What does God do?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    If you factor in one - but have no evidence - nothing stops you factoring in 10,000

    Hell you might as well go the whole hog and say everything is the work of God.

    He makes sure the sun comes up every day - makes sure gravity keeps working so you don't fly off into space - watches sparrows fall from the sky and if it's the Catholic god checks you in the bedroom to make sure you don't use a condom because you would be going against procreation to do such a wicked thing

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  3. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    It's not meant to.
    Just carry on as you are (if you are able), you'll be much happier.

    It's not really a new one Dave. It's that you just don't get. Kind of like what you said earlier.

    From an atheist perspective, yes.
    This is a question for atheists, not theists. Because atheists can envision God how they like. So God could possibly be a dude that does stuff all day.

    If you wanted it to be, yes.

    That depends on who's asking.
    James R knows better.

    Are you asking what God does, day to day?

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    How is God manifesting IN the physical world? Why would God need to be manifest, and doing stuff on a daily basis, IN the world?

    Don't you have any information about God, at all?

    The world itself, and the fact that you are able to express yourself. What? You think you are here by chance?

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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


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    It is counterproductive, in an open conversation, to put words into our opponent's mouth. If we simply wanted to reinforce our own world views, we wouldn't be here asking the questions.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The question at hand (as I understand it) is not
    what did god do in the past (i.e. made the Earth, gave us life),
    what does god do, here, today (i.e. is god retired)?

    The former evokes the trope of God the Watchmaker: he made everything in the universe, then wound it up, and let it go. Thereafter, it ticks along without his further intervention.

    If this is not so, what does he do?
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    So, what is a god supposed to be and where are you getting your information from?
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Why do we need God to "give" us purpose? Why can't we choose for ourselves from helping people, learning the workings of the universe, creating art, etc.?

    I can promise you an afterlife. God's promise is just as empty as mine.

    You mean the promise that people who get away with murder in this life will be punished in the next? Again, I can make the same empty promise.

    See above. Why can't we decide for ourselves what "matters"?

    What you're doing is just making excuses for God not doing anything.
  10. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    yes he might've forgotten indeed. It's not that open ended though otherwise we wouldn't have mainstream religions today.
  11. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    Sigh. Yes. Maybe I am misunderstanding the question. So lets try this again then;

    So, from the perspective of the question (and those asking it), what is god? Because I'm afraid you guys are asking questions about a god who is something to you that is different that what "he" is to those you expect an answer from.

    You ask,;does he make trees grow, does he spark life, does he give souls, does he guide evolution... define to me the being you're asking these questions about.
  12. scifes In withdrawal. Valued Senior Member

    Well, from one side, I feel whatever you decide to be your purpose in life, that is your own personal god.
    From the other side, those things are simply not enough. Maybe some people can live their life with nothing but that to live for, but it's just not enough. If you think it works for you then great.

    You know yours is empty, because you know you. you don't even know who my god is to tell me if his promise is empty or not.
    I think, however, that you used to have a god who didn't cut it anymore, and you're assuming I am still hanging on to that god of yours.

    Because nothing we can decide on ourselves would matter enough.
    Yes being nice to others and learning and having fun matters, but eventually it isn't enough.

    If anything, that's why humanity "created" religion and god to begin with.

    I don't need to make excuses for him not doing anything. he doesn't need to do anything. his mere existence, by dictionary definition, is fulfilling enough.
    That's the mind boggling thing about this whole thread. That you guys are asking about the conditions under which water would be wet.
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    That is not the question on the table.

    A bit of back story:

    God the Watchmaker is been a concept that has been around a long time; it has been put forth as a sort of compromise between an omnipresent god that has his hand in everyday events and no God at all. The concept is a God that brought the universe into existence, but then let it go on its own. It is intended, at least in part, to rationalize how the world came into being, while at the same time having this world operate as we see it operating - namely, physics moving planets around via known principles, life metabolizing via chemistry, etc.

    I am not sure of the idea was created by an atheist or by a theist - clearly it was created by someone who bridled at either extreme, and wanted something in the middle. Something where the modern world could be seen to operate rationally, but where god still was the Creator.


