What is God?

The question "Does God exist?" has always baffled me, because none of these people can give me a coherent definition of what God is meant to be. Of course, I'm talking about the Judeo-Christian concept of God, not the more physical and human deities of the polytheistic religions, such as Hinduism.

Not the Bible, not the Qu'ran, none of these holy books can actually tell anyone what God is supposed to be, so until then, we can't meaningfully discuss the existence of God. This isn't something like karma or reincarnation, which appears to be more specific. So many people believe that "God" said these things and transmitted them into some book, and he'd be angry if you kill someone and send you to Hell or whatever...but aren't those very human traits? Not to mention...why refer to him as "he"? Only humans and animals have genders; why would a mysterious, abstract and shapeless deity have a gender? Or is it to not refer to him as "it" for fear of disrespect?

Many of you will probably realize that this is somewhat Ignostic. Many of you are probably right, although even I don't know that much about that philosophy myself. In light of the nihilism thread I previously, I've decided not to automatically label myself as certain things.

Also, what the fuck is up with the double standard that an adult who believes in Santa Claus is childish, or an adult who believes in a dragon they converse with is insane, but when an adult says they believe in God, everyone backs off from openly criticizing them, not wanting to cause offence?

Not sure what you're asking but the only thing we know that IF a god exists then it doesn't intervene with anything and just wrote the laws and let the whole thing run itself.

there are hundreds of threads already on this issue, instead of bringing up an endless debate that goes nowhere you can easily sift through the archives and gain knowledge of what you please to know.

keiskay:
there are hundreds of threads already on this issue, instead of bringing up an endless debate that goes nowhere you can easily sift through the archives and gain knowledge of what you please to know.

Sorry, I didn't know.

Same thing as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, The tooth fairy and Pinnochio: Made up.

^ Will get people angry and me possibly warned.

Tree man:
Same thing as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, The tooth fairy and Pinnochio: Made up.

I know that, but with those fictional characters, they have clear and coherent definitions and/or representations in mind. With the Easter Bunny, it's, well, a bunny that hides chocolate eggs or whatever. Santa Claus is a fat man with a long white beard and a red suit that goes round the world with a sleigh and reindeer delivering presents to children on Christmas. The Tooth Fairy is a fairy that takes your fallen tooth out from underneath your pillow and gives you money for it. Pinocchio is a wooden boy who wishes to be a real boy and whose nose grows when he lies

But no-one can ever seem to agree on what the fuck God is supposed to be, what he looks like, and his beliefs. The most we come to is in cartoons, where he's depicted as a tall man with a long white beard, robes and sandals, but his face is never shown due to mystery. Some people think he's literally Jesus Christ, but even then, some think he was black and/or homosexual.

Relish in Chaos:

Tree man:
Same thing as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, The tooth fairy and Pinnochio: Made up.

I know that, but with those fictional characters, they have clear and coherent definitions and/or representations in mind. With the Easter Bunny, it's, well, a bunny that hides chocolate eggs or whatever. Santa Claus is a fat man with a long white beard and a red suit that goes round the world with a sleigh and reindeer delivering presents to children on Christmas. The Tooth Fairy is a fairy that takes your fallen tooth out from underneath your pillow and gives you money for it. Pinocchio is a wooden boy who wishes to be a real boy and whose nose grows when he lies

But no-one can ever seem to agree on what the fuck God is supposed to be, what he looks like, and his beliefs. The most we come to is in cartoons, where he's depicted as a tall man with a long white beard, robes and sandals, but his face is never shown due to mystery. Some people think he's literally Jesus Christ, but even then, some think he was black and/or homosexual.

Ah, he was Jesus, and the holy spirit, God is three beings forming on unified god (the Holy Trinity.) But if you suddenly give god a face then he sin't your god, he's everyone's god, he stops being an omnipotent being that can see all and be anyone, he becomes a big dude in white clothing that you can easily get pissed at when shit goes wrong.

God, in the judeo-christian sense is an intagible, metaphysical, not very well defined existence that controls the universe and whose nature is impossible to undertand for humans.
That's pretty much all there is to it.

Depends on the culture and religion you're talking about. If you asked an Ancient Roman what a God was, they would imply that a god was essentially an incredibly powerful individual. A god yes, but still someone with a personality and more human than not.

