Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Greta
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Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Greta » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:41 am

This thread has been inspired by, firstly, chats with others about agnosticism and, secondly, by reading the over-sure statements of believers on this forum. Dubious had previously aired this thread's idea but I did not understand what he was trying to get across at the time. The penny has now dropped. Sorry Dubious; I was wrong and your idea was good, hence this return.

People speak about God as if the notion is obvious. In truth, we could readily dispense with the notion of God altogether and, in terms of understanding reality, nothing would be lost. We could simply consider what is without running it through the distorting filters of mythology.

Even if the universe is an all-infusive meta-mind, why associate it with a deity who started out as a childishly absurd anthropomorphism? Why not start with a fresh slate? The universe - a speculatively emergent meta-mind. Why isn't that that enough, given the limitation of an inside-out perspective? Blending a modern conception with ancient mythology can only serve to muddy the waters of inquiry, and that is certainly what has happened. Even an attempt to define "God" is fraught because no one agrees - and chaotic results in any given observation or experiment suggest a negative signal.

So the only promising aspects of theism lie in where there is commonality of beliefs. However, they seem to be few and those commonalities also significantly overlap with "secular" people's experiences and observations. Thus, any religious ideation that does not overlap with all other major faiths is necessarily culturally specific, of historical, not ontic, interest.

Today, the God of the Gaps is fashionable because all of the prior anthropomorphic forms were rendered ridiculous with increased understanding of nature's processes. So now God's most credible guise tends to be posited as the ground of being. However, many theists will disagree about what that means too. So why not simply call it qualia? Why add the personification? Is it not possible to feel tremendous love and gratitude towards the Earth, the Sun, the galaxy and universe - even to feel worshipful - without endowing it with a metaphorical grey beard and testicles?

When God is thought of as an it, everything changes, including the need to associate It with a middle eastern Iron Age war god. It becomes simply everything, The All, or rather, The All of Us, given our own infusion within the larger web of being.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Atla » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:36 am

Imo the belief that the universe is some kind of one big non-anthropomorphic conscious entity, some kind of an all-infusive meta-mind, is a belief that usually doesn't last long. This view is joyous first, but then tends to slowly evaporate as most people realize that they are feeling love and gratitude towards an amoral, uncaring, sometimes actively hostile universe, on a planet with tons of malignant people.

And no scientific evidence points towards an all-infusive meta-mind. So it is likely just another anthropomorphization, we projected our own self-awareness and our belief in limited consciousness onto the universe. Or maybe we had glimpses of the nondual state and confused that with a higher consciousness.

So if this stage passes, we are back to an uncaring world that's overall not that great at all. Is this meta-mind also a form of God-belief? Some would say yes, some would say no. It's certainly highly different from the extremely supernatural anthropomorphic Gods of the great monotheistic religions.

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Greta
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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Greta » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:04 am

Yes, there's no reason to assume that a meta-mind is true, but that would appear to be the most naturalistic approach to the idea of deities.

I am not sure that if a universe- or Earth-sized mind existed whether it would notice the suffering of animals/humans. It's not as though we ourselves agonise about our dead cells or the bacteria and other small things we routinely kill without noticing.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Atla » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:36 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:04 am
Yes, there's no reason to assume that a meta-mind is true, but that would appear to be the most naturalistic approach to the idea of deities.

I am not sure that if a universe- or Earth-sized mind existed whether it would notice the suffering of animals/humans. It's not as though we ourselves agonise about our dead cells or the bacteria and other small things we routinely kill without noticing.
As for the most naturalistic approach, if there are indeed higher structures of consciousness going through our universe (which is only possible imo if we adopt certain kinds of multiversal views), personally I don't think that such a higher structure would contain our entire universe. It wouldn't even contain the entire Earth and it wouldn't even contain most people. And it wouldn't even contain all body parts of those few "selected" people. That would seem like an excessive waste to me and therefore be highly improbable.

And maybe that structure would be part of yet another higher structure and so on, this would be pretty much a real non-supernatural "God" that is indifferent towards and doesn't notice human and animal suffering. Anyway this is major probabilistic speculation, conjecture. I can't tell if it's correct or not because I can't see sideways multiversally.

