The Relevance of the Concept of God

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Syne, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Who said it was necessarily monotheist, or theist at all considering I specifically assumed a god does not exist? It is posts like this which make this thread so repetitive. But the difference is that I am talking about internalizing this perspective instead of continuing to think of it as external. Conscience is the "wrongdoer" evaluating their own actions for themselves. "Getting caught" is not even factored into a well-developed conscience.

    Conscience does have an innate origin, but it can be further developed by conscious volition.

    Really? What about deism?

    Deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge.
    ...
    For Deists, human beings can only know God via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or supernatural manifestations (such as miracles) – phenomena which Deists regard with caution if not skepticism.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

    It would seem that "revelation and authority" are the grounds on which Capracus has conflated the concept of god with religion, and that the supernatural is how he conflates the mystical. All of which are either outright denied or viewed with skepticism by deists.

    But again, I assumed a god does not exist, so there is no belief necessary. And why artificially limit the abstract concept to a "Euro-American context"? Besides, I have not used the capitalized "God".

    Again, deism does not necessarily include any of the trappings of religion. But theism does, broadly, cover deism:

    Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.
    ...
    The use of the word theism to indicate this classical form of monotheism began during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century in order to distinguish it from the then-emerging deism which contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world and could be known rationally but not via revelation.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism

    And as you can see, theism was used merely to denote a general belief in the existence of a god before it came to mean the specific belief in a personal and active god.
     
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  3. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    It is trivial that a theist will believe a god to actually exist. Yazata, you seem to be making your fair share of assumptions about a specifically theist "God".

    I have nowhere even implied any of this. That something can be further developed does not necessarily make it "stunted, childlike [or] inferior". Even a great musician can always improve upon his craft.
     
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  5. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    @ Capracus

    In case you did not read my reply to Yazata...he made a good point that religion could exist without a god, but that he did not think a god could exists without religion. I had not previously addressed the latter, and my answer to it is deism.

    Deism is without any of the reasons you have given for conflating the concept of god with "God", "religion", or the "mystical".

    Deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge.
    ...
    For Deists, human beings can only know God via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or supernatural manifestations (such as miracles) – phenomena which Deists regard with caution if not skepticism.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

    So this refutes your excuses for conflating terms. Deism does not rely on the revelation or authority of religion, views the mystical with skepticism, and does not postulate an "influential overseer".


    So do you have the intellectual honesty to admit your conflation of terms is erroneous, or would you like to continue to conflate more terms to justify yourself?
     
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  7. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Deism or self evidence is the fallback stance of the theist when they have no substantial defense for mystical revelation. While a strict deist is a step closer to better metaphysical reason, they still err in the unfounded mystical presumption that existence equals deity.
     
  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Unsupported opinion only. So intellectual dishonesty it is then, to justify your conflation of terms.
     
  9. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    You're right, no one could honestly claim to have encountered a theist who’s argued that existence can only be logically explained by the actions of a creator.

    Teleological argument
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument

    Nothing mystical about the notion of a creator of the universe.
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Do you think that consciousness can be further developed also if one merely imagines there is God, consciously contrives a concept of God?

    Another poster here, Franklin, has been arguing something related, namely, that OT theism can be done even as one believes that the OT theism is just a metaphor for evolution.
     
  11. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    That is not the part of your post I was referring to. You claim that deism is a "fallback stance" of people who believe in "mystical revelation". This is demonstrably false, most notably in the writings of Thomas Jefferson:

    In a letter to his close friend William Short, Jefferson clarified, "it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson#Religion

    How can you quote that wiki and seem to completely miss the most defining statements of deism?

    Deism holds that God does not intervene with the functioning of the natural world in any way, allowing it to run according to the laws of nature. For Deists, human beings can only know God via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or supernatural manifestations (such as miracles) – phenomena which Deists regard with caution if not skepticism. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism#Overview

    Deism cannot be a "fallback stance" of anyone who believes in revelation, as deism explicitly denies revelation and the supernatural.


    And the BBT offers no more verifiable evidence for an ultimate cause of the universe than anything else. You take it on your faith of the accumulated "reason and the observation of nature".


    This is only a Greek conception of god. Attributing god-like qualities to a being otherwise human it their foibles.
     
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, the development of conscience only requires the abstract concept, although a belief in a real possibility may be necessary in lieu of abstract thinking skills.


    And no, I have no plans on reading someone's pasted blog posts. If he cannot condense his main points down to a manageable length and accept that much of the details will be further exposed in discussion, he is probably unsuited to a forum interaction. And no, what you describe has nothing significant to do with the OP.
     
