Definition of God - one thread to rule them all

Was the BB separate from the universe?
Or did the BB contain, or is, the universe!
Stop acting dumb Jan. That has already been explained to you.
The BB was an evolution of space and time, and the unification of the four forces known as a superforce.
So the universe caused itself to come into being?
:rolleyes: That also has been explained to you.
Essentially we don't know why or how the BB happened. But some reasonably educated speculations suggest it was a fluctuation in the quantum foam.
Have a read of

Isn't that speculation far more likely then some ancient myth about some magical sky daddy that has existed for all eternity?
Perhaps the quantum foam, is what we need to define as nothing.
I've seen lots of arguments in the Religion forum drag on for hundreds of posts because religious people can't agree on a definition of God (or explain what definition they prefer).

Well, James, not all of that is on believers. There are only certain discussions you're willing to have, so there are only certain ranges of believers you will find discourse with.

Part of the reason for this is that you don't have any real affirmative thesis about God; part of the reason for that would seem to be that you don't know much about God. And you've said as much; you're something of an expert in atheistic criticism against religion. And you've made that point, too, borrowing a criticism to invent a deity in order to have a religious believer to scold.

Why do you need to know what who means by, "God"?


Think it through: Is it really just to disagree with someone? And this is the part where I'm supposed to continue, No, of course not, so what, really, is it? except that's actually a genuine risk, this time: Is it really just to disagree with someone? There is a strong possiblity the answer is yes.

See, the thing is, I can try to be sympathetic, but at this point it's just blind guessing. Try it this way: Two and a half years ago, or so, people were really worked up about really puerile religious pretenses; it's two and a half years later, and they're even more worked up even if and especially because they don't know how to deal with it.

No, really, that thread you just closed: In two and a half years, how many people failed to figure out how to deal with one petty evangelist? Seriously, part of the reason I asked what people knew about what they criticize was because these atheists couldn't couldn't deal with one particular evangelist, to the point that you started a thread asking people to come say stuff about God so you could disagree with them. It's two and a half years later, the closed thread circled back to orbit a particular evangelist, and then resurrected yet again for the sake of a fourteen hundred post temper tantrum about the same.

And the next thing we do is come back to this, to come say something so James can disagree?

So, yes, it does occur to wonder what you are expecting who to say, and what you are looking for in that information.


Here, consider #4↑, your response to Bowser: "The word 'God' then becomes a superfluous synonym for 'all things' in that case." You're not necessarily wrong, but, what, that's it?

The thing about the Alpha and Omega is that it is not a literal beginning and end; it's like God saying, "I am the Beginning and End of All Things, to you."

The monotheistic godhead has no actual boundary. Not in space or time or even potential. Where Bowser fails to be correct is that in this manner, God is all things that are, and all things that are not, all potentials recognized and unrecognized. Placing a boundary on God means there is a range in which God is not, and thus God is not God. What limits God becomes God, as such. The sum effect is that God is utterly infinite. Herein we find the statement that, God is. God, as such, does not actually do much of anything, except be.

Even as such, though, achieving the whole of synonym°, the idea of superfluity is your own, and describes your boundaries.


An example aside, about a year and a half ago: A weird back and forth with a member who isn't you, but, like you, can get really hung up on the question, "What about the theists?" It was an unhinged performance. Stranger, still, was that what set off the dispute involved the prospect of atheism empowered.

And much like our discussion, last year, in the closed thread, when you became so focused on the anti-identification, we might consider that, compared to what anyone knows about religion in general or a religion in particular, these are more like political discussions—kind of like Art Robinson and three faith healers arguing over nuclear waste disposal, but not literally radioactive.

This 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.


What about the theists? A couple things, here: First, the question prejudicially compresses diverse religious beliefs, justifications, and behaviors into a monolithic totem. Also, we should observe this bizarre generalization forestalls discussion of anything more particular.

When I say unhinged, the problem is that conveying it starts to sound like mockery: Someone offended someone else, possibly and seemingly achieving genuine harm, once upon a time, and religion was instrumental to the outcome, and this is now that other's focus. Yet at the same time, in that ferocious demand of, "What about the theists?" and even something about violating his rights, I'm still not certain which theists he's referring to.

And while you weren't as desperate or screechy about it when you and I went through it, not long after, it's also true I still don't know, after all this time, even the basic outline of what has you so angry at religious people that you can't even be bothered with the basic differences.

So, what theists would you like me to tell you about, from my lifetime? No, really, the family Lutherans? The school Jesuits? Quakers? That one church in town when Kym died? A televangelist? A serial killer? And this is all before the quarter-century of the Gay Fray, which reminds of censors in the heavy metal wars. How about Dominionists? Christian hedonists? I suppose there's Islam. How many witches, New Agers, and, oh, right, Satanists, along the way? The former SDA turned post-Buddhist aspiring cult leader?

When you or anyone else demand, "What about the theists?" I honestly don't know where to start. The question seems intended to preclude any useful answer.


When you ask about God, the question remains, which God. All you've done is turned it back 'round on theists. And it only took two and a half years.

