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Why do many People Make Statements about God?

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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ChanceIsChange
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Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by ChanceIsChange » December 16th, 2018, 8:59 am

As far as I know, nothing is higher than God. In particular, the Unsayable of the great Neoplatonist philosopher Damascius is not higher than God. However, the Unsayable is already so transcendent that nothing can be said about it - not even that it is absolutely transcendent and ineffable! So, why don't most people treat God correctly, that is, in a way that realizes that God is at least so transcendent that God is beyond being, oneness, effability and even beyond the Absolute, unsayability and transcendence? Of course, this forum post, including this very sentence, doesn't do God justice in the least.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by Scott » December 16th, 2018, 10:45 am

I believe the first post in this topic contains numerous loaded question fallacies.

Some of the loaded assumptions are:
  • 1. One or more gods exist.

    2. There is only god.

    3. Many people make statements about this one God.

    4. This one God can have the trait of "height", whatever height is supposed to me mean in this usage.

    5. Nothing has more "height" than this god.

    6. This one God is "transcendent".

    7. This one God is so "transcendent" that it is beyond being, oneness, effability, the Absolute, unsayability and transcendence.

    8, Most people treat this one God incorrectly [presumably in the sense of how they talk about this particular god].
Those are all assumptions and premises that appear to be loaded into your question. Thus, the question is meaningless and unanswerable to anyone who doesn't happen to already believe that all eight of those assumptions are both meaningful and true. I imagine a very small fraction of people happen to already believe that all eight of those assumptions are both meaningful and true.
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ChanceIsChange
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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by ChanceIsChange » December 16th, 2018, 12:15 pm

I have actually not made all of the assumptions you have listed. Among those that I haven't made or haven't made in the sense you stated them are:

1. I have stated that God is beyond being, which includes "being" beyond existence (and essence). Therefore, I don't assume that God exists. Imho, God is rather above existence and non-existence.

2. Nowhere have I said or implied that there is only one god. Maybe, you have incorrectly deduced from the commonness of monotheism that I, too, think that there is only one god. In reality, I would even argue that all gods are real, at least in the form of essences (or rather something superior to essences, namely henads (a Neoplatonist concept), e.g. Odin-ness, Thor-ness, Zeus-ness, Apollo-ness and Ra-ness), because we could otherwise not even think about them. However, I think that, from the transcendence of God, it follows that God even surpasses godhood, so that God is no mere god and that the word "God" is really a misnomer.

4. I have implied that God has the trait of highness, not height. However, that is an artifact of writing (or speaking) about God, who is completely unspeakable. In reality, God probably even transcends highness. Concerning the nature of highness, it is very difficult and probably impossible to define. In fact, if it were amenable to definition, it would probably not be worthy of itself.

5. As stated above, it is a consequence of the limitation of language that we scribe highness to God in speaking and writing.

6. In the same way that God is above highness, God is above transcendence. Strictly speaking, it is a fallacy to ascribe mere absolute transcendence to God. Damascius already realized that the Unsayable is exempt from exemption.

On two of the other assumptions, I would like to comment as follows:

3. You are right in criticizing this assumption. It is quite possible that most people use the word "God" to denote something very different from what I designate by the word "God". Properly speaking, however, God cannot be denoted by any name, including the word "God".

8. Indeed, I should only have assumed that if most people use the word "God" as I do, then they would be treating God incorrectly by talking about God in the way they do. I see no problem with that assumption, since, according to my "knowledge" (please correct me if I'm wrong), most people say that whatever they designate with the word "God" exists, or doesn't exist, or cannot be known to exist or not exist. All of these statements are clearly transcended by God.

Concerning the last remaining assumption, assumption 7, I do not believe it. Belief is lower than knowledge, but God surpasses the One, which is the source of all knowledge, and therefore, God has to be dealt with using something above knowledge and not something below knowledge such as belief (in the sense of opinion). Unlike belief, whose opposite is belief in the contrary, the "super-knowledge" that deals with God doen't have an opposite.

On the whole, you have correctly pointed out that I have made explicit or implicit assumptions in my written post. However, that is an artifact of me writing (or speaking) about God. I did what I sought to criticize, namely, talking or writing about God, but my linguistic treatment of God at least admits the insufficiency of language when it comes to God. You questioned whether my assumptions are meaningful, but that is exactly what I did when I wrote that nothing can be said of God and when my forum post stated that it is completely inadequate.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by JaxAg » December 16th, 2018, 1:32 pm

If God is beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is pointless. If God is not beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is just plain wrong. Which would you prefer?

