What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:49 am

I do not believe in God.

I have my reasons and I am not here to "convert" anyone to any specific train of thought, that is both unamerican and unfriendly.

Instead, I want you guys to invite me.
Explain to me why I should believe, explain to me how the Bible makes sense, explain to me God because I honestly stopped believing simply due to the fact that none of it started to make any sense anymore and then right after that, I noticed no one else got it either, but they told themselves they were thinking whatever "God" was thinking, and they justified their horrible crimes against humanity by saying it was what "God" wanted.
They think this because they don't understand either, but they seemed scared.

I only know that my belief was more or less scared out of me, and when I found reason and logic, the idea of the Universe being created by the big bang, evolution, so on and so forth, as I read into these things, they seemed more reliable. More sturdy. I felt like they fit better into my every day life and culture. I felt that all of these beliefs and views of christianity about being good to your neighbor, I could still apply to my everyday life.

I firmly believe that if there is a God he is the brains of every human being. The way we connect with one another, sense eachothers emotions, the way twins can finish the others sentences, the way we can look at an animal and say whether it looks sad or happy, when there are no generic muscles in their face to make them smile or frown. I think the way (some of us) connect with nature is part of that connection. I believe we came from the universe, came from the earth, and in so we are all part of one unique whole. It is because of this I respect the Buddhist approach the most (though granted they are not exempt from religious stupidity and obscure violence), simply because I believe these guys tried the hardest to tap into this philosophy.

Obviously that's a very thin overlaying aspect to their theology, but it's an example I am using to get my point across.

I think God is literally what we make him to be, and I am worried that we are making him to be something he is not. Vengeful, wrathful, hating and intolerant. If God exists, shouldn't he be like us? Loving and forgiving? Not subjective, not a punisher. Because we aren't naturally that.

I want us to accept that we are naturally good, yet we do stupid dumb things. No one sees that, no one accepts that. People reject it. I have seen them embrace it through religion, but they are overlooking the fact that they are promoting "tolerance" through an intolerant "Sky Daddy", who demands to be worshiped in a certain fashion that promotes slavery, incest, murder, genocide, and hatred towards homosexuals. I... I can't join a club like that. If someone asked you to join a club that did that, would you join?

This is not an argument, this is a discussion. I want us to normally, like people, discuss things. If we can't do this, I have lost all hope for humanity. It's a forum based chat on theology, we can be appropriate, we can be mature. We can be polite.


I invite all to share their thoughts, share their opinions, and I ask that you please carefully overlook your posts, and if someone seems offended, I ask that we instead apologize and rephrase before we engage in a heated debate. In a discussion, we can explore new ideas, in a debate, we can only try to jam them down anothers throat. That is not how anyone should do it.

Throughout the discussion I will be presenting new ideas to talk about. My first one is already stated above, so I'll leave it at that.

[Edited on 13/8/09 by Ult_Sm86]
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Svartfreja » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:00 am

I don't believe in 'God' either, at least not the christian idea anyway (even though I think that's mostly nice) but I do believe there is something out there 'cause I still can't quite grasp that the universe came from nothing. Something made the big bang happen and to me that was god.

That's my feeling on it anyway.....
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:09 am

Interesting.

I suggest a studied reading on the Big Bang for more information on how that works there's a pretty good theory as to the reasoning of how that happened. However, I understand that sentiment being I stood by it for quite some time.

I'm going to use a friend of mine's summary here for a moment so that we are sure we are all using the same terms and facts here. In a discussion like this, everyone has to be on the same page.

Hypothesis is an educated guess at how something should work when examined within specific guidelines.

Theory is a hypothesis that has been tested so many damn times by so many damn people, with results that all match one another. But most importantly, there is no evidence (yet) that disproves the theory.

(Extra One) Law is a theory that has been found to have a situation that negates itself. A point at which the theory does not hold up; a boundary for the theory.

That last little bit about a theory is the key point. Now, I know I'm not quoting Britton here, merely paraphrasing but, the point remains: A theory is the most powerful and imposing of the steps that science uses to classify its methods. A theory is irrefutable–if only for a short time–and thus is difficult to refuse.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Angelique » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:25 am

I think in order to have a polite discussion, perhaps we need to first clarify what is and isn't considered polite. Accusing the Deity in whom many people on this forum believe of promoting what they acknowledge as sin is not polite. Referring to said Deity as a "Sky Daddy" is patronizing and insulting to said Deity's worshippers- who don't even believe God is confined to the sky.

On with the discussion. I know more about what God isn't than what God is. Yes, I've read the Bible, and I've engaged in an admittedly basic study of religious philosophy. From St. Anselm's ontological proof, I got that God, being supremely perfect, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and especially omnipresent, is reality. From the Bible (and a bit from Aquainas and Paley), I got that this omnibenevolent being is responsible for all other existence, is not bound by our rules, and whether God is merciful, a disciplinarian, or just plain all-out angry, God's got a perfectly good reason and, furthermore, has the right as well as the power to give life- and to take it as well.

