The God Question

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: The God Question

Post by Terrapin Station » September 15th, 2020, 2:58 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 12:00 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 9:41 am


I read Nausea, too, and hated it. But at least there's a better excuse there--I have pretty narrow tastes when it comes to fiction. I pretty much only like "genre fiction," which is an industry term for more pulpy SciFi, fantasy, horror, mystery/thrillers, action/adventure, comedy-oriented stuff, etc. I'm not at all a fan of realist drama or soap-operatic fiction, etc. I don't want fiction about people doing everyday things, having relationship problems, etc. I want fiction that shows me what sorts of fantastical things people can imagine, with lots of action, etc. The same thing goes for my taste in films. This is also a reason that I'm still a big fan of a lot of kids' fiction. It tends to focus on imaginative, fantastical (and often fun, at least slightly humorous) stuff.

There are a handful of realist drama authors I admire, by the way, but in those cases it's despite their subject matter--stylistically, they're good enough writers that enjoy them on a more formal level. A few examples there are Hemingway, Steinbeck and Dickens.

Anyway, re Being and Nothingness here are a couple "gems" selected at random (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc. are all Sartre's--well, per the Hazel E. Barnes translation, at least):

"To affirm that being is only what it is would be at least to leave being intact so far as it is its own surpassing . . . it is not enough to affirm that the understanding finds in being only what it is; we must also explain how being, which is what it is, can be only that. Such a process would derive its legitimacy from the consideration of the phenomenon of being as such and not from the negating process of the understanding."

"We are dealing here with an unconditional necessity: whatever the For-itself under consideration may be, it is in one certain sense; it is since it can be named, since certain characteristics may be affirmed or denied concerning it. But in so far as it is For-itself, it is never what it is. What it is is behind it as the perpetual surpassed. It is precisely this surpassed facticity which we call the Past. The Past then is a necessary structure of the For-itself; the For-itself can exist only as a nihilating surpassing, and this surpassing implies something surpassed. Consequently it is impossible at any particular moment when we consider a For-itself, to appreciate it as not-yet-having a Past. We need not believe that the For-itself exists first and arises in the world in the absolute newness of a being without a past and then and that it then gradually constitutes a past for itself. But whatever may be the circumstances under which the For-itself arises in the world, it comes to the world in the ekstatic unity of a relation with its Past; there is no absolute beginning which without ever having a past would become past. Since the For-itself qua For-itself has to be its past, it comes into the world with a Past."

Yikes!
That's phenomenology, and pretty straightforward and clear as phenomenological writing goes -- compared, say, to Husserl or Heidegger. Our fellow member Hereandnow would no doubt find these passages elementary. Okay, so phenomenology is not your cup of tea. So be it. The "For-itself" is Sartre's phenomenological designation for human being, as opposed to the "Being In-itself" which is Sartre's phenomenological term for the things of the world that don't possess consciousness, like the furniture you're presently using at your computer. Anyway, there's nothing that says anyone should cotton to phenomenological speak. My only point in responding to your post was that Sartre shouldn't be lumped together with the likes of Derrida and Foucault, whose writing makes my eyes bleed. Hemingway, Steinbeck and Dickens are among my favorite novelists, but my tastes by and large do not run to science fiction and fantasy novels.
Whether it's phenomenological or not, a passage like this is simply nonsense: "it is never what it is." And that's just one small phrase amidst tons of others that are just as much a problem.

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: The God Question

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 3:42 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 2:58 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 12:00 pm

That's phenomenology, and pretty straightforward and clear as phenomenological writing goes -- compared, say, to Husserl or Heidegger. Our fellow member Hereandnow would no doubt find these passages elementary. Okay, so phenomenology is not your cup of tea. So be it. The "For-itself" is Sartre's phenomenological designation for human being, as opposed to the "Being In-itself" which is Sartre's phenomenological term for the things of the world that don't possess consciousness, like the furniture you're presently using at your computer. Anyway, there's nothing that says anyone should cotton to phenomenological speak. My only point in responding to your post was that Sartre shouldn't be lumped together with the likes of Derrida and Foucault, whose writing makes my eyes bleed. Hemingway, Steinbeck and Dickens are among my favorite novelists, but my tastes by and large do not run to science fiction and fantasy novels.
Whether it's phenomenological or not, a passage like this is simply nonsense: "it is never what it is." And that's just one small phrase amidst tons of others that are just as much a problem.
Yes, simply nonsense to you, and for reasons touched on in my post. To a reader with a different philosophical orientation and taste who has followed the argument in the complete text, the passage makes perfect sense.
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Re: The God Question

