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Is there a God?


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#541
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ok, so i'll continue making nothing of it.

lol. If you're looking to understand other people's religious experiences, you might as well leave now, buddy. A lot of people's beliefs are strengthened or founded upon their own personal experiences with nature, people, good, evil, etc. We don't expect people looking for empirical evidence (such as you) to understand it.

Made myself promise not to post in this thread.... :-|
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#542
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“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

This quote is one of the fundamental ones for my beliefs, what gives people the arrogance to think that their god is for some reason the right god, why is someone who believed in worshipping the sun any less absurd than someone worshipping a God.


God to me seems to be something people turn to when they cannot accept reality, I remember a program I watched about angels and the people seeing them were extremely vulnerable people, who say had terrible illnesses and when they recovered they put it down to God visiting and protecting them, where more likely it was a dream or hallucination due to their traumatised state.

Looking back through history the entire point of a God seems to be a social control, whether it be to justify human sacrifices, Medieval priests extorting people for entrance to heaven or just the staple behave strictly towards our cultures rules without question or challenge to the ruling classes or you will end up in hell (or reincarnated as a ant).
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#543
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There's a very good short story called Dragon: The Old Potter's Tale which summarises perfectly my view of religion, and where I think your interpretation is wrong. In the story, a man erects a signboard saying that a dragon will ascend to heaven from a pond, in order to trick the townspeople for mocking his large nose. In short, all of the townspeople are utterly duped on the day written on the board, to the extent that the man who erected the sign is taken in and believes he saw a dragon.

The view of religion presented here differs markedly from yours. Of course there will have been times when God or a deity would have been used as a hastily devised excuse, but when we look at the Crusades and other wars of religion, were they undertaken because the Pope wanted a war or because he firmly believed in the cause he fought for? The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople, wrote a famous poem in which he professed he conquered as he did as his Islamic imperative to wage jihad. Barring cynical examples like the Borgias, I believe more often than not that these religious men believed in what they fought for. I also do not believe that, somewhere in the ancient world, a few devious and highly superior minds "created" religion in order to control others. Religion held sway over the hearts of the rulers and the ruled, in almost equal measure, until the first Enlightened monarchs of the 18th century.

Rather, I see religion as being rooted in an ignorance to goings on present in all ancient men, in the inherently human wish for answers which, in those more basic times, the rudiments of science possessed even in Greece or Rome couldn't come close to answering. Miracles are a particularly good example; an unexplained phenomenon which creates the sort of mass hysteria that allows religion to flourish (as we see in the aforementioned story), and for which religion offers 'explanations', they naturally serve a key role in justifying most religions, be it Moses parting the Red Sea, Jesus coming back to life, or Buddha repeatedly escaping assassination attempts - perhaps there was an earthquake that displaced water in the Red Sea, some people suffering from psychosis saw a hallucination of Jesus, and Buddha's assassin was highly dyspraxic. Once these miracles are witnessed, the instinctive group hysteria might easily lead the uninformed men of old to believe in some sort of divine bestowing of power, and from here people in need of 'answers' look to this person to satisfy their need; the miracle-makers, convinced of their own powers by group reinforcement, proceed in their prophetic role to give these answers out of belief in themselves and their deity.

The last point of the above paragraph is best reinforced by the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike most religious founders, Muhammad attracted followers by being a military genius - an oft forgotten member of the top class of military man, equal in talent to Scipio Africanus, Timur, Napoleon etc - and attributing this to Allah, hence building up his religious authority and, over the course of his life, creating Islam. Why would Muhammad downplay his role in his victories by attributing his success to Allah? Because he truly believed that he was bestowed with a divine mission, and no doubt the hype around him created and reinforced this belief. Islam is unique among religions for taking as its starting miracle the acts of a man rather than natural phenomena, but nevertheless the concept is the same: religion as a form of group hysteria, used to explain certain miraculous events and then extended to the wider world. I am really describing in historical terms the thought process behind the fallacious logic, seen in this thread and still common in the world today, that leads people to go 'Look at the wonders of the world: there must be a God'. Paley's argument was not so much a justification of theism as a sort of articulation of how it arose, I tend to think.

In conclusion, religion is not a consciously created social control mechanism with some tyrannical aim, but a human phenomenon originating in group hysteria over some purported miracle and extended to explain all things, which over the centuries became so ingrained in our way of thinking that the world came to be viewed, even in polytheistic Greek and Roman times, in religious terms first and foremost. Once institutionalised, it became the lens through which we all viewed things, such that, as previously mentioned, the Pope called Crusades not to control people and exert political influence, but because of the control Catholicism had over him.


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- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau


#544
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The idea that the existence of deities can be tested empirically is ridiculous; absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.