I'm pretty certain though that if there's an Earth-mind, the one we are directly embedded in and share, and resonates on the Schumann frequencies, this mind isn't self-aware though. It's more like a massive electromagnetic tuning fork, that also may relay some information as well between living things, through electromagnetism.

So if you mean there's no need for a supernatural "God" I completely agree, but most people can't live without it.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Nick_A » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:12 am

Of course the concept of God is real. God is meaning. Whatever satisfies your need for meaning is your God. The Great Beast offers many possibilitres for providing meaning. Money, fame, sex, power etc all provide meaning. They are your gods.

However there is a minority who need a source for the experience of meaning these gods of the Great Beast cannot provide. This minority seeks the pearl of great price worth sacrificing lesser pearls for.

The concept of God is real. God is meaning and We all need to experience meaning. Your god is within the Great Beast. You have verified it. It governs your life. Others seek the pearl of great price which provides the experience of meaning the Great Beast has no interest in. This experience rather than arising within the Beast has a source outside of creation and Man within creation beginning to awaken, senses our potential connection to the source of this quality of meaning.

God is Meaning. Your source for meaning is your God.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Dubious » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:12 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:12 am
Of course the concept of God is real. God is meaning. Whatever satisfies your need for meaning is your God.
If god is meaning and meaning is god then god means whatever you want it to mean which defaults to god meaning nothing! For many god is a weed!

Bravo for pointing this out so succinctly!

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Nick_A » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:45 am

Dubious wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:12 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:12 am
Of course the concept of God is real. God is meaning. Whatever satisfies your need for meaning is your God.
If god is meaning and meaning is god then god means whatever you want it to mean which defaults to god meaning nothing! For many god is a weed!

Bravo for pointing this out so succinctly!
That is the point. You are attracted to fantasy and superficiality. It is an expression of your god or what provides meaning for your self justification. The God concept includes reality, fantasy and superficiality. I am saying that there is a minority willing to sacrifice the gods of fantasy and superficiality in the attempt to satisfy the needs of what exists in reality within the depth of their being.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Greta » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:55 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:12 am
Of course the concept of God is real. God is meaning. Whatever satisfies your need for meaning is your God. The Great Beast offers many possibilitres for providing meaning. Money, fame, sex, power etc all provide meaning. They are your gods.
Why call them "gods", superimposing ancient concepts over modern circumstances? There's no point - people have preferences, tendencies, predilections, and these often change throughout the course of a life.

People find meaning through relationships with the world, not through money or fame, which act more like metaphysical security blankets than a raison d'etre.
Nick_A wrote:However there is a minority who need a source for the experience of meaning these gods of the Great Beast cannot provide. This minority seeks the pearl of great price worth sacrificing lesser pearls for.
Like it or not (and apparently you don't), you are not only part of the Great Beast - aka "society" - but you are a supportive and active member.

Further, human societies are an extension of the nature of human beings (logically) and these are logically an extension of the biosphere, that extends from the geosphere and so forth. Thus, to separate from the "Great Beast", you need to surrender your membership of planet Earth, from the solar system. This is not even possible when when you are dead.

What humans are doing is, in part, what the Earth is doing. So there is no escaping this membership of a larger system. Yet there's no need to call it a "god" or a "beast" either. It's a world and we are a part of it, even if we are resentful of its seeming uncaring approach to us, both in terms of the planet and its human representatives.

