Gees

Understanding the "God" Concept

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This post was written in response to queries from Lasse and is part of an explanation that I promised to Moontanman in the thread "What is a God" presented by Sci-man. It is too large to post in that thread and slightly off the topic, so I started a new thread. This post is in no way an attempt to validate the "God" idea, nor is it an attempt to invalidate the "God" idea, it is simply an attempt to understand the "God" idea.

Part 1 of 


I think that most of us have questioned the "God" concept at one time or other; I was raised Christian and started my questioning 50 years ago in my teens. Even people, who were not raised with a religion, are inundated with all kinds of information about "God" concepts from friends, family, social connections, and from the media, so we all have been exposed to information and disinformation on this subject. 


Religious people will often state something to the effect that "God" obviously exists because it would take a "God" to create existence -- which is a self-validating circular argument. Non-religious people will often state that "God" as explained can not possibly exist for various reasons -- which is not a much better argument, as it uses an admittedly invalid "God" concept to invalidate "God". Neither argument impresses me much.


First let me state that I agree that a “God” can not possibly be on everyone’s side when there is a conflict, cannot possibly be responsible for the entire Universe and also have a personal relationship with each and every one of us; cannot possibly be everywhere and nowhere, and can not possibly wear the many faces that represent the various cultures that worship the different "God" concepts. There are so many things that we have been taught about “God” that are impossible, we often come to the conclusion that “God” can not possibly exist. I agree. Neither Buddha nor Jesus claimed to be a "God", and there is no benevolent being hovering above the Universe shining love down upon us. The “God” that we have been taught about can not exist.


So “God” is not real, right? This is where the first problem comes in; I have determined that something is real if it is causal, if it can cause an effect -- which makes the “God” concept very real, as historically there has been a tremendous amount of effect.


I have read the arguments that state that there is no evidence of any “God”, but this is nonsense. There is evidence all over the world that dates back millennia in the forms of temples, churches, altars, icons, symbols, totems, texts, scrolls, etc., and personal testimony. “God” concepts permeate our history and are part of almost every culture, society, and place where people gather. These concepts are often causal in taking down nations and building nations. That is a lot of evidence. It is so much evidence that archeologists will actively search for any reference to Religion and expect to find it when digging into ancient cultures. It is very rare to find an exception like the Piraha (if the Piraha is a valid exception).


Many will say that the above is evidence of Religion, not of a "God", but all Religions study and teach about some "God" or "Gods";  the ideas are certainly related. Which is causal? Do Religions cause the idea of "God/s", or do "God/s" cause Religions to explain the idea? Again, I think we must look to the evidence. Almost all of recorded history makes references to "Gods", archeology actively seeks evidence of "Gods" in prerecorded history, and the Lionman statue is almost 40,000 years old, so we are talking about a long old history of "Gods", which is too consistent to be considered coincidence. It is certainly not a fad. Faddish or cult type Religions either never take a good hold, or they die off in a few generations, so Religions that survive are filling a need, which is what causes them to survive.


What is this need? Is it directed by a "God"? Or to explain a "God"? If we look at Religions, we find many different examples of "Gods", but we also find basic commonalities. We find that Religions explain life, death (including the supernatural), the nature of Nature, and morality; this is what they all study and teach about. Because life, death, Nature, and morality are very real, if these ideas are bundled together under the authority and auspices of a "God", then that makes the "God" concept very real. It would be reasonable to say that "God" represents the active aspects of life, death, Nature, and morality. This is where the "God of the Gaps" idea comes in as we attempt to "unbundle" these concepts.


From the early "fertility Gods" through the various animal, sun, and human "Gods", and then on to the "invisible God", many ideas have evolved and changed as we evolved and our understanding grew, but the core concepts have never changed. Life, death, Nature, and morality have always existed from early man on, so these core issues caused a need to understand and justify the rightness of it all, causing "magical" ideas, which caused the "God" concepts which caused Religions to form to explain them. Religions did not cause the "God" concepts. It would be more accurate to say that Religions interpreted these concepts.


 There is an argument that Religions spread their concepts, thereby causing the "God" concepts, and I think this has some truth to it, but only some. We are always happy to borrow a better idea from our neighbor, so a Religion that has a better or more thorough theology, or appears to have a more powerful "God", could replace a less developed Religion. But just as there are igloos and wickiups, tents and palaces, teepees and townhouses, to satisfy the needs of shelter and safety, there would have been many different interpretations by Religions worldwide, to satisfy the needs of understanding life, death, Nature, and morality. So although I agree that Religions can and do spread, there would not have been a central cause where Religion created the "God" concept.


There are a lot of things that are real, but do not actually exist, like freedom, or like math, which is very real in Nature, but did not actually exist until we invented numbers and symbols to represent the concepts. Many concepts are real, but do not actually exist; "God" is one of them. 


Although the idea is more complex than what I have stated above, this is my current understanding of how "God" is real, and yet does not exist.
 

Gee

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I've often wondered if god is our attempt to relive or re experience the love of our parents as experienced as a baby.  It's interesting that the concept of god and god's love has changed in some ways like parenting has changed. From parents whose culture expected violence to discipline children to the more modern concepts of parenting.   

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Understanding the God concept, is in my opinion, simply is understanding the need for humanity to understand the awe and mystery of the universe of which we are apart. And you touched on that here...

50 minutes ago, Gees said:

Life, death, Nature, and morality have always existed from early man on, so these core issues caused a need to understand and justify the rightness of it all, causing "magical" ideas, which caused the "God" concepts which caused Religions to form to explain them. Religions did not cause the "God" concepts. It would be more accurate to say that Religions interpreted these concepts.

Ancient man needed to explain the wonders that he observed, and at those early times, there was little or no science. It is simply a need to explain, and inventing some supernatural deity seemed the easiest way for ancient man, in the absence of science.

I don't agree with the following though.....