  13. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    The statement above concerns levels of proof employed by theist to justify the existence of God. A revelationist doesn’t have to condone deism to employ a deist argument of self evidence by reason. It’s an argument I’ve heard numerous times from theists when a revelationist argument fails to persuade a more rational audience.

    When deist presumes god as an entity in any sense they trade their precious reason for mysticism.

    Deism isn’t quite as narrowly defined as you’ve stated.
    Do you understand the difference between belief and scientific theory? One requires reasonable substantiation and the other doesn't. So stop trying to equate metaphysical asspullery with scientific theory.

    Just what society needs, conscience fortification through delusional abstraction.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  14. Jaylis Registered Member

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    Each of us has his/ her own concept of God but it depends mainly on the religion. Being Atheist is a choice but as far as I'm concerned, I always believe in God

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  15. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    God loves you.

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  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed.

    A contrived stance like "I'm now going to pretend there is an omnimax God, and this will help me develop my conscience, even as I am fully aware that I have no certainty whether God exists or not."



    Since you replied Yes to my question, you may be in the same ballpark with Franklin.
     
  17. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think it is a choice. I can't believe something for which there is no evidence, even if I wanted to. I would know I'm just deceiving myself.
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The subject line in this thread is 'The Relevance of the Concept of God'.

    On the surface at least, if we agree that it doesn't matter whether or not somebody believes in "God", then that seems to suggest that the concept of 'God' isn't relevant. But you seem to be arguing for a slightly different proposition, that mere possession of the concept of 'God', even if a person believes that nothing corresponds to it, still has relevant effects. That idea still needs to be expanded. It also seems to suggest that whether somebody is a theist or an atheist doesn't really matter.

    What's more, we still don't know what the word 'God' means. Arguably possession of this concept has powerful relevance in people's lives, but we still haven't clarified what the concept is supposed to be. If we say that the concept needn't be a 'big-G' monotheistic conception, and needn't even be 'theist' conception at all, then it isn't at all clear what meaning the word retains. What's a non-theistic 'god'? The earlier excursion into Buddhism just muddied the waters further in that regard. It's hard to see how Buddhism illustrates the relevance of the concept of 'god', when the concept of 'god' has little religious relevance in Buddhism. Maybe the idea there was that Buddhism is still a form of religiosity, albeit non-theistic religiosity in its case, and religiosity is what's relevant in people's lives. But that's a rather different proposition than we started out with. It still suggests that the concept of 'god' might not be all that relevant.

    I agree.

    I agree with that too. That's one of the things that attracts me towards Buddhism, in fact.
     
  19. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    So all that was just a non sequitur. No one has made any argument of proof of a god I specifically assumed does not exist.

    That is wholly your subjective opinion, which you have yet to support to justify your conflation of terms. And making the generalization of "in any sense" only further illustrates your unwillingness to differentiate much of anything that may conflict with your worldview (everything else is all "them"). If you cannot engage a discussion on its own widely accepted terms then you are not addressing the subject at hand. At best, you are simply trying to shout-down a differing worldview.

    There are plenty of other threads to do that in. You know, ones that are actually making some claim about the existence of a god.

    This seems to be describing subsets of deism, like pandeism, spiritual deism, etc.. You conveniently skipped right over the "tenets", which is the part that specifically does attempt to define deism.


    1. Belief in God based on Reason, Experience and Nature (nature of the universe) rather than on the basis of holy texts and divine revelation. Essentially, through the use of Reason, God’s existence is revealed by the observation of the order and complexity found within nature and our personal experiences.

    2. Belief that the nature of God is abstract and generally incomprehensible which puts it beyond definition for humanity at this time. Furthermore, human language is limited and inadequate to define God; however, man can use Reason to theorize and speculate on what this possible nature is.

    3. Belief that mans relationship with God is transpersonal. However, this does not create a feeling of a distant and cold deity but of one in which God has a profound and unfathomable relationship with all of creation (nature) rather than just one aspect of it.

    4. Belief that humanity has the ability to use Reason to develop ethical/moral principles and through the application of Reason these principles can be used to implement moral behavior, which in turn creates a Utilitarian-Humanist morality. Essentially, humans can be guided by their conscience in matters of morality.

    5. Belief that humans have the individual capability of experiencing God, which is defined as spirituality. These spiritual experiences are multi-faceted and can include awe, epiphany, fellowship and even the transcendental. Essentially, each human is capable of having a profound experience of God and nature.

    6. Belief that God should be honored in a way that the individual believes is best and most appropriate for them. Individuals must determine for themselves how best to honor God and only they can develop how to accomplish this. For many, it is a multi-faceted and an individualized process.

    7. Belief in the principle of Natural Law that states that all men and women are created equal to each other with inherent freedom and liberty so that no human has more worth than another. Essentially, each human is equal in terms of the freedoms that they have and in the eyes of the law.