    That being said, most theists reject this concept. They strongly believe that god is not merely the original-Creator-yet-modern-passive-bystander, that he is active participant in current events. Generally, theists bridle at the suggestion of the Watchmaker God, since it is tantamount to relegating god to an historical anecdote, worthy of study by historians, but of no relevance to today's world (to wit: why should we worship him now, if he's retired? What should we worship him for?)

    So they assert that god is here, in everything. Thus, we have had many, many discussions here about god's active presence in the world today. What we have not had much of is assertions about what that activity might be.

    That is the question on the table. It has a long precedent, and its origin is not buried in the roots of what atheists think god might be. In fact, it is buried in the roots of what theist participants have asserted god is.

    We have yet to see a single theist not dodge this question with some non-answer like "take your pick" or " to give us purpose" or some other unquantifiable platitude.

    That's what - in my estimation, JamesR is asking. (Though I cannot speak for him.)
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member


    As I put (In a slightly different manner post #241 you really have a choice range between 0 (god does nothing) to god does everything (whatever number everything is)

    Questions following pick a number are
    1/ What is the evidence god has worked his magic on the situations you have picked and
    2/ less important why did he leave some items out

    For me it really becomes a ALL or NOTHING proposition

    I go for nothing

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  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sure, but the opening line of the OP says: "This is a question for believers".

    In my considered opinion, the intent here is not to have a debate over 'my' opinion versus 'your' opinion; the intent is to coax some thoughtful response out of believers as to what they, specifically, think, so that - though readers aren't likey to actually convert - we can arrive at a better understanding.

    It's the only way to bridge the gap of understanding. It'll be a long bumpy road, but it's a start. I will bet money JamesR is not lying in wait to jump out with an 'aha'!
  16. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    What mainstream religion are you?
  17. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    What does God do?

    I am amused when someone says God answered their prayers or claim he has acted in some way and that they make such claims with complete disregard to the millions who died in war ...for example...presumably at that point he stepped back and rationalised that having given humans free will they can happily kill millions...

    And when someone near and dear to them dies in a horrible accident that one could think an active God may have taken the time to prevent the irrational believer on the one hand is devastated with grief but on the other states that everything is ok because the victim is now up there with God.

    Do they grive over the dead body but celebrate that the soul is now with God.

    The soul...more unevidenced dellusion...is there no end to nonsence that is offerred with no support whatsoever.

    One would think the believer must have sufficient motivation to walk in front of the next bus to get up their with God...I suppose suicide is a sin because one would in effect be jumping the que..wait your turn is at play maybe.

    So has the question posed in the OP been reasonably answered by any believer participating in this thread or would to attempt to do so force them to confront a reality that is uncomfortably apparent.

    One wonders why a God who seems to enjoy the prospect of being worshipped is not pro active ...I mean is there not some inconsistency to be observed where on the one hand this God demands worship yet on the other hand avoids attention by either doing nothing or sucessfully hiding any action leaving all to simply imagine God may have played a part in this or that.

    So the scriptures although written by man believers declare such writting were guided by God.

    OK then so there should be a case for the scriptures to be flawless being after all written by writters guided by God so when we find nonsence in the scriptures why was it God did not do a better job of guiding.

    The "enlightened" believer admits that much of the scriptures should not be taken literally and one must wonder what mechanism is at work that enables them to select what should be taken as reasonable and what should not...I think there is a case to suggest the scriptures were written by men not under the influence of God but more likely the influence of preconceived notions related more to their opinion than anything God put in their head.

    So from these horribly flawed scriptures a believer selects what they choose or choose not to believe and then claim that assembled collection of beliefs or rather their specific opinions heaped together from their selective editing is the word of God.

    So these believers (hopefully) edit out reference to how to manage your slaves and adjust to a reality where slavery is seen as a very bad idea.

    And say, when confronted with a passage in the Bible saying if you find your neighbour working on a Sunday that you should kill him, they respond saying that Jesus did not work that way and that the "kill your neighbour" specific direction is in the old part of the Bible and no longer relevant...but its the Bible they will be told and that such an excuse ignores the claim that the Bible is the word of God and as such must command unquestioning respect...and out of this confusion they still manage to claim their faith should be respected.

