Where Did 'God' Come From?

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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Marvin_Edwards
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Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by Marvin_Edwards » April 27th, 2020, 11:49 am

A newborn child, cold and hungry, cries out to the universe for food and warmth. He is gathered up in his mother’s arms, and is comforted, and fed.

We don’t remember this experience, but it is one we’ve all shared. I believe it leaves us with a sense that we might implore a greater being to come to our aid in time of trouble, and that it is likely the seed of the idea of ‘God’.

On a cold day, I walked out of the apartment ready to shiver. Stepping out of the shadow and into the sunlight, I felt a warmth and comfort, as if I were loved by the Sun. And I understood how easy it was for our ancestors to view the Sun as a god.

In early history people worshipped multiple gods, prayed to them for favors and offered them gifts so that the rains would water their crops, and the river would not flood their homes. By coincidence, this sometimes appeared to work. Psychologists have since discovered that behavior that was intermittently rewarded was more difficult to extinguish than behavior that was consistently rewarded. And so superstition flourished.

But then something new was added. Monotheism took the strong position that there was only one God.

And not only was this the God to pray to and worship, but this God also expected you to follow rules. If you followed the commandments, you would prosper, if not in this life, then in the next.

I remember the preachers from my youth, Oral Roberts and Norman Vincent Peale, teaching that God is a Good God, and that following Him brings both blessings and expectations. I remember the prayer at dinner, “God is Great, God is Good …”.

God became a way to make being good and doing good both valuable and sacred. And that is why the idea is still useful today, even by those of us who use the term in a literary rather than a literal sense.

evolution
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by evolution » April 27th, 2020, 4:13 pm

'God' did not come from somewhere, as in some other place. 'God' is here, just evolving.

'God' is always just, here.

Why did you think 'God' came from somewhere?

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 8:58 am

It was just a blanket explanation for natural phenomena. The explanation was anthropomorphized due to rudimentary, psychologically-projective thinking.

NukeBan
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by NukeBan » April 28th, 2020, 11:32 am

"God" is a collection of stories which attempt in a variety of ways to shed light on the human condition and the nature of reality.

Imagine that you are attempting to explain sex to a 5 year old. You'll create a highly simplified perhaps somewhat fictionalized story which isn't technically accurate in every detail so as to connect with the child at their ability level. The God stories at the heart of Western civilization are likely similar to this, given that they were written some 2,000-4,000 years ago for an audience of uneducated peasants who lived very short hard lives.

For the last 500 years or so many people have found they can't connect with these religious stories, which makes sense given that the stories were written for a very different audience than citizens of today's world. This might be compared to the 12 year old who no longer believes that the stork brought their baby brother.

So, the stories are out of date, but that does not automatically equal them being false. Here's an example...

It doesn't seem too likely that there was a guy named Adam, a gal named Eve, and a talking snake, as explained in the story presented in the Book of Genesis.

On the other hand, it seems quite credible that when human beings consume the fruit from the tree of knowledge they will find themselves expelled from the Garden Of Eden, because that is indeed what is happening all around us in our own time.

So while the bit about the talking snake seems reasonably labeled fiction, that does not necessarily mean the story is false in the message it was perhaps attempting to share. To me, it seems pretty remarkable that the first story in the Bible, written some 3,000 years ago, describes the essence of what's happening in today's modern world so well.

What so many online atheists seem to be doing is acting out like the 12 year old who just discovered there is no stork. They're often chanting, "Aha! There is no stork!! That was a big fat lie!!" and to them this is what passes for intellectual enquiry.

Another more mature approach might be to review religion as one would a work of art like a play on the stage. Yes, the play is fictional and the characters in the story are just actors. But if the play comments usefully on the human condition in a manner which engages audiences for thousands of years, the script may have been written by some intelligent author with deep insights in to the human condition and the nature of reality. So maybe it's worth listening.

My Catholic upbringing told me that God is ever present in every time and place. Hmm I thought, as a 15 year old about to leave the Church, I don't see Him anywhere, let alone everywhere!

And then I got old and gray and thought about space, which is ever present everywhere at every scale in every time and place. It just doesn't have a long gray beard, a booming voice, and opinions on pork consumption etc, that's all.