Quote

I have read the arguments that state that there is no evidence of any “God”, but this is nonsense. There is evidence all over the world that dates back millennia in the forms of temples, churches, altars, icons, symbols, totems, texts, scrolls, etc., and personal testimony. “God” concepts permeate our history and are part of almost every culture, society, and place where people gather.

The temples, altars, icons, symbols etc are simply evidence that early man did need to explain the universe around him....That is not evidence for any fabricated god.  

Quote

 

There are a lot of things that are real, but do not actually exist, like freedom, or like math, which is very real in Nature, but did not actually exist until we invented numbers and symbols to represent the concepts. Many concepts are real, but do not actually exist; "God" is one of them. 


Although the idea is more complex than what I have stated above, this is my current understanding of how "God" is real, and yet does not exist.

 

Interesting concept....Perhaps this is the "Spinoza" god that Einstein often mentioned when asked about his beliefs.  I prefer that Nature is real but if people need to call nature god then so be it. It is simply an inert concept and I fail to understand how any god concept can be equated to nature, with utmost apologies to the great man, although in retrospect, I would imagine that he would agree with me.

It was once told to me that "god did not invent man, man invented god".

 

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It still sounds no different to me than saying unicorns are real because of the causal effects they've had on so many young girls growing up. 

1 hour ago, Gees said:

I have read the arguments that state that there is no evidence of any “God”, but this is nonsense.

If you use the most common definitions of god(s), as well as the scientific definition of evidence, this is nonsense. 

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31 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

 like parenting has changed. From parents whose culture expected violence to discipline children to the more modern concepts of parenting.   

I was in the supermarket the other day, and this little boy around 3 years old was putting on the biggest tantrum one could ever imagine, sitting in the aisle, screaming at the top  of his lungs for his Mum to buy him something or other. The Mother simply stood calmly by and told him if he didn't get back in his pram and stop being naughty, he would not be getting any ice-cream that night. In my days.....well I think you can guess what a Mother or Dad in the 50's may have done to the little bloody brat....:P

Edited by beecee

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I salute your bravery in posting this topic. +1

I think it a good idea to distinguish between God as a creator and God as a meddler and/or manager.
I see no reason for a God to provide all three functions.

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5 hours ago, beecee said:

I prefer that Nature is real but if people need to call nature god then so be it. It is simply an inert concept and I fail to understand how any god concept can be equated to nature, with utmost apologies to the great man, although in retrospect, I would imagine that he would agree with me.

It was once told to me that "god did not invent man, man invented god".

Do you use the term Mother Nature? Many theists, atheists and agnostics use the term, knowing nature to be true. However, like hot or cold, nature is not a thing unto itself... it's a property of other things. The planet and the universe. Free will does not make water hot or cold and despite all of the available variables we can impose, it can only be in one state at any given time. Therefore neither can be wrong. Each have a time and a place for us at different times. It's when we put a face on it, or deny it's existence entirely, is were we go wrong. Hence my position as an agnostic. Jonah being swallowed by a whale is a bunch of crap, as is the great flood, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is wise. There is good and evil in everything and that is where free will allows for us to find or lose ourselves as individuals.

Most who grasp the concept of nature understand grandeur, beauty, retribution and destruction (to name a few). These are the identical things theists advocate when they speak of god. The difference being, nature does not play favorites, pass judgements nor listen to individual prayers. We understand that when we intervene with nature by actions, there are consequences.  Nature does not show retribution for our thoughts, but sometimes for our actions, yet moreover for reasons we may never understand. This we know to be true, as well.

An eight year old girl told me once "Big fish eat little fish and that's just the way it is" It's true, wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes. Thank goodness humans developed morals, because we'd otherwise be cannibals or ruthless cold blooded killers. When we apply these morals to nature, we understand there's no need to do certain things, even though we can. In that vain, there's liitle to be conquered or dominated. We accept that some things should just be and it has absolutely nothing to do with any of us, other than being a part of the big picture.

I'm a follower of Ed Ricketts, as was John Steinbeck, Joseph Campbell and Salvadore Dali, to name a few. His philosophy was wrapped in the science of the ecology... the economy of nature and like Ecclesiastes, a time and purpose for everything, how necessary voids are filled, that things may be reborn and how species may co-exist.

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2 hours ago, rangerx said:

Do you use the term Mother Nature? Many theists, atheists and agnostics use the term, knowing nature to be true. However, like hot or cold, nature is not a thing unto itself... it's a property of other things. The planet and the universe. Free will does not make water hot or cold and despite all of the available variables we can impose, it can only be in one state at any given time. Therefore neither can be wrong. Each have a time and a place for us at different times. It's when we put a face on it, or deny it's existence entirely, is were we go wrong. Hence my position as an agnostic. Jonah being swallowed by a whale is a bunch of crap, as is the great flood, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is wise. There is good and evil in everything and that is where free will allows for us to find or lose ourselves as individuals.

Most who grasp the concept of nature understand grandeur, beauty, retribution and destruction (to name a few). These are the identical things theists advocate when they speak of god. The difference being, nature does not play favorites, pass judgements nor listen to individual prayers. We understand that when we intervene with nature by actions, there are consequences.  Nature does not show retribution for our thoughts, but sometimes for our actions, yet moreover for reasons we may never understand. This we know to be true, as well.

An eight year old girl told me once "Big fish eat little fish and that's just the way it is" It's true, wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes. Thank goodness humans developed morals, because we'd otherwise be cannibals or ruthless cold blooded killers. When we apply these morals to nature, we understand there's no need to do certain things, even though we can. In that vain, there's liitle to be conquered or dominated. We accept that some things should just be and it has absolutely nothing to do with any of us, other than being a part of the big picture.

I'm a follower of Ed Ricketts, as was John Steinbeck, Joseph Campbell and Salvadore Dali, to name a few. His philosophy was wrapped in the science of the ecology... the economy of nature and like Ecclesiastes, a time and purpose for everything, how necessary voids are filled, that things may be reborn and how species may co-exist.

