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  1. #11
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    If we get a sample of the general population in the Western culture by addressing 20000 people. Ask each one of them to write a very short essay(no more than 500 words) on what their definition of God is and why. I guarantee you, very few people will agree upon what God is. We will have thousands of radically different ideas of what God should be defined as. We will even notice major discrepancies between the ideas of people who profess to be of the same faith, as for example, a 100 Pentacoste Christians will produce no less than 25 different notions of what God is.

    Why is this the case?

    Because people were led to believe that God is something sublime and powerful. Yet it has never been explained clearly and consistently what exactly it means to be sublime and powerful and how these qualities of character ramify. Hence, people are led to believe that God is exactly that, yet it is left up to their imagination to fill in the gaps. For this reason, people end up with radically different ideas of God.

    However, in institutions of organized religion, the idea of God is investigated in greater detail. However, people are exhorted to do what they are told and memorize basic characteristics God supposedly has. However, in order to effectively store information, one must be able to think clearly. As for example, in order to clearly remember what you were told (especially if the idea is complex), you need to have a disciplined mind. If your mind is not disciplined, the notion you were informed of will be distorted.

    However, almost all of those people clearly understood one thing, that God is something they all must claim to believe in. Yet with regard to the metaphysical structure of this idea, they never bothered to shed light! As that requires much thinking about complicated matters, and to undertake this task, they have never acquired the inspiration.

    This is what Daniel Dennet in Breaking the Spell calls the 'Belief in Belief'.

    YouTube - Daniel Dennett part 1/2
    I agree with alot of what you say, but I feel as though even though these people may believe in God, without realizing it's because they feel they should (if that's even the case), does it really matter? They take away deep meanings and philosophies on living life regardless. Does this make them any better or worse than the man who takes God as metaphorical? The end result seems to be the same: a greater satisfaction and feeling of an understanding of "who we are," "where we came from," and "why we're here.

    Furthermore, I feel like the reason we can't disprove God anymore than we can prove God is because, we're told that God is sublime. We are not, however, and as the only way we can know of something is from our own flawed perspective, how can we ever know what it means to be sublime and, more importantly, what it means not to be sublime.
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  2. #12
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    Brendan's 500th post!





    Go make yourself a subtitle!

  3. #13
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    Brendan's 500th post!





    Go make yourself a subtitle!
    I need suggestions!
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  4. #14
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Furthermore, I feel like the reason we can't disprove God anymore than we can prove God is because, we're told that God is sublime. We are not, however, and as the only way we can know of something is from our own flawed perspective, how can we ever know what it means to be sublime and, more importantly, what it means not to be sublime.
    I really like your thoughts, Brendan.


    It's hard to say what captivated me to believe so strongly about Christianity--I was raised with it, and a young child (and an INJ at that) does not see the world in the same way an adult does. I had years of growth in which I constructed my reality, and within that was deeply woven the nature of God.

    Christianity has a lot of logic in it; it also has a lot of mysticism in it. They go hand in hand. You can't reason Christianity because it's not all reasonable. It's got a lot to do with love.
    Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40).
    And biology and chemistry and physiology and genetics can only go so far to explain love. There isn't a lot of logic in the overwhelming majority of it.

    I think at this point in my life, the simplest way to explain a case for pursuing God is something I've heard, perhaps maybe even on INTPc?:
    If God exists, nothing else matters. If God doesn't exist, nothing else matters. (Note: those two sentences are polar opposites, read carefully.)

    I can't explain or give much of a Case for Christ, as it were. Most of the God Stuff comes from the Holy Spirit, and that only comes when someone opens their heart and wonders and asks questions. Then sometimes your soul learns stuff that takes your brain a lot longer to learn.

    Logic and faith work in tandem, though. It's not either-or, but rather they're deeply intertwined and generally I find myself following one strand until there's a knot and I jump to the other and can follow the rope farther along because they work together.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  5. #15
    Senior Member Chris_in_Orbit's Avatar
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    I personally don't like Christianity though. Seems like the idea is flawed as it is and then you have flawed people following a flawed idea.....blech.

    Anyway, I only dislike the people who follow the bible word for word as an infallible thing. There are a lot of Christians who really do believe in the good of man kind.. believing that love is the answer. Heh, its inspiring.

    I just have a hard time believing in this God who is depicted as this childish entity who is also perfect at the same time. So many contradictions its annoying. A jealous God, a wrathful God... thats not a God I believe in or want to serve.

