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What is the nature of the divine?

 
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:14 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:18 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98976 wrote:


To say that God is merely a concept is just to say that the concept of God exists, but that God does not exist. So to say that God is merely a concept is just to say that God does not exist. Atheists believe God is merely a concept. Theists believe it is false that God is merely a concept. And, Agnostics do not know whether or not God is merely a concept.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:27 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98977 wrote:
To say that God is merely a concept is just to say that the concept of God exists, but that God does not exist. So to say that God is merely a concept is just to say that God does not exist. Atheists believe God is merely a concept. Theists believe it is false that God is merely a concept. And, Agnostics do not know whether or not God is merely a concept.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:37 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98979 wrote:


If it is obvious, then you should not object to it. You should agree with it.
The concept of mermaid does not refer to anything at all. Not even to a representation of a mermaid (whatever that is-a picture?) The concept that refers to a representation of a mermaid would be something like, the concept of a picture of a mermaid. Or, a statue of a mermaid. But these concepts would all be-concepts, not mermaids. And that is obvious too.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:44 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98982 wrote:
If it is obvious, then you should not object to it. You should agree with it.
The concept of mermaid does not refer to anything at all. Not even to a representation of a mermaid (whatever that is-a picture?) The concept that refers to a representation of a mermaid would be something like, the concept of a picture of a mermaid. Or, a statue of a mermaid. But these concepts would all be-concepts, not mermaids. And that is obvious too.


I disagree again...A concept always refers to something...a mermaid for instance, exists and is described in society imaginarium...so it exists somehow...it works to a certain level. If it is not an "absolute" existence is not here to consider...are you absolute ?
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:51 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98976 wrote:

Yea, it's natural to think of a God existing as an object, because objectivity permeates our thinking. We talk about wind as an object. A little simple logic indicates that wind, like time, is a concept, not an object. The issue with God is as old as the hills: when talking about God, some people are talking about all objects, all concepts, in short: everything.

What we can maybe agree on is that God is a word. As jgweed pointed out, it's good to think about what you mean when you use a word. With a small g, god refers to divinity. The big G refers to ultimateness.. which is a quick road to that which the mind recognizes, but can do nothing with, because it's meaningless. Meaning resides with the finite, the analyzed, the pieces, the individual scribbles on the blackboard.

God is like a coffee cup with a handle on it. Your mind can pick up the whole thing by the handle, like your index finger can with the cup.

Working with the handle as if it's the whole cup, is normal... but deceptive, like using the sideways 8 to handle infinity. The sideways eight is an object... what it refers to, is not... it's a concept.

Of course, with a little more reflection, we can see that the sideways eight, is also "just" a concept... the concept of the symbol.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:54 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;98984 wrote:
I disagree again...A concept always refers to something...a mermaid for instance, exists and is described in society imaginarium...so it exists somehow...it works to a certain level. If it is not an "absolute" existence is not here to consider...are you absolute ?


To say that the concept of a mermaid refers to something imaginary is just to say that it does not refer to a mermaid. You can say, if you like it refers to something or other, but it does not refer to a mermaid, and that is the issue.
But why must all concepts refer. What law is that?
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:54 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98977 wrote:
To say that God is merely a concept is just to say that the concept of God exists, but that God does not exist. So to say that God is merely a concept is just to say that God does not exist. Atheists believe God is merely a concept. Theists believe it is false that God is merely a concept. And, Agnostics do not know whether or not God is merely a concept.


There is such a thing as an agnostic theist and an agnostic atheist. Theism and atheism deal with belief. Agnosticism is an epistemological stance and does not deal with belief, it deals with knowledge. You cannot put atheists and theists into the same category as agnostics as if it is some sort of third option. Agnosticism is not mutually exclusive with either atheism or theism. Of course, however, atheism and theism are mutually exclusive as one cannot believe and not believe at the same time.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:04 am
@prothero,
Sure there is...

