What do you mean when you say "God"?

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What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Admin on Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:12 pm

It seems that many people mean many different things when they say "God." What do you mean when you say God?
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Gamov on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:34 pm

The list of characteristics most commonly attributed to the concept of God are omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent. God is also seen as anthropomorphic, being a "being", something which thinks like us. The first problem I have with this is the omni-benevolent part. Why assume that God is a caring god? Why assume that he is all good? I think this is because we want him to be more than anything else. If I thought there was a God, who I could not prove to exist, and that he wasn't meaningful to me in that he doesn't look out for my well being, why would I still believe? Thinking that God is good makes people hopeful, which is something some of us need from time to time. This reminds me of Marx's criticisms in that religion is a crutch.

In regards to omnipotence, I think that god should not be thought of as a thing at all, but more of a force. "If God is omnipotent can he create a boulder too large for him to lift?" Lift? Kind of rediculous question IMO, since we don't know if he even has form, let alone a human one. Would God even want to lift such a boulder? Does he even have desires?
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Rombat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:16 pm

Gamov wrote:The list of characteristics most commonly attributed to the concept of God are omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent. God is also seen as anthropomorphic, being a "being", something which thinks like us. The first problem I have with this is the omni-benevolent part. Why assume that God is a caring god? Why assume that he is all good? I think this is because we want him to be more than anything else. If I thought there was a God, who I could not prove to exist, and that he wasn't meaningful to me in that he doesn't look out for my well being, why would I still believe? Thinking that God is good makes people hopeful, which is something some of us need from time to time. This reminds me of Marx's criticisms in that religion is a crutch.

In regards to omnipotence, I think that god should not be thought of as a thing at all, but more of a force. "If God is omnipotent can he create a boulder too large for him to lift?" Lift? Kind of rediculous question IMO, since we don't know if he even has form, let alone a human one. Would God even want to lift such a boulder? Does he even have desires?

This forum has an automatic spell checker (or the lastest version of Opera does >.>) and you STILL misspelled ridiculous. You make me proud Gam.

Anyways, if you pay attention to the old testament of the bible, omni-benevolent is NOT the word most would use to describe "God". However, omnipotent, omniscient and a force are all things that fit rather well. Assigning him a form (specifically a human one) is really just a way to make us feel more comfortable with something that is so much more than us we couldn't even begin to fathom it.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Eclipse on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:02 pm

Oh? Why should a book that someone wrote without any proofs be considered fact? If "God" (I am operating under the assumption that you're talking about the Judeo-Christian God) is so great, why would such a being allow itself to be defined by a book? I personally think it's far more likely that the people who wrote the bible, as with many religious texts, did so to gain power over others.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Phoenix on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:08 pm

Eclipse wrote:Oh? Why should a book that someone wrote without any proofs be considered fact? If "God" (I am operating under the assumption that you're talking about the Judeo-Christian God) is so great, why would such a being allow itself to be defined by a book? I personally think it's far more likely that the people who wrote the bible, as with many religious texts, did so to gain power over others.

Well the Judeo-Christian God can't stop anything from happening. Hell, he could exist, but the Bible could have gotten everything wrong.

Perhaps a God could exist, but the Bible was written to push a certain man's morals and philosophies to that particular society. I mean, when I get into discussions about God and religion, I aim at current incarnations of religion, i.e. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and possibly other similar categories of religion. Those are the three I am educated on, however.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Eclipse on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:19 pm

In that case, who is to say that God, as a religious deity, even exists?
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Phoenix on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:22 pm

Eclipse wrote:In that case, who is to say that God, as a religious deity, even exists?

Nobody. There's no evidence to suggest that he does.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Rombat on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:39 pm

Eclipse wrote:Oh? Why should a book that someone wrote without any proofs be considered fact? If "God" (I am operating under the assumption that you're talking about the Judeo-Christian God) is so great, why would such a being allow itself to be defined by a book? I personally think it's far more likely that the people who wrote the bible, as with many religious texts, did so to gain power over others.

I was using it only as an example that omni-benevolence is not a standard characteristic. Razz
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Eclipse on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:51 pm

I was more going along the lines of an omnipotent and omniscient God, but come to think of it aren't the two main styles (again, in the Judeo-Christian sense) either through fear of punishment or the idea that God is good and will reward those who follow him/her/it? The latter sounds like a God that is omni-benevolent to me and wouldn't we all want someone like that watching out for all of us? I really agree with Freud here; after the protective parent or guardian is shown to not be all-powerful, people naturally want to seek out something that is, even if it's wishful thinking against the cold and dark universe.


Last edited by Eclipse on Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Rombat on Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:11 am

See, many different sources point to an omnipotent and omniscient god. It's an easy fall back of what God "is". Interesting question though, if there was a singular "god", and that being was not omnipotent and omniscient would humans really consider that being god?

You might have something going here. Maybe thinking of god as the thing that started the creation of the universe is better. Does it have to be a being or can it be a thing? Could the Big Bang be considered "god" if the Big Bang is really what started it all.

I'm not sure how to handle a Pantheon style god group though, which in all fairness we cannot rule out as being possible if we want to give all unproven ideas the same weight. I believe most of them have only one "creator" but all of those beings are considered gods. I'm really not sure when they come into the picture.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Eclipse on Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:21 am

Very true, you could define the natural forces that brought the universe into existance as God. But in that case, why worship it at all? True, there are some who worship nature, but not gravity or many other natural phenomena.
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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  rainbowslippers on Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:59 pm

Here's one of my favorite quotes:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" -Epicurus

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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  karinaf on Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:57 pm

When i say "God" it only means that I believe in a higher being. It means that i believe there is life after death and something more created this complex world.

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Re: What do you mean when you say "God"?

Post  Eclipse on Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:13 pm

karinaf wrote:When i say "God" it only means that I believe in a higher being. It means that i believe there is life after death and something more created this complex world.

Why should there be a higher being? And assuming there was a "god," could he/she/it create an even higher being that himself/herself/itself?
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