(Now if so many people weren't deluded into thinking God had given them that latter right or otherwise made an exception to that crucial commandment against even entertaining murderous thoughts, that would solve a lot of problems, but I digress.)

I don't believe that God is whatever we make God out to be. The prohibitions many religions have of worshipping any created thing would make absolutely no sense if God was also created. I do not believe God is the human brain. I think it is the height of arrogance, another sin, to believe that humans are naturally good enough to never be tempted or even corrupted. I do believe that people are very capable of deliberately choosing to do bad, and that most of the greatest evils in the world were not brought about by stupid mistakes, but by deliberate choices.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby SLiM » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:21 am

Angelique wrote:On with the discussion. I know more about what God isn't than what God is. Yes, I've read the Bible, and I've engaged in an admittedly basic study of religious philosophy. From St. Anselm's ontological proof, I got that God, being supremely perfect, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and especially omnipresent, is reality. From the Bible (and a bit from Aquainas and Paley), I got that this omnibenevolent being is responsible for all other existence, is not bound by our rules, and whether God is merciful, a disciplinarian, or just plain all-out angry, God's got a perfectly good reason and, furthermore, has the right as well as the power to give life- and to take it as well.


*I wish to approach this as polite as possible. If I come off as offensive I apologize; this is not my aim.

The concept of reality that you put forward, which is God's existence, should probably be expanded upon. The concepts of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, and the existence of evil (as put forward by J.L. Mackie, "Evil and Omnipotence") brings forth such a contradictions in terms. Not terms put forward by people, but existential, fundamental basics; the logical groundwork as it were. Now, I know the immediate answer to this is going to be something along the lines of "God doesn't have to adhere to what we may or may not consider fundamental basics of all creation/logical mandate". That's fine, but please understand my concern for all of humanity. A group of sentient beings whose only possible way to understand something relies solely upon empirical experience; the quantifiable. It seems all too easy a cop out to just say "Oh well, I guess the rules don't apply". If that is the case, then no discussion about God in history, nor any in the future, will ever accomplish what it seeks to accomplish. What I do see coming from such arguments is something that would greatly mimic one of two things: (1) Pascal's wager and (2) nihilism.

Anyway, I really want to keep this short, so I'll let it end at that. I really do wish to continue a conversation regarding the current topic. Please, as I said early, do not feel offended; I really hope I haven't come off as such.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Dedicatedfollower467 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:17 pm

I believe in God as the Christian Deity. In fact, my Christianity is the way I discovered Nightcrawler.

I was talking to my friend (back when I was mostly ignorant about comics) about how I'd never heard of a Christian superhero and thought that they would probably never have one in an attempt not to "offend" people. Lo and behold, my friend whips out his X-Men encyclopedia, opens it to what looks like a blue monkey and says "Nightcrawler is CATHOLIC."

I often get involved in strange theological discussions with athiests, agnostics, and random people on the street, despite the fact that I'm a teenage girl. For a teenager, I think I grasp some concepts of God better than may be expected.

SLiM points out one of the fundamental attacks on Christianity, or indeed, any religion that believes in an all-powerful, loving God. How is it possible for there to be a loving God who also allows such violence in the world? As the argument goes, if he is omniscient, he knows about it. If he is omnipotent, he can do something about it. If he is both of these, and does nothing, then he is not a loving God.

My answer? God created human beings with a dignity and a free will. He loves us, all of us, but that means he respects our dignity and our free will. Adam and Eve chose the wrong path. And all of humanity has followed in doing the wrong thing. But that was, and is, our choice. God loves us so much that he respects that choice he doesn't just (to use a comic fan word) "retcon" it out of existence. Bad things happen BECAUSE God loves us and respects our freedom of choice. A father who never let his child choose for himself would be a pretty poor father, even if sometimes the child chooses the wrong option.

Sorry, like I said, I'm a teenage girl, this may not make perfect sense. And btw, thanks for this discussion, I find discussing my view point with others who don't necessarily have the same view point actually strengthens my own viewpoint.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Angelique » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:26 pm

That's also where free will comes in. Would an omnibenevolent God create a race of automatons who are powerless to choose to do bad, are only programmed to do good and cannot ever act against that programming, and are therefore incapable of real love, which involves freely making choices?
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby SLiM » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:58 am

Angelique wrote:That's also where free will comes in. Would an omnibenevolent God create a race of automatons who are powerless to choose to do bad, are only programmed to do good and cannot ever act against that programming, and are therefore incapable of real love, which involves freely making choices?