But what are you criticizing? You don't seem to know. At least, not until someone you don't trust tells you what to criticize. And from there it's merely a retort derived from your disbelief.


The question of what you are expecting who to say, and what you are looking for in that information, remains. I've told you before that your behavior only entrenches many religious more deeply in their beliefs; it's a curious mix of dependency and disregard. To reiterate something I said to you last year↗: I never have understood what so confuses ostensibly enlightened people about the idea that if you disarm the device then it cannot continue to do its damage.

Or, maybe I have.°° Disarming God, as I said, once upon a time, is a simple idea, but also becomes a fairly difficult social process. And rational discourse requires a certain amount of effort. It would be one thing to make the joke that we have discovered the problem, but, at the same time, there is also a viable question to what degree that such sloth is actually in effect.

After all, if one suggests, meh, because "theists" don't deserve the effort or respect of attending the historical record°°°, it's true, we are actually looking at a functional problem, right there.


We might ask, What about which theists? but something about the question seems futile such discussions as one in which another participant ostensibly can't discern the differences. What about the theists? Which theists? You don't know? Oh, they don't deserve that respect? I see.

Which God? Whichever one is put in front of the critic. But why does anyone even care? Is this just about disagreeing with someone? Is it mere political aesthetics and self-gratification?


Don't get me wrong; there are circumstances in this world where I have nothing to say about that kind of partisan circle jerk. But if it's just about getting off, well, that would explain a lot. Like your response at #7↑, which slips so comfortably into word games.

Toward that end, maybe we have something of an answer to why do you need to know what who means by, "God", or what you are expecting who to say, and what you are looking for in that information.


When I pointed out that your behavior only reinforces their outlooks, you hid behind a straw man: "Why should the fact that atheists argue with them do anything to convince the theists that their claims are right?" you asked↗. What I actually said was, picking fights with people you think you can take in a fight only reinforces, in their outlooks, that you're out to get them for the cheap satisfaction, which in turn only reinforces their own sense of their rightness. Maybe it's not a straw man: Do you actually think clumsy fallacy is the only way atheists know how to argue, or would you prefer to reconsider your failed sleight?


It's one thing to find, "religious people aren't very good at explaining what their God is, except in very vague terms", but your priorities seem to overlook that they're not supposed to be. Religious people aren't very good at explaining ineffable notions, except in vague terms? Duh. You're asking people you already think are wrong? Well, of course you are.


I once told you, religion is a problem to me when it is a problem to me. In such questions, this way of yours only makes things worse.
Notes on #132↑ above

° There is a lot that goes into it, and it's far more subtle than you pretend to understand. See Tiassa, 2009↗, in re agnosticism:

Philosophically and metaphysically, the only true statement that can be made about God is two words long: God is.

Not, "God exists."

God is.

You'll find hints of it in history. The Unmoved Mover, for instance.

The end result is that "God" becomes a word that describes the whole of everything. And it works well enough. At three letters and one syllable, it seems rather ... what's the word? ...
concise. It's certainly easier to say than, "Everything that is, ever was, and ever will be, as well as potential and impossibility alike".

And if we come forward seven years, "On faith", 2016↗:

I acknowledge the word "God" describes something that must be accounted for. The closest thing to divinity that would include is akin to an Unmoved Mover or Unnamed Namer, and in that context the actual name of God will be written as a mathematical formula. As it is, "God" is a three-letter, one-syllable word that, in its abstract monotheistic context represents a valid factor in philosophical calculation. Until we find a better word, certain statements like, "God works in mysterious ways", and, "We are fashioned in God's image", can actually be construed as true. (To the one, we are finite beings; to the other, chaos constrained reflects its constraints.) But that's it. Monotheism, to me, becomes inherently panentheistic; anything else limits God, thus making a the concept of boundlessness and oneness into a finite and severely delineated concept.

I reiterated this post in 2018↗, while discussing apathism; in between, though, was this part, in re "Attitudes Toward Atheists & Beliefs About Atheists"↗:

Can there exist multiple infinities?

Are the infinite things that are separate from the infinite things that are not? That's a little abstract since the Universe we comprehend appears more an infinite potential than an infinity, but, you know, repeat that bizarre question as many times as needed for the multiverse until you never want to hear it again.

One syllable.

Three letters ....

.... What we have left is a word describing an abstraction which, in turn, describes the ineffability of reality. This isn't really something to believe in or not; as the saying goes:
God is. Accepting this tautalogy isn't a matter of believing in anything.

°° To wit, as I said, in 2003↗:

People have some need to deal with this thing they call God. You might as well get used to it. Humans will never give it up entirely. In the meantime, disarm God. Take the sting out. Chop its balls off. Help people to not worry about God. They can make better choices from there. And who knows? Perhaps I underestimate the atheist potential. Perhaps, in not fearing God, people will be willing to let it go.

A couple months after↗ that, it came up again:

Even to a general atheist who uses colloquial phrases like "God damn it," or "God only knows," or, "Oh my God," there is still a condition in the Universe that the word "God" represents. And that's all God ever has to be. It doesn't threaten you, it doesn't claim dominion, it doesn't tell you what's moral. It simply is ....