Eloquently put. I can't really say I disagree with anything. 

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14 hours ago, Gees said:

I have read the arguments that state that there is no evidence of any “God”, but this is nonsense. There is evidence all over the world that dates back millennia in the forms of temples, churches, altars, icons, symbols, totems, texts, scrolls, etc., and personal testimony. “God” concepts permeate our history and are part of almost every culture, society, and place where people gather. These concepts are often causal in taking down nations and building nations. That is a lot of evidence. It is so much evidence that archeologists will actively search for any reference to Religion and expect to find it when digging into ancient cultures. It is very rare to find an exception like the Piraha (if the Piraha is a valid exception).

Star Wars has had an effect. It revolutionized the ways toy and products are used to both market and profit from a movie. Made billions of dollars and has a large devoted fandom. However Luke Sky Walker, Tatoonie, the Death Star, and etc are all 100% made up.

Humans impact the human world based on ideas and not necessarily real things.The idea of God has had an effect the same way hatred, greed, spite, racism, and etc have led to murders and war and effected countless lives.They are merely emotions/ideas. They are things an individual feels within themselves and not a tangible things which exists in a shared human reality. For example Sexism and Racism has long histories. Archaeologists can just about always find evidence of sexism and racism in ancient societies.That isn't evidence of women and different ethnicities naturally being inferior. The fact humans have been sexist and racist for a long time doesn't affirm such feelings as true.

14 hours ago, Gees said:

What is this need? Is it directed by a "God"? Or to explain a "God"? If we look at Religions, we find many different examples of "Gods", but we also find basic commonalities. We find that Religions explain life, death (including the supernatural), the nature of Nature, and morality; this is what they all study and teach about. Because life, death, Nature, and morality are very real, if these ideas are bundled together under the authority and auspices of a "God", then that makes the "God" concept very real. It would be reasonable to say that "God" represents the active aspects of life, death, Nature, and morality. This is where the "God of the Gaps" idea comes in as we attempt to "unbundle" these concepts.

Replace the word "God" with the King, Chief, President, CEO or etc and it nearly reads the same. Humans have indeed always sought direction and leadership. God is but one form of that but many have existed simultaneously.A sports team has a coach, team captains, veterans, and so on. Humans are constantly creating hierarchies. Which came first God or Chief? When one human population interacts with another do they say "take to your god" or "take me to your leader"?

15 hours ago, Gees said:

From the early "fertility Gods" through the various animal, sun, and human "Gods", and then on to the "invisible God", many ideas have evolved and changed as we evolved and our understanding grew, but the core concepts have never changed. Life, death, Nature, and morality have always existed from early man on, so these core issues caused a need to understand and justify the rightness of it all, causing "magical" ideas, which caused the "God" concepts which caused Religions to form to explain them. Religions did not cause the "God" concepts. It would be more accurate to say that Religions interpreted these concepts.

In nature other mammals create hierarchies. Wolf Packs, Lion Prides, and etc all have a pecking order. In my opinion it only makes sense that in humans the hierarchies would be more elaborate. Can you imagine the sort of fantastical ideas of god and the supernatural that would exist among Lions if Male Lions had the ability to brag about themselves. "I  am God" is the next logical egocentric step after "I am the best".

15 hours ago, Gees said:

There is an argument that Religions spread their concepts, thereby causing the "God" concepts, and I think this has some truth to it, but only some. We are always happy to borrow a better idea from our neighbor, so a Religion that has a better or more thorough theology, or appears to have a more powerful "God", could replace a less developed Religion. But just as there are igloos and wickiups, tents and palaces, teepees and townhouses, to satisfy the needs of shelter and safety, there would have been many different interpretations by Religions worldwide, to satisfy the needs of understanding life, death, Nature, and morality. So although I agree that Religions can and do spread, there would not have been a central cause where Religion created the "God" concept.

Not Religion, humans. Even within a religion individual all understand faith and god uniquely. All Christians don't have the same Jesus. It is Humans who spread the God concept. Religion is just a franchise sports team. It is players that play the game and games get play all over whether specific franchise thrive or not. 

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15 hours ago, Gees said:

I have read the arguments that state that there is no evidence of any “God”, but this is nonsense.

You changed the object from 'concept of God' to 'God'. The concept in itself can explain the building of temples, churches, etc. Condition is that those who use the concept believe that something outside the 'God discourse'  match with this concept. 

15 hours ago, Gees said:

Many will say that the above is evidence of Religion, not of a "God", but all Religions study and teach about some "God" or "Gods";  the ideas are certainly related.

Certainly, 'God' exists is a concept (however, in different cultures, very different concepts), but that does not proof God's existence. As Phi for All already said, there is a concept of unicorns, but that doesn't mean they exist outside the discourse about them. And if you think that the this is not valid, because the 'God-concept' is very special, you are nearing the ontological proof of God's existence.

15 hours ago, Gees said:

There are a lot of things that are real, but do not actually exist, like freedom, or like math, which is very real in Nature, but did not actually exist until we invented numbers and symbols to represent the concepts. Many concepts are real, but do not actually exist; "God" is one of them. 

Hmm. Interesting difference you make here between 'being real' and 'not existing'. May I propose some other distinction?

Things exist physically, if they play a direct role in causal relationships, independent of how we we talk about them.

Things exist conceptually, if they are useful to describe the world around us, which includes things that exists physically (example: laws of nature), but also human behaviour (examples: marriage, stories, free will).

The point is that we can refer to observable entities, to show what we mean with these concepts. 

And I think 'unicorns' and 'God' do not belong even to the conceptually existing things, because we cannot refer to observable entities.

