4
   

Do you believe in God?

 
 
Peter phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2007 01:30 am
@l0ck,
Some further thoughts on the profound questions which Pythagorean raises. Take the question of why something exists rather than nothing. I have found over the years that if I ponder this and similar questions for any length of time I am overcome by feelings of awe which could well be described as a religious experience and which, if I were a more talented person, might result in the production of a poem or a symphony.

Given the limitations of human knowledge, however, are we really in a position to approach giving a factual answer to that question, as we can to questions like What causes eclipses? or What is lightning? Acknowledging the validity of our feelings is one thing, proposing a particular factual answer is another - let alone the dogmatism with which religious belief is typically asserted.

Of course there was a time in the history of the human race when questions relating to eclipses and lightning evoked similar feelings of awe and (because people have difficulty in restraining themselves) produced similar anthropomorphic answers to those we are tempted to conjure up in relation to the unfathonable questions which we face.

If we are being scrupulously honest, however, we should restrict ourselves to acknowledging and articulating our response of awe, to noting our limitations, and to hoping that at some future time a fuller answer may be forthcoming.

Peter
Logos
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2007 09:44 pm
@Peter phil,
Which one?
........Logos
Peter phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Sep, 2007 12:18 am
@Logos,
Do you mean which fuller answer, Logos? Of that at present we can only speculate (and perhaps speculation is the best we will ever manage). My point is that intellectual honesty compels us to be very clear about the dividing line between speculation and knowledge backed by evidence.

The intuitive or primitive response insists on completing our explanatory theory, supplying imaginative answers where evidence is lacking. Thus myths are born. A more sophisticated response recognises the importance of the question, may entertain a range of possible answers, but delays personal commitment to any one answer until evidence is forthcoming.

Peter
0 Replies
 
l0ck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Sep, 2007 01:26 pm
@Pythagorean,
Without the ability to see light, light does not manifest.
and vice versa
existence provides evidence of infinity
just one infinite aspect of existence is proof that the whole is infinite
finite thinking would look at the first statement I made this way:
"without light the ability to see light does not manifest"
and thats how our species tends to think
but everything happens for a reason
mass creates volume of space
there is no mass without space
there is no space without mass
what is the point of that?
this whole thing is here to help us find god by asking questions and feeling separated from it
reality is optimally manifested by us to support our transcendence
to realize we are not separated at all and transcend spiritually and realize we are absolute
and by realizing we create that reality at that same exact time
we are the creator-species and our environment serves us not the other way around
Logos
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Sep, 2007 10:40 am
@l0ck,
Peter and Members;

I meant by 'which one' as to which God in "Do you believe in God?"
..........Logos
Peter phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Sep, 2007 11:02 am
@Logos,
Thanks Logos,

One of the difficulties with this subject which I mentioned in an earlier posting is that there are almost as many gods as there are believers. Because there is no reality check, no way of testing the hypothesis, the concept God acts like a blank screen on which any one can project his/her values, hopes and fears. As a result any coherent reasoning becomes difficult.

Peter
Logos
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Sep, 2007 12:52 pm
@Peter phil,
Peter and Members;

Thus if God is everything, and the question is 'Do you believe in God', I would say "Yes". I would affirm this because the definition here is equating God with all existence and of course I believe in existence. Now there is a lot of stuff below the catagory of 'everything', and if God fits in here somewhere I need a definition of what God is before I can hope to approach an answer.

.........Logos
Peter phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2007 07:30 am
@Logos,
Thanks for these thoughts, Logos. As I have said, it is difficult to have a consistent debate about a concept for which there as many definitions as there are adherents. Virtually everyone who has contributed to this thread from the theistic standpoint has provided a new definition of deity - which prompts the question: if theists cannot even agree on what they are talking about, how can they hope to establish the reality of any one of their definitions? It is rather like the situation during the Cold War when Western and Communist governments both proclaimed their commitment to democracy while differing radically on what that concept meant.

The idiosyncratic nature of definitions of deity is further confirmation that the word God does not refer to an entity existing in the real world, but to a focus of values and aspirations within the believer. It operates as a symbol or organising image the function of which is to hold together a system of values which would otherwise be vague and diffuse. Nothing wrong with having values and aspirations of course, but it can be misleading to express them in terms of imagery which can be mistaken for factual statements about the objective world.

Peter
Logos
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Sep, 2007 09:45 pm
@Peter phil,
Peter:
Amen.
..........Logos
0 Replies
 
aussie mark
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Sep, 2007 05:50 am
@Pythagorean,
Why do we need to believe in a god to exist in our daily lives, if there is a god he or she is a very shy god as this question has been asked since time began and none of us can say whether there is one or not. All we can do is give our view points on the subject, our minds are capable of creating anything we wish ,even a god. If a persons mind god makes their life that much better than that is good, i just wish some people would stop thinking that we all have to be like them. Live and let live i say. Thank you.
0 Replies
 
ogden
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jan, 2008 09:18 pm
@Pythagorean,
Hello,
I should have read all of the posts so far, but I'm just jumpng in so sorry if I'm rehashing the topic.

