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Thread: what is god to you/what do you revere?

  1. #91
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    I'm a card carrying evolutionary athiest and have come to the inevitable conclusion that we will never convince people who rally against evolution. And i'm now pretty well much beyond caring.

    ID started off as an excellent compromise between the two warring factions. We could all think what we wanted to think, know the other side was wrong but have a nice polite way to discuss it at dinner parties - Brilliant. Its a pity the concept was abused in the ways that it was.

    But to the original question. What is God to me?

    God is a faith and comfort that i wish i had. Its the grown ups Santa. Its meant to motivate us to do well, judge us when we dont and surround us with light and comfort when we need it in the secret early hours of the morning when the whole world is grey and sad. I *wish* that i could have that. The cold hard facts of science are of little comfort when i worry about the otherside. I know that there is no otherside and that bleak emptiness without scares the crap out of me. i know that i will not be aware and that i'll have probably ceased to exist (c'mon string theory) and i'm sad for a world that doesn't have me in it. cause yes...i am *exactly* that self involved. But i cannot reconcile the mythology with the science.

    I grew up amongst some deeply religious people that not only worshipped their god, but loved it in an entirely personal way that was touching to see. The idea of a God is a comfort, whether real or not, and i whole-heartedly support anyones methods of getting through the day. As long as i can get the same respect for my methods.

    And to all the Anti-IDers out there, i reccomend the Church of the Flying Spaghettie Monster. A must read - and uproariously funny. If i have a church, its this one.

  2. #92
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhmyGod! View Post
    ...you try to have this discussion in Dutch and I wonder if you can make it so far...
    Probably not. I have to give you credit. Itís hard enough when countrymen try to comprehend each other. I have been making effort, already, to give extra thought to reading your posts. I think that we have done pretty well until now. I accept the blame for miscommunication here, but it might be less a matter of me not understanding you than of me myself not being clear enough. Sorry to be rude. Open-mindedness is important.

    Quote Originally Posted by OhmyGod! View Post
    ...I was only poiting out that asking the question what God is to society, is also a huge question, but maybe for a special topic? I would love to discuss it...but we should keep in mind the thread starter wanted to know what god to an individual person is. Not to a group. ...
    It is a good idea to organize so that questions can be approached in productive order without any being simply disallowed, but I think that it is already too late to separate this topic. Remember that I joined this thread responding to an ďhistoricalĒ theory applied as critique of belief in God. Such arguments are in themselves a form of social pressure. Many individuals will tend to change what they say about their private beliefs, based on their perceptions of the group dynamic. Some who only planned to read will decide that they have something which they want to post, once they see where the discussion is going. Others will decide not to, after all. Should we leave this as a judgmental atmosphere? Iíll gladly withdrawal if doing so encourages individual opinions of all types to be posted without provoking arguments.

    Quote Originally Posted by OhmyGod! View Post
    ...There has never been any mass murder in the name of atheismÖas in opposite of religion. There is no motive in atheism. No motivation that says people with opposite thoughts are less or should be killed or what so ever. ...
    ďMotiveĒ only means a reason for taking a specific action. It doesnít have to have so a negative a connotation. If someone believes that theism leads to mass murder, that would be a darn good motive for opposing theism.

    I grant that it is a great evil when religion is carried to such extremes. However, not all believers are such zealots. It is overkill, in my opinion, to reject God in general due to that motive.

    smerdyakov: I donít mean to ignore you. RL keeping me pretty busy. Iíll try to respond ASAP. Til then, peace.

  3. #93
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Wow, you three seem to be really hashing this out . I thought the thread was about God and who he/she is to you, not about evolution!

  4. #94
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey Lunger View Post
    What is god to you?

    Is god no more than a superstition? Do you look toward the clouds after hearing the preacher talk about ted nugent and cat scratch fever? What the hay is cat scratch fever? And do you wonder just what the hay he was talking about when he spoke about the cedars, that one man saw profit there, while the preacher, good man that he is, saw a kind of beauty he has the luxury to enjoy? And they passed around a plate at the end of it all, i didn'í have a penny to pay. sO i got me a pen and a paper, and I made up my own little signÖ

    Men to whom god is dead worship one another. So wrote the crews, gospel singer, circa 1968. Wonder how ole harry is doing today, probably retired.

    How does one take hold of the concept of god? How does one arrive at more than a superstition? Or does one leave god out of it all, now and forever, amen?

    Or do you think, yeah, well, thereís time. I can make do there at the last moment. And for all we know, that works. Take hold at the last moment.