.... If you disarm "God", then "God" becomes a simple rhetorical convenience.

Lysander Spooner noted that the people cannot consent to award their government what the people do not have. Insofar as we acknowledge that gods are of human creation, the same principle applies.

Disarming God becomes a fairly useful venture right there, I'd say. It is people who give God the right to judge. It is people who arm God with the power of fear. It is people who decide what God loves and hates. Disarming God becomes a fairly difficult social process.

And the follow-up↗:

Disarming God is a simple idea. My holy book, for instance, is Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. Even at age four I had no need to believe that trees could talk like the one in the story. It was easy enough to get the point of the story without it. Now, if people choose to make some sort of formal code out of it, well ... it all depends on what that code works toward. Bearing in mind that people invent gods, and that people can only invest in gods what they themselves have to invest, changing the terms of what they invest is one of the highest priorities.

There's also a 2005↗ version that reminds humans invent gods, considers existential questions of mysterium—e.g., life, death, reality—and applies the idea of "God" as a tool humans use to consider the "all there is", and thereby disarm a paradox about countenancing the whole of infinity, i.e., the totality of what is, per a monotheistic framework.

°°° To wit, if the proposition↗ goes, there is one who doesn't appear to know much about the religions he criticizes, and what stands out is the dearth, within his presentation, of any knowledge of the subject matter that isn't recycled through other critics, perhaps the response↗ would assert, "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." Then again, if the critic also claims↗ to be "something of an expert on atheist critiques of religion", blaming "theists" at a discussion board for his own apparent lack of knowledge or comprehension of the historical record theistic philosophy and religious belief have left for us to consider isn't exactly to his credit. See also, a note from last year↗ considering a thread from 2002, in re asserting the duty of judging one another: What is the connection between being atheist and having enough knowledge to proactively seek people to judge? It does actually occur to me, in this moment, that the old formulation is significant:

Here we are, nigh on seventeen years later, and the only real difference between asking the question then and now is that these days, our evangelical atheists seem even less capable, or, at least, more constricted, though that latter would in turn be their own doing. Like we find in the early parts of this thread, some don't think they need to know much about what they criticize.
Like we find in the early parts of this thread, some don't think they need to know much about what they criticize
You could lay that at me feet but I think I know a great deal. My problem is I am old and so is my brain...however when you say this I am never sure if you mean the Judeao Christian body of work or the longer greater history of religion.

In any event I must compliment you of wonderful posts, even though I could disagree with much of your writing I shall not but rather say a few more pages please I just enjoy your must write a book although what appeals to me is perhaps not the barometer you should read ...but surely I can't not be the only one that sees beauty in your work.
You say God is I have heard that someplace else and even now find that not compelling in the least ..but that's just me I guess.
Please something else...more that is.
I once told you, religion is a problem to me when it is a problem to me. In such questions, this way of yours only makes things worse.

Mr Pedantic here

We, my Definition Committee and I, are compiling a book into which we would, like to reach a generalised consensus of the MEANINGS of words

Currently we are up to god. Let me be clear, we are only interested in a definition, not in belief or not, hence open to all

Further if we find within our sampling we have more than one definition with a reasonable percentage (currently looking at 30% and above) we will include each definition

Your mission, should you decide to join in, is to put forward your definition

No guarantee it will be used and it may be edited or included in a grouping we consider in essence the same or sufficiently alike

As an limited example one definition of God might be - God is nature, another spirit, another sky daddy. Each of these would be a separate entry. Father figure as a definition would be included in sky daddy.

Yours Pedantic

Absolutely and the correct interpretation of the Bible makes that is open to interpretation and I say that we can substitute a non entity for god and it is nature.
All the biblical stories support this.
OK so your definition

I say that we can substitute a non entity for god and it is nature.

and mine

A concept anthropomorphic collection of everything outside of reality with properties undetected inside of reality ©

we have 2 although can't be bothered chasing others in the thread

I say that we can substitute a non entity for god and it is nature.
Unfortunately even with a perfect definition we will be hard pressed to find a god any god...even if we go with the simplest definition we will come up empty handed.
I am sorry it seems we must get back to observing the chair before we can describe it to another human and then work upon a definition.
Reality can be so inconvenient at times.
Let's look for eye witnesses...the book of was in dream interpreted by another... That's it I am afraid. Otherwise you have a burning bush... heck the times saw god and did not take a photo...silly me...god showed himself so many times and I did not Jerry...I could have become a saint.
Whatever it is you are taking, walk away slowly now :)

Tequila but only half a bottle but it was the packet of Tim tams that did me's a great the DSLR running photographing a random spot selected because tracking won't end up in the trees just to see what may be there.. all a guy coming tomorrow to cut down about ten trees so as to get to the good stuff.
Now for some jelly with Mango to make it healthy.
Life is so good without the fear of hell ...hey it printed hell's learning that I use that word a little.
Anyways we can be proud as Jan has been tamed. I don't like motivating with a big stick but it can be sortta fun...I am worried that Paddo crushed him just a little too that's a lie..well it's not now that I owned up is it..damn another lie it was more than half a bottle...Tim tams cause you to lose focus you know.