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P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

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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Eduk
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 4:11 am

What is the middle ground between claiming to know God and not believing that claim?
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Burning ghost
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 28th, 2018, 4:49 am

Eduk wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 4:11 am
What is the middle ground between claiming to know God and not believing that claim?
Enquiring what it is the person means by “God” and listening to what they have to say dispassionately and maybe offering up an idea that makes sense to both.

Like I said, in some cases the person/s may be too entrenched and dogmatic. In that situation ridicule and defensiveness are expressed.

Another path would be through mysticism. If you see no use in proverbial language then that is a hard path to take. If someone ble to define god then simply ask them to try to the best of their ability and understand that what they are doing is offering something personal to you and that it is likely to sound quite contrary because for such complex ideas language is vague at best - much like describing any personal experience.

If you’re interested then ask the person. If not then ask yourself what exactly it is you hope to achieve/gain from the exchange.

Trust me it’s not like I’ve never gotten frustrated with religious dogmaticism myself. I’m guilty of losing patience multiple times in the past. I like to think I’ve managed to step away from those situations now and allow my thoughts and feelings to settle before jumping back in (if I feel there is something to gain.)

An example would be with Spectrum whose dedication I respect but whose views I find at fault. I dismiss him one month and come back afresh another to try again because he is obviously putting in some effort and work and that i and of itself is admirable in my eyes.

Encourage the person who makes no sense to you to say more so you stand a better chance of understanding part of their view.

The “middle ground” would be to mull over possible ideas of “god” that don’t involve bearded beings or omnipotent beings. As a basic idea and guiding principle a belief in some “higher meaning” is not silly but rather functional. We all after all do things for reasons and to extrapolate our need for reasons and meaning beyond our immediate lives and environment is quite an extraordinary feat don’t you think - all the more so because we simply accept it and get o with our lives most of the time without bring existential questions to bear (which usually pop up durign a personal crisis and in such circumstances having a stibborn belief in some greater “purpose” or “meaning”, be it religious or not, is hardly in need of defending right?

The issue is those who take such a stubborn life affirming view and envelope themselves in it like all other smaller and more immediate experiences are petty and childish - hence the birth of the zealot and disappreciation for more concrete wonders in life like having a roof over your head, speaking to people and/or drawing a picture of a flower.

That last comment leads to another possible approach toward a “middle ground.” A discussion about aesthetics and art in is something, no matter your religious inclinations, we can all express ourselves through, understand experientially and yet struggle hard to express adequately with words.

If someone says they “know god” then ask them what they mean. Probe away and be respectful even if they seem to talk down to you. Ignore the egotism and try and learn something rather than get frustrated. With care and effort it is sometimes possible to find an opening and challenge someone in a productive way (meaning without havign to make them feel like they’re beneath you.) If they attack you and belittle you “turn the other cheek” but press on regardless - there is some wisdom among fable and parable.

I have my way and you have yours. If you think any common ground is impossible then it will remain so regardless of the reality. I do find it impossible to get through to some people though, I’m not claiming to have cracked the ongoing problem of basic human communication! :D

Note: I am also well aware that this, to a greater extent, may come across as patronizing drivel. I don’t mind, I’d rather say something and try a little even if the cost is tha some people view me as an arrogant know-it-all nincompoop.

For some strange reason I feel the urge to go and listen to Cannibal Corpse - Stripped, Raped and Strangled ... weird! :? :?: :?
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Eduk
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 5:30 am

Great post Burning Ghost. I'd like to think I often do ask people to define God, indeed I have a post on agnosticism which suggests that you need to define God before you can be agnostic and as you can't define God you also can't be agnostic (not many people seem to agree). Seems to me that most everyone has an inherent concept of God within them which they don't even question (which the scientific evidence seems to back up). Your average agnostic would be very confused if I asked them which God they were agnostic towards as the answer seems too obvious.

Your approach though doesn't strike me as a middle way. It strikes me as an alternate way. Someone makes a claim and instead of discussing the claim head on you change the subject to be about why they would make that claim. You can absolutely not agree with their claim while still understanding and even sympathising with the claim for example.

