Concept of God arising in multiple, different cultures

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by rodereve, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    The question actually is not on my mind until I am rudely reminded by theists.

    Oddly, it is asserted that a person cannot experience another's mind and know their truth. How then is it we can experience god's mind and know his truth?

    Being spiritual seems to award the adherent with "special" insights. How comforting.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I have no idea what you mean by that last sentence. As for the first, I think I already dealt with that.

    Essentially, you have conceded my point here. Islam and Hinduism are mutually incompatible.

    Recall the thread topic again: the question of whether the fact that the concept of god appears in many different cultures amounts to evidence of the reality of God or to evidence of God as a human construction. lightgigantic seems to be arguing that this kind of empirical evidence of God is no evidence at all of God, because God is inaccessible to anything empirical. Which is a little odd, because ordinarily I'd expect lightgigantic to be defending the idea that God is knowable. Having ruled out empirical knowledge, what kind of knowledge is left to us? That's one question I've asked lightgigantic.

    I'm still not sure what your position on the thread question is.

    It fits my mental image of an apple. It's similar to actual apples I have seen before in my own experience. Bottom line: the simplest explanation is that it is an image of an apple? What reason would I have to think otherwise?

    Is it possible, according to you, to ever know me? I think not, according to your argument. And certainly not according to lightgigantic's. If I have an "explicit" nature, then there's no way you can ever access that, because all you have at your disposal to know me is your sensory experience, which is empirical knowledge. Therefore, in lightgigantic's terms, your knowledge of me must always be merely "tacit". In fact, going further, my knowledge of myself can only ever be tacit, because in principle everything I know about myself is open to empirical examination. And empirical examination, we are told, can never get to anything explicit.

    Your idea of "explicit" vs. "tacit" seems to be a lot simpler than lightgigantic's. All you're saying is that a report or image of a thing is not the thing itself. Obvious and simple. But lightgigantic claims that there's an "essence" or "explicitness" about food that cannot be accessed by any kind of empirical examination. In other words, seeing the food, tasting the food, analysing the food with a mass spectrometer, or whatever, can never tell me anything about the explicit nature of the food. It's like the "explicitness" for lightgigantic is the "soul" of the food - an invisible thing that's accessible only via some kind of mystical direct perception, like a 6th sense for "explicitness" that doesn't play by the ordinary rules of evidence.

    Fine. I get it. Your definition is that talking about a thing is not the same as seeing the thing or doing the thing. Easy. But lightgigantic goes way beyond that.

    If I take it into my hands, I am relying on empirical knowledge to know the cup of flour. But lightgigantic says that this can't tell me anything about the explicit nature of the cup of flour. I'll never know the "inner flour" by touching it, or tasting it, or baking with it.

    My impression is that you think you're arguing the same thing as lightgigantic. I don't think you are. I agree with your point: it is straightforward and obvious. But I don't believe things have an "explicit" nature that is shielded from empiricism in the way lightgigantic says it is. Do you?

    When I eat an apple, I'm conducting an empirical investigation of the apple. Do you claim, as lightgigantic does, that there is something in the apple that is its "explicit appleness" apart from what I can access by seeing it, touching it, eating it, etc?

    Oh, and that fancy word "metonym". I've done a little research. A metonym is a figure of speech, nothing more. It is the act of referring to a thing by referring to something else that is connected to it. An example would be to use the term "the Oval Office" to refer to the US President (e.g. "Word from the Oval Office regarding Obamacare is that ..."). There's also a subset of metonymy called synecdoche, in which a literal part of a thing is used to refer to the whole thing or vice versa. An example would be in the phrase "All hands on deck!", in which the word "hands" is a place-holder for "sailors" (most of whom typically have hands).

    lightgigantic's usage of the term "metonymy" implies that when I use a word like "apple", I am not only referring to the object I can eat, touch, see and so on, but to an object that has a "wider" existence - the "explicit apple". Where I disagree with lightgigantic is that I do not believe that an apple has any "explicit" nature beyond what I can eat, touch, feel etc.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It just occurred to me that the difference in religious expressions in different areas of the globe is a perfect expression of the uncertainty effect (indeterminism).