  6. #16
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Furthermore, I feel like the reason we can't disprove God anymore than we can prove God is because, we're told that God is sublime..
    Precisely that appears to be the case. When we are told that God is sublime, we are often led to believe that God is something so otherworldly that we will never be able to understand him. Such obscurantism is common in all religions and philosophies that include the terminology of God. As if the purpose of that notion was to mystify.

    Yet, inevitably, we speculate about who or what God may be (because this notion was brought to our attention, we cannot help but wonder about its essence further.)

    As a basic fact of logic, if we are trying to prove anything about any particular thing, we need to know what this thing is. Yet in the case of God, we do not know, because God is not clearly defined. Thus asking about the qualities of God is just like asking about how many seats the theater has, when we do not exactly know what the theatre is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    They take away deep meanings and philosophies on living life regardless..
    The reason for this is because they do not think things through. As a result believe in things that they do not understand. For instance, a lot of people will claim to believe in God, yet will not be able to clearly explain what God is. Hence, there is no meaning to their ideas because they do not know what their ideas are. This is a result of their thoughtlessness which is precisely the problem.

    What 'God' is, is certainly a very interesting topic, and important with regard to building a complete view of the world, one that also badly needs further clarification ( as all the equivocations of this word evince), so I am definitely glad we have another thread on this subject.
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  7. #17
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Precisely that appears to be the case. When we are told that God is sublime, we are often led to believe that God is something so otherworldly that we will never be able to understand him. Such obscurantism is common in all religions and philosophies that include the terminology of God. As if the purpose of that notion was to mystify.

    Yet, inevitably, we speculate about who or what God may be (because this notion was brought to our attention, we cannot help but wonder about its essence further.)

    As a basic fact of logic, if we are trying to prove anything about any particular thing, we need to know what this thing is. Yet in the case of God, we do not know, because God is not clearly defined. Thus asking about the qualities of God is just like asking about how many seats the theater has, when we do not exactly know what the theatre is.
    Ah, but my point is that if God is a projection of all that we don't understand about ourselves, then isn't God serving its purpose by being obscure?

    Think of it this way, in order to properly define something, you have to be able to describe it in a way that makes sense from more than one perspective. In our efforts to define ourselves, how could we 1) describe ourselves in a way that makes sense to someone who is not human or 2) even be able to step outside our perspective to verify whether we've done so or not in the first place!

    Along comes God.

    We create God, as an alternative perspective. Through God we promote our own understanding of ourselves and of the world around us. It's sort of like a sensory deprivation, in which the mind, free of any input from the outside world, starts to break down, but to preserve itself makes part of itself inaccessible. With a part of the mind that we can't access, we are able to preserve the concepts of "me" and "not me."

    Essentially what I'm saying is that the concept of God keeps us spiritually sane. Belief in God I suppose could lead to a blind belief in concepts we can't explain, but does an absence of God or an absence of belief in God really make us any better off?
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  8. #18
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Essentially what I'm saying is that the concept of God keeps us spiritually sane. Belief in God I suppose could lead to a blind belief in concepts we can't explain, but does an absence of God or an absence of belief in God really make us any better off?
    It would be best of all for people to come up with their own way of looking at the world, or find their own path to spirituality. Most people cannot do this. Belief in God does not give them spirituality as in order to be spiritual you need to think for yourself (otherwise you do not really know what you believe in, therefore cannot be spiritual this way). However, as you mention it keeps us 'spiritually sane' or gives people who lack vision something to live for. It instills the idea within them that there is spirituality of some kind for them to look for. That is perhaps the best we could give them if they are unwilling to think for themselves.

    In this regard the idea of God is a good thing, in other regards it is not. For example, a lot of people will think that because they believe in God and such a belief is the best possible thing that could happen to them, they will feel obligated to impose this belief onto others. The consequences of this usually turn out catastrophic. Secondly, the idea of God (because it is obscure) discourages the person from thinking for himself, as the idea of God insists that he just accepts that God is something that he cannot understand because it is sublime. This is a problem because much evil results due to the failure on behalf of the people to think things through. It seems to be the case that the negative aspects of belief in God outweigh the positives.

    It is certainly less than desirable to live without hope (be spiritually insane), yet is to be decidedly preferred to the evils that ensue as a result of people believing in God.

