What is God?
#1
Wink 
What is God?

I find it to be a rather vague term. could mean anything! so may the question be asked - what is your God?

To some, money is god. To some, love is god. To some, knowledge is god. And to some, science is god.

God is what you want it to be, and still not what you think it to be. It is what keeps you going and it is what ends with you.

I am an agnostic only because I do not know everything. And although I can dismiss the notion of god as framed by everyone else - I can not deny its existence because I myself cannot fully understand it. I don't really know what god is.

All I know, is that I don't know.

I am an atheist in the same sense that everyone here is an atheist. But everyone here is agnostic in the same way as I am agnostic.

That was my introductory rambling. Now I look forward to debating what I (and you) are capable of understanding.

Maybe we can start with The Pale Blue Dot!

#2
(28-Jul-2011, 04:40 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: What is God?

I find it to be a rather vague term. could mean anything! so may the question be asked - what is your God?

To some, money is god. To some, love is god. To some, knowledge is god. And to some, science is god.

God is not a vague term. It is well defined. He is the one does all or some of these - created everything, constantly meddles with His creation, answers prayers, performs miracles, and dictates what is moral and what is not.

Quote:God is what you want it to be, and still not what you think it to be. It is what keeps you going and it is what ends with you.

We here are wary of deepities.

Quote:I am an agnostic only because I do not know everything. And although I can dismiss the notion of god as framed by everyone else - I can not deny its existence because I myself cannot fully understand it. I don't really know what god is.

All I know, is that I don't know.

Then you should read religious literature. Plenty of people have figured out God and have written enormous volumes about Him.

Quote:That was my introductory rambling. Now I look forward to debating what I (and you) are capable of understanding.

A debate is for when you are pretty much convinced of your position and want to defend it. Going by your comment, I see that you aren't even sure of what god is. Our position here is quite clear when it comes to god. We are naturalists - there is only the natural world and science is the best way to know about it. So before you even start talking about debates, I suggest you learn about religion (and its more vague counterpart spirituality) and the various ideas of god present in them. Else it would just be rehashing the same old arguments.

We have forums for a number of topics relating to religion, science and philosophy. Have a look at them, see if your questions have already come up, if not, start a new thread in the appropriate forum. Also please make specific arguments taking care to not use ambiguous definitions of words and starting a pointless debate about semantics. If you are not sure about something (like in what sense people here use god), first ask. Also please go through the forum rules if you haven't already.
#3
Ha! and I thought arrogance was exclusive to religious idealogues.

To start with, your own definition of god seems quite restrained to the monotheistic and abrahamic notion of a supreme being. That would also explain why you refer to this deity as a male. But step outside the realm of religion, and I think you will be at a loss of words.

The god that created everything is probably humans looking for patterns. The god that constantly meddles with 'his' creation is people looking to explain the unexplainable. The god that answers prayers is a caricature of our infantile desire of having a guardian. The god that performs miracles is a fairy tale, and a god that dictates what is right and what is wrong, is actually just another way of humans trying to control other humans. So your definition, is just as good as the ones that came before it - and therefore, worthless.

I apologize for the so called "deepity", for I succumb to the poetic nature of philosophy every now and then. What can I say, It amuses me.

Coming to your point about reading religious literature to 'figure out' god, or maybe referring to one of those enormous volumes that people have written. Truthfully, that is exactly what I suggest you stop doing and free your thought from the historic narratives that have framed your perception of god.

Finally, I appreciate your instructive suggestions on how I should proceed with my understanding of religion, spirituality and all that naturalism stuff you mentioned. I also notice that wearing that Admin hat has brought a theological feel to your guidelines about this forum, as if it was a religion within itself. Personally, I could care less. I'd rather speak my mind whenever, where ever, however I wish to, than be regulated and designated into these beautifully ordered threads that you guys have managed to knit together. So, being a humanist that I am, I would like to request you to be more empathetic towards people that join this community to share their views, and stop being a chaperone to - ironically - the free thought community.

peace!

(28-Jul-2011, 10:27 AM)Lije Wrote:
(28-Jul-2011, 04:40 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: What is God?

I find it to be a rather vague term. could mean anything! so may the question be asked - what is your God?

To some, money is god. To some, love is god. To some, knowledge is god. And to some, science is god.