But one must ask why such an omnibenevolent being felt it had to create a race to begin with. Is there a purpose? And if so, how does this purpose affect said being's omniscience? Would it give the deity a complex? Should such a perfect being even require attention, or the need of affection? Is the reason for granting free will a thought experiment? An agent to satisfy a need?

Unfortunately, I will be keeping this short again. Perhaps once the weekend arrives I will find more time. Until then...
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Angelique » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:47 am

A perfect being would have no need for anything, there being a difference between desire and need. Most religions have deities who are parent figures. The God worshipped by the big three monotheistic religions is actually referred to both in paternal terms and with maternal imagery. Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this.

The atheist would insist that we are modeling God the Parent after some ideal human parent. The believer would insist that it's entirely the other way around, that God created parenthood as a model for the kind of relationship God wants with creation.

Asking why God would need to create people with free agency is like asking why a parent would need to have a child who can think for him- or herself. Barring the biological imperative to propogate the species, nobody needs to parent a child. People generally choose to have children out of love rather than need.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Saint Kurt » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:16 am

I am not an apologist for any faith and I never will be.

There are certain things that no one should ever be invited to and faith is one of those things.

In my experience, things of real value must be sought and earned. Seek it if you want it, ignore it if you don't; I don't care either way.

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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Garble » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:36 pm

As I've gotten older I've sort of become a "militant agnostic" (I don't know, and neither do you!) in that I firmly believe that if there is a God, he/she/it/they would have to be so vast and complex so as to be completely beyond any attempt at human comprehension. So trying to "understand" God would be limited at best, if not completely futile.

As such I've also taken a very "doesn't matter" attitude towards Christianity and religion. If the teachings of Christ, or Buddha, or (insert your favorite prophet) have true value, then they should have value regardless of the source. It shouldn't matter whether or not Jesus had magic powers (or even if he were a real person!), it should matter that his message was right. People like Issac Newton and Albert Einstein didn't need to back up their ideas with magic in order to for their messages to change the way we see the world. So if Jesus (or your messiah of choice) was such a great prophet, then his teachings should be so profound as to not require super-natural authority either.

Likewise, if you truly believe the values and perspective that you derive from your faith, then it shouldn't matter to you whether or not there's this big *being* watching you, threatening/bribing you to act that way.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Dedicatedfollower467 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:32 am

^ That would be great, if it wasn't a central part of Jesus' teachings that he was the Son of God... no other prophet ever made that claim. No founder of any modern world religion ever claimed to be god or a son of god, except Jesus. Some people will tell you it's proof that he was crazy. Others will tell you that he made that claim because he was the only one who could.

Many of Jesus' teachings are naturally profound and life-changing in their own right, but the central chore of Christianity is salvation through belief in Jesus Christ as the person who can take away all your sins and change your life into something new and beautiful.

I sort of agree with SK... I don't care what you believe. But I love to debate, because it helps me understand even better what I believe and why I believe it.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Angelique » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:30 am

I like to debate for the same reasons, but regarding religion, I agree with SK about some things people need to seek on their own. I don't think salvation is earned, however. I also think that questioning is a very good way of seeking, so if anyone asks me a question, I hope I give an adequate answer.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby The Drastic Spastic » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:20 am

Angelique wrote:
Asking why God would need to create people with free agency is like asking why a parent would need to have a child who can think for him- or herself. Barring the biological imperative to propogate the species, nobody needs to parent a child. People generally choose to have children out of love rather than need.


But parents are only flawed ignorant beings the same as their children, while God is meant to be perfect. The metaphor doesn't work at all.

Ultimately, people have children because they can. Maybe that is the way it is similar. People will name many reasons for having children - love, obligation, biology - but being able to is the only absolute reason. If we couldn't, we wouldn't.

It reminds me of a thread on a different board. One of my friends was disturbed because there is now evidence that the laws of physics are dynamic and can't always be relied on. This to him opened up the possibility of beings with the power to change anything in the universe... if it was possible, there was no reason to disbelieve. These beings would be God(s), in his mind. The practical view of God - ultimate power and game-playing. If one can, one will.

It is funny to see this view called an "attack". If it is an "attack" then you are on the defensive, and will learn nothing from your interaction with the idea.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby The Drastic Spastic » Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:21 am

I have deja vu. We already had this thread didn't we.
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What Do You Think God Is? (an invite to Discussion)

Postby Dedicatedfollower467 » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:01 pm

Well, in essence it depends on your view of God. If you see him as an all-powerful, but ultimately all-loving Savior and Father, then you have no problem with the fact that he can change things at will. Because you know that, because he deeply, sincerely, and perfectly loves you, everything will work out for your benefit. If you believe in the kind of God I believe in, you know that he will never hurt you.

(Hums quietly waiting for the next inevitable question that almost always follows this argument....)
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