Author Topic: What is God?  (Read 686 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jetson

  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 7276
  • Darwins +170/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Meet George Jetson!
    • Jet Blog
What is God?
« on: October 22, 2011, 08:27:21 PM »
It's been awhile since we went down this path.  And we have some new members here who might want to share their opinions on the question.  Let's pick on Yahweh for this discussion.  Despite some of the challenges presented in the OT, and for arguments sake, let's pretend that Yahweh (God), is the only god.  So I ask sincerely, and with great interest...

What is God?


Offline thunderridge

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 445
  • Darwins +16/-0
  • Gender: Male
Re: What is God?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 10:18:48 PM »
God is an invisible spirit that created the universe by speaking it into existence.  We will know more after we die or with the second coming.  Sorry, this is the best I can come up with. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 10:21:32 PM by thunderridge »

Offline Historicity

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2350
  • Darwins +80/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • (Rama, avatar of Vishnu)
Re: What is God?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 11:09:59 PM »
God is an invisible spirit that created the universe by speaking it into existence.  We will know more after we die or with the second coming.  Sorry, this is the best I can come up with.
You can't speak in a vacuum.  God couldn't speak until he had already created a universe and a planet with enough air pressure to speak.

So what's with all this stuff about His "word" and "voice" and "speech"?  It couldn't be that it is a primitive book written on the basis of primitive, ignorant people.  Could it?

Offline John 3 16

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 368
  • Darwins +1/-14
  • Gender: Male
  • Darwins +0/-1,000,000,000
Re: What is God?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 11:27:12 PM »
Creator of all things.
Judge of all things.
Alpha and Omega.
Are you a hatheist?  (hey-thee-ist)

A person who vocally hates on religious individuals, often criticizing such persons for being uneducated hillbillies.

Offline Aaron123

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2733
  • Darwins +77/-1
  • Gender: Male
Re: What is God?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 01:01:14 AM »
You can't speak in a vacuum.  God couldn't speak until he had already created a universe and a planet with enough air pressure to speak.

So what's with all this stuff about His "word" and "voice" and "speech"?  It couldn't be that it is a primitive book written on the basis of primitive, ignorant people.  Could it?

No, it's metaphor.  If it doesn't make sense or contradict reality, either it's metaphor, or there's some obscure meaning we're not getting.   :police:
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1274
  • Darwins +386/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Re: What is God?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 01:14:19 AM »
God is an invisible

How do you know he is invisible?  There are a number of Biblical accounts where he appears as a visible entity, e.g. in the Garden of Eden, to Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to Moses (he apparently has "back parts" that are not fatal to look upon, as his "face" is), and Ezekiel (who tells us that he flies around in a vehicle carried around by "living creatures" with six wings each, and attached to wheels that can roll in any direction without turning). 

spirit

What is a "spirit?" 

that created the universe by speaking it into existence.

How does a "spirit" "speak?"  Not in the normal way, surely (see Historicity's post).  What is the relation between the act of a "spirit" "speaking" and the creation of the Cosmos?  We have equations that tell us how the Big Bang started and unfolded.  What are the equations that describe how "spirit speech energy" (or whatever you'd like to call it) relates to the rest of our understanding of the Cosmos?

We will know more after we die

How do you know that?

Quote
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

--Ecclesiastes 9:5

And look at the previous verse:

Quote
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

--Ecclesiastes 9:4

Does this not provide a very strong impression that death yields a diminished state, rather than an improved one complete with a shiny new PhD in Yahweh Studies?

or with the second coming.

Which was supposed to have happened 2,000 years ago:

Quote
57And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

 58But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

 59Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

 60But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

 61And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

 62And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

 63But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

 64Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

 65Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

--Matthew 26:57-64, emphasis added.

Sorry, this is the best I can come up with.

If you're a Christian, this ought to be serious cause for concern, and deeper thought.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline Nick

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10327
  • Darwins +180/-8
  • Gender: Male
Re: What is God?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 01:34:46 AM »
I thought God was George Burns.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline thunderridge

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 445
  • Darwins +16/-0
  • Gender: Male
Re: What is God?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2011, 01:43:01 AM »
kcrady-  I not a xian.  I heard Ray Comfort say god is invisible.  I was trying to answer as I thought he would.  I assumed you all knew thunder knows gods are imaginary.  Sorry for misleading you.  But I love how you break down xian claims. 