 

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Moontanman;

 

I must apologize. When I asked for a few days to organize my thoughts so I could explain my understanding of consciousness, I was being an idiot. You probably thought that I forgot about it, but I did not. I have been working on it for months. The subject of consciousness is massive, more than Science knows, more than Philosophy knows, and more than "God" ideas. I had thought to explain my limited 'understanding', but have already written six different "Parts", have two more that I know I have to write, and possibly more.


Part 1 explains how the "God" concept is real, yet does not exist. IMO


Part 2 explains that most of the theories of consciousness, even materialistic ones, actually support the "God" concept and are unbelievably circular in their thinking. IMO


Part 3 explains how the first division, knowledge, thought, and memory, relate to the "God" concept -- what is true, what can not possibly be true, and why. IMO


Part 4 explains why we give "God" a persona and why that persona is cultural. IMO


Part 5 explains how the second division, awareness, feeling, and emotion, relate to the "God" concept -- again showing what is true, what can not possibly be true, and why. IMO


Part 6 delves into the mind-numbing problem of "self" and how that relates to the "God" concept.


I will have to write one or two parts that deal specifically with emotion and the unconscious aspect of mind, and how they relate to the "God" concept. Then I will finish it off by explaining how Religion attempts to answer the questions about life, death, Nature, and morality, that were brought up in Part 1.


The good part in all of this is that it is forcing me to organize and clarify my thoughts on 50 years of study. The bad part is that if I manage to get it all written down, condensed and clarified, it would be way too big to post -- 20 to 30 pages -- and we are not talking thesis quality, just a general explanation of why I think the things I do. So I am not prepared to fully explain what little I actually understand about consciousness and "God" ideas. I apologize again for asking you to wait. Part 1 was as ready as I can make it, so I posted it, and considering the responses that I have had so far, I may post Part 2, but I'm not sure it's ready to share.

23 hours ago, Moontanman said:

I've often wondered if god is our attempt to relive or re experience the love of our parents as experienced as a baby.  It's interesting that the concept of god and god's love has changed in some ways like parenting has changed. From parents whose culture expected violence to discipline children to the more modern concepts of parenting.   

Well, psychology has a lot to say on that subject, and thinks that we relate the omnipotent "God" idea to the omnipotent parents of our infancy. Although I suspect there is a lot of truth in that idea, I do not include it in my studies. I predominantly study consciousness and how the "God" idea relates to consciousness.

But you are correct in that we all try to teach our children how to survive in life, so if the culture is violent, or if the parent's personal experiences are that they have been violated, it can lead to violent disciplining.

Gee

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1 hour ago, Gees said:

When I asked for a few days to organize my thoughts so I could explain my understanding of consciousness, I was being an idiot. You probably thought that I forgot about it, but I did not. I have been working on it for months

So how long before the rest of us can expect answers to our comments?

 

Of course I think mine were short but important.

:)

 

 

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Beecee;

 

23 hours ago, beecee said:

Understanding the God concept, is in my opinion, simply is understanding the need for humanity to understand the awe and mystery of the universe of which we are apart. And you touched on that here...

Ancient man needed to explain the wonders that he observed, and at those early times, there was little or no science. It is simply a need to explain, and inventing some supernatural deity seemed the easiest way for ancient man, in the absence of science.

Well, I can see your point and there is a lot of truth in it, but consider some things. In the first place, there was always Science as long as there was curiosity. No, it was not the Science that we have today, but it was still Science. People studied their reality, they studied Nature even before cultivating agriculture, they worked experiments to see what would work, but they did this under the authority of Religion, which was the first real Discipline. Eventually Philosophy split off from Religion, then Science split off from Philosophy, so now we have three distinct Disciplines.

When all knowledge processed through Religion, questions about the "awe and mystery of the universe" naturally came up, and Religion did its best to answer those questions -- getting some of them dead wrong. This is the crux of the problem between Science and Religion; Science is constantly having to prove that their understanding of reality is much more valid -- and even a half-wit should be able to see it. So why would intelligent religious people insist on their version of reality? THAT is the pertinent question.

I study consciousness, which means that I also study "God" ideas, which means that I look into Religions. Science uses experiments to determine facts; Philosophy is a little different as it uses commonalities and repeat patterns to determine truths; both Disciplines understand the importance of consistency in their determinations. So when I looked at Religions, I was looking for commonalities, repeat patterns and consistency in their teachings. What I found commonly and consistently throughout their history is that Religions teach about life, death, Nature, and morality. I think that the explanations various Religions taught about the Universe are an ancillary result of trying to explain life, as life has to begin somewhere. 

When we examine life, death, Nature, and morality, what we find is the commonality of emotion; they all have a significant impact on emotion or work through e/motion. My conclusions about Religion is that it studies emotion, as that is the core concept through all of the Religions. Is there evidence of this? Sure. Think of the actual work of Religions; soup kitchens, grief counseling, charities, hospitals, orphanages, etc., they talk about charity, hope, love, forgiveness, etc., and they cause bonding, which is what Sunday church is really about. Of course there is also negative emotion.

So back to that "pertinent question", emotion does not like change, does not accept change, but will consider it in 100 or 1,000 years. (chuckle)

 

Quote

 

I don't agree with the following though.....

The temples, altars, icons, symbols etc are simply evidence that early man did need to explain the universe around him....That is not evidence for any fabricated god. 

 

No. It is evidence of Religion. Religion is evidence of "God" ideas. I think it is Part 4 that explains why we give "God" a persona, but I can not explain it here in this post -- too long. 

 

Quote

Interesting concept....Perhaps this is the "Spinoza" god that Einstein often mentioned when asked about his beliefs.  I prefer that Nature is real but if people need to call nature god then so be it. It is simply an inert concept and I fail to understand how any god concept can be equated to nature, with utmost apologies to the great man, although in retrospect, I would imagine that he would agree with me.