Again I'd like to think I do this, maybe not in a very easy going way though. I've said many times that I don't put theism in a special box. For me it is just another unreasonable claim and in my experience atheists make many unreasonable claims (just as many as theists on the whole). Hitchens and Dawkins are famous for wanting rid of religion but I think that is short sighted (although they possibly only say this to be polemic). I want rid of unreasonableness, which will in turn get rid of religion. Simply getting rid of religion would have no appreciable effect, I think.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Dark Matter » August 28th, 2018, 5:40 am

Burning ghost wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 4:04 am
Dark Matter -

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to read or listen if they don’t want to.
Very true, and the article makes a point of it. Atheists who come to a forum like this without taking the time to investigate are willfully ignorant.

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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Steve3007 » August 28th, 2018, 5:43 am

Dark Matter wrote:The Guardian? Seriously?
viewtopic.php?p=296900#p296900

Eduk
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 5:52 am

Atheists who come to a forum like this without taking the time to investigate are willfully ignorant.
Do you feel I have spent a reasonable amount of time investigating? I believe I have asked you quite a large number of questions?

Also is it possible to have a general understanding which precludes willful ignorance. For example I can say that I know of no grand conspiracies which were true (easily corrected if you can think of one). I can say I have looked at the research which shows for every person added to a conspiracy it gets exponentially less stable. I can look at history and think even things like atomic secrets have been leaked where there is quite a vested interest in keeping things secret. So then if I am presented with theory X that relies on a grand conspiracy can I then say well grand conspiracies are unlikely so your theory X is automatically unlikely and I don't need to read your entire book (as in there are better uses of my time)?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 28th, 2018, 6:07 am

Eduk -

And I’d then go on to ask what “religion” means. Haha! As an institute religion is seemingly something quite different to a persons “religiosity” (an unfortunate term that some would say is deeply misleading - including myself.) The propensity to believe in things is of benefit, and if X works for a, b and c we generally, beign silly little ssume it will ork for everything until reality repeatedly smacks us in the face.

Whatever the state of “religion” I think we’re soem way from really understanding where it stems from and of what benefit we can reap from it. I imagine in some far flung future people will look back and laugh at our clumsy concepts and wonder why it was we made such a mess of what will come to be a better understood aspect of human behaviour.

Or maybe not!

When I hear the term “god” I just see it as an expression of some unknown ideal future we willfully strive toward. From there I can usually come to understand part of the structure underneath what the more zealous express and then do my best to soften them up and open them up to other possible alternatives - again sometimes it’s pointless, and it tends to be harder to do toward those utterly against all religious dialogue and staunchly anti-theistic.

The subject fascinates me no end.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 28th, 2018, 6:15 am

Dark Matter -

Could you define what ou mean by “god” please? I’ve done so myself a little elsewhere in an exchange with Tommarcus. Still waiting to hear back from him.

Eduk -

I guess the same question to you. Laying out such things may be useful? Liek the article says often positions are taken up against the easier and more extreme views. When pressed I have heard even Dawkins admit there is a point beyond which he cannot say that he is utterly against all religious ideasz and thought.

Something that i’ve heard Peterson point out, and has been pointed out by myself and other long before, is the comparison with Jungian archetypes and Dawkins memes. There are plenty of parallel investiagtions out there that seem to need just a littel open mindedness order to develop into some very interesting conversational material.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 6:34 am

Burning Ghost you want my definition of God? I don't have a personal definition of God. The definition of God changes from person to person so there are myriad definitions of God. When I say I don't have a belief in God that is not quite right, I should say I don't have a belief in known Gods.
For example let us imagine that existence was created. I am agnostic to whether that is possible. But if I had to make a stance I'd say it's unlikely that the word created can be applied to existence. As in the concept is beyond human understanding. When someone says they believe that God created the universe I believe that they have no conception of what this actually means and therefore I don't believe them.
Let me try to put it another way. Let us say that I said there is a tea pot behind mars and I offered absolutely nothing else. Let us then imagine that we found a tea pot behind mars. Would I then be right in any meaningful sense? And what would that rightness mean?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Thinking critical » August 28th, 2018, 6:54 am

