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View Poll Results: Properties of a god

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  • immaterial (does not consist out of atoms)

    6 54.55%
  • conscious/intelligent

    9 81.82%
  • all-knowing

    5 45.45%
  • perfectly good

    3 27.27%
  • powerful

    7 63.64%
  • able to communicate with humans

    7 63.64%
  • able to intervene in human affairs

    8 72.73%
  • able to break laws of nature

    3 27.27%
  • able to do unlogical things (make 2+2=5 if he wants to)

    4 36.36%
  • allmighthy

    5 45.45%
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  1. #1
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Default What defines a god (God)?

    When is something a god? Which properties are required, which ones are sufficient, which ones are optional?

    I think a god has to be:

    - immaterial. A god doesn't consist out of atoms. A being with all the other properties but material is a superhuman, a titan, an alien...

    - conscious. A huge unconscious bunch of energy is called the big bang.

    - more powerful than a human. Doesn't need to be all-powerful, just not less powerful than a human. Immaterial beings who obey humans are called demons or ghosts.

    - able to communicate with humans. All people who believe in god(s) pray to them.

    - able to intervene in human affairs. No deistic gods for me. If the only reason you believe in a god is to make him push the button for the big bang and don't want to accept him in your life, you're using him as a patch for lack of knowledge. I don't think any god would like that.
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  2. #2
    Yeah, I can fly. Aleksei's Avatar
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    I think your criteria work just fine.
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  3. #3
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    A god is defined by the people that invent him/her/it.
    "The only time I'm wrong is when I'm questioning myself."
    Haight

  4. #4
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Default

    I think that's only partly true.
    Gods evolve through the ideas and beliefs of people.
    I can not invent a god for myself and believe he exists in the same universe as I. I can, however, invent gods and religions for the people in my stories. My last story contains four gods who were as real as the other characters within the story. (To us, of course, they are as make-believe as the other characters within the story)
    Also, I can invent lots of powerful characters who I wouldn't call gods. I would call them giants or titans or whatever.

    Can the gods in fantasy stories be material (made out of atoms)? Because the foursome gods in my fantasy story are. Still, I'd call them gods, because people worship them and as they aren't present in the world (for most of the story) people believe in them without observation.
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  5. #5
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    Default

    Hello, people, please elaborate!

    To the one who, besides me, answered the poll, with a god who needs to be allmighty: so you wouldn't call Zeus and co. gods?

    I'll retract the immaterial property, by the way. There are too many gods, in the older mythologies and in current fantasy stories, who are material enough. But what's then the difference between a god and a giant, superhuman, alien?

    What about immortality? Does a god need to be immortal or almost immortal? With "almost immortal" I mean they don't grow older, get ill or die from natural causes; but they can be killed though it's difficult.

    What about creation? Are all gods creative?
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  6. #6
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I voted for everything besides "able to break laws of nature" or logic. I think they are intrinsic elements to God, and God could not go against him/herself ("Think" would probably be the wrong term.. technically, it's just appealing, and I haven't actually thought it through).

    The only real common trait in gods, be it in literature or religions, is power. Even immortality is up for grabs: The titans are dead. Morality or rationality? Quite a few Greek gods were petty and unreasonable. All knowing? Even early versions of the biblical god needed visual confirmation at times (and if he didn't, then he at least led others to think he did.. which is kind of an unnnecessary jerk move in and of itself). Perfectly good? If I asked you to gut your son in sacrifice like God asked Abraham, would you call me perfectly good? Only a liar or a fool would answer "Yes". Point being, primitive people have invented very messed up stories of gods, and passed them off as truths. We pay for their nonsense to this day. With fiction, I say let your imagination run.. at least you can have fun with different concepts and be harmless about it. I think the real gods demand more creativity An evolution in our understanding, if anything.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    A big, fat coke snorting redneck with a bad temper and a love of burning bushes and impregnating virgins.
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  8. #8
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robopop View Post
    A big, fat coke snorting redneck with a bad temper and a love of burning bushes and impregnating virgins.
    I fear the statement "God Created Man in his own Image" wasn't meant to be taken so literally. Nice try though
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  9. #9
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Ah, but that's what I'm saying above in a way. People did and have taken the whole "made in his image" thing seriously. It's all reversed though, since we only have ourselves as reference. Instead of aspiring to ideals, some just color god according to reflection. And boy, do those refections suck sometimes. Many are of the lowest common demoninator of human beings. Robopop isn't that far off. God is usually portrayed as a disgusting redneck. Because that's what the writers of scriptures were sometimes and some believers can still be. Or in the Greco-Roman worlds, or Hindu or Muslim, whatever.. it's the same. Rednecks everywhere and gods who enable them.

    The wiser people (I'd include Jesus here, I'm not Christian bashing necessarily) spoke of a better non-redneck God. I can't be sure if they were right, but I'd prefer it. I don't really like rednecks.

  10. #10
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    you forgot to add "an unknown entity"

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