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chewybrian
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by chewybrian » April 28th, 2020, 1:30 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 11:49 am
Psychologists have since discovered that behavior that was intermittently rewarded was more difficult to extinguish than behavior that was consistently rewarded. And so superstition flourished.
This certainly explains the appeal of gambling. If you take a bucket to the river for water, and come back with water, that's work and it's boring. If you go out hunting and come back with a kill, or at least a good story of the one that got away, that's exciting and interesting, and not like work at all.

If you build spreadsheets for 8 hours and get a set wage, that's no fun. If you go to the racetrack and spend 8 hours scouring the Form for a possible score, that's fun.

Superstition was Skinner's word for learned behaviors that were more or less accidental and did not really work in getting his pigeons what they wanted. They confused correlation with causation and 'learned' to do something in expectation of food rewards because they got the food at random intervals, and the food arrival happened to coincide with some action, like hopping or spinning. They would then hop or spin in hopes of being delivered more food. Early people presumably 'learned' things that were not really true in the same way.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by _attano_ » April 28th, 2020, 4:09 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 11:49 am
A newborn child, cold and hungry, cries out to the universe for food and warmth. He is gathered up in his mother’s arms, and is comforted, and fed.

We don’t remember this experience, but it is one we’ve all shared. I believe it leaves us with a sense that we might implore a greater being to come to our aid in time of trouble, and that it is likely the seed of the idea of ‘God’.

On a cold day, I walked out of the apartment ready to shiver. Stepping out of the shadow and into the sunlight, I felt a warmth and comfort, as if I were loved by the Sun. And I understood how easy it was for our ancestors to view the Sun as a god.

In early history people worshipped multiple gods, prayed to them for favors and offered them gifts so that the rains would water their crops, and the river would not flood their homes. By coincidence, this sometimes appeared to work. Psychologists have since discovered that behavior that was intermittently rewarded was more difficult to extinguish than behavior that was consistently rewarded. And so superstition flourished.

But then something new was added. Monotheism took the strong position that there was only one God.

And not only was this the God to pray to and worship, but this God also expected you to follow rules. If you followed the commandments, you would prosper, if not in this life, then in the next.

I remember the preachers from my youth, Oral Roberts and Norman Vincent Peale, teaching that God is a Good God, and that following Him brings both blessings and expectations. I remember the prayer at dinner, “God is Great, God is Good …”.

God became a way to make being good and doing good both valuable and sacred. And that is why the idea is still useful today, even by those of us who use the term in a literary rather than a literal sense.
It's very plausible, thou maybe a tad too utilitarian...

It seems that Gods were pleasure givers for pleasure seekers. Yet, is that really all, is that really a good frame to understand religious phenomena?
How would you explain all those horrible and gory stories one often finds in mythologies? Or how would you explain Gods exacting pain and sacrifice? Like slaughtering the first born, for instance.
And then monotheism came along... Maybe that was sheer chance, but how come it eventually took over polytheistic religions? Any idea?

And then we should believe in God, not because we really believe in God, but because it's 'useful'. Is not the Constitution good enough for that?

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Sculptor1
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 28th, 2020, 4:58 pm

evolution wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 4:13 pm
'God' did not come from somewhere, as in some other place. 'God' is here, just evolving.

'God' is always just, here.

Why did you think 'God' came from somewhere?
God was invented.
Obviously.

evolution
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by evolution » April 28th, 2020, 10:27 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 4:58 pm
evolution wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 4:13 pm
'God' did not come from somewhere, as in some other place. 'God' is here, just evolving.

'God' is always just, here.

Why did you think 'God' came from somewhere?
God was invented.
Obviously.
But what is 'God', which was obviously invented.

Obviously the word 'God' was invented, but was what the word God referred to invented also? Or, does that exist and always has?

evolution
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by evolution » April 28th, 2020, 11:03 pm

NukeBan wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 11:32 am
"God" is a collection of stories which attempt in a variety of ways to shed light on the human condition and the nature of reality.