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by Eduk » December 17th, 2018, 4:16 am

@ChanceIsChange isn't the answer obvious?
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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by ChanceIsChange » December 17th, 2018, 4:32 am

JaxAg wrote:If God is beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is pointless. If God is not beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is just plain wrong. Which would you prefer?
Definitely the first one. In fact, one of the points of this topic is to realize its own pointlessness (and yes, even that is pointless). However, the topic isn't completely without any purpose. Its purpose is to help awaken a sort of non-verbal, non-discursive and above-rational noetic understanding of God. On the other hand, even the nous falls completely short of God, so the topic is actually purposeless.
Eduk wrote:@ChanceIsChange isn't the answer obvious?
Do you mean that the answer is that most people aren't overly fond of radically transcendent thought?

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by LuckyR » December 17th, 2018, 4:48 am

ChanceIsChange wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 4:32 am
JaxAg wrote:If God is beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is pointless. If God is not beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is just plain wrong. Which would you prefer?
Definitely the first one. In fact, one of the points of this topic is to realize its own pointlessness (and yes, even that is pointless). However, the topic isn't completely without any purpose. Its purpose is to help awaken a sort of non-verbal, non-discursive and above-rational noetic understanding of God. On the other hand, even the nous falls completely short of God, so the topic is actually purposeless.
Eduk wrote:@ChanceIsChange isn't the answer obvious?
Do you mean that the answer is that most people aren't overly fond of radically transcendent thought?
Well yes and no. Many if not most gods over the millenia have not been omnipotent nor omniscient, and thus while those gods were more intelligent and capable than humans, they were not overly so. Therefore discussion and speculation about them is completely reasonable. OTOH, you are correct that currently popular gods who are omniscient and omnipotent are so out of the understanding of humans that discussion and even contemplation about them is pointless. Those may as well not exist (which a growing percentage of folks are coming to agree with).
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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by JaxAg » December 17th, 2018, 5:00 am

ChanceIsChange wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 4:32 am
JaxAg wrote:If God is beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is pointless. If God is not beyond intelligible discussion, then this topic is just plain wrong. Which would you prefer?
Definitely the first one. In fact, one of the points of this topic is to realize its own pointlessness (and yes, even that is pointless). However, the topic isn't completely without any purpose. Its purpose is to help awaken a sort of non-verbal, non-discursive and above-rational noetic understanding of God. On the other hand, even the nous falls completely short of God, so the topic is actually purposeless.
OTOH, there may be much purpose in discussing a God who isn't so far beyond discussion. And it seems to me that most definitions of God are at least intelligible. It takes a mischievous, or overly-abstract, mind to propose a God too transcendent to discuss.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by h_k_s » December 17th, 2018, 6:06 am

ChanceIsChange wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 8:59 am
As far as I know, nothing is higher than God. In particular, the Unsayable of the great Neoplatonist philosopher Damascius is not higher than God. However, the Unsayable is already so transcendent that nothing can be said about it - not even that it is absolutely transcendent and ineffable! So, why don't most people treat God correctly, that is, in a way that realizes that God is at least so transcendent that God is beyond being, oneness, effability and even beyond the Absolute, unsayability and transcendence? Of course, this forum post, including this very sentence, doesn't do God justice in the least.
Aristotle, Aquinas, and Descartes said a lot about God and so it seems all the rest of us do so as well, excepting the atheists who say there is no god.

Most of the current modern statements are originally from Aristotle.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by h_k_s » December 17th, 2018, 6:12 am

Regarding God in general, from a strictly Philosophical point of view, I would observe the following:

1 - Either God is immortal and we are not, or

2 - Both God and we are immortal, or

3 - We are immortal and God does not exist, or

4 - Neither we nor God is immortal.

I myself am leaning towards #2 of the above, but those are all 4 of the possibilities.

Regarding God's powers, I would say:

A - Either God has powers to do anything, or

B - God's powers are limited, or

C - There is no God.

I myself am leaning towards #2 of the above as well.

Regarding God's availability to each of us personally, I would say:

a - Either God is not accessible to us, or

b - God is accessible to some of us, or

c - There is no God.