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1274
  • Darwins +386/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Re: What is God?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 02:48:36 AM »
kcrady-  I not a xian.  I heard Ray Comfort say god is invisible.  I was trying to answer as I thought he would.  I assumed you all knew thunder knows gods are imaginary.  Sorry for misleading you.  But I love how you break down xian claims.

No problem.  I guess I don't run into your posts often enough to have remembered for certain where you stood on the issue.  Plus, your Poe-st[1] presented the Christian (fundamentalist) viewpoint about as well or better than most of the Christians here.

Edit: Post 777!  I think Aliester Crowley or someone of his ilk would consider this post to be talismanic or something.  Hmmm.
 1. Poe's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 02:50:10 AM by kcrady »
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline 12 Monkeys

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4593
  • Darwins +104/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • Dii hau dang ijii
Re: What is God?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2011, 11:44:42 PM »
Creator of all things.
Judge of all things.
Alpha and Omega.
wrong...end of story
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1274
  • Darwins +386/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Re: What is God?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 02:02:02 AM »
Creator of all things.
Judge of all things.
Alpha and Omega.

The first of these is something he allegedly did.  The other two are titles.  None of these address the question of what he is.  They provide almost no information about him.  "He is the Great X!"  "He is the Kwizatz Haderach!"  "He is the Electron Polisher!"  One would think that someone who goes to the trouble to join an atheist forum, presumably with the goal of evangelizing the people here on Yahweh's behalf, would leap at the chance to explain his nature.  Instead, you just drive by, spew out a few chest-thumping epithets, and zoom away.  What a disappointment you would be to your "Lord," if he existed.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline plethora

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3456
  • Darwins +60/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Metalhead, Family Man, IT Admin & Anti-Theist \m/
Re: What is God?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 05:46:22 AM »
What is God?

He is a fictional character in a book conceived by primitive men in the bronze age middle east.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline gonegolfing

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1224
  • Darwins +23/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • God ?...Don't even get me started !
Re: What is God?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2011, 08:32:00 AM »
It's been awhile since we went down this path.  And we have some new members here who might want to share their opinions on the question.  Let's pick on Yahweh for this discussion.  Despite some of the challenges presented in the OT, and for arguments sake, let's pretend that Yahweh (God), is the only god.  So I ask sincerely, and with great interest...

What is God?

Man made. A Fictional character.
 
And it all began tens of thousands of years ago with the bizarre imaginations and primitive reasoning's of our ancient ancestors in more savage times of ignorance.

When the Hebrews/Israelites come along however, they fine tune the primitive supernatural ideas from being many ghosts and spirits and deities that have different tasks and levels of power, and make the new claim that they have been chosen by a single supreme deity and this deity is theirs and it favours their race alone. As it turns out, if one is not part of the in group, then it cannot have access to the Hebrew personal god and its favour and protection. This then disqualifies the outsider from a guaranteed existence, and if they get in the way of Yahweh and his chosen people, these bohemian misfits, and all things that are associated with them are utterly destroyed.......except the young female virgins of course---Yahweh sees them as the perfect delicacy, and worthy payment to his trustworthy Hebrew male butchers for their services rendered :P


It's pretty safe to conclude then that, based on the story:---

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

That's what god is.....A fictional brute in a messed up and pornographically violent myth.

 

"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline ungod

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Darwins +15/-9
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2011, 09:52:58 AM »
Creator of all things.
Judge of all things.
Alpha and Omega.
wrong...end of story
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain...."
(from the Wizard of Oz)
Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think." - Hitler

Offline jaimehlers

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4837
  • Darwins +557/-17
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2011, 11:06:49 AM »
A justification.

I'm serious.  We've seen the tendency of fanatics to wrap themselves in the American flag, even though the American flag and what it represents is nothing like what they want to use it for.  Fanatics simply don't care what something actually means; what they want is an emotional symbol to rally others to their cause.  The fact that doing this gives them more power is simply an added bonus, at least initially.  So the concept of a god, whether or not there actually is one, would be perfect for their purposes, provided that the god does not interact with the people as a whole.  As long as they control access to the god, then they can issue commands in his name to believers and have them be followed.

So God is a justification for whatever the diseased mind of a fanatic can dream up.  They don't specifically need God, it just makes things a bit easier for them.

Offline Truth OT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1452
  • Darwins +88/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2011, 11:32:20 AM »
What is Bible God?