    So what does God do ...today, yesterday and tomorrow can any theist answer that question and support their answer with evidence.

  18. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member


    But they seem to be missing in inaction
    I haven't kept score so can someone fill me in how many
    "things that god does now" have believers catalogued so far?

    Or fermented refreshments

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  19. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    The politics of an omnimax personality of course. With your repeated use of words like "intervening" etc you seem to be habitually brokering a dumbed down version of God.

    The point of citing your consciousness was to help you understand the problem of using inaccurate political language (God doesn't "intervene" anymore than you "intervene" in affairs of your body). If you want to carry on with the analogy to explore ideas of detecting the source of consciousness, it would be just like the progress you would expect to be able to make if all you had to investigate was a wiggling finger.

    Again, that is just your suggestion. Others can cite the same body of knowledge, in general, to offer the opposite suggestion. Citing the workings of this world can be employed for suggestions either for or against.

    As such, if you want to limit the discussion to the manner of observing the workings of this world, all you will be left with are suggestions, .... and of course the people who gravitate to suggestions according to their values, etc.

    IOW the real question then becomes one of looking at these values.

    What evidence is that?
    If the ultimate distance that science can muster is a suggestion (either for or against), what evidence are you talking about here? So far as science is concerned, the only evidence appears to be the values people utilize to arrive at suggestions.

    I could turn that around and ask you the same question, why you believe that God is not manifest in such activities. Of course you are more than likely to slink back to the "atheism has no beliefs" mantra, but the broader question is "why you believe an observation of phenomena of this world must necessarily reveal God, if God is to entertained as a plausible entity?"

    As far as I can gather, so far you have offered that empiricism grants a limited ability to trace effect to cause or energy to the energetic. Such evidence of cause and effect doesnt reveal God, but then given the definition of God, it's not clear why one would expect the case to be otherwise (actually, at the moment, it looks like the disagreement on what the scientific evidence suggests seems to be primarily a problem on defining God at the onset .... like a God of the political vacuum who "intervenes" vs an omnimax God).

    What makes you believe that the only way for God to be accepted as a credible entity is if he appears in such a limited framework?

    If you mean to ask how can one arrive at an understanding of God outside of scientific investigation (and thus take the question outside of mere "suggestions"), perhaps it could be helpful to look at how two entities, vastly different in their powers interact.

    It's not a completely sound analogy, but for the focus of this one point in particular, it should be sufficient:

    Take the example of the remote tribes of the Andaman Islands. Currently they are under the sovereignty of India and all the technological resources afforded by a 21st century econony. The indian government has strict guidelines preventing any outside influences coming to the tribespeople (aside from the hostility they displayed to visitors, there is some concern that their isolation has rendered them vulnerable to the host of diseases we are likely to introduce to them). The tribespeople subsist off foraging and have no seafaring means of transport.
    If the tribespeople were to somehow have an understanding of the national sovereignty they are currently existing under, how would it be aroused?
    What would be the basis for them ever hoping to understand the situation in any accurate manner, outside of the realm of mere "suggestions"?

    What extra activities do you think you would employ in your life if you became fully convinced God wasn't there?

    A further detail of this "general principle" is that we tend to assume a particular means of analyzing cause and effect is only relevant to the degree we can correctly establish the parameters of the problem. For instance we may look at the sky to make an educated guess about whether it will rain in the next two hours. Even though that establishes itself as a reliable means of investigation, it falls short if we think we also can employ the same means to determine if it will rain at a location 4000km away.

    So once again, aside from faith, what is it about the current level of knowledge about tweaking knobs that is sufficient to excise God from the picture in the mind of an atheist?

    Epistemological answers are arrived at according to the problem at hand, and each solution has its associated limitations or problems. However you can talk of a particular type of epistemology having inherent limitations, and thus one could stand above another, in terms of the subjects it makes available.

    ... texts identify six pramanas as correct means of accurate knowledge and to truths: perception,inference, comparison and analogy, postulation, derivation from circumstances, non-perception, negative/cognitive proof and word, testimony of past or present reliable experts.