Good point. I like Spinoza. His work is the closest that I have found to my own ideas on consciousness, but I always questioned whether or not there is a "Spinoza god", and suspect that most people simply did not understand him. Einstein was a holistic thinker, as is evidenced by his theory of "Relativity"; I am a holistic thinker, and I suspect that Spinoza was also. Holistic thinkers focus on what relates, or relativity, so I am sure that Einstein understood Spinoza better than most.

Yes, Nature is real, but it is the nature of Nature that Religion focuses on. Nature is constant motion and change; it takes with one hand and gives with the other like good and bad, yin and yang, God and the Devil. It is this activity of Nature that Religion studies. Examples:

Early people often settled by water because food was abundant there; floods and tsunamis wiped them out occasionally. good/bad.

Thunderstorms and lightening can cause a fire and burn down a forest, but the lightning also releases, is it Nitrogen?, that feeds and fertilizes the plants. Storms also provide water for new growth, and the dead foliage provides homes for small life forms and fertilizer for new growth. bad/good

Men go to war and fight and kill raising their testosterone levels. When the fighting is over, they grab the first person they can find and shove themselves into that person creating new life -- also a result of an abundance of testosterone. This is why rape follows war. death/life

We must kill to eat out of necessity, but killing each other is wrong and killing for plain meanness is wrong. death/life

There are probably thousands of examples of how Nature takes with one hand while giving with the other. It is rarely fair and never just. This is what Religion studies, the nature of Nature, while trying to make sense of it all.

 

Quote

It was once told to me that "god did not invent man, man invented god".

I can agree with a lot of this. Your above statement is most of the reason why I decided that I may post Part 2.

Gee

Phi for All;

 

On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 4:57 PM, Phi for All said:

It still sounds no different to me than saying unicorns are real because of the causal effects they've had on so many young girls growing up. 

Well, if you can show me that unicorns have had a causal effect on young girls worldwide for at least a millennium, then you might have a point.

 

Quote

If you use the most common definitions of god(s),

If I used "common definitions of god(s)", then I would be arguing Religion. I am not religious.

 

Quote

as well as the scientific definition of evidence, this is nonsense. 

Are you stating that Archelogy is not a branch of Science?

Gee

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1 hour ago, studiot said:

So how long before the rest of us can expect answers to our comments!

Gees has regularly shared here that they have MS and sometimes get deeply tired upon composing posts, especially long ones (which are fairly common for Gees).

It’s not uncommon for Gees to go a few days before responding. It can be frustrating to others and interrupt the usual flow of discussions, but is also understandable. 

Carry on...

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1 hour ago, Gees said:

Well, if you can show me that unicorns have had a causal effect on young girls worldwide for at least a millennium, then you might have a point.

Seeing as how unicorns date back to the Bronze Age, I don't think I'll have many problems. They may have had a causal effect on Christianity, predating it by a millenium. 

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19 hours ago, iNow said:

Gees has regularly shared here that they have MS and sometimes get deeply tired upon composing posts, especially long ones (which are fairly common for Gees).

It’s not uncommon for Gees to go a few days before responding. It can be frustrating to others and interrupt the usual flow of discussions, but is also understandable. 

Carry on...

Many thanks for letting me know - I was quite unaware of it. +1

I must say, gees, the thinking in your posts is in no way impaired.

Separating out the functions performed by a God as I sugested would help cut down the workload.

If, for instance, you are thinking of God as a creator (yes I know there  have been many discussion about this) then I could offer the 'scrabble theory'.

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Studiot;

I am going to try this again. It has been a while since we talked, and I enjoy talking to you even when we disagree.

 

On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 6:20 PM, studiot said:

I salute your bravery in posting this topic. +1

Brave or foolish, we will see, but I appreciate the + and will probably need it soon.

 

Quote

I think it a good idea to distinguish between God as a creator and God as a meddler and/or manager.
I see no reason for a God to provide all three functions.

Well, I would like to agree with you, but don't think I honestly can. The best I have been able to do so far is to limit the influence of any specific Religion, as it is their interpretations that cause the "creator", "meddler", and "manager" ideas. Some of the managing ideas can be disposed of because they are more about a specific Religion than about "God", but if the theories of consciousness that state that consciousness is the cause of reality are true, or even partially true, then that makes the "God" concept the creator. "God" is an interpretation of consciousness.

If you take the ideas expressed above about the nature of Nature and consider that Nature manages to cause it's own continuance through motion and change, and then mix that idea with hope, justice, and fairness, you end up with a meddler. If this were easy, someone else would have figured it out, and it would bore me.

 

On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 6:29 PM, studiot said:

So how long before the rest of us can expect answers to our comments?

Of course I think mine were short but important.

:)

You are impatient, but it may add to your charm. You were also next in line.

 

6 hours ago, studiot said:

Many thanks for letting me know - I was quite unaware of it. +1

I must say, gees, the thinking in your posts is in no way impaired.

Thank you. That sounds like a compliment.

I do tire easily, but I also give a lot of thought to the ideas presented by other members, and will often investigate the points they bring up. Or the points that I want to make in my responses, as I don't like to give out bad information. I like to learn.

 

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Separating out the functions performed by a God as I sugested would help cut down the workload.

If, for instance, you are thinking of God as a creator (yes I know there  have been many discussion about this) then I could offer the 'scrabble theory'.

I took a cursory look at the scrabble theory, but could not find the source of power that activates it. What is the power source?

Gee

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Studiot;

 

5 hours ago, Gees said:
Quote

I think it a good idea to distinguish between God as a creator and God as a meddler and/or manager.
I see no reason for a God to provide all three functions.

Well, I would like to agree with you, but don't think I honestly can. The best I have been able to do so far is to limit the influence of any specific Religion, as it is their interpretations that cause the "creator", "meddler", and "manager" ideas. Some of the managing ideas can be disposed of because they are more about a specific Religion than about "God", but if the theories of consciousness that state that consciousness is the cause of reality are true, or even partially true, then that makes the "God" concept the creator. "God" is an interpretation of consciousness.

