What do atheists think that "to know God" means?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by wynn, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    What do atheists think that "to know God" means?

    Please discuss.
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I rarely use that phrase. My thinking is more along the lines of 'knowing about God'.

    Knowing what the word 'God' is supposed to mean. (I usually get hung up on that question, since nobody's ever really answered it.) Knowing whether anything exists in reality that corresponds to the word. Knowing what kind of being that would be. Knowing how a human being could ever come to have knowledge of such a thing. And so on.

    I think that many theists of the more highly personal sort conceive of the whole thing very differently. To them "knowing God" is analogous to having a personal relationship with another human being. They 'know God' in the same way that they would 'know George' or 'know Linda'. They are on a personal basis with God.

    From my perspective that seems a little bizarre, since I don't believe that God exists. But I do think that's where they're coming from. In a sense, God's their imaginary friend.

    I should probably add that there might be a rather different usage in some of the theistic contemplative traditions. (Including the Christian.) To 'know God' in that context might suggest assuming some altered and presumably higher state of consciousness where one becomes aware of and receives rapturous inspiration from the ineffable and indescribable transcendent Godhead.

    This isn't totally unrelated to the more mundane interpersonal sense of knowing God, there's still the personal-knowing language in a lot of instances (like some of the medieval female mystics and their divine lovers). But it's become kind of transcendental and Neoplatonic and turned into a form of gnosis. (I think that we see a lot of that kind of thing in Indian Hindu devotionalism too.)
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  5. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    I talk to him everyday. To KNOW God is easier than knowing your own mother. One must have faith to commune with the Father.
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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I don't know what it means. There are a lot of Christian phrases that make no sense to me.
  8. Guru Registered Senior Member

    Taking a stab at it ( or taking the bait)

    I would say it means one or more of the following
    1. I have a personal relationship with God
    2. God speaks to me and helps me make the right decision
    3. I know that all things in universe good or bad can be attributed to god
    4. I know God has a plan when he punishes or sends disaster our way
    5. I have full faith in him and will not question his authority.
    6. I am throwing names to impress

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    I NO GOD
  9. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    I cannot speak for all atheists since they are all different.

    My perspective on the statement would be the observation that the person who claims to know a god, perhaps via a perceived personal revelation, will be unable to describe that status that would meaningfully differentiate it from simple delusion.

    This does not prove they have not had a personal revelation but without any independent precedent that would indicate gods are possible, and combined with an overwhelming history of human delusions, then that leaves the score at -

    Evidence for knowing a god - 0
    Statistical likelyhood of delusion - huge
  10. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    I would think it means to be in the grip of a compelling delusion.
  11. garbonzo Registered Senior Member

  12. Arioch Valued Senior Member

    @Alex --

    That about sums it up doesn't it?
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  14. arauca Banned Banned

    Why can it not be real ? Who is to say , When you say delusion you must be very certain because you have explored all possibility , but other are not so smart and they have not been as fortunate as you come to such conclusion, therefore should we relay upon your opinion ?
  15. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

    aruca -- you have not explored all possibilities. When was the last time you sacrificed 10 oxen to Zeus?

    It is for the theist to justify why the pantheon they believe in is real and all others false. The atheist has the much easier task of naming what impossibility would have to be true to convince them that any god exists and then the fault lies in the god's inability to meet that burden.

    For me, if the god is one who is purported to heal the sick, then a documented restoration of every amputee in a 24-hour period would be sufficient. Only a god or a global nanotech castatrophe could result in such an event and therefore there would be proof of a non-human authority interested in global affairs.

    Instead we get a bunch of very petty people interested in reproductive organs they don't possess or family relations that don't affect them and they claim to speak for god. That's the antithesis of a god to require such petty liars to speak on a god's behalf.

    Thus, aruca, your poor argument methodology is itself a demonstration that you don't take guidance from a superhuman intelligence, my continued good health and ignorance of the nature of supernatural beings is a demonstration that no such being takes a timely interest in my affairs, and your misunderstanding of burden of proof means that you don't understand that you have to demonstrate both that a god exists and that you demonstrate some sort of useful understanding of this god to demonstrate that you "know God" beyond the unsubstantiated claims of a fraudster interested in wrapping oneself in undeserved authority.
  16. arauca Banned Banned

    1) The only sacrifice my God wants that I be humain to my fellow man.

    2) What kind of God would it be , if he bows to mans wishes ( a gene in a bottle )

    3) So you want a god to restore the maimed and the sick . Would it be ok If he would be independent from man kind an let man do his own think , and He would let us to take care of our selves ?

    4 ) You have an opinion about god and you voice your opinion , should we from the opposite opinion to atheist not express our opinion ?

    5 ) I notice your insults and you have a talent with words to do that .
    O know I am not filled with supernatural guidance,probably you are right , By saying that you are elevating yourself , shows that you have an ego problem . Since you mention the burden of proof is upon me and I can not demonstrate you a physical God . Answer me a few things .

    Ezikiel chapter 53 who is it describing ?
    O am sure you read some time the bible for criticizing porpoise

    The prediction of prophet Isaiah the people of Israel returning to their own country after over 2600 years

    Those 2 questions would they rise you some curiosity or you would brush them away ?
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The question was - and I quote: What do atheists think that "to know God" means?

    It makes no sense to ask what an atheist thinks about God and then ask him why it couldn't be real. By definition, atheists believe theists are mistaken.
  18. arauca Banned Banned


    That is fine that atheist believe we are mistaken I have accepted that., but wen the word delusion is mentioned , for me it invites a response.

    In my view this question should have been asked in comparative religion and not in religion , because atheism poses itself as a religion and it comparate itself as it is one.
  19. Balerion Banned Banned

    Nonsense. Atheism is not a religion.
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The thing that distinguishes atheism from theism is that atheists have no organizing tenets. The very crux of atheism is that there is no connection between people - other than that which we make ourselves. There is nothing to get religious about.
  21. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    No it doesnt'. It's theists who are saying that atheism is a religion.
  22. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here.
  23. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    kind of like the question what does it mean to know the president ... at one end you have an acknowledgment of the framework of obligation that the position operates out of and at the other you have intimate realization of the individual ....... because n atheist is forever messed up at the point of obligation ( whether it be straight out enviousness or plain old ignorance ) their arguments or analysis of the situation never proceed further than their own confused ideas of obligation ( eg . if there really is a god we would not have suffering ...perfection of existence requires an absence of personality .... etc etc )

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