Post by Terrapin Station » September 15th, 2020, 5:00 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 3:42 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 2:58 pm


Whether it's phenomenological or not, a passage like this is simply nonsense: "it is never what it is." And that's just one small phrase amidst tons of others that are just as much a problem.
Yes, simply nonsense to you, and for reasons touched on in my post. To a reader with a different philosophical orientation and taste who has followed the argument in the complete text, the passage makes perfect sense.
It's poor writing and reflects poor thinking. Everything is what it is. It doesn't matter, for example, that concepts involve abstractions that are based on past states, or that perception will be time-delayed depending on the time scale we use. Those sorts of facts don't change the fact that things are what they are, and that "It is never what it is" is sloppy, contradictory nonsense.

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Re: The God Question

Post by Gee » September 15th, 2020, 5:10 pm

-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:42 am
Gee wrote:
September 8th, 2020, 8:51 pm
Written words mean nothing without a reader, a disc has no meaning without a player. Thought on its own has no power.
Sure, a software instruction like, "kill human", has no power on it own. It has no power until is processed by an information processor, like a robot ...
. . . after the robot has been plugged in. Once we are alive and aware, we can have all kinds of thoughts, and we can imagine whatever we like, but we can not think ourselves alive, we can not think ourselves aware.

Life does not have to be plugged in; it empowers itself. The "God" concept is what we call that empowerment, so how could "God" be thought? It can't. People who state that "God" is imagination (thought) are indulging in magical thinking.
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:42 am
How can a thought be known to exist on its own? If a thought is experienced then it is (or already has been) processed to some extent.
I see your point like when someone says, "A light went on!", that would be experiencing a thought. On the other hand, that would mean the person had an awareness of that thought, so if you take away the awareness, do you still have the thought? Is this why emotional memory lasts so much longer because the emotion helps us to retain our awareness of the idea? We know that thought that is not used gets forgotten, and that emotional memory gets corrupted.

Neurology tells me that thought is digital, static, discrete data, but emotion, feeling, and awareness are analogue, fluid, and ever changing, and also that the analogue sensory information is digitized into thought by the brain. This digitized thought is what we call the rational aspect of mind, and I am not so sure how real the rational mind actually is.

When you factor in information about "mind" and "self" there is a real possibility that the rational mind, and thought, are illusions, just reflections of experience, much like a mirror is a reflection. Is what you see in your mirror real? Does it have any power? Does the reflection have any existence outside of the mirror? Is this why we say that we can not know if another person possesses consciousness, because we can not experience their reflection (thoughts)? We can experience their moods and emotions.
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:42 am
Gee wrote:
September 8th, 2020, 8:51 pm
Can you think of something that can be imagined, but it has no effect on the person imagining it -- except maybe math?
Even mathematics can have an effect, positive or negative, depending on the imaginer. It is the imagining (processing) of imaginary things that has an effect on the imaginer, which may result in action that has an effect on others.
Does mathematics have an effect? If you take a bunch of unrelated numbers and process them in irregular ways to produce nonsense, does that have an effect? Does math have to reflect something that is real in order to have effect?

I think of math, and thought, like I would a hammer; a tool that is used to accomplish a task. But if I set a hammer down, it still has presence, as it still has volume, mass, weight, etc. But if I set math or thought down, what is there?

Another problem that I have with thought is that it is capable of lying, of being untrue, or of being pure imagination made up nonsense. So is thought real? Does it really have any power? Matter does not know how to lie, neither does emotion, but thought is very good at lying.

Gee

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Re: The God Question

Post by Gee » September 15th, 2020, 5:43 pm

-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:42 am
Gee wrote:
September 7th, 2020, 12:50 am
The most difficult part of trying to discuss the "God" concept is stripping all of the extras that religions have attached to the idea, then trying to figure out what "God" actually is.
It is not that difficult to remove things from, or add things to, a concept. However this changes the concept. A difficulty with trying to discuss the "God" concept is that are many very different variations of this concept. It has mutated insanely.
Oh yes, we can corrupt the hell out of a concept, especially if it involves our emotions, is invisible, is understood by all, but known by no one. Then add in tens of thousands of years and an unnameable number of cultures and languages to get a nice big mess. But even a mutated mess can be untangled if one is willing and patient because patterns can be traced and commonalities can be found.
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:42 am
Is the concept of "God" not based on the concept of "god" - a god of something that evolved to become the God of everything, becoming increasingly powerful until someone said infinity? From infinity there is nowhere to go except the opposite direction ...
Is the concept of an American not based on the concept of America? I don't see your point.

