So - please assist in defining the term 'God' in a meaningful way. What do you think such a definition would consist of? So far, apart from accusing a couple of contributors of speaking gibberish, your positive contribution has been zero. So - over to you.
It is up to people who want to assert something to define their terms. If someone wants to say, god is an immortal being who lives on Mt. Olympus, who throws thunderbolts at his enemies, etc.
, describing Zeus, then that person is free to do so. We then can examine whether or not there is such a god.
But it is absurd to ask someone to define a term when the person is not introducing it in the first place. This is especially true with a term like "god", that has been used in a wide variety of ways by different people, or in many cases, by the same person at different times. What has happened with many people, they have found their earlier conceptions of God to be problematic (as, for example, not fitting with the actual world we observe), and instead of simply rejecting their false beliefs, because they are emotionally attached to them, they have often just gotten rid of the problem by stripping away the meaning of their term, so that they only have empty words and nothing else. This brings us back to my original post in this thread:
What is the function of this god you are imagining? If it is something that could never conflict with actual experience, what, if anything, are you really talking about? And if it is relevant to actual experience, then it is subject to scientific examination, just like every other experience.
I am reminded of an article about the concept of God being continually diluted until it has no content at all. See:
Antony Flew "Theology and Falsification," 1950
It seems to me that people want to hang onto a notion, even though they find that they cannot accept it as it was originally, as they recognize it as false in its original form. And they even want to hang onto it when it does no "work" and serves no function, beyond making them feel better, because they get to hang onto some small portion of their former ideas. In this case, the small portion appears to be linguistic only, and there does not appear to be any actual thing that remains of it beyond mere words.
---------- Post added 01-23-2010 at 09:55 AM ----------
I have said that "... the nature of God is as incomprehensible to us as the nature of a human carpenter is incomprehensible to a cabinet." And you have asserted that if my statement is true, then the word "God" must be gibberish.
But consider: Scientist are constantly observing, asking questions, testing hypotheses, and proposing theories to explain the known evidence about the nature of the world. If they, or anyone, could comprehend the nature of, say, the atom, such research would not be needed. As an example, Earnest Rutherford's 1910 description of the atom was quite simple compared to present atomic theory, but people spoke about atoms even in Ancient Greece. Therefore, we can assert that "we do not comprehend the nature of the atom", and perhaps even that, "we will never completely comprehend the nature of the atom," but we have some evidence and some usable theories about what the atom is. To use the word "atom" obviously is not gibberish.
And what phenomenon is it that the term "god" is supposed to explain better than any other idea? Of course, for it to even qualify as an explanation, it must not itself be less intelligible than what it is supposed to explain (because an explanation
is "something that explains; a statement made to clarify something and make it understandable").
We have, from scientific observation of the workings of creation, some evidence of the nature of God, just as one can get an idea about who an artist is by looking at his art.
In that case, if the world was created, the creator obviously does not like Haitians. Indeed, the creator likes killing people in horrible ways on a regular basis, including small children who are too young to have done much of anything to displease anyone. Either that, or the creator was too incompetent to make what it wanted. Or both. So either the creator, if there is one, is evil or stupid or both. Take your pick.
We also have the scriptures which give us more clues about the nature of God. Interpretation of scripture is tricky. The literal interpretations that some people spout are naive to the point of turning people away from the scriptures, but an intelligent mind is capable of puzzling out the spiritual meanings from the stories, psalms parables, and other teachings.
In order to use "scriptures" as evidence, you need to first establish that your scriptures are correct. Something written in an old book is not, of itself, evidence of any claim contained therein.
Combining the evidence from science, from the scriptures, from meditation, and from practice into a sketchy but consistent theory of the nature of God requires more intelligent study and spiritual practice than most people are willing to exert. But, according to scripture, what we really learn when we develop such an understanding about the nature of God, is an understanding of our true, spiritual selves: our own potential.
So, my statement does not imply that to speak of God is to use gibberish, it only means that, while we can know what seems to be quite a lot about God, that knowledge is only a distant approximation of the Reality of God.
If it is an approximation, then you were wrong to say "the nature of God is as incomprehensible to us as the nature of a human carpenter is incomprehensible to a cabinet." The cabinet has no understanding whatsoever. So you are contradicting what you stated before.