The unseen force or power that is ultimately responsible for all that is. This being is intelligent, and apparantly infinitely so and is said to be able to do any and everything that can be done with the exception of lying. This being is also said to be a semi-personal deity that from time to time will interject itself into the affairs of mankind to insure that ITS ultimate will, (which is up for debate as though He has predestined everything, He can be persuaded to change His mind), will be accomplished. God is both Unicron and Primus rolled into one with no beginning, no end, who's appearance is so aweful/awesome, that He appears/manifests Himself to mankind in the form of an avatar so that those select individuals can live to tell about it.

Offline Samuelxcs

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 669
  • Darwins +6/-18
  • Gender: Male
  • The oldest and strongest emotion of humans is fear
    • Fallen Angels
Re: What is God?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2011, 11:33:00 AM »
Sure, ask this in some forums and it might be ok, but ask random people on the streets and you could get some strange answers. :o

If God existed, it would be a horrible thing, if it did not exist, it would be nothing.
"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
-Thomas Szasz

Offline Mr. Blackwell

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2668
  • Darwins +76/-23
  • Gender: Male
Re: What is God?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2011, 11:56:58 AM »
A justification.
<snip>
So God is a justification for whatever the diseased mind of a fanatic can dream up.  They don't specifically need God, it just makes things a bit easier for them.

This pretty much sums up my views on religion in general. It is also why I maintain my stubborn point of view that wars are not caused by differences in religious belief. Many on this forum disagree with that point of view.
I show affection for my pets by holding them against me and whispering, "I love you" repeatedly as they struggle to break free.

Offline Whateverman

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1353
  • Darwins +6/-5
  • Gender: Male
    • Skeptical Minds & Rational Thinkers
Re: What is God?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2011, 12:27:06 PM »
What is God?
Isn't this question a variation on "prove He exists"?  It seems pointless to ask for stuff that (for the most part) this forum has rejected.  I don't mean to be too cynical about it.  I guess I just wish the question was framed differently, as the thread has simply become yet another "God exists! vs No he doesn't!" discussion.

For example, as a deist, I can put my spin on what Yahweh is: he's an aggregation of human ambition, the need to understand our environment, and a tool for forming & regulating human society.  Obviously, a Christian fundamentalist would disagree with me - but surely an atheist might find the idea acceptable.  Maybe someone more religious than I am would say Yahweh is our explanation for weird things that happened thousands of years ago....

Now that I think about it, maybe my critique here is aimed at the answers given, not the question asked...
- SMRT Admin

Compared to this thread, retarded midget wrestling for food stamps is the pinnacle of human morality.
-- Ambassador Pony

Offline ungod

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Darwins +15/-9
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 10:49:54 AM »
1)Have a good life, because life is short and there is nothing after that.
2)If there is something after that, I am sorry.
you lose both cases

And when you show up in heaven, after a lifetime of kissing Yahweh's ass, boy is Allah going to be PISSED!  :laugh:
Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think." - Hitler

Offline ungod

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Darwins +15/-9
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2011, 10:55:28 AM »
A justification.
<snip>
So God is a justification for whatever the diseased mind of a fanatic can dream up.  They don't specifically need God, it just makes things a bit easier for them.

This pretty much sums up my views on religion in general. It is also why I maintain my stubborn point of view that wars are not caused by differences in religious belief. Many on this forum disagree with that point of view.

Wars are caused by the sociopaths who rule us.
Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think." - Hitler

Offline Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3880
  • Darwins +257/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: What is God?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2011, 10:59:31 AM »
(1)Santa Claus for Grown ups
(2)A supposedly infinite, omnicient, eternal being who's desires and dislikes and KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD happen to coincide to the person speaking about/for him.
(3)A Mythological Character who was vauge enough that the beliefs surround such a figure could be shifted to the cultural paradigm at any given time, offering more longevity than most other god concepts.
(4)A being that once could hurl thousands of galaxies into eixistence in a week, now reduced to making blurry images of his son appear on toast.
(5)A being that cannot logically exist because of the tri omni paradox
(6)An entity supposed older than time and of vast power, yet changes in attitude and scope throughout the limited existence of the written word, and who cannot defeat iron chariots but can raise people from the dead.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1274
  • Darwins +386/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Re: What is God?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2011, 02:25:31 AM »
Creator of all things.
Judge of all things.
Alpha and Omega.

Taking another look at these epithets, we can tease out the core, or "kernel," of Yahweh's nature.