    Or are you one of those that does not credit a ďgodĒ? I mean, look around, right, walk into any flavor of ice cream you think you might like and where does it lead? May they all go to hell, except for cave 19? Cave 19 is living la vida loco. Walk into one or ten, not one in ten is in agreement. ďEven now, one laughs.Ē

    Or do you figure god is an evolution of things, of thought, of the times?

    Curious is all. Lately, Iím wondering if my own faith is nothing more than superstition. Strike me dead kinda thing, quick glance at the cloudy sky.
    With only a shallow understanding, I think that belief in God can indeed be only superstition. I hate to be insulting, but if you carry a cross with just a vague idea that it will cause something good to happen to you, I think that thatís roughly equal to a rabbitís foot.

    Now, rationalists are a bit more sophisticated. They use strategy to get what they want. Such people have for centuries been collecting knowledge they find useful.
    Science has not disproven the existence of God; it is just treated as an unproven claim. The scientific method exists to isolate those data that can be applied. Everything else is irrelevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by smerdyakov View Post
    ... I understand that religion exists today (and I don't think it's a bad thing). I'm speaking to the nature of the religious experience. ...
    I get that, and I respect your attempt to reach a reasonable compromise, but nonetheless, where you are speaking from is a cultural construct. Itís fine for you to state that your own worldview is dominated a paradigm of reducibility, and that you feel compelled to interpret experience in that way. However, your apparent belief that Iím the same is nothing more than psychological projection.

    The fundamental assumption of rational epistemology is that human reason can comprehend reality. This supports many other ideas, but it cannot be used to support itself.

    Some are frightened of religion because it stands in the way of progress. But to some others, it is human progress that is frightening. Our environment is fragile. Donít be too secure in your own imperfect knowledge.

  5. #95
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    QUOTE=pathoftheturtle;348923]With only a shallow understanding, I think that belief in God can indeed be only superstition. I hate to be insulting, but if you carry a cross with just a vague idea that it will cause something good to happen to you, I think that thatís roughly equal to a rabbitís foot.[/QUOTE]

    Symbols have a powerful quality. I donít think this is a just comparison because the cross is such a symbol, whereas a rabbit foot is not. Maybe some folks use both objects as Ďgood luck charmsí, but for entirely different reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Now, rationalists are a bit more sophisticated. They use strategy to get what they want. Such people have for centuries been collecting knowledge they find useful.
    I really donít understand your use of Ďstrategyí here. If you mean a method for amassing information about the material world, then I agree (lots of aís and mís there!). If this isnít what you mean by strategy, maybe you could clarify. Itís not like thereís some underground conspiracy to cast selective truths in the shadows -- entirely the opposite. Science is in the business of bringing all truths to light, but unfortunately can only deal with quantifiable evidence. The existence of god bares no such evidence, though it should. Given that God is the cause, we should see his fingerprint on everything quantifiable. This isnít the case, though. Some may argue for a quality of god in all things, but such qualities are limited to the human and their own experience of it. I think this makes the argument even more suspect. Shouldnít there be evidence outside the human (for the reasons suggested above)? And if evidence for god is limited to human conception, doesnít this support the possibility of godís concept being fashioned in the human mind altogether? If you look at other qualifiable experiences -- such as color or heat -- we find a quantifiable explanation beneath it (wavelength of light/motion of particles). Why doesnít the quality of god we experience in things also have a quantifiable counterpart if god is active in the natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Science has not disproven the existence of God; it is just treated as an unproven claim.
    I hate to use the tired clichť of Dawkins and those other bahumbugs, but the burden of proof is not on the scientist -- itís on the theist. Nonetheless, I think science has slowly limited the necessity of godís existence to make sense of the world. Without necessity, God becomes a meaningless concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    The scientific method exists to isolate those data that can be applied. Everything else is irrelevant. I get that, and I respect your attempt to reach a reasonable compromise, but nonetheless, where you are speaking from is a cultural construct. Itís fine for you to state that your own worldview is dominated a paradigm of reducibility, and that you feel compelled to interpret experience in that way. However, your apparent belief that Iím the same is nothing more than psychological projection.
    From these reductions we are able to predict the actions of things outside of us. This effectively tells us that our own human biases arenít getting in the way -- we have transcended ourselves for the truth outside. And this has become the modern criterion for an objective truth. Maybe you could explain more about how you and I differ in our criterion of Ďtruthí, or your own personal paradigm.

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    The fundamental assumption of rational epistemology is that human reason can comprehend reality. This supports many other ideas, but it cannot be used to support itself.
    I see your point here -- though we can understand other things with our minds, how do we go about understanding our own minds with our minds? My first response would come from above (predictions/taking subjective quality out the picture). A second would be this: Why canít consciousness itself be reduced to brain states? Why canít consciousness be an emergent property in the same way as color or heat? All organisms have awareness to some degree. It seems reasonable to me that the level of an organismís complexity would dictate the degree of its awareness. After all, the brain does have centers which function in accord to our own subjective experiences -- emotion, for example -- and those centers can be further reduced to other biological activities. I guess my point is this: If we find that the method of reducibility works for every other natural phenomena, why should we find this method inapplicable to ourselves? What makes us different?