I can agree that the concept of "God" evolved along with our understanding of consciousness -- that doesn't mean "God" evolved with our understanding.

I don't have a problem with "infinity" and "God" concepts, yet, because I understand that "God" is emotion and emotion does not give two hoots about time. I am not sure of the relevance of "infinity" to the "God" concept.
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:42 am
If everything is stripped away from a concept, then it becomes omni-ambiguous?
I did not say "everything". What I said is the "extras", which leaves the commonalities, which is what anyone with a brain would study -- if they want answers.
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:42 am
Gee wrote:
September 7th, 2020, 12:50 am
That is what this thread has been trying to do.
Does this thread have agency? The OP states this thread is devoted to the philosophical exploration of the distinction between two propositions. Any attempt to debate the truth of either proposition could be viewed as a deviation away from this devotion?
How can anyone study the "philosophical exploration of the distinction between two propositions" if they have no idea of what the propositions are???? You are not making much sense here.

Gee

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Re: The God Question

Post by Jklint » September 16th, 2020, 12:19 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 6:03 pm
Jklint wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 5:30 pm


The one that's the most obvious.
Is it possible to give a bit more detail than that? :)
Sorry for the glib reply. Normally I don't like discussing things like free will, objective vs. subjective, etc., because of the many philosophical absurdities that usually get applied more often obfuscating what it attempts to expound on. I'm always bored when I read all the useless interpretations without carrying the subject forward by one iota. Like god, most of these theories explain nothing except as a display of academic prowess or cleverness.

In my view there is no such thing as objectivity per se except what gets agreed upon as being objective. To classify anything as objective is a judgment call based on whatever criteria is used to denote it as such. Every experience arrives through our senses and processed accordingly which negates objectivity since then it would have to be the same in everyone which it's not. Objectivity defined as truth, is that which appears to us consistently repeatable even if the process which allows its conformity may be thoroughly wrong or misunderstood. Ptolemy's system is one such example when judged by result instead of evidence.

Objectivity, as I see it, also relates to being an inter-subjective progression yielding consensus as if it were a digital description of its corresponding analog process. God is the ultimate historical expression of that consensus whether voluntarily accepted or enforced.

...and I think I'll stop here.

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: The God Question

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 2:16 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:00 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 3:42 pm

Yes, simply nonsense to you, and for reasons touched on in my post. To a reader with a different philosophical orientation and taste who has followed the argument in the complete text, the passage makes perfect sense.
It's poor writing and reflects poor thinking. Everything is what it is. It doesn't matter, for example, that concepts involve abstractions that are based on past states, or that perception will be time-delayed depending on the time scale we use. Those sorts of facts don't change the fact that things are what they are, and that "It is never what it is" is sloppy, contradictory nonsense.
Poor writing? Poor thinking? Listen carefully, philosophant: it is obvious that you have very little appreciation of phenomenology and don't understand these passages from Being and Nothingness and no doubt never finished reading the book if you actually ever read it at all, and yet you persist in denigrating book and author after you were given a gracious way to back off. I believe that on the topic of Sartre we are done. Have a nice day. Stay safe.
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Re: The God Question

Post by Belindi » September 16th, 2020, 3:00 am

The historical origins and subsequent history of God is interesting. But of more immediate relevance is which conception of God, if any, will avert the climate apocalypse .

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Re: The God Question

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 3:13 am

Belindi wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:00 am
The historical origins and subsequent history of God is interesting. But of more immediate relevance is which conception of God, if any, will avert the climate apocalypse .
Haven't you yourself answered this question in an earlier post?
Answer: the conception of an Interventionist God.
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Re: The God Question

Post by Belindi » September 16th, 2020, 3:25 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 am
Belindi wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:00 am
The historical origins and subsequent history of God is interesting. But of more immediate relevance is which conception of God, if any, will avert the climate apocalypse .
Haven't you yourself answered this question in an earlier post?
Answer: the conception of an Interventionist God.
If only!

But no.There will be no supernatural aid. We must now pay attention as adult people and take responsibility for our own destiny.

I think Trinitarian Xianity af all the religions is best able to metamorphose so it has an existentialist deity. This is because the Trinitarian deity is human.

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Re: The God Question

Post by -0+ » September 16th, 2020, 9:03 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 9:49 am
-0+ wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 9:10 am
Proposition 1: X exists.
Proposition 2: The nature of X is Y.

How equivalent is proposition 2 to: X has nature?

If they are close enough to equivalent then the only remaining relevant question may be: What is the difference between 'exists' and 'has nature'?