Imagine that you are attempting to explain sex to a 5 year old. You'll create a highly simplified perhaps somewhat fictionalized story which isn't technically accurate in every detail so as to connect with the child at their ability level. The God stories at the heart of Western civilization are likely similar to this, given that they were written some 2,000-4,000 years ago for an audience of uneducated peasants who lived very short hard lives.

For the last 500 years or so many people have found they can't connect with these religious stories, which makes sense given that the stories were written for a very different audience than citizens of today's world. This might be compared to the 12 year old who no longer believes that the stork brought their baby brother.

So, the stories are out of date, but that does not automatically equal them being false. Here's an example...

It doesn't seem too likely that there was a guy named Adam, a gal named Eve, and a talking snake, as explained in the story presented in the Book of Genesis.

On the other hand, it seems quite credible that when human beings consume the fruit from the tree of knowledge they will find themselves expelled from the Garden Of Eden, because that is indeed what is happening all around us in our own time.
The bible is just a book of fables, told in very short stories. Not to explain things literally, but just to explain things.

The short tale of Adam and Eve explains creation, through evolution. Eve from Adam and Adam from Earth just explains in very simple, short and easy terms evolution, and how all things are created through evolution.

The words 'Adam' and 'Eve' refer to the first human beings, and continually evolving human beings, who although knew what was wrong still knowingly did it.

Adam and Eve knew it was wrong to eat, or take, from a certain thing, but still did it, and doing so they were expelled from, or started the destruction of, the Garden of Eden, which is just Earth itself. Due to the direction of the spin of the Earth in relation to the sun, East of Eden just refers to the future.

Eve, being 'female', in the most generalized short story sense of the word wanted more (think of shopping) then needed. She wanted the shining red apple (bright new thing/dress) and even knowing it was wrong to take or get it, she did not resist. Adam, being 'male', in the most generalized generalized short story sense of the word blamed someone else for his actions (think not taking responsibility). He blamed Eve for what he did when he took from what he already knew what was wrong to do.

The 'snake' literally being the lowest of animals as it is the animal that slides or slithers 'lowest' to the ground. 'Up' and 'down' or 'high' and 'low' in relation to Heaven being up and hell being down or the Spirit being high and wrong thinking being low is in reference to being 'uplifted' into what is more right, and being 'held down' with being 'low', wrong, or even de-pressed. The snake being the 'lowest' of animals just refers to how it tricked or fooled the human beings into doing what they essentially knew was wrong anyway. The way this tricking or fooling happened is obviously not through any thing else, but from their own thinking. The only ones Adam and Eve were deceiving, were themselves. It was their own thinking that led them to do what they knew was wrong.

Another reason the 'snake' was used in this very short fable was because snakes have forked tongues. The 'fork' refers to a 'split tongue', which means not speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The splitting of what is said, which a tongue is needed to speak, is the splitting of the truth, or telling a lie, which is what actually deceives people themselves. If some one is not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then they are only deceiving and fooling their own self.

There are countless other ways to explain this further and more succinctly, with countless other things all leading to form One picture, with each thing being more self-evident proof of each other, if anyone is interested.
NukeBan wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 11:32 am
So while the bit about the talking snake seems reasonably labeled fiction, that does not necessarily mean the story is false in the message it was perhaps attempting to share. To me, it seems pretty remarkable that the first story in the Bible, written some 3,000 years ago, describes the essence of what's happening in today's modern world so well.

What so many online atheists seem to be doing is acting out like the 12 year old who just discovered there is no stork. They're often chanting, "Aha! There is no stork!! That was a big fat lie!!" and to them this is what passes for intellectual enquiry.

Another more mature approach might be to review religion as one would a work of art like a play on the stage. Yes, the play is fictional and the characters in the story are just actors. But if the play comments usefully on the human condition in a manner which engages audiences for thousands of years, the script may have been written by some intelligent author with deep insights in to the human condition and the nature of reality. So maybe it's worth listening.

My Catholic upbringing told me that God is ever present in every time and place. Hmm I thought, as a 15 year old about to leave the Church, I don't see Him anywhere, let alone everywhere!

And then I got old and gray and thought about space, which is ever present everywhere at every scale in every time and place. It just doesn't have a long gray beard, a booming voice, and opinions on pork consumption etc, that's all.