The Christian god however is more like a metaphysical, somewhat personified 'force' for lack of a better word. Whereas a Roman god would, according to their mythology, be a person one could feasibly interact with, the Christian god is more like the force that is responsible for the good in the world and protect his creations from the bad in the world.

I'm not incredibly religious, but mythological studies, particularly theological myth, are extremely rich and detailed and I would highly recommend that anyone read into it.

Relish in Chaos:
What is god?

"Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God's the guy that ignores you. "

Relish in Chaos:
Also, what the fuck is up with the double standard that an adult who believes in Santa Claus is childish, or an adult who believes in a dragon they converse with is insane, but when an adult says they believe in God, everyone backs off from openly criticizing them, not wanting to cause offence?

This is a great question and one which I've put to people in the past (in a variety of guises and contexts - the most recent being my posts in the "Atheists unbless highway" thread), mostly to a deafening silence or evasive, shoulder-shrugging disinterest. All I can think of is that religious belief has ubiquity and history on its side (although f*** knows those are two of the poorest possible justifications for perpetuating things). You're right, though, religion holds a position of undeserved immunity from frank scrutiny, and interestingly some of the loudest champions for the right of religion to continue unexamined and unchallenged are agnostics and atheists.

I believe in the Pagan gods. To me, their like...well, as much as I hate to say this, I watched Thor today, and that's a pretty good view of them. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to smash my head into a wall for liking that movie.

The catholic 'God' (depending on who you ask) is roughly thought to be 3 separate 'entities'. First is the Father, who is the classic idea of who God. A man with a long beard who created everything ever and sent his only son to die for our sins (sins being a concept he himself created)

Second you have Jesus (also known as the 'son') who is fairly well known, seeing as how he's the only 'tangible' part of the catholic faith. I'm sure you've heard of him, son of God? long beard? hung out with prostitutes?

Last you have the 'Holy Spirit' or 'Holy Ghost', I have no idea what it's supposed to be though, it might represent your soul, it might represent the fact that Jesus died for our sins. In the bible it was described as fire that allowed people to talk in all different languages, so take from that what you can.

the three make up the "Holy Trinity"

image

This is why the 'Lords Prayer' always ends with "In the name of the Father, The son, and the holy spirit"

Which is essentially what God is. Although most people tend to believe that 'God' is simply the father since Jesus is almost always described as his 'son' and the Holy Spirit is some obscure concept.

it's confusing as hell, especially since praying to false idols is one of the commandments.

Relish in Chaos:
Not the Bible, not the Qu'ran, none of these holy books can actually tell anyone what God is supposed to be, so until then, we can't meaningfully discuss the existence of God.

Say what? There are several passages that clearly graft certain characteristics onto what god is...

Genesis 1:2, God is capable of at least hovering.

Exodus 20:5, God is jealous.

Isaiah 45:7, God creates light, darkness, prosperity and disaster.

Etc.

I'm going to say the same thing to you as I do others who attempt to define there god; do a little reading please.

Relish in Chaos:
The question "Does God exist?" has always baffled me, because none of these people can give me a coherent definition of what God is meant to be. Of course, I'm talking about the Judeo-Christian concept of God, not the more physical and human deities of the polytheistic religions, such as Hinduism.

Not the Bible, not the Qu'ran, none of these holy books can actually tell anyone what God is supposed to be, so until then, we can't meaningfully discuss the existence of God. This isn't something like karma or reincarnation, which appears to be more specific. So many people believe that "God" said these things and transmitted them into some book, and he'd be angry if you kill someone and send you to Hell or whatever...but aren't those very human traits? Not to mention...why refer to him as "he"? Only humans and animals have genders; why would a mysterious, abstract and shapeless deity have a gender? Or is it to not refer to him as "it" for fear of disrespect?

Many of you will probably realize that this is somewhat Ignostic. Many of you are probably right, although even I don't know that much about that philosophy myself. In light of the nihilism thread I previously, I've decided not to automatically label myself as certain things.

Also, what the fuck is up with the double standard that an adult who believes in Santa Claus is childish, or an adult who believes in a dragon they converse with is insane, but when an adult says they believe in God, everyone backs off from openly criticizing them, not wanting to cause offence?

God is the one supreme being He is the creator and ruler of the universe.