    The original concept of god was acquired by a single individual very early on. This was passed on to subsequent generations. Later, this original concept was spread around the globe along with a spreading settlement. But with greater complexity and isolation comes greater vagueness of understanding and variety of expression in reality.

    IMO, multiple gods and/or different identifications of the same god are a result of "uncertainty". One might say it is very similar to an ideological butterfly effect, where the source was an individual and the metonymy spread out from that single event becoming the "explicit (hidden) nature of god".
    But asserting that the explicit nature of a storm is a butterfly flapping it's wings, is of course not very precise. 09.03
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    When your mind is where your feet aren't: for example, when you're sitting in your room, but think about being on the top of Mt. Everest.

    If you're unaware of this discrepancy between where your body is and where your mind is, you could make numerous false assumptions about what it is like to be on the top of Mt. Everest. For example, you might falsely conclude that breathing there is as easy as you have it in your room.

    IOW, we cannot adequately conceive of problems in contexts in which we are not fully present.

    What about the two is incompatible? That Muslims and Hindus living in the same town sometimes don't get along?

    It's common that there is conflict among people; there is conflict among the people of the same religion, within the same congregation. Probably one of the most common places of conflict is within the ingroup.

    So, again, what about the different religions is incompatible? That problem of incompatibility only arises if one would somehow try to belong to all religions simultaneously.

    And I've already said in my first post here that this multiple occurence of the concept of God is evidence of people aspiring to higher ideals.

    I'll explain below on the apple example.

    As I said in my first post in it.

    How did you get to that mental image to begin with? By a complex process of acculturation and socialization.

    And this is the part that empiricists tend to take for granted: that there is a lot more necessary before one can begin to observe.

    A short form of the empirical process is: observe, hypothesize, test, conclude.

    But one cannot observe unless one has gone through the process of acculturation and socialization.

    We are not born with the ability to read, nor with the ability to speak a language - that is, when we're born, we can neither speak nor read, we have to learn these things. And in the process of acculturation and socialization, we become specifically biased, according to the culture and society we are living in, along with the other biases that come with the specifics of our individual circumstances.

    As such, we don't have direct perception. Although for all practical intents and purposes, we tend to assume we do have direct perception; this philosophy of mind is called naive or common-sense realism.

    Naive realism seems to work fine enough, as long as we stay within our specific social group and keep to the activities we are used to. But when we are challenged, such as by contact with people from other cultures, new technologies, or other things we are not used to, naive realism becomes more and more difficult to maintain.

    How much I can know you will also depend on your input, on your willingness to let yourself be known to me.
    There are things I may unilaterally find out about you, such as skin color, shoe size etc. But as far as your beliefs and values go, your wishes, desires, secrets, it is up to you to tell me about them, otherwise, I can only speculate. Also, unless we actually have a relationship, I can only speculate what a relationship with you might be.

    But I can never be you, in that sense, I can never have knowledge of the explicit you.

    You're not a rock, you're a person. There's a lot more to explore about and experience with you than what an ordinary, interpersonally verifiable empirical process can reveal.

    This point may actually be one of the keys for this discussion. You seem to place all phenomena in the same category, as if knowing a rock, knowing an apple, and knowing a person would all be of the same kind.

    I chimed in to the discussion between the two of you in the hope to make things easier, to sort of triangulate. LG will state where he differs from my interpretation, if that is the case.

    And LG and I are not disagreeing on that.

    I don't think you understand him correctly on this. See my other comments in this post.

    I think my explanation is only a simpler phrasing of his, but otherwise the same.

    No, you're not. You're relying on that empirical knowledge only when you are talking about taking that cup of flour into your hands.
    Otherwise, you can take a cup of flour into your hands while no empirical words or concepts accompany that action.

    Obviously, the process is more complex when it comes to people, because while cups of flour don't talk or act, people do.

    Science tells us that to the brain, it is (pretty much) the same whether one thinks of doing something or whether one actually does it.

    If that were so, and if all that would really matter would be what goes on in the brain, then the hunger problem in Africa could be solved by telling the people to imagine they are eating, and they'd be fed. Obviously, this doesn't work.