An agnostic theist would be someone who doesn't claim knowledge but believes in a god or gods

An agnostic atheist would be someone who doesn't claim knowledge yet has no belief in a god or gods

... unless I'm misunderstanding something here.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:04 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98988 wrote:
To say that the concept of a mermaid refers to something imaginary is just to say that it does not refer to a mermaid. You can say, if you like it refers to something or other, but it does not refer to a mermaid, and that is the issue.
But why must all concepts refer. What law is that?


Imaginary in what sense ? Because to me you are very much imaginary...
Existence refers to what ? give me your concept...:sarcastic:
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 08:49 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;98989 wrote:
There is such a thing as an agnostic theist and an agnostic atheist. Theism and atheism deal with belief. Agnosticism is an epistemological stance and does not deal with belief, it deals with knowledge. You cannot put atheists and theists into the same category as agnostics as if it is some sort of third option. Agnosticism is not mutually exclusive with either atheism or theism. Of course, however, atheism and theism are mutually exclusive as one cannot believe and not believe at the same time.


I said that agnostics do not know whether or not the concept of God refers. That concerns knowledge. We can describe atheists, theists, and agnostics together in terms of their attitude toward the concept of God. I agree that agnostics and atheists and theists are different in other ways. I don't think we disagree. I would point out that there are two kinds of atheists. 1. Those who don't believe in God, and 2. Those who believe there is no God. (The difference is between not believing, and believing not. In symbols, which make it clearer, between ~B(G) and B(~G) The first are weak atheists, the second are strong atheists.
Now, since not believing implies not knowing, weak atheism implies agnosticism. But agnosticism does not imply weak atheism.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 11:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98997 wrote:
I said that agnostics do not know whether or not the concept of God refers. That concerns knowledge. We can describe atheists, theists, and agnostics together in terms of their attitude toward the concept of God. I agree that agnostics and atheists and theists are different in other ways. I don't think we disagree. I would point out that there are two kinds of atheists. 1. Those who don't believe in God, and 2. Those who believe there is no God. (The difference is between not believing, and believing not. In symbols, which make it clearer, between ~B(G) and B(~G) The first are weak atheists, the second are strong atheists.
Now, since not believing implies not knowing, weak atheism implies agnosticism. But agnosticism does not imply weak atheism.




A concept always refers to something if you have it...what agnostics do conceptualize, is not knowing to what it refers rather then if it refers...that, given a certain number of examples that they know and integrate...God is a Being, God is a non Being, God is existent or non existent...if non existent God still is something, as a concept, the negation of an Idea...
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 11:42 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;99023 wrote:
A concept always refers to something if you have it...what agnostics do conceptualize, is not knowing to what it refers rather then if it refers...that, given a certain number of examples that they know and integrate...God is a Being, God is a non Being, God is existent or non existent...if non existent God still is something, as a concept, the negation of an Idea...


To say that a concept refers to something non-existent means that the concept does not refer to anything. If it does not mean that, it makes no sense. (God is non-existent means only that God does not exist),
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 11:58 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;99030 wrote:
To say that a concept refers to something non-existent means that the concept does not refer to anything. If it does not mean that, it makes no sense. (God is non-existent means only that God does not exist),


---------- Post added 10-21-2009 at 01:09 PM ----------

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 12:12 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;99034 wrote:


There is the concept of witch. But no witches. Nothing exists as non-existent. That either makes no sense, or it is a contradiction. To say that X is non-existent is only a confused way of saying that X does not exist.


"Philosophy is a constant battle against the bewitchment of the intellect by language" Wittgenstein.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 12:14 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;99037 wrote:
There is the concept of witch. But no witches. Nothing exists as non-existent. That either makes no sense, or it is a contradiction. To say that X is non-existent is only a confused way of saying that X does not exist.