God is not a vague term. It is well defined. He is the one does all or some of these - created everything, constantly meddles with His creation, answers prayers, performs miracles, and dictates what is moral and what is not.

Quote:God is what you want it to be, and still not what you think it to be. It is what keeps you going and it is what ends with you.

We here are wary of deepities.

Quote:I am an agnostic only because I do not know everything. And although I can dismiss the notion of god as framed by everyone else - I can not deny its existence because I myself cannot fully understand it. I don't really know what god is.

All I know, is that I don't know.

Then you should read religious literature. Plenty of people have figured out God and have written enormous volumes about Him.

Quote:That was my introductory rambling. Now I look forward to debating what I (and you) are capable of understanding.

A debate is for when you are pretty much convinced of your position and want to defend it. Going by your comment, I see that you aren't even sure of what god is. Our position here is quite clear when it comes to god. We are naturalists - there is only the natural world and science is the best way to know about it. So before you even start talking about debates, I suggest you learn about religion (and its more vague counterpart spirituality) and the various ideas of god present in them. Else it would just be rehashing the same old arguments.

We have forums for a number of topics relating to religion, science and philosophy. Have a look at them, see if your questions have already come up, if not, start a new thread in the appropriate forum. Also please make specific arguments taking care to not use ambiguous definitions of words and starting a pointless debate about semantics. If you are not sure about something (like in what sense people here use god), first ask. Also please go through the forum rules if you haven't already.

#4
Quote:I also notice that wearing that Admin hat has brought a theological feel to your guidelines about this forum, as if it was a religion within itself. Personally, I could care less. I'd rather speak my mind whenever, where ever, however I wish to, than be regulated and designated into these beautifully ordered threads that you guys have managed to knit together.
speak your mind here not here
#5
(30-Jul-2011, 03:55 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: Ha! and I thought arrogance was exclusive to religious idealogues.

You'd be wrong if you thought that, but in any case the arrogance here is in the way you entered the forum and usurped a thread without knowing what this forum is about.

Quote:I also notice that wearing that Admin hat has brought a theological feel to your guidelines about this forum, as if it was a religion within itself.

It is not your right to comment here. It is a privilege. The people who administrate forums like these are not your hired help. They are the ones putting their time and resources in, making it possible for those who are truly interested in constructive conversation on subjects that concern us to communicate on various important subjects. You have twice referred to the admin's message as analogical to religious behavior. Do not be under the impression that this is an enlightened position. It is the most common rhetorical analogy that we see around here from those who are not interested in working together, but only in promoting their agenda. Criticism of your positions does not equal religious authoritarianism. There are many types of atheists. Some are not interested in working with others. This group is not for those types. If you are not interested in working with us, you can leave.

Quote:Personally, I could care less. I'd rather speak my mind whenever, where ever, however I wish to, than be regulated and designated into these beautifully ordered threads that you guys have managed to knit together.

You can speak you mind, but if what you say goes against out forum rules, you will be kicked out. You have been warned twice already. Consider this your last warning. Yes, our forums are well organized. It takes a lot of work to keep them that way. We are not interested in going around in circles with people who are only an impediment to constructive conversation, intent only on assuaging their own egos and promoting only their own agendas. One more asinine comment from you attacking the forum and the admins here and we will have to give up on you and remove all traces of your presence, as we have for numerous people who we were eventually forced to designate as trolls who offered nothing positive to our cause.

Quote:I would like to request you to be more empathetic towards people that join this community to share their views, and stop being a chaperone to - ironically - the free thought community.

Instead of telling the admins how to do their job, I suggest you first take some time to learn what this community is about. We are all more than empathetic to those who deserve out kindness. But when someone who obviously has no idea what freethought is, equates it to allowing people to spew whatever nonsense that pops in their minds, and admonishes the admins out of their own ignorance, the irony is their side of the argument.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
#6
(30-Jul-2011, 03:55 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: The god that created everything is probably humans looking for patterns. The god that constantly meddles with 'his' creation is people looking to explain the unexplainable. The god that answers prayers is a caricature of our infantile desire of having a guardian. The god that performs miracles is a fairy tale, and a god that dictates what is right and what is wrong, is actually just another way of humans trying to control other humans. So your definition, is just as good as the ones that came before it - and therefore, worthless.