"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" -- appeal to ignorance -- is a logical fallacy. In other words, this is not a good argument to make as it is founded upon faulty logic.
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#545
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Actually, it's the opposite. I'm not claiming to have proven God does or does not exist. "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence" is an appeal to ignorance. It's like saying "If a proposition has not been proven, then it cannot be considered true and must therefore be considered false". That is a false dichotomy, because we may simply not be able to know. Incidentally, the Wikipedia article says "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" can be used as shorthand rebuttal against arguments from ignorance. I thought I'd made it up. >_>
Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can
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Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy
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Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down
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#546
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I feel like arguing for a God today.

Lets come up with the most basic idea of what a God is.

Does God by definition have to be all knowing and/or all powerful?

No.

Isn't Zeus being called a God proof enough of this?

Does God by definition have to care or even know about the world/universe?

No.

An African monotheism involved God making the world and leaving, and in other tellings making the world was a total accident.

Does God have to be conscious of itself/its surroundings to still be called God?

I would say no, but others may disagree with me. In my opinion of what God is, it doesn't necessarily have to be a conscious force just a force.




What is God to me:

The force responsible for creating the initial singularity that lead to the big bang, in the same way that gravity is responsible for creating stars.

With this definition in mind, the idea of finding a specific force outside the universe responsible for creating it is far from absurd to believe in.


You can strawman this position if you want but the only point I've said that can even be contested with is whether or not this force needs to be conscious to be called God, anything else is just a strawman.

#547
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It's kind of an inconsequential God though. Not to mention, this kind of cosmology doesn't really answer anything because you'll eventually start wondering where the God came from...
Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can
Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?
Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?
Camera guy: still laughing
Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy
Camera guy: runs away still laughing
Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down
Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!
Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

#548
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Well I guess that's the point of this particular explanation, a godly force can just come into being out of nothing (because we can say it has divine powers) whereas that is not as simple to imagine with a natural power. You're right however that in this case it doesn't really make a difference if there is a god or not.

#549
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Most often, when arguing against a God, people find themselves arguing against religion rather than God. The 'theory of God' is not the proposal that there is some chap sitting in a cloud for which there is supporting evidence to be found. God is far too fluid an idea to be directly proven or disproven in such a way. What is far too easy to do, is to argue against a religion having any genuine claim to 'know' (in the scientific sense,) what God is, and this is a point upon which most debates about God get hung up on, missing the point that God is an idea. For the same reason as that, I'm not going to talk about social controls or cults or indoctrination, because these are all driven by religion-gone-wrong rather than 'God'.

To back up people that are religious (rather than agnostic or plain theist):
Ignoring parental/social bias etc, for a free-thinking person, choosing a religion implies that you have already decided for yourself that there is a God, and that you are searching for a medium through which to engage with your belief. If your beliefs were finite then you wouldn't need anything else to help you with them. Within even one church, you are never going to find two people who share absolutely identical beliefs - choosing a religion does not necessarily make you a blind follower of it. As long as you still engage with the ideas presented to you, and consider them alongside your own beliefs, you are remaining free-thinking, while still engaging with and thus being a part of the religion. A good religion, ignoring social considerations, is one that helps you engage with your own beliefs - a religion has no right to try to actively change your beliefs, but challenging ideas is fundamental to human development.

My view is that God is a concept, much like the concepts of 'good' or 'evil'. Neither are inherent properties of the universe, but both exist and have a real impact upon the world because they are ideas held within the minds of people. If you believe in a God, whatever you believe 'God' to be, then God exists. If you don't believe in a God, then, for you, it does not. But whether you believe in it or not, as long as other people believe in whatever their concept of God might be, the 'concept of God', and thus 'God', remains.
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#550
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Honestly, alot of what is going on here is there's not a truly clear definition of IF there is a God, then what IS a God (or 'god' depending on what your view of the grammar should be).

Anyways, most people's first thoughts when thinking of a God are something along the lines of a bearded old guy who disapprovingly stares down through the clouds on humanity as we tear ourselves apart, or as a formless being who resides in everything and everyone (buddist-type is what I'm going for); regardless, the fact that both of these things could be considered as 'gods' is what is tripping people up.

So, firstly, what's a God ('god')?

Now, if we are to define that, then we can ask, "Ok, so if that's what a God ('god') is, does any such thing exist or leave behind evidence of existing/previous existence?"



I would agree with Tintin in part, that yes, alot of people use God as a way of rationalization of there already decided beliefs (previous to even the acknowledgement of there being a God ('god')). The only problem with God being purely a concept is that removes the entirety of most religions creation stories. Thus, removing a fundamental part of what builds and holds a religion together (and also tears them apart sometimes, actually).