"Philosophy is a constant battle against the bewitchment of the intellect by language" Wittgenstein.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 01:13 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98970 wrote:
To repeat: If God exists, God is not a concept. No more than if extra-terrestrial life exists, extra-terrestrial life is a concept. Therefore, God is not a powerful concept, nor a weak concept. God is just not a concept. Period.
All right we are having a language problem here. What do you mean by the term concept?
One could argue AKA Hume and Kant that all we have are concepts (processed perceptions or thoughts) of the world. The thing in itself (all things including god, especially god) are beyond our ability to know.
So extraterrestrial life is a concept for which we currently have no proof.
If we discover extraterrestial life it remains a concept but one for which we now have objective evidence.
Whether one belieives in god as an actuality, as an existent being, or as just an imaginary friend everyone has some "conception" of the divine or lack thereof. The most powerful concepts (or ideas) in human history and culture are those for which there is not necessarily material proof (freedom, love, justice, truth, and god). To argue about whether they "exist" or if they are "concepts" is to miss the point IMV entirely.
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 01:37 pm
@prothero,
Ken,

You are quite right. God (AKA the Ultimate) is not merely a concept. But the way that the human mind deals with God, unfortunately, for lack of the mind’s capacity, will end up being a concept. This is because the mind can only deal with things, even ‘God/The Ultimate Self’ by making them into a mind object (very Buddhist).

I believe the whole idea of God is, in fact, a wickedly powerful concept, simply because of the profound effect that it has had on the mind of man throughout known history, and therefore upon the life of each individual man, woman, and child alive.

Even persons who claim not to believe in “God/The Ultimate Self’ have an equally strong counter-reaction to this phenomena.

I don’t believe that we can ever really understand man, as a species, without taking into consideration his God or his lack of it.

S9
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 03:04 pm
@prothero,
prothero;99059 wrote:
All right we are having a language problem here. What do you mean by the term concept?
One could argue AKA Hume and Kant that all we have are concepts (processed perceptions or thoughts) of the world. The thing in itself (all things including god, especially god) are beyond our ability to know.
So extraterrestrial life is a concept for which we currently have no proof.
If we discover extraterrestial life it remains a concept but one for which we now have objective evidence.
Whether one belieives in god as an actuality, as an existent being, or as just an imaginary friend everyone has some "conception" of the divine or lack thereof. The most powerful concepts (or ideas) in human history and culture are those for which there is not necessarily material proof (freedom, love, justice, truth, and god). To argue about whether they "exist" or if they are "concepts" is to miss the point IMV entirely.



As I pointed out, you and I have the concept (or thought, or idea) of the Eiffel Tower. But that is not the Eiffel Tower. I have been to the Eiffel Tower. It is in Paris. So there are two different entities: the concept of the Eiffel Tower which most of us have, and the Eiffel Tower itself. That seems to me to be clear.

On the other hand, you and I, and many others, have the concept (idea, etc.) of Santa Claus. However, nothing corresponds to this idea of Santa Claus. Which is to say, there ain't no Santa Claus.

Finally, in the Middle Ages, germs existed which caused (as they now do) disease. But, in the Middle Ages, there was no concept of germs. Therefore, there were germs, but no concept of germs.

So, there are concepts, and entities corresponding to those concepts;
There are concepts, but nothing corresponding to those concepts; and, finally entities but no concepts.

The concept, if there is one, is one thing; things or entities, are a different thing. They are independent of each other.

Finally, concepts are themselves things or entities. The concept of Santa Claus is an entity. And, there is a concept of the concept of Santa Claus.

Now. God, if God exists, is not a concept. But the concept of God is a concept. So, to say that the concept of God exists is not to say that God exists.

Notice that atheists, theists, and agnostics, all that the concept of God exists. But atheists and theists disagree on whether God exists. And agnostics do not know whether God exists.
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:24 pm
@prothero,
I am not interested in debating if god "exists" versus if the concept of god "exists".
I am interested in your or anyone elses conception of the nature of god and how god acts in the world and your reasons (not necessarily objective evidence) for your views. i.e. rational speculations (religous philosophy).
It is clear people have conceptions of the nature of god. The debate about whether those conceptions correspond to an actual material entity or are justified beliefs is quite a different matter. Clearly our concepts about germs, nature, origins of man, origins of life change over time as do our concepts of the divine. In your view what is a rational conception or speculation about the divine in the modern (or postmodern if your prefer) age?
 

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