Overview". Cancer, Stress, and Death. Boston: Springer, 1986.

    Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception. New York: Harper & Row, 1954.

    Noll, Mark. America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

    Pagels, Elaine. Why Religion? New York: HarperCollins, 2018.

    Regenspan, Barbara. "Think the sex in 'Unorthodox' was inaccurate? Check your male privilege". The Forward. 4 May 2020. 9 May 2020.
  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Atheists here

    My definition of god = non existent

    Others I have heard of

    Creator of the Universe
    A un-caused cause
    Pure energy
    Our saviour

    A Google for definition of god brings up

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    I particularly like in 2 the superhuman being part
    Brings to mind numerous Superheroes in comics (some of which are human and some not ie the Kriptonion mislabeled Superman)

    In a thread I started I asked for definitions of TIME and finished with about 10. Since thread was not going anywhere it was closed

    This thread, to me, looks much the same. No real substantial definitions coming

    No real definitions, no real discussion able to be conducted

    Oh well

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  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This is why, in my mind , anyone who invokes the term "God" is a theist and religious.

    Else he/she would be using the term incorrectly, an intellectual versions of god, which of course also happens often...

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  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    There are intellectual versions of god?

    Who knew?

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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    LOL, Deism...?

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  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    We should note that, "non existent", isn't really a definition.

    Sleights like these make it easy to identify religious zealotry↑. Of course, this is, by title, the "one thread to rule them all", while in practice it needed a mulligan↗ because some "version of God, as defined, doesn't appear to describe the God of the Abrahamic religions very well at all".

    Toward that end, we should note the coincidence of your complaint about, "no real definitions"), with the mulligan, requiring a narrower outlook on what God can be than this thread provided. Furthermore, compared to the topic post's need to judge, your lament that there is, "no real discussion able to be conducted", is even more apparent: The boundaries of what counts as "real discussion", as such, are drawn according to the dimensions of what your faculties are able to conduct.

    When even Bowser's↑ low-effort troll is enough to frustrate the "real discussion", to the point that the topic poster would even hide behind me↑ because of Jan Ardena, what passes for "real discussion" becomes an interesting question, to say the least.
  18. foghorn Valued Senior Member


    You can only ask questions and understand answers based on your own comprehension of the subject?
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Close. I'm questioning the prospect of limiting what passes for "real discussion" according to one's own comprehension of a subject.

    To the other, I don't know, Foghorn, should we take you seriously↗, or did you tank for the sake of self-gratification?
  20. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    God forbid, we should look at how historical figures get eulogised, mythologised.
    Some want this to happen while they're still around.

    What's that about?
  21. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    It's the best one I have

    My understanding about the thread though was it was going to be used as a mini reference source for other threads which discussed god

    Bit superfluous given the existence of dictionaries

    But seriously you are questioning why I define god as non existent when my belief is god is non existent?

    Is there a better definition, given my belief?

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  22. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Moving goal posts. I have had chats with folk wherein they conceed the Bible is unreliable but will then say "but that does not matter..I know there is a god".
    So they conceed their holy book is unreliable yet they still have their god who is only described to them in a book (collection of) they agree is unreliable... so I would extend our "definition" in some manner past but including mythical to reference believers in god have odd logic.

    Real discussion? How can such be even possible unless the discussion is limited to the literary value of the believers holy book.

    I get a message that mere atheists can't possibly discuss religion because they are unaware of the years of speculation and the fine analysis of scripture to which I say "rubbish"...all the alleged higher understanding is irrelevant until the extrodinary claim that a god exists is evidenced in a meaningful way..and saying god is evidenced by the existence of everything it must be realised just does not cut it.
    Moreover if any discussion is to be meaningful it really should review the milenia before "In the begining" to analyse the appearance if religion and it's evolution ...particularly how the Sun as god was gradually set aside to have various humans step in to redirect worship and to capitalise upon a captive and non questioning audience.
    Frankly I reject the notion that there can be serious discussion when invariably those attracted to the discussion will hold positions that their opponent simply can not and will not comprehend if such discussion can not include how the god being defined evolved and indeed was invented.

  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    No, seriously, "non existant" is a description, an assessment. It's just not a definition.

    Meanwhile, pay attention to the topic post. Sure there's plenty to look up, in dictionaries, encyclopedias, scholarly analyses, &c., but looking stuff up isn't what this thread was intended for, and often isn't what this topic poster is into.

    Well, 'tis a strange sort of belief, statistically speaking, for a believer, so we'll leave you to explain it in re the topic post↑: "So, believers, here's a dedicated thread where you can post your preferred definition of God."

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