DevilWithaHalo:

Relish in Chaos:
Not the Bible, not the Qu'ran, none of these holy books can actually tell anyone what God is supposed to be, so until then, we can't meaningfully discuss the existence of God.

Say what? There are several passages that clearly graft certain characteristics onto what god is...

Genesis 1:2, God is capable of at least hovering.

Exodus 20:5, God is jealous.

Isaiah 45:7, God creates light, darkness, prosperity and disaster.

Etc.

I'm going to say the same thing to you as I do others who attempt to define there god; do a little reading please.

I have read the Bible and Qu'ran, but their depictions of God are still as vague as ever. What does he look? What shape? Christianity and Islam can't even agree with one another as to whether or not Jesus (or Isa) was actually crucified.

Relish in Chaos:
I have read the Bible and Qu'ran, but their depictions of God are still as vague as ever. What does he look? What shape?

Well someone is being a little superficial aren't they? God is more than his good looks you know! So what if he's got a little junk in his trunk?

But seriously...

Exodus 33:20-22, seeing God would kill you, but he has a hand.

Habakkuk 3:4, kind of looks like a sunrise.

Zechariah 4:10, he's got 7 eyes.

There's more if you want to look.

Relish in Chaos:
Christianity and Islam can't even agree with one another as to whether or not Jesus (or Isa) was actually crucified.

What the...? Two differing religions can't agree on an interpretation of their holy texts? My entire world view has been shattered, I just don't know how I'll get through the day.

DevilWithaHalo:

Relish in Chaos:
I have read the Bible and Qu'ran, but their depictions of God are still as vague as ever. What does he look? What shape?

Well someone is being a little superficial aren't they? God is more than his good looks you know! So what if he's got a little junk in his trunk?

But seriously...

Exodus 33:20-22, seeing God would kill you, but he has a hand.

Habakkuk 3:4, kind of looks like a sunrise.

Zechariah 4:10, he's got 7 eyes.

There's more if you want to look.

That still doesn't give me much. If I'd be dead before I can take in what he looks like, then how can I know what he is? If he doesn't exist on the mortal plane, then how would I ever see him in anything other than the afterlife? I mean, why have they suddenly gone into hypothetical situations or something?

7 eyes...on what? He has a hand...made of what? Connected to what? "Kind of looks like a sunrise"? That's not exact, is it? That's just one perception of one fallible human being writing down bullshit in a book pulled from bits and pieces of some legend passed around a campfire like it was their dung, and then twisted and possibly mistranslated to suit people's personal beliefs down the ever-changing ages.

Basically, that's like me looking up into the sky and saying, "Hey, that cloud looks like Michael Jackson", and the other guy saying, "No, it doesn't."

DevilWithaHalo:

Relish in Chaos:
Christianity and Islam can't even agree with one another as to whether or not Jesus (or Isa) was actually crucified.

What the...? Two differing religions can't agree on an interpretation of their holy texts? My entire world view has been shattered, I just don't know how I'll get through the day.

Haha.

So which one's right, then? You can't answer me that. With so many stories and interpretations as to what God and Jesus are, how can anyone say what the hell he's supposed to be?

Whatever God is or may be, non-existent or real, I refuse to accept the god of the old testament. The creature described as God in those works is more akin to a daemon then a god.

Hes a prankster. He plants Dinosaur bones just to fuck with us. He runs planet earth like an office temp who is a doushbag.

Relish in Chaos:
That still doesn't give me much. If I'd be dead before I can take in what he looks like, then how can I know what he is? If he doesn't exist on the mortal plane, then how would I ever see him in anything other than the afterlife? I mean, why have they suddenly gone into hypothetical situations or something?

Because it's easier to open it up to interpretation. God is anyone you want him to be. What if someone didn't like beards? Can you imagine the outrage?

What he looks like is also a far cry from his abilities. What verification would you require in order for him to prove he is who he says he is? Nicholas Cage did have a striking resemblance to an ancient picture after all.

Relish in Chaos:
7 eyes...on what? He has a hand...made of what? Connected to what? "Kind of looks like a sunrise"? That's not exact, is it? That's just one perception of one fallible human being writing down bullshit in a book pulled from bits and pieces of some legend passed around a campfire like it was their dung, and then twisted and possibly mistranslated to suit people's personal beliefs down the ever-changing ages.