I am sorry. A lot of company showed up and I cut my response to you short. I did not adequately answer your query. 

Religion interprets consciousness as "God", and that means ALL consciousness that is not directed, or invented, by the human rational mind. That means all thought, all knowledge, all motion or emotion, all life, or everything that is mental or has a mental aspect. Remember that just a few hundred years ago, "The Devil made me do it." was actually thought to be possible, even probable. We did not understand the unconscious aspect of mind and had no idea of how it influences us and other life -- the unconscious is also where instincts come from. Also consider that Laws of Physics and Laws of Nature would be attributed to "God" because that is knowledge. Consider that Laws of Physics apply everywhere, are everywhere, but exist nowhere just like "God". If you mix, or bundle, all of these ideas together, then "God" would indeed be the creator, meddler, manager, and the source of everything.

People generally understand that physical things can be broken down into their components, but they tend to view mental things as whole or maybe magical and unknowable. Until we can learn to break down the mental into components and give explanations for them, there is no hope of ever relieving "God" of His many functions.

Years back, I was corresponding with a University Professor, who taught Physics and also held a degree in Philosophy; he explained to me that thought has no power. You can take the greatest thoughts known to man, all the knowledge that anyone could need or want, and write it down in a book, or save it on a CD -- and it would do nothing. Without a reader for the book or a player for the CD, there is nothing but ink, paper, and plastic. Thought has no power to do anything without awareness. It amazes me that people always associate consciousness with thought, but thought has no power. Consciousness is awareness.

This is the reason there are so many "Parts" in my understanding, because I have been working to breakdown consciousness into components for some time now. In the different Parts I try to explain how that specific component relates to the "God" idea. But it is not finished.

Gee

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On 15/09/2018 at 2:49 AM, Gees said:

I am going to try this again. It has been a while since we talked, and I enjoy talking to you even when we disagree.

Thanks, but I don't disagree with most of what you have proposed, I wish to add to it not contradict it.

But you thread was entitled 'the God Concept', not a General Study of Consciousness, and it is simply that concept I am addressing.

Further we can consider this concept in the abstract, just as we can consider a particular arangement of sand grains on the beach - whether or not such an arrangement has ever happened.

Back to 'God', (and scrabble)

When we look around us we can posit one of the following :-

1) It has always been that way so there was no beginning.

2) Things change but something has always been so again no beginning.

3) There was a beginning which was deliberately brought about by a creator.

4) There was a beginning that was accidentally brought about by a creator.

5) There was a beginning but it was not the result of an external agent.

 

Focusing for a moment on (3)

3a) The creator set the 'board' and established the rules and then played no further (active) part.
This scenario is rather like a game of scrabble ehere the game creator specified the board and the playing rules but then leaves the game to the participants.
This version allows for a reasonable concept of free will.
Many different games are possible depending upon the size of the board and number of pieces.

 

3b) The creator sets the board, established the rules and occasionally 'meddles' ie intervenes in some way. He might even have incorporated 'get out of jail cards' in the original design.

 

3c) The creator sets the board, establishes the rules and meticulously monitors every activity and reacts in some way to them.

 

3d) The creator sets the board, establishes the rules and meticulously monitors every activity. Additionally the creator has a preferred evolution of the game and intervenes to push it in this direction. A complete lack of free will.

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Rangerx;

I know your post was not directed to me, but I enjoyed reading it. Some of Ed Ricketts' ideas are in Wiki, which was also an interesting read. I think that his studies in ecology reflected his Philosophy and caused him to have an advanced understanding of ecology. So thanks for sharing.

I also agree with most of your post, but there was one point that I thought you might want more information on, as follows:

 

On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:01 AM, rangerx said:

Do you use the term Mother Nature? Many theists, atheists and agnostics use the term, knowing nature to be true. However, like hot or cold, nature is not a thing unto itself... it's a property of other things. The planet and the universe. Free will does not make water hot or cold and despite all of the available variables we can impose, it can only be in one state at any given time. Therefore neither can be wrong. Each have a time and a place for us at different times. It's when we put a face on it, or deny it's existence entirely, is were we go wrong. Hence my position as an agnostic. Jonah being swallowed by a whale is a bunch of crap, as is the great flood, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is wise. There is good and evil in everything and that is where free will allows for us to find or lose ourselves as individuals.

Note that I underlined "It's when we put a face on it" which I assume is talking about the "God" concept. I am not sure if it is possible to NOT put a face on it. While working on Understanding the "God" Concept, I outlined three different reasons why we personify "God".

The first reason is that we think of things as being static, unmoving, unless something or someone moves or activates it. This makes the "God" concept a "who" or a force. This is why we often end up with a "who", that created the Universe.

The second reason is because Religion studies consciousness, but specifically studies emotion and calls it "God". Emotion works through the unconscious aspect of mind, which is weird, not rational, and difficult to understand. I understand little about it myself, but I know that one of the quirks of the unconscious is that in its thinking, if you could call it that, "the part represents the whole". This works out to, a person's consciousness is representative of "God's" consciousness. Or they are the same thing? Then if you throw in an understanding of the "self" concept, you end up with a cultural "God" wearing the face of you and your culture. Like I said, weird, but that is the way the unconscious works.

The third reason is that most people could not understand the "God" concept without a persona. I estimate that only about 15 percent of the population, not including children, would be able to understand the "God" concept as an abstract issue. That leaves about 85 percent, and all children, unable to be taught about life, death, the nature of Nature, and morality. This is not reasonable.

Gee

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Ten oz;

Hi. Good to talk to you again. By the way, I did write that post to explain why I don't think that spirits/ghosts can continue indefinitely, but have not yet developed the courage to post it. I assume that even discussing it will tick off a lot of people.