To accept membership is not to uncritically condone - to "worship". That is the scientific mind as opposed to the religious mind - nothing is off the table of inquiry and criticism. Everything and everyone can be subject to doubt with the right evidence.
Nick_A wrote:The concept of God is real.
So are the concepts of vampires and werewolves, and that does not mean that they are real.
Nick_A wrote:God is meaning and We all need to experience meaning.
The only way to avoid meaning is to be depressed. Happy people find meaning naturally in their relationships through the process of living and appreciating what's around them. People can experience love and joy with other species, plants, the Sun, wind, Earth, sky, waters and the stars. Further, they can love it all without worshipping like a god, without adding that mental filter. Do you understand that?
Nick_A wrote:Your god is within the Great Beast. Others seek the pearl of great price which provides the experience of meaning the Great Beast has no interest in. This experience rather than arising within the Beast has a source outside of creation and Man within creation beginning to awaken, senses our potential connection to the source of this quality of meaning. God is Meaning. Your source for meaning is your God.
There is no useful reply possible when you declare rather than philosophise. I could argue, but why? I am certainly part of the world, of the Earth, and thus, yes, I must also be part of the GB - as are you and everyone else. You don't need to be happy about it but it might help for you to remember the Serendipity Prayer which I seem to take more seriously than any theist I've met online, which I find rather odd.

I also suggest that you are out of step with other believers in defining God as "meaning". Millions, even billions, would disagree with you. Let's try a rough-as-guts Google straw poll to see the approximate lie of the land:

"God is love" - 7,690,000 results
god "ground of being -1,310,000 results
"God is death" - 548,000 results
"God is happiness" - 477,000 results
"God is justice" - 190,000 results
"God is meaning" - 119,000 results
"God is goodness" - 83,500 results
"God has no gender" - 231,000 results
"God is female" - 202,000 results
"God is male" - 162,000 results
"God is nothingness" - 15,100 results
"God is a man" yielded 8,300,000 results but the phrase was used in more variant contexts than the other searches and would need for digging.

So God appears to be love, according to most believers, rather than meaning, although the latter is obviously more obscure. "God is love" makes more sense given that meaning can derive from love (and other things), but meaning is not love, and is not even necessary to feel love. Love has primacy.

My impression is that God is a conditioned conduit, a means of tapping into our better nature, but it's far from the only way.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Nick_A » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:21 am

Greta
So God appears to be love, according to most believers, rather than meaning, although the latter is obviously more obscure. "God is love" makes more sense given that meaning can derive from love (and other things), but meaning is not love, and is not even necessary to feel love. Love has primacy.

My impression is that God is a conditioned conduit, a means of tapping into our better nature, but it's far from the only way.
Have I ever given the impression that I follow the crowd. I'm concerned with what makes logical sense in conjunction with what I have experientially verified.

The Great Beast or society itself provides meaning for the outer man or our personality. Meaning for the outer man doesn't effect the need for meaning within the depth of the heart of the inner man. Where meaning for the personality is related to the horizontal expanse of society, the needs of the heart of the inner man are the result of its awareness of the vertical line of being which offers the connection to the source of Man's being.

The Great Beast offers its attractions to satisfy the need for meaning. All it asks is the sacrifice of our attraction to the pearl of great price. For some the sacrifice isn't worth it as they strive to experience objective meaning.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Greta » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:53 am

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:21 am
The Great Beast offers its attractions to satisfy the need for meaning. All it asks is the sacrifice of our attraction to the pearl of great price. For some the sacrifice isn't worth it as they strive to experience objective meaning.
If you are going to speak poetry without being specific, then you deliberately hide behind ambiguity and can't logically complain about being misunderstood. "The pearl of great price" needs explaining, at least, if you are to claim you are doing philosophy.

The Great Beast could be thought of as the greater body of humanity of which we are all a part. Since we are all part of it, decrying it per se is meaningless. One might as well rail against the universe, which is also meaningless.

So, if the GB is humanity at large, then you are effectively saying that humanity provides many attractions but it is a sacrifice to socialise rather than introspect, one that you won't make. I would have thought a balance of each would be optimal, depending on one's temperament.

If everyone was a philosopher or deep thinker nothing would get done. Thus, diversity is necessary for a civil society, and that means we need a proportion of decent and helpful simple people - "doers" - not inclined to look within, but are seemingly criticised by you as slaves to the GB.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Skip » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:26 pm

There is a lot of argument these days regarding the "existence of god", where neither term is defined - or rather, where both are subjective, so that every participant brings their own notion of existence and god. Nothing can be proved, so all points of view are equally valid.