Oh come now, we all know the bible is a perfect and infallible direct word of god. ;)

Relish in Chaos:
Basically, that's like me looking up into the sky and saying, "Hey, that cloud looks like Michael Jackson", and the other guy saying, "No, it doesn't."

Well... to be fair, Michael Jackson does look like two completely different people depending on the level of his cosmetic surgeries.

Relish in Chaos:
So which one's right, then? You can't answer me that. With so many stories and interpretations as to what God and Jesus are, how can anyone say what the hell he's supposed to be?

The response you'll probably get is "faith". Besides, clear definitions are easily refutable, and we don't want that now do we?

God is anything you want it to be, which is what makes it such a worthless "concept" (i.e. it's not even a concept to speak of when it can incorporate very specific, interventionist Theistic gods or vague notions of energy, anything inbetween or anything without).

KlLLUMINATI:

God is the one supreme being He is the creator and ruler of the universe.

If thatīs the case, then he is doing a shitty job and should probably be replaced by a more competent ruler. If he is "merely" a Creator, then He did really good. If He does not exist then that means God is just another imaginary creature people dreamed up to explain stuff they do not understand.

Invention of and belief in gods was man's earliest attempt at scientific thought. They attempted to account for and explain observed phenomena and events in the natural world with cause and effect reasoning:

Why did the crops fail? -> Gods were pissed.
Why did a comet appear in the sky? -> Gods were communicating, giving an omen, a sign, instructions, etc.
Why was the winter unusually harsh? -> We failed to make sufficient harvest sacrifice to the gods.

Eventually more gods were invented to account for other nuanced/observed phenomena; then it became logical to group the gods themselves into social units reflecting the cultures that invented them, and so on.

Initially, gods answered the question why, and have been doing so (for some) probably since man possessed and could convey complex thought (since the 10th millennium at least). Gods (for some) still satisfy the insatiable human psychological need to know what is sometimes fundamentally unknowable; to understand and explain things in a manner that that can be acceptably rationalized:

Why did my buddy die? -> Punished / taken by god.
What happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? -> Heaven, Elysium, Valhalla, Aaru, etc.
Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? -> God has a plan for me, I'm being tested before I get to enter heaven, etc.

The human mind dislikes disorder, and without effort attempts to decipher garbled or unintelligible information. It attempts to answer who, what, when, where, why, how with the tools available, and gods and religion were some of its earliest intellectual tools.

So what is god?

For some, god is also the notion that something is in control and can command order, since that something is certainly not man.

For others, it's the refusal to accept that sometimes things do not have an objective reason:

Why do the wicked flourish while the righteous are allowed to suffer? Why did something shitty happen to me? -> "It is god's will, which is unintelligible to us, etc."

Before the inception of science, gods were an attempt at scientific method. God's purpose was to try to help man understand his surroundings and the universe; god was an explanation for why things in the natural world are the way they are.

The strange thing about god is that people continue to accept that as the explanation for why -- despite the fact that he's no longer needed to explain why the universe is the way it is.

Cheers,
-Aes

Go ask someone who not only practices the religion, but is versed in it? You know, an imam or a rabbi. Abrahamic aren't actually similar enough to give one answer to that question. And yes, Abrahamic religions are not terribly specific about what G-d is, which means you get a lot of difference. Hell, the Bible speaks of a personal-impersonal G-d in such a way that creates all the paradoxes we know and love. There's technically two very different ideas of G-d in Genesis, and if you wanted to get more specific, there's plenty more ideas.

Anyone who thinks a non-organic being has a sex makes no sense to me. What would be the need for sex when you assert ONE god? Who are they going to breed with?

Aesmodan:
Invention of and belief in gods was man's earliest attempt at scientific thought.

This is the first time I have seen an actual theory of religion being used. Too bad I can't remember whose it is, but still, yey! I am not entirely sure it can accommodate for impersonal deities who do not do any of those things. I suppose they explain how the world is structured...

Aesmodan:
snip

Damn man, its been a long time since you popped in the forums.

Good to have you back

Nibbles:

Aesmodan:
Invention of and belief in gods was man's earliest attempt at scientific thought.