 

On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 7:00 AM, Ten oz said:

Star Wars has had an effect. It revolutionized the ways toy and products are used to both market and profit from a movie. Made billions of dollars and has a large devoted fandom. However Luke Sky Walker, Tatoonie, the Death Star, and etc are all 100% made up.

Star Wars is a fad. If in a thousand years, people are still buying Star Wars toys, except as precious antiques, then we can talk.

 

Quote

Humans impact the human world based on ideas and not necessarily real things.The idea of God has had an effect the same way hatred, greed, spite, racism, and etc have led to murders and war and effected countless lives.They are merely emotions/ideas. They are things an individual feels within themselves and not a tangible things which exists in a shared human reality.

Why do you always go to the "underlined" bad stuff? Do you not understand that ideas and emotions can also be good, or are you idealistic enough to think that we can actually keep the good and dispose of the bad?

Your logic is getting lost. You state that human ideas impact the world, effect countless lives, are "merely" emotions/ideas, and are not tangible. So do they have an effect or not? If they have an effect, then they are real. In the other room, my family is watching Les Miserables, which is an opera about the French Revolution. Watch that movie and then tell me that emotions and ideas are not causal and real.

 

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For example Sexism and Racism has long histories. Archaeologists can just about always find evidence of sexism and racism in ancient societies.That isn't evidence of women and different ethnicities naturally being inferior. The fact humans have been sexist and racist for a long time doesn't affirm such feelings as true.

 

Sexism and racism are deeply rooted in the unconscious aspect of mind and always have been, because that is where we note the differences between "self" and "other", so they are indeed classic, real and true. All bias and prejudice comes either from the unconscious or from personal experience. That does not mean that the conclusions that we draw about the differences are valid or accurate.

 

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Replace the word "God" with the King, Chief, President, CEO or etc and it nearly reads the same. Humans have indeed always sought direction and leadership. God is but one form of that but many have existed simultaneously.A sports team has a coach, team captains, veterans, and so on. Humans are constantly creating hierarchies. Which came first God or Chief? When one human population interacts with another do they say "take to your god" or "take me to your leader"?

We are back to that problem that you have with authority figures. We discussed this before, and I noted then that it is a good thing to keep out of your Philosophy because personal biases bias thinking.

 

Gee

 

 

Eise;

On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 7:18 AM, Eise said:

You changed the object from 'concept of God' to 'God'. The concept in itself can explain the building of temples, churches, etc. Condition is that those who use the concept believe that something outside the 'God discourse'  match with this concept. 

Certainly, 'God' exists is a concept (however, in different cultures, very different concepts), but that does not proof God's existence. As Phi for All already said, there is a concept of unicorns, but that doesn't mean they exist outside the discourse about them. And if you think that the this is not valid, because the 'God-concept' is very special, you are nearing the ontological proof of God's existence.

Hmm. Interesting difference you make here between 'being real' and 'not existing'. May I propose some other distinction?

Things exist physically, if they play a direct role in causal relationships, independent of how we we talk about them.

Things exist conceptually, if they are useful to describe the world around us, which includes things that exists physically (example: laws of nature), but also human behaviour (examples: marriage, stories, free will).

The point is that we can refer to observable entities, to show what we mean with these concepts. 

And I think 'unicorns' and 'God' do not belong even to the conceptually existing things, because we cannot refer to observable entities.

Thank you for commenting.

In your post, I bolded eight different instances of the word, exist, in the hope that I could get some clarity on your position. You do remember that the OP explained that "God" is real but does not exist?

Gee

 

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Phi for All;

On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 9:19 PM, Phi for All said:

Seeing as how unicorns date back to the Bronze Age, I don't think I'll have many problems. They may have had a causal effect on Christianity, predating it by a millenium. 

Do you see the words, may have, that I underlined? They are a really big clue that your above post is speculation. Just thought I would give you that tip, you being a Moderator and all.

Of course, we don't call it speculation in Philosophy, we usually call that armchair philosophy, where people sit around and think up clever things that expose their brilliance or wit, without the benefit of things like study and research. On the other hand, bringing unicorns into a thread on "God" concepts is not all that clever, and could be considered frivolous.

If I wanted to wreck this thread, I think I would bring up trees. Yes, trees have been here since before people, they exist all over the world, and are here now, so that covers consistency and commonality. We all know that trees make people want to gather under them to have picnics, so that explains the origin of church gatherings. My Grandmother used to say, "Stop the pity party and get down off the cross. We can use the wood." She was referring to the cross that Christ died on, which was wood, so there is a causal relationship. Yep. If I wanted to wreck this thread, that is how I would do it.

The question is: Why would you want to wreck this thread?

Gee

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2 hours ago, Gees said:

Why do you always go to the "underlined" bad stuff? Do you not understand that ideas and emotions can also be good, or are you idealistic enough to think that we can actually keep the good and dispose of the bad?

Your logic is getting lost. You state that human ideas impact the world, effect countless lives, are "merely" emotions/ideas, and are not tangible. So do they have an effect or not? If they have an effect, then they are real. In the other room, my family is watching Les Miserables, which is an opera about the French Revolution. Watch that movie and then tell me that emotions and ideas are not causal and real.

I view good and bad relative. People have killed in the name of love, faith, hope, and so on. The Limbic part of the brain lacks language. The many descriptions of the way we humans feel are conscious narratives that may or may not reflect what is really going on internally. You ask why I go to the "bad" stuff but I don't see such dichotomy. Do racist people hate others or do they simply love their own? Love vs hate, right vs wrong, good vs bad, and so are are just a matter of perspective. Palestinians and Israelis both think they are doing what's right. Terrorists who blow themselves up while murdering people believe they will be rewarded by god. Executioners putting people to death consider it justice. To me there isn't good stuff and bad stuff; there is just stuff. Most people believe themselves to be good and consider their action necessary/justified. To say that what  is felt internally is real externally removes the very contradictions and frailties that make humans so complex. What makes humans so individual in my opinion, drives competition, creates innovation, causes us to ask questions, and etc is that each of our minds are independent from a singular reality (emotionally). 