Creator of all things--translation: "I put you in this world, I can take you back out!"
Judge of all things--translation: "I'm watching you, and I have the authority to evaluate you for purposes of punishment or reward."
Alpha and Omega: First and last letters of the Greek alphabet, metaphorically, "the First and the Last"--translation: "I'm bigger than you!"

What all these have in common is connotations of great hierarchical status.  Initially, one might think that the first title at least, could be interpreted in another way.  An artist, architect, craftsperson, etc. can be a "creator" who is not out for power and domination.  The joy of the creative work itself, and/or appreciation of the work by others can be a creator's motivation.

However, in the Bible, Yahweh's act of creation is not important in itself, except as a justification for him to give orders to humans.  The Bible contains no great paeans to the wonders of Creation.  Yahweh's dialogue never takes on the sense of wonder of a Carl Sagan or David Attenborough as he leads a guided tour of his magnificent masterpieces.  To the contrary, the description of the creative act is extremely terse, dispensed with in only a couple chapters[1] of one book, which leads immediately to giving orders, backed by death threats, to humans.  He then spends the rest of the Bible engaging in destruction or threats/"prophecies" thereof.  In the Book of Job, the point is made even more clearly that Yahweh's claim to the title "Creator" exists solely for the purposes of intimidating humans into submission.  In the New Testament, Yahweh's followers are called upon not to "love the world, nor the things of the world," but to eagerly look forward to their destruction.

The other two epithets above are more obviously boasts of status and power, as is the way John 316 used them.  Hierarchical status is the one core attribute of Yahweh without which all else vanishes.  His claim to the title of Creator can be set aside, so long as he is assumed to be in charge now.  It would be possible to have a theology in which he did not create the Cosmos, but took over later (see Psalm 82), or, for moderate Christians, to leave the "dirty work" of making the Cosmos and the world to the Big Bang and scientific models of cosmic and biological evolution.  His much-vaunted "love" extends only to those who obey him and worship him above all else. 

The omnimax claims?  They exist only to establish the invincibility of his power.  They're just the literary/propagandistic equivalents of the statues of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.  No believer or Biblical author ever expected Yahweh to actually behave as an omnimax.  Modern believers rarely expect him to do anything at all, and Biblical writers regularly portrayed him as a character in a story, with limited powers, knowledge, and abilities.  They would all be quick to assure their readers that he's the biggest, baddest mofo on the block (as would, say, the courtiers of Ramses II...), but they still portrayed him needing to come down and have a look before he could find out that the antediluvian world had gone bad, or that the King of Shinar was building a tower that could reach his heavenly realm.

And so on, through all of his claimed attributes.  Now, imagine that Yahweh were to decide to abdicate the throne, turn the Kingdom of Heaven over to, say, the Blessed Virgin Mary and renounce all claims to authority and rule.  What's left of him?  Apart from dominating humans, he has no interests, desires, loves or hates.  Pagan deities had lives independent of humans; relationships and biographies lived in the divine realm, wars with rival classes of divine beings, and so on.  If Zeus abdicated the throne of Olympus, he would still have his lightning bolts, his philandering ways, his angry wife, and so on.  Apart from lording over other beings, there's still a character there.  Not so with Yahweh. 

Yahweh is, at root, a boiled-down essence of hierarchical status, personified authoritarian rule.  For his followers (especially clergy, politicians, and others who gain power as his "spokesmen"), he is, in the words of Peter J. Carroll, "megalomania by proxy."  In the act of boasting of Yahweh's power, a believer gets to vicariously revel in that power, establishing their own superior status vs. those who will be judged and punished when Father finally comes home.  Yet, they do not take the risks inherent in being the dictator themselves.  Instead, they are "but humble messengers" of the great, invisible, invincible, unstoppable, Eternal Dictator who rules on high.  As his courtiers, they can claim the right to exercise power on his behalf, without having to worry that their King might be assassinated and replaced by someone else with his/her own retinue of hangers-on.
 1. One chapter, if you interpret Genesis 1 as the creative act of a pantheon or "Divine Council" ("Elohim"), with Genesis 2 as the local creative work of Yahweh as one god given a limited "sandbox" for his creative works and regional authority.  Note in Chapter 4 how Cain is able (pardon the pun!) to "go out from the presence of Yahweh" and escape the effects of Yahweh's curse.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline ungod

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 580
  • Darwins +15/-9
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: What is God?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2011, 08:22:26 AM »
^^^^ Yes, yes, and yes! Superb!
Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think." - Hitler