But mere existence isn't the point of a god. The Universal Mind, or Conscious Earth, or some intelligent nebula merely existing wouldn't be any use to us. The Creative Force or whatever set the process in motion is no use to us. It just sits there.
We want gods that work, answering prayer, enforcing rules, allaying fear, providing purpose for our lives, punishing bad action, helping old women conceive, demanding faith, multiplying fishes, smiting rivals, driving out devils, winning football games, making rain, etc. We need gods that we can influence - bribe, entice, romance, beseech, exhort, nag, wheedle - to work for us, and against them.

There used to be another, more direct social function of supernatural entities: to personify aspects of nature and climate, to exemplify human personality traits, to keep our ancestors present and provide a point of contact with our roots. But, as the universe perceived by man grew beyond our comprehension, as our very societies grew beyond personal interaction, those small, intimate deities were subsumed by the idea of a big, distant, all-in-one, top-down god, to whom anyone can talk, but who talks to no-one.

No, he isn't necessary or real, but he's a formidable tool for intimidation.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Necromancer » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:38 pm

I find God more plausible and useful rather than the deluded, "wart"-religious thoughts of the Atheists and other non-believers.

"Wart"-religiousness: https://whatiswritten777.blogspot.no/20 ... gious.html.

:D 8) :mrgreen:

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Post by henry quirk » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:53 pm

Here's the thing: Crom doesn't care if you think He's necessary or not, real or not.

Crom is quite content (in a brooding sort of way) to let you go about your business, thinking what you like, doing what you like, letting you sink or swim.

In fact: goin' about your business is what He expects from you.

I think Crom finds all this musing about His nature, His purpose, His existence, irksome and unnecessary.

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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Nick_A » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:04 pm

Greta wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:53 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:21 am
The Great Beast offers its attractions to satisfy the need for meaning. All it asks is the sacrifice of our attraction to the pearl of great price. For some the sacrifice isn't worth it as they strive to experience objective meaning.
If you are going to speak poetry without being specific, then you deliberately hide behind ambiguity and can't logically complain about being misunderstood. "The pearl of great price" needs explaining, at least, if you are to claim you are doing philosophy.

The Great Beast could be thought of as the greater body of humanity of which we are all a part. Since we are all part of it, decrying it per se is meaningless. One might as well rail against the universe, which is also meaningless.

So, if the GB is humanity at large, then you are effectively saying that humanity provides many attractions but it is a sacrifice to socialise rather than introspect, one that you won't make. I would have thought a balance of each would be optimal, depending on one's temperament.

If everyone was a philosopher or deep thinker nothing would get done. Thus, diversity is necessary for a civil society, and that means we need a proportion of decent and helpful simple people - "doers" - not inclined to look within, but are seemingly criticised by you as slaves to the GB.
I have written on the Great Beast many times. It is our collective personalities acquired in life in contrast with the inner man consisting of qualities we are born with. God outside the limitations of time and space touches the the depth of the being of the inner man. False gods created by the Great Beast govern the lives of the outer man. It is foolish to discuss "doing" before first admitting the artificial division between the inner and outer man. I will copy a response to DaM on another thread to help explain the conflict between the goals of the inner man and outer man.

DaM

Our difference is in our sense of scale but that is no big problem. For example you appreciate the differnce between the outer sensual Man and the inner spiritual Man. Many don't. This is why the question of the origin of higher values is hard to agree on. Perspectives are different. This page would be difficult for some but I think it will just be normal for you. Consider the beginning:

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/ ... do-83.html
To understand Simone Weil, you must understand her beloved master, Plato. So let's interpret a passage from the Phaedo, and then compare it to some statements of Weil.

At St. 83 we read, "...the perceptions of the eye, and the ear, and the the senses are full of deceit." The point is presumably not that the senses are sometimes nonveridical, but that they tie us to a world that is not ultimately real, and that distracts us from the one that is. The point is not epistemological but axiological and ontological. It is not that the senses are unreliable, whether episodically or globally, in respect of the information they provide us about an external world of spatiotemporal particulars. They are reliable enough in providing us such information. The point is rather that the senses deceive us into conferring high value on what is of low value, and into taking as ultimately real what is derivatively real.