    Things do have an explicit nature. That is the one that does the work. Such as food feeding people.

    Only if, while at it, you think about it all in empirical terms.
    An infant or a person with IQ 60 can eat an apple, and thus connect with its explicit nature. Surely infants and mentally impaired people have no scope of empiricism or conducting empirical investigations. But they can eat.

    I'll address this after I've seen your reply.

    And that act of referring to a thing by referring to something else that is connected to it is culturally conditioned; that connection is not a given; it's something we learn; and it is something we can conceptualize differently.
    Someone from a different culture would not know what "Oval Office" stands for in US use, unless told about it.

    It's this act of referring to a thing by referring to something else that is connected to it that empiricism takes for granted.

    I don't think that's his implication, but he'll best explain his thoughts himself.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    From your link:

    So, per you, what would be the non-illusory thing to do in this inherently insecure and unhappy world?

    And if this world is indeed inherently insecure and unhappy, then whence the desire to find security and happiness?
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I'll wait for lightgigantic's response and reply after that.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    First, sorry, I provided an incorrect link, which started with that quote which is a subject unto itself.
    I was referring to the chapter which explains about the origin of the concept of god which is the topic of discussion. GOTO CHAPTER 09.01

    And there is the answer to your question.
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That's just speculation.

    Not at all.

    If this world is indeed inherently insecure and unhappy, the desire to find security and happiness could never arise to begin with.

    A lot more.
    One could and does also ask for omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence.
    The idea that the most man could ask for is to be an eternal hog on a heavenly cushion - that's just retarded.

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  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It answers the OP question and confirms my position regarding the rise of diversity in religions.
    The answer is, it provides proof of belief in God from very early on, but does nothing to prove the existence of god (except in the hominoid mind)
    Seems that is what man strives for.

    No, man could ask for more but I do not believe that most men expect to have need for survival skills (you know, the hard work and sacrifice) in heaven.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Another thing to add to the list is innovation. If you can believe in that which you cannot seen with the eyes, then you can also believe in innovation that is not yet in reality; can't be seem with the eyes, yet. The person who has to see to belief will kill it before it grows since they can't see it early in the process of development. The religious who are used to faith in the unproven will be more open to the embryo stage of innovation, since it could be from the gods. Which ancient cultures will dominate?

    Picture the ancient religious person who see the gods in the trees. Compare this to the ancient atheists who only sees a tree. Which of the two will more likely see a new way to use the tree; that which cannot be seen with the eyes? This is why the atheist became the slaves, since this was the only way to get them past their primitive bias.
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I respectfully disagree. Before the age of enlightenment, religion was in firm control of all knowledge. The result of this opening the embryo stage of innovation was the Dark Ages. Ask Hypatia, Galileo, and a host of other scientists who were murdered for blasphemy (espousing innovation in knowledge of the world through science).

    Remember early man was punished for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Eating that apple was a sin of acquiring knowledge. OTOH, Newton saw a apple falling from a tree and instead of praising god, he wanted to know why it fell down instead of up.

    Scripture gave convenient permission to subdue atheistsand relegate them to slavery (or house arrest, or death)
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    It is called the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is not all of knowledge, but only a special case of knowledge, connected to subjective moral judgements. It is knowledge that polarizes the world into good and evil; binarius in the tree. If we define atheism as good and religion as evil, than is an apple from the tree of knowledge. It is not objective knowledge, like the earth is the third planet, but is subjective, based on stereo-typing philosophy; one size fits all. Once you accept subjective knowledge of good and evil, troubles begin, because people in charge begin to stack the deck with more and more laws of good and evil in their favor. This topic is a case in point.

    The tree of life is a different aspect of knowledge, like life, where natural instinct is the conscious expression of life. Instinct is morally neutral, not polarized into taught knowledge of good and evil. It is innate knowledge like innovation. The lion kills to eat. This is morally neutral to the lion and based on eons of natural selection. Humans and tree of knowledge of good and evil may decide this is wrong based on subjective arguments. The lion needs to be made an unnatural vegetation. Then the lions start to die off; you shall surely die. It is not remaining neutral but polarized into knowledge of good and evil.