Regarding God's accessibility, I am leaning towards #2 of the above here as well.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by ChanceIsChange » December 17th, 2018, 9:15 am

LuckyR wrote:currently popular gods who are omniscient and omnipotent are so out of the understanding of humans that discussion and even contemplation about them is pointless.
I agree with you and add that God is much more powerful than merely omnipotent, since omnipotence itself somehow derives from God.
LuckyR wrote:Those may as well not exist
That is beside the point, at least when it comes to God. God transcends both existence and non-existence, and even what is above them. So, to say that God exists, or that God does not exist, is completely meaningless. In fact, even saying that God transcends what is beyond existence and non-existence is without any meaning, as is this very sentence. Also, the thoughts we are having about God are totally inadequate. God is so far beyond them that they don't even relate to God in any way - in fact, God is too far above even for them not to relate to God.
JaxAg wrote:there may be much purpose in discussing a God who isn't so far beyond discussion. And it seems to me that most definitions of God are at least intelligible.
Then, you are obviously using the word "God" to refer to something very different from what I call "God". That is because God is above all definitions - in fact, God is above Definition itself. Also, we must be aware of God not really being beyond discussion, but even transcending being beyond discussion. However, even that is incorrect, since it would in some way relate God to being beyond discussion, which God isn't - although even...
JaxAg wrote:It takes a mischievous, or overly-abstract, mind to propose a God too transcendent to discuss.
I think that, on the contrary, a mind can never be abstract enough when it comes to thinking about God. Some of the people who had such abstract minds were the Platonists, beginning with Plato himself and including the great Neoplatonist philosopher Damascius. I still have much about him to learn, but that thinker's mind was, in my opinion, formidable and very well suited to thinking about the Most Transcendent - though even his mind, as all minds, falls utterly short of even coming close to God.

I really recommend learning about - and, more importantly, learning from - Damascius, the last Neoplatonist.

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by Eduk » December 17th, 2018, 9:23 am

In fact, even saying that God transcends what is beyond existence and non-existence is without any meaning, as is this very sentence.
I agree.
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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by LuckyR » December 17th, 2018, 4:07 pm

ChanceIsChange wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 9:15 am
LuckyR wrote:currently popular gods who are omniscient and omnipotent are so out of the understanding of humans that discussion and even contemplation about them is pointless.
I agree with you and add that God is much more powerful than merely omnipotent, since omnipotence itself somehow derives from God.
LuckyR wrote:Those may as well not exist
That is beside the point, at least when it comes to God. God transcends both existence and non-existence, and even what is above them. So, to say that God exists, or that God does not exist, is completely meaningless. In fact, even saying that God transcends what is beyond existence and non-existence is without any meaning, as is this very sentence. Also, the thoughts we are having about God are totally inadequate. God is so far beyond them that they don't even relate to God in any way - in fact, God is too far above even for them not to relate to God.
Well, we are in agreement that your comments about gods are pointless opinions.
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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » February 2nd, 2019, 10:25 pm

You know what I like? Blindly trusting in people. Why? I am mentally trained to act without thinking, I can supress thought at any time. It is really fun to just pretend like someone is better than you and without another thought blindly trusting and believing in them. But you know what isn't logical? Doing that. So don't make a claim that we must all do it because it is simply not logical.
However, the topic isn't completely without any purpose. Its purpose is to help awaken a sort of non-verbal, non-discursive and above-rational noetic understanding of God. On the other hand, even the nous falls completely short of God, so the topic is actually purposeless."

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Re: Why do many People Make Statements about God?

Post by Greta » February 3rd, 2019, 4:11 am

Oh, every man and his dog seems to have put in their two cents' worth about God.

The success of humanity is based on our smarts. Thus we are very curious animals. So, if something is a mystery, then we have always been compelled to do what we can to work through the riddles, especially if the issue seems important.

Obviously the nature of existence and our fates are especially important to us. We have inherited the traits that kept our ancestors alive and fecund and are thus we are compelled to survive. If we don't know what happens to us subjectively after death then our post-mortem fate is of considerable concern! So we naturally try to work out how to best survive the crossing over.

At some stage, however, someone realised that claiming to be inspired by God gave them power over people. They obeyed. This tapped into another aspect of our survival instincts - our main advantage over other animals (and each other) comes from outsmarting them. So then all these alternate realities aka religions cropped up, each offering salvation that was provisional on obedience.

You have to watch out for tricky apes in the jungle!

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