    Looking at the above quote, which epistemological method would you think has recourse to knowledge which is unavailable to all others?

    ....and part 2
  20. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    Part 2 to JamesR

    I am saying when push comes to shove, even the stauchest advocate of chaos tends to voluntarily abdicate their position when examining their payslip.

    It's not so much that empiricism is overrated, rather that it has a specific scope for arriving at fruitful results. If one is not mindful of those limitations, it is a mistake to bring it to problems larger than its investigative capacity. Thus, in certain contexts, one commits the folly of using it as a platform for evidence when its really just a platform for (value saturated) suggestions. It such cases, one is not reasoning like a scientist but rather rationalizing like a lawyer.

    If are talking about creationism (as opposed to the broader category of ID), I would agree.

    Given that mere psychology, as a field of investigation, frustrates the investigation of necessary cause and effect, there is ample illustration of events that may not make sense to us.

    Sure. Let's start with two obvious ones.

    The most obvious is that God reserves the right to not be surrounded by idiots. Even in this world, one of the first things a rich or powerful person will do is build a fence or hire an aggressive secretary. There is something about having recourse to power and an idiot's reserve of ridiculous demands that makes the match incompatible.

    The next most obvious is that it enables freedom of lifestyle choice. We are empowered to pursue whatever direction we think is the best. I am pretty sure that you would agree that atheism would be a hard slog if you were in a world where the existence of God would be undeniable.

    In short, it's good for God and it's good for us (or at least, for us as long we are curious about the menu of life with the flavour of apparent independence from God).

    And its something else again to say our powers to investigate cause and effect are limited to merely an investigation of the effect.

    I mean most galleries that have paintings on display (at least those paintings that can be established within a historical or cultural context) can also explain why the artist chose to include particular subjects. Sometimes artists even write books about why they did what they did .... and furthermore others even write books about the books by artists explaining they they did what they did.

    "Everything in the universe" and empiricism is a poor marriage for confidence.

    It's also based on your knowledge of bakers. Take away part of that knowledge (who the baker is) and you have so many unanswered questions. Take away all your knowledge of bakers (including the process of cooking, preparing ingredients and the cultivation of resources to provide those ingredients, etc .... everything) and you have so many unanswered questions that the cake starts to look like the product of a random universe.

    Its convenient for you too.

    If you are talking about the investigation of cause through the avenue of effect as "all the information", then, yes, you are correct.

    Because we all know that theists are just imagining stuff or deluded?
    This wouldn't happen to be yet another popular belief of atheism, would it?

    Granted that atheism thrives on the notion that there is no epistemological divide between atheism and theism (aside from theists subscribing to a view that is illusory and has no grander ontological status than that afforded by the relative fields of culture and/ot psychology) .... but then if you were to think otherwise, could you even be an atheist?

    Your beliefs aside, it remains a fact that even something as elementary as your own existence cannot be fully encapsulated by a world view of necessary cause and effect. IOW there is no need to introduce God to highlight the inherent problems of shoehorning reality into such a tight definition.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  21. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I recall a thread here where the case was presented that the early christians were into the magic mushrooms ... well I was ready to convert☺ but there was a protest and denial from the folk representing the christians and apparently they certainly are not into mushrooms these days... not that they will admit to anyways☺

    I also recall that Backus the Greek God of drinking I believe figured in the development of religion at some stage in Greek God history...

    Anyways claiming similar licience to theist to be able to make things up lets go with my recollection and proclaim mushroom taking and drunkeness was central to all religions...is that ok with you ... if so the next beer you open pray that it wont be your last.

    If the author of the book of relevations (in the bible the good new bit) was not full of it, some intoxicating substance that is, he could only be labled as "special".
  22. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 71 years old Valued Senior Member

    I can ignore writen drunken stupidity just the same as written sober stupidity

    Which makes your efforts to update the bible a lost cause if it insists god must be included

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  23. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    You're asking atheists to define god? You're the one who claims it exists... you tell us what it is. It should be easy to describe (as opposed to define) something that exists.

    Everytime someone asks me if I believe in God, I ask then to define the word so I can then give them an answer. All I ever get is, "You know... God..."

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