Just another attempt to articulately redefine god in order to place it beyond the scope of reasoning. God is everything, god is nothing, god is the contingency for beingness and existence itself.
These are all meaningless arbitrary concepts, attempting to paint god as some sort of abstract essence which is intrinsically drenched within existence itself. As poetic as it all may sound, there is absolutely no logical premise from which this type of vague description could be grounded.
I except that the ontological existence of metaphysical beings are well and truly inbeded into the nature of our species, this is expressed by our yearning for transcendent purpose. However these existential desires are due to the condition of unbounded consciousness, we are self aware beings capable of experiencing existence and formulating concepts based on that experience. Our own naivety and ignorance transponds into a false sense of reality which inevitably leads so many down the path to god.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 7:04 am

These are all meaningless arbitrary concepts, attempting to paint god as some sort of abstract essence which is intrinsically drenched within existence itself
Another question I ask, which doesn't regularly get answered, is so now what? As in let us assume that God is indeed everything and nothing, so what do I do with that knowledge? This goes back to Burnings Ghost point. As in if the church wants to feed the homeless because God wants them to and I want to feed the homeless because I want the homeless to be fed then do we actually need to argue about belief in God or can we just feed the homeless?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Thinking critical » August 28th, 2018, 8:58 am

Interesting point Eduk, I agree. Even if by pure chance as a result of throwing words and loose definitions around everywhere we stumbled across a description of something that vaguely matches some fundamental all encompassing conscious energy which is intrinsically woven through the fabric of existence, who are we to assign the label god to it, specifically a god represented by religion.
If anything, such an energy ought to be described as the essence of nature.
And as you said, what would such a discovery even mean?
What would change?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 28th, 2018, 10:35 am

Eduk wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 6:34 am
Burning Ghost you want my definition of God? I don't have a personal definition of God. The definition of God changes from person to person so there are myriad definitions of God. When I say I don't have a belief in God that is not quite right, I should say I don't have a belief in known Gods.
For example let us imagine that existence was created. I am agnostic to whether that is possible. But if I had to make a stance I'd say it's unlikely that the word created can be applied to existence. As in the concept is beyond human understanding. When someone says they believe that God created the universe I believe that they have no conception of what this actually means and therefore I don't believe them.
Let me try to put it another way. Let us say that I said there is a tea pot behind mars and I offered absolutely nothing else. Let us then imagine that we found a tea pot behind mars. Would I then be right in any meaningful sense? And what would that rightness mean?
I’ve had the Russell thrown at me already. No issue with what he says.

The part in bold ... my view too. I would class such views as either superficially examined (or more likely a placeholder) or being uttered by the kind of zealot I am disinclined to bother with. I don’t think such views are the predominent view amoung people who claim a belief in “god.” The main issue seems to be ethically driven and as a source of moral vision and moving toward general human betterment from a purely subjective “what is” perspective - meaning the pure wonder of existence.

If someone says god created the universe because it says so in the bible and no effort on my part brings them to consider this as a broader metaphor or analogy then I simply stop wasting my time and move to someone more willling to explore such s possibility - there are plenty.
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Eduk
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 28th, 2018, 10:54 am

I don’t think such views are the predominent view amoung people who claim a belief in “god.”
I think most people who say they believe in God also say that God created the universe?
The main issue seems to be ethically driven and as a source of moral vision and moving toward general human betterment from a purely subjective
I don't really know what the main issue is to be honest.

I mean day to day I only rarely meet people with a religious message. Those meetings are normally not great. But I meet tons of religious people all the time and socialise/work with them just fine.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Dark Matter » August 28th, 2018, 12:34 pm

Eduk wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 5:52 am
Atheists who come to a forum like this without taking the time to investigate are willfully ignorant.
Do you feel I have spent a reasonable amount of time investigating? I believe I have asked you quite a large number of questions?
I don't know. What do you know about the doctrine of divine simplicity?
Also is it possible to have a general understanding which precludes willful ignorance. For example I can say that I know of no grand conspiracies which were true (easily corrected if you can think of one). I can say I have looked at the research which shows for every person added to a conspiracy it gets exponentially less stable. I can look at history and think even things like atomic secrets have been leaked where there is quite a vested interest in keeping things secret. So then if I am presented with theory X that relies on a grand conspiracy can I then say well grand conspiracies are unlikely so your theory X is automatically unlikely and I don't need to read your entire book (as in there are better uses of my time)?
See above.

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