As I said arguments about semantics are useless. Define what you mean by god, and show how it fares in a naturalistic framework, and then we will have something resembling a discussion. Else you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.
#7
Ajita,

The way I entered the forum is not because of my arrogance, but because of my inexperience with online forums. Personally, I always felt that verbal face-to-face discourse was much more constructive and enjoyable, and so I never really joined a web forum. That means, not only am I a Nirmukt Noobie, I am a forums noobie. Bottom line, I should have just said 'hi' in the pale blue dot thread, and posted my introductory thoughts in another place. But thank you for moving my post.

In regards to what you call the 'most common rhetorical analogy' that your group is faced with - I think it has an element of truth to it. Because being overtly scientific about the universe can also bear the label of dogma. It’s like Werner Heisenberg said, "What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." I think that speaks volumes to the limitations of atheism and naturalism. I, however, was making the analogy more so to the dictation I received on how to go about getting in place according to the rules. Anarchists don’t like rules. Anarchists look down upon rules. But it doesn't mean they are against co-operation; just don’t like being told to follow rules.

And if by 'working' with you guys you mean having a robust exchange of creative ideas that leads to a symbiotic learning experience, then I would mirror your comment and just say that if you are not interested in working with me - throw me out. As a matter of fact, if you think I am being an impediment to constructive debate, assuaging my own ego or am just a troll, I am sure you can take action with your mouse clicking powers. And just to confirm, I WILL challenge (attack is not the right word) the forum and/or its admins, if I feel like I have reason to. If you have to “give up” on me, I will understand. If you have to remove all traces of me, oh golly gosh – what is I gonna do? Ha. Cut the megalomaniacal babble.

To conclude, I see that you accuse me of not knowing what freethought is, and then linking it to wikipedia, so that I would know what freethought is. So let me say this. My definition of freethought is different from the designated jurisdiction of the term 'freethought', just like it is different from that of 'god'. To me, free thought only BEGINS with forsaking religious and superstitious dogma, and accepting reason and logic as the path to inquiry. Additionally, It extend to all spheres of knowledge, to science, philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, politics, economics, law, astronomy, biology, psychology... the list goes on. Freethought to me is the human mind on creative rampage. It is a constant evolution of human intellect. It is the breaking of existing frontiers, even at the risk of seeming naïve and ignorant. So if you think someone upholding a different characterization of what free thought is, might be counter-productive to your community, it would only be justified that you act to maintain order.

I was just like, excited and all, you know, to see a indian rationalists' shindig. Look at all the explaining I am having to do. loll.GoodMorning
#8
Lije,

The semantics were in response to your rudimentary sketch of the “creator” god. I might have to violate your precondition of maintaining my definition of god within the naturalistic framework. Mine is a more philosophical viewpoint, and doesn’t have a pre-construed definition.

It is the more elusive ‘Why?’ behind each and every one of our lives.

Why do we do what we do? What is it that compels people to pick a particular direction in their life, and move ahead? Is it just a matter of shear chance, situational constrains and free will, or is there a collective direction to the abundance of life on this planet (and maybe even elsewhere).

Suppose we ask the classical who, what, where, how and why in context of our conscious existence.

The who is life; not just human life – but all life. The what, is what all life is doing; What each man and woman are doing, what each tree and bee are doing. The where is so far just earth, or more specifically, this point in space and time. The how is largely explained by science and reason. We can explain a good portion of how things are happening, even though we could be off in the wrong direction on some crucial ideas. But it is the why, that is missing. And that to me, is just the beginning of this vague, and yet primordial idea of god. I have well assimilated the existing secular and rational view that the premeditated freethought movement represents. But I think there are gaping holes in our understanding of the universe and ourselves – all of which cannot be explained by science itself. And this is where a free minded exploration into all spheres of acquired knowledge can not only be fruitful, but may also lead us to the missing ‘why?’
#9
(31-Jul-2011, 01:44 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: And this is where a free minded exploration into all spheres of acquired knowledge can not only be fruitful, but may also lead us to the missing ‘why?’

As for the relevance or meaningfulness of the 'Why?' question, this 1991-lecture entitled 'The Genesis of Purpose' will make useful viewing. A more recent and augmented version of that lecture can be viewed here. A tl;dr version of these lectures can be heard in this 2-minute video.