God is a concept, unfalsifyable. Man created god-the concept (and all other dieties) in mans image because there is no capacity in man to know a mental state higher than his own. We can not know the unknowable.

Our mind is a function of biological structure (and chemical reactions) in our brains. The very way our brain works leads us to find answeres were no answers exist. We are always making cognitive leaps into the unknown, its in our nature. The very argument that existance means evidence of creator is problematic when there may be real limitations to our ability to comprehend. (examples: time, infinity, nothingness, omniscance)

The very word god and "he" this or "he" that is so humanistic and limiting. Does god have gender, anatomy, does god reside in a place, does god have emotions like anger, sympathy, remorse? These are all anthropramorphisms.

Faith in god does exist though, so then god exists in peoples nieve realities. There is some evidence that faith is helpfull in healing. Some unfalsifiable concepts are usefull as well, but fantasy imposing as fact, and dogmatic adherance to fantacy in defiance of empirical evidence is irrational belief.

It is, in my humble opinion, its high time to shift the paradigm away from ritualistic superstitious beliefs to a more practical version of reality. A version that uses practical real world solutions to better our world now instead of waiting for reward in the "by and by" (heavan).

People still refute human ancestory connection with apes, when it has been genetically proven (see NOVA documentary on supreme cort case involving "inteligent design theory"). I hear people say Katrina (the storm) was gods punishment of New Orleans for sin, or that AIDS is punishment for homosexuality (total nonsense).

I assure you my response to Pythagoreans servey is not intended to offend or disrespect anyones faith, and I hold your answer to this question just as valid as my own. I really don't pretend to know, I am only rationalizing my thoughts the best I can.
linux user
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jan, 2008 04:44 am
@pokemasterat,
I have no doubts about the existence of GOD!!

If more people on this forum read the works of Walter and Lao, then they wouldn't question the existence of God, either!!

KNOWING vs Sensing....

Brett.
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 09:47 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
God is a concept, unfalsifyable. Man created god-the concept (and all other dieties) in mans image because there is no capacity in man to know a mental state higher than his own. We can not know the unknowable.


This is only acceptable if we take the materialistic view of human nature (which, I agree, is the only reasonable option)

However, if (yes, IF) man is composed of a spirit and a physical body, knowledge of God is possible. Kierkegaard says that the Holy Spirit is the synthesis between man (the thesis) and spirit (the antithesis). The Holy Spirit brings our two natures together, the higher and the lower. The Holy Spirit creates our physical connection with the spiritual world and with God. What does this mean, without the interaction of the "Higher Power" (Holy Spirit), man cannot know God, but with the interaction of the Higher Power, man can know God.

Now, we cannot have knowledge of this, like I have knowledge the TV is in front of me, it can only be taken on faith.

Quote:
Our mind is a function of biological structure (and chemical reactions) in our brains. The very way our brain works leads us to find answeres were no answers exist. We are always making cognitive leaps into the unknown, its in our nature. The very argument that existance means evidence of creator is problematic when there may be real limitations to our ability to comprehend. (examples: time, infinity, nothingness, omniscance)


Well Said.

Quote:
does god have emotions like anger, sympathy, remorse? These are all anthropramorphisms.


The Christian God does, remember, Jesus is God. Hebrews 4 reminds us that we do not have a God who has not suffered as we suffer. Part of God becoming man is God experiencing what it is to be man.

Quote:
It is, in my humble opinion, its high time to shift the paradigm away from ritualistic superstitious beliefs to a more practical version of reality. A version that uses practical real world solutions to better our world now instead of waiting for reward in the "by and by" (heavan).


Agreed. Even though I am a man of faith, people need to be dealt with here and now. Retribution is the responsibility of man.

Quote:
People still refute human ancestory connection with apes, when it has been genetically proven (see NOVA documentary on supreme cort case involving "inteligent design theory").


Conjecture. I am no biologist, and frankly I adhere to evolution, but there is a certain point where our science can go no further. Genetics can only prove so much, the rest is left to speculation.

Quote:
I hear people say Katrina (the storm) was gods punishment of New Orleans for sin, or that AIDS is punishment for homosexuality (total nonsense).


Fanatics, they make me chuckle. These are the people who ruin God.

Quote:
I assure you my response to Pythagoreans servey is not intended to offend or disrespect anyones faith, and I hold your answer to this question just as valid as my own. I really don't pretend to know, I am only rationalizing my thoughts the best I can.


People should not be offended by others challenging their faith, they should welcome it. If someone is offended by opposing arguments, it just shows that their faith lacks certainty.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 02:20 pm
@Pythagorean,
Not to be a pain in the ass here, but are the terms "believe in" and "God" sufficiently clear to everyone that we're all reading and responding to the same question?