Personally, my first question in all of this (whether there is a God ('god') and if there is what is He, what is His definition, per se), if no God or supreme being exists, then how the hell did we get here?
Now to expound upon that, yes you can argue all the various of thousands of arguments for or against the numerous creation stories, yet no matter which you choose to believe or ignore, you will always have to answer the question: "And where did that come from?"
Because NOTHING can come from NOTHING. Honestly, the idea of there even being NOTHING: a purely shapeless (which even that has shape), colorless (most think black immediately, but I mean NO color), object (that can't even be an object because its nothing), is illogical and impossible in of itself.
Regardless, as I said, every single religion or belief system will have to answer that question; most rationalize it with a deity being the supreme creator of all (but where did that come from?). Some believe that aliens started life here (but where did they come from?). The list goes on and on. Its our primary logical thought process is to immediately try to define origin and beginning, because it allows us to understand the past, present, and prepare for the future.

Anyways, so there's a little of a chunk of stuff to think about.
I hope it made sense (because I tend to ramble/get side-tracked).

Hold fast.

#551
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It's kind of an inconsequential God though. Not to mention, this kind of cosmology doesn't really answer anything because you'll eventually start wondering where the God came from...



At the end of everything you have 2 choices, either spontaneous creation or some force having always existed outside the universe. If spontaneous creation exists then anything can spontaneously exist at any time ever, no logic or reason and I would say "gf science you win this round nature" given this option. If some force like gravity exists in a way outside the universe and has always existed popping out universes in the sea of multiverses then it breaks the logic problem a spontaneous creation idea would have.


Well I guess that's the point of this particular explanation, a godly force can just come into being out of nothing (because we can say it has divine powers) whereas that is not as simple to imagine with a natural power. You're right however that in this case it doesn't really make a difference if there is a god or not.


If your thinking of God in a Christian sense then no it wouldn't matter whether this is God or not because this idea of God offers no morality or rewards or punishment or even interaction with the world. I like this explanation because it fits peoples definitions of God (much like Zeus is seen as a God even though no one believes in Zeus).









Edit: I really want someone to disagree with me about whether or not the force creating the universe needs to be conscious to be considered God. My stance is no, but I would love to hear an argument for yes.

#552
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Wow. Reflecting on the posts I have made in threads like these has really shown how I've matured as a person. For those of you who were around for the original, several hundred page thread, you may remember that I was a staunch atheist and continuously made obnoxious, passive-aggressive posts maligning religious people. I'm still not religious but I've become a lot more accepting and less judgmental about religious folk. I'm even developing some spirituality, at least in a moral sense if that makes any sense.

Then again, maybe I'll look back on this post in a few years and realize that I came off as a pretentious douche. Who knows.

TANSTAAFL


#553
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Hmmm, reminds me, I wonder where Assume_Nothing's been lately....

 


#554
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69, something has to come from nothing at one point or another (if time is not cyclic, but even then I don't know if that's a good enough argument and I don't really want to think it through). Scientists have observed particles simply popping in and out of existence too. At any rate, as I explained earlier in the thread this kind of speculation is just that: it doesn't lead anywhere until we can make an empirical observation and actually see for ourselves how things work (cf. the particle example above). If you just babble on about things you can't see, you'll end up making valid arguments both proving and disproving the same thesis.
Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can
Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?
Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?
Camera guy: still laughing
Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy
Camera guy: runs away still laughing
Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down
Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!
Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

#555
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#556
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I believe there is a god, because if there is no god then there is no beginning, no us, in fact the odds of a god are almost a fact.

http://www.ucg.org/s...-without-bible/

I am not trying to Convert anyone because i believe that you should be able to express yourself. just my opinion i respected yours, respect mine.

#557
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I believe there is a god, because if there is no god then there is no beginning, no us, in fact the odds of a god are almost a fact.

http://www.ucg.org/s...-without-bible/

I am not trying to Convert anyone because i believe that you should be able to express yourself. just my opinion i respected yours, respect mine.


So basically the link is saying that because the universe is so fine tuned for life and life is so fine tuned to exist there must've been an intelligent designer to make it.

Quite a terrible argument really

#558
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Wow. Reflecting on the posts I have made in threads like these has really shown how I've matured as a person. For those of you who were around for the original, several hundred page thread, you may remember that I was a staunch atheist and continuously made obnoxious, passive-aggressive posts maligning religious people. I'm still not religious but I've become a lot more accepting and less judgmental about religious folk. I'm even developing some spirituality, at least in a moral sense if that makes any sense.

Then again, maybe I'll look back on this post in a few years and realize that I came off as a pretentious douche. Who knows.

This isn't me trying to judge or anything, but what does a spiritual morality entail? Spirituality to me always appears so esoteric that I can never quite see how it applies too directly to ethical questions, excepting the spiritual morality decreed by the simplistic Abrahamic God.


"Imagine yourself surrounded by the most horrible cripples and maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may understand a little of my feelings with these grotesque caricatures of humanity about me."

- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau





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