This is the first time I have seen an actual theory of religion being used. Too bad I can't remember whose it is, but still, yey! I am not entirely sure it can accommodate for impersonal deities who do not do any of those things. I suppose they explain how the world is structured...

Well he did say that gods are usually a reflection of the culture and environment they sprang from. So I'm guessing that a society that values individuality and controlling their destinies would have gods that didn't interfere?

*shrugs*

Limecake:
it's confusing as hell, especially since praying to false idols is one of the commandments.

I believe you mean NOT praying to false idols, although a religion that MANDATED praying to false idols would be absolutely hilarious

As for the Abrahamic God, yes it's not particularly well defined, but it doesn't need to be for people to believe in it. There's enough information regarding commandments and what they are faith-wise and what they've done - not a lot regarding what they are metaphysically, or in regards to making them proveable/non-proveable, but that's not important to most believers. Not that I bloody care, but hey.

Personally, I prefer gods from the old pantheons - ZEUS! He's pretty well defined, and is hilarious. It's much more interesting when you've got lots of divine figures on an even playing field. And let's face it - the Abrahamic God does nasty stuff, the old pantheons did nasty stuff, but they were at least interesting. Mind you, their afterlifes weren't quite up to snuff - the Asphodel Fields are a pretty terrifying idea.

a made up imaginary being who has no existence outside of peoples mind.

God is a metaphor for all the impersonal natural and social forces that make the human experience the way it is. This is why God is mysterious, helps those who help themselves, and always takes the side of the ablest navigators and largest armies.

Bassik:

KlLLUMINATI:

God is the one supreme being He is the creator and ruler of the universe.

If thatīs the case, then he is doing a shitty job and should probably be replaced by a more competent ruler. If he is "merely" a Creator, then He did really good. If He does not exist then that means God is just another imaginary creature people dreamed up to explain stuff they do not understand.

God of the gaps argument have not seen it in awhile because I can easily change it up to be science of the gaps. So everything you cant explain science can which is false seeing as how there are always numerous theories for one topic.

KlLLUMINATI:

Bassik:

KlLLUMINATI:

God is the one supreme being He is the creator and ruler of the universe.

If thatīs the case, then he is doing a shitty job and should probably be replaced by a more competent ruler. If he is "merely" a Creator, then He did really good. If He does not exist then that means God is just another imaginary creature people dreamed up to explain stuff they do not understand.

God of the gaps argument have not seen it in awhile because I can easily change it up to be science of the gaps. So everything you cant explain science can which is false seeing as how there are always numerous theories for one topic.

Who said science can explain everything? I didn't. Look at my post, now look at your reply; they seem to have very little to do with each other.

And you know why there are sometimes multiple theories for one topic, don't pretend you are stupid. I also assume that, since you can operate a internet-machine, you realise science is about finding the truth, not proclaiming the truth?

Marik2:

Aesmodan:
snip

Damn man, its been a long time since you popped in the forums.

Good to have you back

Thanks Marik.

Marik2:

Nibbles:

Aesmodan:
Invention of and belief in gods was man's earliest attempt at scientific thought.

This is the first time I have seen an actual theory of religion being used. Too bad I can't remember whose it is, but still, yey! I am not entirely sure it can accommodate for impersonal deities who do not do any of those things. I suppose they explain how the world is structured...

Well he did say that gods are usually a reflection of the culture and environment they sprang from. So I'm guessing that a society that values individuality and controlling their destinies would have gods that didn't interfere?

*shrugs*

I didn't mean for that to be a universal explanation, just a demonstrative one. Some religions are quite complex, and I admit to intellectual attraction to several (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism leap to mind).

If you'd care to talk about specific examples of impersonal deities, let me know.

Cheers,
-Aes

Ah the endless debate.

God was used to explain unexplainable answers at the time, how was the universe created? people didn't know and used god to fill in the blank. Now we have our answers and people refuse to believe they are true. I heard moronic religious people say you cannot run a country/state without the lord and the bible...NEWSFLASH! You can run a country/state without the bible and is preferable than following the most fucked up book in existence. Also religious people say "Pff evolution is just a theory" yeah...It's fucking better than saying god made everything isn't it.

Rant over. Phew...I don't want to insult people of faith but religion has made some fucking idiot's (in addition to regular idiot's) Religious people are just so fun to troll because of how defensive they get.

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