If I ask: "Do you eat bagels?", we all know what the words eat and bagels mean with sufficient specificity that there is little ambiguity in the question. Or (since "believe in" contains a preposition), I could ask "Do you live on Earth?" Live, on, and Earth are also sufficiently specific.

But I'm not sure what you mean when you say "believe in", or when you say "God". I know what you probably mean, but I'm not willing to accept the universality of those terms such that I can restrict my answer to one of those three choices.
0 Replies
 
Justin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 02:49 pm
@Pythagorean,
I second that. We can believe in God or say we believe in God... the big question is, which God? So to just answer yes and no like eating bagels, it would be hard to do. We all know that there is a plethora of Gods that man has perceived and/or created... so, which God?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 03:20 pm
@Justin,
I'll give an unnecessary third to Aedes' criticism. Justin is right, "God" has a variety of meanings, and even understandings of "belief" vary.

For me, the short answer is "yes", but this answer is terribly misleading if "God" and "belief" are not clear.
0 Replies
 
Doorsopen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 03:54 pm
@Justin,
I preface my response by stating that this is a personal inquiry, more than a philosophical truth:

I have, for the better part of my life been agnostic. I chose neither to believe nor to disbelieve in the existence of God. In maintaining an open-minded approach to such beliefs, I had convinced myself that one day, one day within eternity, my conscious mind would be satisfied with an argument one way or the other, but alas there simply isn't a sufficent lifespan for an individual ego to continue searching for empirical data that would either prove, or disprove God's existence.

Last summer, following a series of introspective events, a concept became clear to me: A God seperate from myself, the personification of a power higher than myself, does not exist. I realised that searching for such an entity had been fruitless and that indeed we are, for all intents and purposes, alone in all the universe. But we exist.

But what than are miracles? Illusions of ectasy?; and how is it possible that peoples seperated by time and distance, with very little communication between them could come to understand that there is a form of abstract existence, that inspiration and thought can beget reality, that we can find structure and beauty and love in such a chaotic mess of chemicals and particles and random occurences to the point that we glorify its infinite potential... and build towers to heaven as though by building higher we can reach that abstract perfection. Towers glorify their creators as much as they glorify the miracle of creation.

Then I became frightened by my realisation. If WE are God in all of our thoughts and in all of our actions and in our perception of the natural order; we then bear a tremendous responsibility for our thoughts and our actions and perceptions. There is no great father to reward us for virtue, Virtue is its own reward. There is no punishment for sin, Sin carries its own punishment. There is no God if we do not see God within ourselves.

If we want the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, we must create it.

Welcome to reality.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 04:16 pm
@Doorsopen,
"On Earth as it is in Heaven"
0 Replies
 
Justin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 04:18 pm
@Pythagorean,
Doorsopen wrote:
I preface my response by stating that this is a personal inquiry, more than a philosophical truth:

I have, for the better part of my life been agnostic. I chose neither to believe nor to disbelieve in the existence of God. In maintaining an open-minded approach to such beliefs, I had convinced myself that one day, one day within eternity, my conscious mind would be satisfied with an argument one way or the other, but alas there simply isn't a sufficent lifespan for an individual ego to continue searching for empirical data that would either prove, or disprove God's existence.

Last summer, following a series of introspective events, a concept became clear to me: A God seperate from myself, the personification of a power higher than myself, does not exist. I realised that searching for such an entity had been fruitless and that indeed we are, for all intents and purposes, alone in all the universe. But we exist.

But what than are miracles? Illusions of ectasy?; and how is it possible that peoples seperated by time and distance, with very little communication between them could come to understand that there is a form of abstract existence, that inspiration and thought can beget reality, that we can find structure and beauty and love in such a chaotic mess of chemicals and particles and random occurences to the point that we glorify its infinite potential... and build towers to heaven as though by building higher we can reach that abstract perfection. Towers glorify their creators as much as they glorify the miracle of creation.

Then I became frightened by my realisation. If WE are God in all of our thoughts and in all of our actions and in our perception of the natural order; we then bear a tremendous responsibility for our thoughts and our actions and perceptions. There is no great father to reward us for virtue, Virtue is its own reward. There is no punishment for sin, Sin carries its own punishment. There is no God if we do not see God within ourselves.

If we want the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, we must create it.

Welcome to reality.

[CENTER]Amen Brother![/CENTER]
ogden
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jan, 2008 08:13 pm
@Justin,
I find it intriguing that the tree in the garden of eden was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and god said dont touch it or you will surely die, and the serpent said if you eat of it you will become as God. And as soon as they ate it they had the perception of nakednes (became self aware?), and guilt (wrongdoing) because they hid from God. I guess mortality is the price for this knowledge.

In my spirit and my mind I know that within man is great good and great evil. Is it coincidental that the words good and god are so similar, and that evil and devil are so alike?
0 Replies
 
 

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