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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by detail » April 29th, 2020, 2:08 pm

The word god , somehow came from the word to spill or to pour some fluids in order to conjure the deity. Perhaps the word stem from the old indo-germanic word ghouto , to conjure or to spill or to pour fluids (beer, blood etc.) in honor for something could somehow explain somehow the reasoning of the word itself.

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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by evolution » April 29th, 2020, 3:04 pm

detail wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 2:08 pm
The word god , somehow came from the word to spill or to pour some fluids in order to conjure the deity. Perhaps the word stem from the old indo-germanic word ghouto , to conjure or to spill or to pour fluids (beer, blood etc.) in honor for something could somehow explain somehow the reasoning of the word itself.
A higher form of fluid, or fluid uplifting, is Spirit.

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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 29th, 2020, 4:31 pm

evolution wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 10:27 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 4:58 pm


God was invented.
Obviously.
But what is 'God', which was obviously invented.

Obviously the word 'God' was invented, but was what the word God referred to invented also? Or, does that exist and always has?
Ha ha.
"God" is of very recent invention. It's a catch all phrase used to encompass a multitude of false beliefs based largely of fearful wish fulfillment.
It is absurd to suggest a human concept might have predated humans.

evolution
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by evolution » April 29th, 2020, 7:58 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:31 pm
evolution wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 10:27 pm


But what is 'God', which was obviously invented.

Obviously the word 'God' was invented, but was what the word God referred to invented also? Or, does that exist and always has?
Ha ha.
"God" is of very recent invention. It's a catch all phrase used to encompass a multitude of false beliefs based largely of fearful wish fulfillment.
It is absurd to suggest a human concept might have predated humans.
So why even think such an absurdity as you have here, let alone write it out aloud? What would make you assume and say something as so outrageous as this? No one that I know of has ever remotely suggested a human concept might have predated humans. So, why would you assume anyone was suggesting this here? I obviously never suggested such a thing, so did someone else suggest such thing? Or, was that all of your own making?

We both already knew the word 'God' was a so called "very recent invention", so that goes without saying. We both also knew a human concept comes after the creature called 'human being' was created through evolution, so this also does not need to be said at all, but you now say that whatever the word 'God' refers to then those things are all just "false beliefs based largely of fearful wish fulfillment". So, what actual evidence and proof do you have for this belief of yours here?

What happens if the word 'God' is a catch phrase used to encompass some things, which are actually true? Or, is that just not at all possible in and with those beliefs of yours?

Could it be possible some of those beliefs of yours are actually false beliefs, themselves? Or is this just not possible?

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Sculptor1
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by Sculptor1 » April 30th, 2020, 5:42 am

evolution wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 10:27 pm


But what is 'God', which was obviously invented.

Obviously the word 'God' was invented, but was what the word God referred to invented also? Or, does that exist and always has?
DUH!

NukeBan
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Re: Where Did 'God' Come From?

Post by NukeBan » April 30th, 2020, 10:45 am

The word "God" is a relatively recent invention, but the experience that word is attempting to describe does pre-date humans. Wildlife has a primal connection with nature that was largely lost to us as thought emerged in human beings and we became increasingly distracted and consumed by the symbolic realm between our ears. Most of the time our attention is not focused on the real world, but rather on what we think about the real world, which is something else entirely.

Consider your dog with his head out the window of your car as you drive. Your dog is totally 100% invested in the moment of the wind in his face, whereas you are typically lost in thought as you drive. Your dog is in the real world, you are usually in a symbolic realm which only points to the real world, a second hand experience. Your dog has the primal bond with reality, you typically do not.

Religions and the god(s) characters arose in an attempt to recover the lost primal bond with reality. As example, consider that the Jehovah character is remarkably similar to nature in being both a gloriously beautiful giver of life, and a ruthless killer of the innocent. As we lost the primal bond with reality we attempted to reconnect through the use of relatable human-like characters such as Jehovah.

A key problem for most religions is that such characters are made of thought, the very thing which causes us to lose the primal bond with nature.

The primal bond with nature is still available to us today, it just doesn't come naturally to us as it once did. That's the price tag for the awesome power of thought.

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