It would be a mistake, therefore, to read the passage as an anticipation of the modern problematic of the external world. The point is much deeper. The Platonic inquiry call into question, not human knowledge of a physical world taken to be ultimately real, but the reality and importance of the physical world itself.

On the same page, we read that ". . . nothing which is subject to change has any truth." 'Truth' is here used ontically as equivalent to 'being' or 'real existence.' The mutable is not ultimately 'true' or ultimately real. The idea is not that the mutable is a mere illusion, but that it lacks plenary reality. One who feels this to be so has Platonic intuitions. I suggest that any arguments one develops that this is so will be no more than articulations of this deep intuition or spiritual insight which one either has or does not have, depending, to allude to Fichte's famous saying, on what kind of person one is. (. . .was für eine Philosophie man wähle, hängt ... davon ab, was man für ein Mensch ist.)................................
Read the rest of the page and I think you will read ideas that resonate with you.You have had experiences indicating that a far greater reality the soul of man is called to doesn't exist in the world.

Mark 8: 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

The outer man acquires values which further attach the collective human organism to the earth. At the same time, the seed of the soul within the inner man is drawn to a greater reality and higher values the outer man needs to dominate. The great struggle. My guess is that you are on the side of the seed of the soul needing to mature and return home following the vertical inner direction of being.

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Greta
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Re: Is the concept of "God" necessary, let alone real?

Post by Greta » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:47 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:04 pm
Greta wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:53 am
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:21 am
The Great Beast offers its attractions to satisfy the need for meaning. All it asks is the sacrifice of our attraction to the pearl of great price. For some the sacrifice isn't worth it as they strive to experience objective meaning.
If you are going to speak poetry without being specific, then you deliberately hide behind ambiguity and can't logically complain about being misunderstood. "The pearl of great price" needs explaining, at least, if you are to claim you are doing philosophy.

The Great Beast could be thought of as the greater body of humanity of which we are all a part. Since we are all part of it, decrying it per se is meaningless. One might as well rail against the universe, which is also meaningless.

So, if the GB is humanity at large, then you are effectively saying that humanity provides many attractions but it is a sacrifice to socialise rather than introspect, one that you won't make. I would have thought a balance of each would be optimal, depending on one's temperament.

If everyone was a philosopher or deep thinker nothing would get done. Thus, diversity is necessary for a civil society, and that means we need a proportion of decent and helpful simple people - "doers" - not inclined to look within, but are seemingly criticised by you as slaves to the GB.
I have written on the Great Beast many times. It is our collective personalities acquired in life in contrast with the inner man consisting of qualities we are born with. God outside the limitations of time and space touches the the depth of the being of the inner man. False gods created by the Great Beast govern the lives of the outer man. It is foolish to discuss "doing" before first admitting the artificial division between the inner and outer man. I will copy a response to DaM on another thread to help explain the conflict between the goals of the inner man and outer man.
You have not responded to my post, merely reiterated your complaints about the GB and then changed the subject and then shifted into ambiguous poetry again, talking about "inner" and "outer" in a way that could be interpreted numerous ways, along with a VERY obvious Kantian notion.

* Again, please explain what "the pearl of great price" is - and with clarity, rather than ambiguous flowery poetic language.

* Again, also please explain why you judge innocent, well-meaning people whom are just more mentally simple than us.
The outer man acquires values which further attach the collective human organism to the earth. At the same time, the seed of the soul within the inner man is drawn to a greater reality and higher values the outer man needs to dominate. The great struggle. My guess is that you are on the side of the seed of the soul needing to mature and return home following the vertical inner direction of being.
Yes, this is the kind of worthless nebulous gumph I'm talking about. "Greater reality", "higher values", "false gods" - that's not philosophy, it's competitive poetry!

If you feel no need to properly explain yourself in a broadly understandable way then you are just preaching and do not belong on a philosophy forum as you are effectively treating the forum as a means to create a mini blog without cost or administration in which you can preach.

So please stay on topic and respond directly to the questions I asked above in non poetic prose - with clarity, without hiding behind ambiguous poetry.

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