Even outside of the 'hard sciences', making up answers to 'why' questions has long been recognized and called out on by philosophers as primitive teleological reasoning. Here is a vivid illustration of the same from the field of Ethics.
#10
(31-Jul-2011, 01:38 AM)de.liber.ate.god Wrote: Because being overtly scientific about the universe can also bear the label of dogma.
Again, please don't assume that you are the bearer of information that we are unaware of, without having read through the forums. You, as you have admitted, are not aware of what our forums are about. As for the Heisenberg quote, many of us are aware and have expressed that very thought in multiple forms right here. If you took the time to look through here, you might find that we have a section on philosophy- we are not ALL about science alone. Actually, not just one section on philosophy, but three. There are sections on news and events, sections on arts, sections on gender equality and sections where we encourage folks to simply hang out.

Quote:And if by 'working' with you guys you mean having a robust exchange of creative ideas that leads to a symbiotic learning experience, then I would mirror your comment and just say that if you are not interested in working with me - throw me out.

Here's a hint. When you enter a forum and have not said hello to anyone or made a genuine attempt to connect on any civil level, it is you who must show interest in working with us. We exist because we are interested in working with people who can show the least bit of interest in doing so.

Quote:As a matter of fact, if you think I am being an impediment to constructive debate, assuaging my own ego or am just a troll, I am sure you can take action with your mouse clicking powers.

So far you have demonstrated nothing but how much of an impediment to constructive debate you are. You have not bothered to show us your interest in anything else. The "mouse clicking powers" of the people who work to set up, maintain and manage these forums are not unimportant. You'd know this if you had to run any online community. Such conversations as this one are a distraction and a diversion from the many useful conversations we have around here.

Quote:I WILL challenge (attack is not the right word) the forum and/or its admins, if I feel like I have reason to.

No, 'attack' is the right word. But if you want to use the word challenge, I'd qualify it as saying you are challenging them not just on content, but also on doing their job. But let me be clear, even on content, our group has a set agenda. If you think that you can say what you want irrespective of our agenda and our forum guidelines, you are clearly in the wrong place. we have good reasons for why we have such rules. Our community draws an inordinate number of trolls- both religious ones who are intent on nothing but proselytizing, and irreligious ones who are not interested in having a conversation but only in informing others of their thoughts. Both types are unwelcome here. We are a community, not a bulletin board.

Quote:If you have to remove all traces of me, oh golly gosh – what is I gonna do?


Not much around here, I guess.

Quote:Ha. Cut the megalomaniacal babble.

If you think you can say something like this directed at any admin on any forum, and not be treated as a troll, you are only demonstrating your own ignorance. It is rather obvious that, as you have made clear, this is your first and only experience on any such forum.

As has been made clear earlier, commenting here is not a right, it is a privilege. This is our house- not mine, not Lije's, but belonging to a community that has come together over time and with a certain directed purpose. We have not just a right, but also a duty to keep the undesirable elements away. If you think that regular forum administration is megalomaniacal, and think you can order the administrators to "Cut the megalomaniacal babble", then you are just showing your inability for being part of a social group such as this. Perhaps you are just young and inexperienced. Either way, I hope you don't go through life with that attitude.

Quote:To conclude, I see that you accuse me of not knowing what freethought is, and then linking it to wikipedia, so that I would know what freethought is. So let me say this. My definition of freethought is different from the designated jurisdiction of the term 'freethought', just like it is different from that of 'god'.

The link was provided because you made the common mistake of thinking that freethought meant being free to say what you want. You equated it to "open minded". We have had numerous discussion on this subject, and have come to the decision that we can only point you to what we mean by freethought. If you are intent on redefining words, then you must be aware that perhaps others do not share your definition, and therefore a group such as this is not for you.

Quote:So if you think someone upholding a different characterization of what free thought is, might be counter-productive to your community, it would only be justified that you act to maintain order.

Again, as I mentioned in my last comment, it is not "free thought", but freethought. A well-defined word. We have had numerous discussions on this subject.

Lastly, "maintaining order" is indeed what administrators do. You have been counter-productive to our community by taking us away from our work here. We have wasted precious time on you. There are many groups that have a much more general focus than this one, and those groups may be more receptive to being told what you are interested in, rather than in setting an agenda. We clearly have our agenda here. Right in your first post you demonstrated that you were interested not in what the agenda of the group is, but in setting your own agenda. This is called agenda trolling, and frankly, it is a waste of everyone's time.
Good riddance to you, we will now continue to have the important conversations in your absence.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.




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