As a start: I will suggest that god acts through nature and natural process.
So to spell it out, if god is the natural process of nature then natural disasters ARE the process or acts of god. Any objection?
Well I did leave myself an out, acutally two. One was the statement about god not being all powerful and the other was the notion that god imposes (not without struggle) order on (the formless void and primordial chaos) to create value.
It is clearly not a process without its setbacks but overall in my view (the movement is forward) whereas in your view (it is probably backward).
When one stares into the abyss one might see ones own reflection.
I do not expect to convince or have you agree with me. I only wish to have you understand what I am trying to say and perhaps to improve my ability to communicate it to you.
God is not nature in this view. That would be pantheism. God works within nature and not coercively (all powerful) but persuasively (divine influence and the offering forth of possibilities for the creation of value.
The universe was not created ex nihilo (from nothing) in this view, so God did not craft the universe from nothing. I suppose you could use the analogy a builder has to use the available material. The universe without god would still be formless void (primordial chaos).
The universe and the creatures and actualities in it still have their own power. To be an actuality it is necessary to have independent power. Everything that happens is not part of the divine plan or divine influence.
God works within nature and not coercively (all powerful) but persuasively (divine influence and the offering forth of possibilities for the creation of value.
Everything that happens is not part of the divine plan or divine influence.
The notion would be that without divine influence or divine persuasion everything would still be formless void and primordial chaos.
The notion would be that god is the reason there is any order, complexity, life, mind, experience, value or aesthetic. That without god all would be void and chaos, a universe of true purposeless blind pitiless indifference not the one we know and experience.
Mind you man is not the purpose of creation in these views and these views are a bit indifferent to human morals. The divine purpose is creation of value, not the creation of man and not human morality.
... I am interested in altered conceptions of god which do not conflict with the modern worldview. I am primarily interested in philosophical conceptions of god from people who still allow for theism as a rational possibility. Is it possible to formulate a rational philosophical conception of god which does not conflict with experience, reason and science? Remember speculations do not have to be confirmed or even confirmable by science to remain possibilities. This is god as a philosophical speculation or conception not god as a scientific hypothesis.
As a start: I will suggest that god acts through nature and natural process. That nature is inherently self organizing and that order, complexity, life, mind and experience have emerged as part of a divine purpose or divine plan. God is not all powerful but very powerful. The primary divine value is creativity, to bring value from the primordial chaos and the formless void. Creation is an ongoing process not a completed act.
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.
The classical conception of god is not compatible with science, reason or experience in the modern world.
I'm pretty sure I've seen you say this before and I have to ask, why? In what way?
but neither do I accept the notion of a blind indifferent purposeless pitiless universe. So I am on a quest to explore other visions of the divine and for me process theology and process philosophy fit well.
As one stares out into the vastness and the beauty of space and as one explores the beauty, elegance and mystery of life here on earth, it is only natural to contemplate, Where it all comes from and what it all means?
I just am not able to view our planet and the universe as the result of blind pitiless indifferent and ultimately purposeless forces. For others that notion is apparently no problem. Maybe I have the god gene and some others do not. That view just does not work for me. With me it is an inner conviction that the universe as a purposeless deterministic machine is not true. I am only being true to my nature. It is not like all the smart educated people are atheists and can see the truth while theists are just deluding themselves.
I am well versed and well educated in the sciences. Science as a method just does not tell you whether you have free will or not, whether there is a god or not, whether evolution is a process with some underlying striving or goal. Science does give us some very reliable information about our world and allows us to apply our rationality to predict and control the material aspects of our environment.
But I do not see that science demonstrates the universe has no purpose, no god, that matter is the fundamental constituent of reality, that free will is an illusion or that the universe is best considered as a mechanistic deterministic machine. All these assumptions are metaphysical or philosophical speculations. It is true they do not conflict with science but they are not confirmed by it either. They as a grouping are the most common worldview underlying an atheist philosophy.
My problem is I do not see it that way. I also do not think the orthodox classical supernatural anthropomorphic vision of god from the Middle Ages derived by the medieval scholastics fits the changes in our worldview and our knowledge of the world since that time. I am faced with the problem of formulating a vision of divine nature and divine action which does not conflict with science and reason even if it is not confirmed by them.
Of course, I am not the only person confronted by this problem, virtually all well educated religious theists have the same problem and the concept of god is changing in twentieth century religious philosophy. The most promising of these new visions in my view is the vision of process theology which derives from the process philosophy view of reality. Now if there is a god, no human conception or linguistic description will prove to be adequate or comprehensive and many just accept god as ineffable mystery, the ground of all being, the essence of existence and the world as an emanation of spirit or as a manifestation of the divine and leave it at that. That language is fine. I just personally in following my inclinations look for a little more extensive description or a more extensive version of the concept to grasp. My quest is intellectual others are just happy with the rituals and practice of a particular religion plus mysticism.