Is anyone going to try to answer this?
"The nature of x" is another way of saying "These are (at least the supposed or stipulated) properties/characteristics of x."

"X has nature" is a very awkward way of speaking relative to conventional contemporary English. "X has a nature" would be more conventional, but again, that would just be a way of saying that x has a(n at least proposed) set of properties or characteristics. "X has a nature" isn't akin to saying that x exists.
Okay, let's rephrase Proposition 2: The properties of X are Y.

Related propositions include:
Z is a property of X.
X has a property.

However, words like 'supposed' and 'proposed' beg the question: What qualifies as a property?
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 9:49 am
Dracula has a nature--he's a vampire who survives on human blood sucked from persons' necks; he can't be exposed to sunlight (at least not for any length of time), etc., etc., but Dracula doesn't exist. He's a fictional creation.
This suggests that X having a nature doesn't imply X exists. Where to draw a line between Does Exist and Doesn't Exist?

What about the other way around ... Does "X exists" imply "X has a nature"?

Going back to an earlier question: Does USA exist?

USA is a fictional creation, and yet many people may confidently answer Yes. This fiction is strongly supported by widespread acceptance.

Does Palestine exist? This fiction may be similar in nature, but support for this is weaker so answers may be less confident.

Does USSR exist? This fiction was strongly supported. Many people may answer that it existed but it no longer exists. Did it ever really exist? Did it ever really cease to exist?

If anything can have a nature, whether it exists or not, is there something about its nature that determines if it exists or not? Does the nature of any object conveniently include an exists property (the value of which may be TRUE or FALSE), or is it more complex than this?

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Re: The God Question

Post by Terrapin Station » September 16th, 2020, 11:52 am

-0+ wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 9:03 am
However, words like 'supposed' and 'proposed' beg the question: What qualifies as a property?
Are you saying here that you don't know what properties are in general?
This suggests that X having a nature doesn't imply X exists.
Correct.
Where to draw a line between Does Exist and Doesn't Exist?
Whether it's something we're just fantasizing about/imagining/etc. or whether it occurs extramentally.
What about the other way around ... Does "X exists" imply "X has a nature"?
Yes, everything that exists "has" or consists of properties. The "nature" of something is its properties.
Going back to an earlier question: Does USA exist?
It depends on the referent we have in mind. If we're referring to the land, for example, yes. If we're referring to it as a political entity, it doesn't exist as something extramental. The USA as a political entity is just a set of ideas.

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Re: The God Question

Post by Terrapin Station » September 16th, 2020, 11:53 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 2:16 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 5:00 pm


It's poor writing and reflects poor thinking. Everything is what it is. It doesn't matter, for example, that concepts involve abstractions that are based on past states, or that perception will be time-delayed depending on the time scale we use. Those sorts of facts don't change the fact that things are what they are, and that "It is never what it is" is sloppy, contradictory nonsense.
Poor writing? Poor thinking? Listen carefully, philosophant: it is obvious that you have very little appreciation of phenomenology and don't understand these passages from Being and Nothingness and no doubt never finished reading the book if you actually ever read it at all, and yet you persist in denigrating book and author after you were given a gracious way to back off. I believe that on the topic of Sartre we are done. Have a nice day. Stay safe.
You should probably learn to better deal with people having different opinions than your own. It seems like you're offended that someone doesn't like an author as much as you do.

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Re: The God Question

Post by Jklint » September 16th, 2020, 5:02 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 am
Belindi wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:00 am
The historical origins and subsequent history of God is interesting. But of more immediate relevance is which conception of God, if any, will avert the climate apocalypse .
Haven't you yourself answered this question in an earlier post?
Answer: the conception of an Interventionist God.
What is god waiting for? The poles are rapidly melting! But as a conception it's a safe bet they will continue to melt until there's only a single ice cube left. Anyone who believes in an interventionist god when it had countless opportunities to intervene in our historical past hasn't quite grown up yet.

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Re: The God Question

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 5:14 pm

Jklint wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:02 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 am

Haven't you yourself answered this question in an earlier post?
Answer: the conception of an Interventionist God.
What is god waiting for? The poles are rapidly melting! But as a conception it's a safe bet they will continue to melt until there's only a single ice cube left. Anyone who believes in an interventionist god when it had countless opportunities to intervene in our historical past hasn't quite grown up yet.
You may be right. On the other hand you may be wrong. The plain fact of the matter is we just don't know. And that "we" includes you.

So are you or are you not acquainted with Mahler's 2nd and Bruckner's 8th? If you're inclined to experience "Divinity" in classical music, you should check out these two works.
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