    Innovation and science is not knowledge of good and evil, rather it is neutral. If you invented the gun, a gun is morally neutral since it is an piece of craft metal that does not have life. If we apply the tree of knowledge standard of good and evil, and attach a subjective evaluation of good and evil to the gun, the gun takes on human personification of good or evil. This is a false god, since guns are inanimate and don't possess this dynamics. It is a subjective hallucination than can be group programmed.

    Back to innovation. Prometheus was the god of fire. When fire was invented the creator was not ego-centric gloating over his subjective accomplishment on the talk show circuit. He was aware something outside his ego did this; unconscious hunch or processes. They did not know how to explain it, so they called it from the god. If they prayed to Prometheus the hope was to trigger the same part of the brain. If the god did appear (brain was activated) they could extend the creative use of fire to other things.

    Venus was the goddess of love. If we assume she was part of the brain, such as part of the brain's firmware, rituals to her were like command lines that could animate the firmware. Now love would be animate; Cupid's arrow. If you needed vitality in battle you call upon the gods. The command lines might trigger animal vitality so you get a second wind.
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, and religion has defined theism as good and atheism as evil. Thus "good" theists have the right to kill the "evil" atheists, pagans, witches, demon consorts, and just about every infidel who does not adhere to my religion. They all ate from the fruit and must "surely die".

    Was the establishment of the Curch of England just an expression of subjective good and evil or a political power grab that returned power back to the throne and the King of England and replace those pesky Roman catholics. This is the evolution of Abrahamic religions? The OT, Bible, Koran and (god forbid) the new Mormonism are all choices between good and evil? Sounds like a demolition derby to me.

    This topic has been partly answered. I guess we are exploring the reasons why the same fundamental assumption of a god or gods has such variety and resulted in warrior religions in the West and introspective religions in the East. Environment seems to be the sculptor of the character and function of gods and deities.

    If Innovation and science is neutral then why the Inquisition? Why the need for recanting as Galileo was forced to do? Why the need to stifle all this neutral knowledge? Or was it nowledge that threatened Scripture?

    Sorry I am trying, but that is just Nonsense. Fire was invented? The use of fire was divinely inspired? Well, one can say that evolution is divinely inspired, but that is in direct conflict with Scripture until the recent declarations from the Holy See. But Scripture itself has not altered one bit.
    So much for innovation.

    I know the definition of a god and what the symbolism represents. But these Pagan gods were all replaced by The One True God ( in many disguises) often by force. Apparently, religion hasn't got a clue how to foster real progress and innovation. "God will provide" does not quite do it for me.
  17. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    My concerns are theocracy, the influence of religion on public policy, and secondarily how these beliefs effect those who have no control over them, children. If religion were merely a personal philosophy, I would not be so concerned. So, the popular religions are the most concerning to me. I do live in America, so Christianity is the religion I have to deal with most often.
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You're still not being open about this. The question wasn't requesting a PC answer.

    Some possible replies:

    "I don't want theists to be in ruling positions, because this would challenge me beyond my comfort zone, and I will do everything in my power to prevent that."
    "I am terrified of life in this Universe, and I dread everything that in any way reminds me of these terrors. So I want to do away with those things that remind me of these terrors."
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    If this world is indeed inherently insecure and unhappy, the desire to find security and happiness could never arise to begin with.

    Can you explain how the desire to find security and happiness could never arise in a world that is inherently insecure and unhappy?
  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    If your country becomes a theocracy, you're gonna have a bad time. Women are treated as inferior, gays are discriminated against, science is subverted, kids are beaten or terrorized, secular government is threatened... that kind of thing.
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Sorry WW, that unseen thing which may become reality is the very definition of Potential. Every scientist recognizes the word potential because it is a fundamental property of the Wholeness, and applies to ALL things and forces of the universe as the precursor to reality.
    Spiritualists "allegorically identify" this latent excellence as God and that is why god's works are miraculous, i.e. a causal potential is not required, which is demonstrably faulty reasoning.
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Aren't we trying to get to heaven which is inherently secure and happy? No more daily garbage to haul to the street in the snow.
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You still didn't answer my question.

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