Half the discussions in the forum end up having a religious component
God and the origins of the universe
God and evil
God and free will
God and morality
Most of the people arguing against god use the medieval scholastic vision of an omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, changeless, supernatural and anthropomorphic god. My suggestion is there are other conceptions of god which are not in conflict with science which are gaining traction in the religious community.
Why does god have to be omnipotent?
Why would god need to know the future in all its details, or even want to?
Why do we have to think the universe was created ex nihilo, by an all powerful deity who then in some way must be responsible for evil and suffering?
Why do we think god has these kinds of human attributes at all?
Religious conceptions of god are in transition, if fact I think it is change or die time for religion. However, since religion is a constant feature of all cultures present and past, I think religion will make the transition albeit when an altered conception of god and an altered explanation of our religious symbols, practices and rituals.
The blind pitiless indifference view does not inspire and does not attract.
My suggestion to theists and atheists alike is to expand your thinking about possible (not necessarily actual or provable) conceptions of the divine. Is not that what philosophy of religion is? about exploring and considering a variety of ideas about the nature of the divine and how the divine might act in the world. Philosophy is rational speculation about possibilities or possible explanations. Philosophy of Religion is rational speculation about god. Does a true philosophical text confine itself to the supernatural anthropomorphic Greek perfection vision of the divine? Should a philosophy forum do so? Do you really think love, truth, goodness, beauty, and god are scientific concepts? Things which can be adequately explained in purely material objective terms?
In modern theology god has moved from his supernatural transcendent position in the heavens to an immanence (indwelling) within nature and working through natural process. In some of these discussions about god and the world, religion and science, it is more useful to use the concept of the god of philosophers; not the god of revealed religion. The conversations are constricted and non production when they are confined to the classical conception of god. The classical conception of god is not compatible with science, reason or experience in the modern world. If you want a modern philosophical discussion about science and religion use modern philosophical conceptions of god.
Oh and is a god who brings order, complexity, life, mind and experience from the formless void and primordial chaos, really all that useless, just because creation was a process not an event, and that god was not omnipotent? Which one of us is hung up on ancient concepts? Atheists or modern religious philosophers? Who insists that god must be the supernatural anthropomorphic god of classical theology or no god at all? Not process theologists.
Consider, for example, if I said that there were things called "toves". Suppose I said that they could not be seen, and could not in any ordinary way be experienced, but I felt their presence. Suppose I said that they had to do with the "foundations of being", and many other such phrases. What would you say about these "toves"?
I would say that if they bring you to a deeper understanding of your spiritual self, then what you call "toves" I call God.
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;"
as they say.
Think about "i" in mathematics(Imaginary number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). "i" cannot be seen nor can it be experienced. It's results can be seen though. And it's a real thing and it's an integral part of mathematics. Heck mathematics overall exist in this kind of indirect way. We cannot interact with the number 5 be we understand it. The point is there is a realm that exists beyond what we can readily interact with. And our not being able to interact with it does not mean it's not real
But it isn't a name of anything. It is just a bunch of gibberish. People are often confused by language, imagining that if someone dreams up a name, it must be a name of something. But that need not be the case at all.
That is not analogous because the concept of imaginary numbers serves a function. But you have not shown that the concept of God (if, indeed, you have one) serves a function (beyond, of course, the emotional crutch that "god" is for many people, which puts it in the same realm as voodoo and any other such superstitious nonsense).
But even if you had shown it to have a function like an imaginary number, do you worship imaginary numbers?
In order for god to be worthy of worship, it must be a thing (I use that term loosely) that is more than a mere number. So, in order for the idea that there is a god to be reasonable, the term must be sufficiently defined to be an actual concept, it must be something possible, and it must be sufficiently grand to be worthy of worship, or it is just another thing among many (if it is even that much). Even that, though, would not be enough, because many things might be possible that are not actual, so we would still need to know that the thing exists in order for it to have supreme importance.
The reality is, as it has become apparent that primitive ideas about god are problematic, various parts of the concept of "god" have been stripped away (by some; many are mentally back in the dark ages), so that now there is nothing left at all but mere words, which are kept because they are soothing to many who have been raised to believe that they are important. This is very well described at:
Antony Flew "Theology and Falsification," 1950
I submit the concept of god (western monotheism) as originally formulated by the medieval scholastics is not adequate or coherent in an age of science and reason.
I am interested in altered conceptions of god which do not conflict with the modern worldview. I am primarily interested in philosophical conceptions of god from people who still allow for theism as a rational possibility. Is it possible to formulate a rational philosophical conception of god which does not conflict with experience, reason and science? Remember speculations do not have to be confirmed or even confirmable by science to remain possibilities. This is god as a philosophical speculation or conception not god as a scientific hypothesis.
Perhaps 90% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. There have been major extinction events (several) on the planet in which 70% or more of life forms have been wiped out. The mass slaughter of WWI and the extermination camps of WWII and other countries and those are just the opening challenges.