As for the cause of effect part thoughts do not need to be true to have an effect. By your logic the members of Heaven Gates must have made it on to their Alien ship. Part of being human is the ability to make stuff up. Lying and misleading others has been a powerful tool throughout history. All people exaggerate and lie to various extents everyday of our lives. Those who believe their own lies typically run into trouble. 

2 hours ago, Gees said:

Sexism and racism are deeply rooted in the unconscious aspect of mind and always have been, because that is where we note the differences between "self" and "other", so they are indeed classic, real and true. All bias and prejudice comes either from the unconscious or from personal experience. That does not mean that the conclusions that we draw about the differences are valid or accurate.

Right, what is real internally to a person or persons overtime doesn't reflect what is actually real broadly. 

2 hours ago, Gees said:

We are back to that problem that you have with authority figures. We discussed this before, and I noted then that it is a good thing to keep out of your Philosophy because personal biases bias thinking.

 The Divine Right of Kings is a real thing and not something I invent.  Humans earliest incarnations of God were directly attached to our hierarchies. Kings, Chiefs, Emperors, and so on where said to be related to the Gods or had direct communications with the Gods. Part of your position addresses the long tradition of the concept of a God so why ignore that for millennia that concept was directly associated with leadership hierarchies in society? Countless human kings were said to be living Gods.

Edited by Ten oz

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Studiot;

You certainly do not disappoint! Since first reading your post on "scrabble theory", I have been thinking about it and grinning. No, I have never heard of it before and could find little information on it. Of course, I'm lousy with Google, but what I did find indicates that this theory is more often related to economics or social issues. Is the idea yours, or are you relating it differently?

 

On ‎9‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 3:13 PM, studiot said:

Thanks, but I don't disagree with most of what you have proposed, I wish to add to it not contradict it.

But you thread was entitled 'the God Concept', not a General Study of Consciousness, and it is simply that concept I am addressing.

Well, many people do not realize that the "God" concept actually is a study of consciousness -- a study made by Religion. As I stated earlier,, consciousness is a massive subject; the "God" concept is only part of it.

 

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Further we can consider this concept in the abstract, just as we can consider a particular arangement of sand grains on the beach - whether or not such an arrangement has ever happened.

Always. Abstract thinking is required to truly understand this subject.

 

Quote

 

Back to 'God', (and scrabble)

When we look around us we can posit one of the following :-

1) It has always been that way so there was no beginning.

2) Things change but something has always been so again no beginning.

 

I am more comfortable with the "no beginning" idea. I am not disputing the Big Bang, what I am thinking is that it did not come from nothing -- there was always something whether we recognized it or not. I would pick 2).

 

Quote

 

3) There was a beginning which was deliberately brought about by a creator.

4) There was a beginning that was accidentally brought about by a creator.

 

I have problems with either of these, as I can not see a creator of any kind and believe that idea has to be accepted on faith. The problem with a creator or intelligent designer is that this idea requires a focused will; whether it was an accidental design or deliberately wrought, it still requires a focused will. My studies of consciousness imply that focus requires time and space to have a point to focus from and a point to focus on. Awareness works the same way as it requires something to be aware of and something to be aware -- two separate points -- time and space. Memory, by it's very definition, requires a history to remember, so it also requires time.

So considering these things, I don't see how any creator could remember anything long enough to focus an awareness on it, that could be considered "will", before the Big Bang and time and space; therefore, a creator could not be causal. Of course, I am not a physicist and could be wrong, but this is what it looks like to me at this time.

 

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5) There was a beginning but it was not the result of an external agent.

This is maybe possible, but I suspect that it would be a case of perspective, as we can perceive a beginning, but we can not perceive anything before the beginning.

 

Quote

 

Focusing for a moment on (3)

3a) The creator set the 'board' and established the rules and then played no further (active) part.
This scenario is rather like a game of scrabble ehere the game creator specified the board and the playing rules but then leaves the game to the participants.
This version allows for a reasonable concept of free will.
Many different games are possible depending upon the size of the board and number of pieces.

 

So this is a free will argument. Fun. I usually avoid those argument, but this one is interesting.

I would say that the "established" rules would be the Laws of Physics. These are not flexible.

 

Quote

3b) The creator sets the board, established the rules and occasionally 'meddles' ie intervenes in some way. He might even have incorporated 'get out of jail cards' in the original design.

I would say that the "get out of jail cards" are more like the Laws of Nature that can be very flexible -- but are also self balancing.

 

Quote

3c) The creator sets the board, establishes the rules and meticulously monitors every activity and reacts in some way to them.

Again, I think that this would be represented by the Laws of Nature. The meticulous monitoring would be the self balancing that we are often not even aware of, as the monitoring and reacting is more a matter of influence than direct cause and effect.

 

Quote

3d) The creator sets the board, establishes the rules and meticulously monitors every activity. Additionally the creator has a preferred evolution of the game and intervenes to push it in this direction. A complete lack of free will.

This option assumes that the Laws of Physics and the Laws of Nature rule everything, but it discounts the players. The players would be emotion and the unconscious aspect of mind, which is what supports and activates the rational aspect of mind and causes free will.

So I see consciousness as a game that has fixed rules, flexible self-balancing rules, and players (life). imo

Gee

 

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Gees, I'm glad you like my offering.

Remember it is an attempt to discuss the God concept in the abstract.

I don't claim it is comprehensive - feel free to add / amend to improve it. That is what true discussion is for.

Personally I am a 'don't care' in that it makes no difference to me or how I think or act.

I think I was about 12 when I worked out for myself that an almighty entity is a self contradiction.

Anything less is just a 'super' being further up the food chain; something Man could (one day) aspire to.

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