    Belief in God gives people a minor consolation, yet robs them of the ability to acquire true spirituality because it stultifies their critical thinking faculties. This leads to a certain sense of parochialness which induces people to be hostile to those who disagree with their views. Thus, the belief in God not only retards man's spiritual growth, but also the progress of civilization. It is quite the noteworthy fact that the most financially sound nations tend to report the highest rates of atheism, and the least financially sound, the lowest. (U.S. is an anomaly)
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  9. #19
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    It would be best of all for people to come up with their own way of looking at the world, or find their own path to spirituality. Most people cannot do this. Belief in God does not give them spirituality as in order to be spiritual you need to think for yourself (otherwise you do not really know what you believe in, therefore cannot be spiritual this way). However, as you mention it keeps us 'spiritually sane' or gives people who lack vision something to live for. It instills the idea within them that there is spirituality of some kind for them to look for. That is perhaps the best we could give them if they are unwilling to think for themselves.

    In this regard the idea of God is a good thing, in other regards it is not. For example, a lot of people will think that because they believe in God and such a belief is the best possible thing that could happen to them, they will feel obligated to impose this belief onto others. The consequences of this usually turn out catastrophic. Secondly, the idea of God (because it is obscure) discourages the person from thinking for himself, as the idea of God insists that he just accepts that God is something that he cannot understand because it is sublime. This is a problem because much evil results due to the failure on behalf of the people to think things through. It seems to be the case that the negative aspects of belief in God outweigh the positives.

    It is certainly less than desirable to live without hope (be spiritually insane), yet perhaps may be decidedly preferred to the evils that ensue as a result of people believing in God.
    Well certainly the concept of God has its drawbacks, but I looked up the definition of the word spiritual and it seems as though all you need in order to be spiritual is a spirit lol. But while I understand where your coming from when you say people should form their own views and come up with their own ethical standards, my point of view is that that is exactly what the concept of God allows us to do. Since what God means to each of us is extremely subjective, it allows God as a concept to be a variable benchmark for our own moral standards and views on life and death. Saying that God only stops us from forming our own view is again akin to saying "you're not yourself." How can I ever not be myself? Even when I'm acting strange, it's me who's acting strange.

    Also, if God doesn't have any objective value, then how can we blame God for how it is used to justify things like bigotry, war, evangelism, anymore than we can praise God as the cause for acceptance, peace and coexistence?
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  10. #20
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Saying that God only stops us from forming our own view is again akin to saying "you're not yourself." How can I ever not be myself? Even when I'm acting strange, it's me who's acting strange.?
    How can I not be myself? When other people convince me that I must believe in God and I must do it exactly as they tell me to. Thus, instead of living the kind of a life I want to live, I end up executing their orders. The idea of God is extremely subjective, however, one aspect of this idea is objective and ostensible to all. Namely, that it is something sublime, something that we all must believe in. This becomes very dangerous when somebody manages to convince other people that only they know what this sublime thing is, and therefore everyone else must listen to them if they too want to have it. In other words, somebody says that they have the word of God, everyone wants the word of God. Everyone believes this person/group who claims they have the word of God, and therefore this person/group robs people of their true self by imposing their commands on others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Also, if God doesn't have any objective value, then how can we blame God for how it is used to justify things like bigotry, war, evangelism, anymore than we can praise God as the cause for acceptance, peace and coexistence?

    The idea of God forces people to conform to the orthodoxy on a very superficial level, yet it does not at all encourage people to explore ideas on that topic on their own initiative. The fact that there is a myriad of different views on what God is is not evidence of individuality, but merely disorganized thinking on behalf of the people. They were instructed specifically on what 'God' is by their religions, yet even those tiny bits of information they were not able to store properly.

    In short, this shows that they simply are not thinking clearly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    But while I understand where your coming from when you say people should form their own views and come up with their own ethical standards, my point of view is that that is exactly what the concept of God allows us to do.?
    I see no reason why we cannot think of the deeper, otherworldly questions of life without the idea of 'God' being imposed upon us. The working definition of 'God' I have is 'something sublime that I do not understand, but must believe in'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Also, if God doesn't have any objective value, then how can we blame God for how it is used to justify things like bigotry, war, evangelism, anymore than we can praise God as the cause for acceptance, peace and coexistence?
    It has degenerated into an empty vessel for people to occupy with whatever political or spiritual ideas that serve their purpose. To correct this problem, the idea of God should be clearly defined. If it is clearly defined, people cannot distort it as easily as they have always done and do today. It is certainly difficult to blame the idea of God for anything as we do not know what exactly it is in the first place. What can be reproached however, is the vagueness of term (which allows for it to be easily distorted) and the 'sublimity' aspect which pushes people to believe in it. In itself 'sublimity' may be nothing undesirable, however, when it is combined with the vagueness, we come across a very dangerous combination. Namely, people are pressured to believe in something they do not understand. This leads to disastrous consequences too often.
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