    8. Belief that mankind’s purpose is to use our God-given reason to understand what it means to be alive in every sense of the word (to live life to the fullest) and to act in such a way as to secure human happiness and contentment for all involved.

    9. Belief that Reason and Respect are God-given traits to mankind and that we are to utilize them in all aspects of our daily lives thus creating a pragmatic approach to life. This includes respecting other alternative views and opinions of God (other religions) as long as they do not produce harm and/or infringe upon others.
    - http://moderndeism.com/html/deism_defined.html

    Way to poison the well in lieu of addressing the facts. It is a demonstrable fact that we have no verifiable evidence for an ultimate cause of the BB. Intellectually honest scientists everywhere freely admit this. No verifiable evidence is just that, no matter if science or religion does not find it.

    But how about a definition:
    faith
    firm belief in something for which there is no proof
    - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith

    But then, there is no "proof" in science. Theories and hypotheses can only be disproven.

    Wow, way to conflate two things, one of which I said was useful "in lieu of" the other. There is no need at all to have both. But now it seems you wish to conflate "belief" with "delusion". Should I be making a list?
     
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    No need to pretend anything. Being able to abstract the omnipotent, ideal observer to pattern one's own view of oneself should be sufficient.
     
  21. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    I am not sure what issue you may be taking with the title of this thread, unless you find the usual capitalization, of primary words in a title, ambiguous. My strict use of "god" throughout should be sufficient clarification.

    The concept of god is more general than the specific, Abrahamic notion usually attributed to "God". But the Abrahamic god does include the requisite attribute to satisfy the OP, namely omniscience. But I have not posited that the concept of god need have no correspondence. Quite the opposite, as the perspective defined by the concept of god should have a strong correspondence to conscience, to further develop conscience. Whether you wish to view this as the higher self of AA, the non-theistic "symbol of human values and aspirations", or the Abrahamic God makes no real difference. This only illustrates how available/accessible the concept of god is to a wide variety of people. And as you can see, each of these has definite correspondence with something.

    Whether an atheist is capable of utilizing the concept of god to further refine conscience, they still live in societies which largely know its value. When ~80% of the population believes in a god, it would be a very obtuse atheist who denies that it effects their life...hence relevant.

    I have said, as well as given examples and links, that its primary attribute, here, is omniscience. The "excursion into Buddhism" was only meant as an attempt to get Capracus to differentiate terms. Buddhists still have karma as something to aspire to.

    Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist monk, has written: "By assigning value and spiritual ideals to private subjectivity, the materialistic world view ... threatens to undermine any secure objective foundation for morality. The result is the widespread moral degeneration that we witness today. To counter this tendency, mere moral exhortation is insufficient. If morality is to function as an efficient guide to conduct, it cannot be propounded as a self-justifying scheme but must be embedded in a more comprehensive spiritual system which grounds morality in a transpersonal order. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism#Buddhism

    Religiosity is not a factor.
     
  22. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Conscience is a psychological calculation in response to existential conditions; it’s what we do regardless of how you want to dress it up. Ideally all of the relevant options would be considered in a well developed conscience, including getting caught. You don’t need to imagine an observer that already exists by design. Meet the concept of self.

    No, it was going down the path you decided to take.

    In other words you’re unable to dispute my assertion.

    Who brought up deism and its associated qualities?
    Seems you conveniently skipped right over the disclaimer for the "tenets.",
    No, you were obviously equating the value of a reasonable process of analysis (science) with the less reasonable processes of “anything else.” While science can't presently perceive conditions prior to the Big Bang, speculation regarding such conditions that is consistent with science has more value than that which isn’t.

    Cross this one off.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    What is relevant is the concept of an omniscient, ideal observer.

    Typically, God is considered as an example of such an observer.



    What is your take then on the traditional Buddhist idea of the regularity of the Dhamma - the idea of absolute/objective morality, in the sense that we are not the final judges on whether something is skillful or not, but that these correlations are part of the "fabric of reality"?


    To once more quote Bhikkhu Bodhi:

    "By assigning value and spiritual ideals to private subjectivity, the materialistic world view ... threatens to undermine any secure objective foundation for morality. The result is the widespread moral degeneration that we witness today. To counter this tendency, mere moral exhortation is insufficient. If morality is to function as an efficient guide to conduct, it cannot be propounded as a self-justifying scheme but must be embedded in a more comprehensive spiritual system which grounds morality in a transpersonal order. Religion must affirm, in the clearest terms, that morality and ethical values are not mere decorative frills of personal opinion, not subjective superstructure, but intrinsic laws of the cosmos built into the heart of reality."
     

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