  6. #96
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    My post was too long! Here's the last part:

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Some are frightened of religion because it stands in the way of progress. But to some others, it is human progress that is frightening. Our environment is fragile. Don’t be too secure in your own imperfect knowledge.
    No one said we have perfect knowledge, only that we have a better way of acquiring it nowadays. And the good thing about science is that dogmatic systems have to be discarded once better theories arise (notably the overhaul of Newtonian space in favor of Einstein’s relativity). So I guess I don’t really agree that anyone’s being overly secure, nor are they saying we have perfect knowledge. We in fact admit an imperfect understanding, and for that very reason dismiss some theories for others that offer better predictions. By contrast, Theists claim to know something perfect and infinite -- consequently, there must be some perfect center in their minds to receive such knowledge.

    I should say that I have a deep respect for religion, but also think it can be considered apart from the existence of god, as a human activity. I think many of the ‘good’ things humans can do were born out of it -- from music, to painting, to sculpture, modern ethics, and even science. Arguably, all of these activities began as acts of reverence for some god or another and continued through its influence. Many point to unnecessary blood spilt in the name of religion. Well, sure, but this isn’t exclusive to religion. We could make such connections to science as well. After all, evolutionism certainly influenced the atrocities of Hitler. Does that somehow dirty it? Just because an action isn’t done for the sake of X doesn’t negate accountability. All things are corruptible in individual hands.

    I’m sorry if that was long -- I just enjoy talking about this stuff. I’d love to keep going with it.

  7. #97
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    God is love, God is great and looks over us in this life and the one after it. God is good and makes all that is wrong into something good again at the end. At least that's what I've always wanted him to be but he always seemed so different in the bible, the koran, and in the many other different religious texts he's in. And some of the people who claim to follow him act so much differently than this loving God.

    But I'm an atheist and no longer believe that he exists anymore. And even though I don't have the comfort of religion anymore, I've found that I appreciate life even more now. I don't have a God anymore but I worship life now.

  8. #98
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    There's a couple great quotes I return to, time and again:

    "So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship."
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)

    Men to whom God is dead worship one another.
    --Harry Crews, The Gospel Singer, 1968

    And why is that? That men seek someone to worship?

    With me, it was sports figures....Bobby Orr, Pistol Pete Maravich, and so on and so forth. We don't outgrow that, do we? Our idols simply change. Down comes the Farrah Fawcett poser and up goes the Tom Cruise. But too, why is it that we also seem to seek out a devil, something to whip and chain and cast in the basement? Why is that I wonder?

  9. #99
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by omm poppa mow mow View Post
    There's a couple great quotes I return to, time and again:

    "So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship."
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)

    Men to whom God is dead worship one another.
    --Harry Crews, The Gospel Singer, 1968

    And why is that? That men seek someone to worship?

    With me, it was sports figures....Bobby Orr, Pistol Pete Maravich, and so on and so forth. We don't outgrow that, do we? Our idols simply change. Down comes the Farrah Fawcett poser and up goes the Tom Cruise. But too, why is it that we also seem to seek out a devil, something to whip and chain and cast in the basement? Why is that I wonder?
    Great apex question.
    My belief is, it's the fear of the dark & unknown, and probably even more so, the fear of being alone in the dark unknown.

  10. #100
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    God to me is next to nothing.

    Weird, because most of my closest friends are very religious (They go to church, hang out with predominantly the same kind of people, don't drink, don't sleep around and so on, really old school). They seem to get something out of religion, an inner peace. I think it helps them feel better about life, makes it more coherent. There's no harm done. When they die, if there's a heaven, they're taken cared of. If there is nothing after death, there is nothing to loose. Win--Win. Unlike some religious people I know, my friends are nice to non-believers.

    I don't like God. Suppose he exists. If he's so omnipotent, why doesn't he make this world a better place to live in and take out the bad stuff he created? God has the power to do so, why doesn't he? I don't want to hear that life is just a test to see if we live up to his standards. God is supposed to know us by heart. He doesn't need a training run for that. When you say something like this to religious people, they say: "God works in mysterious ways." That's a nice excuse for everything. Like talking to a juke-box.

    If God does exist, he is evil, inconsiderate, stubborn, childish, criminally insane...how about an example from the Bible, from the Book Of Job: God and Satan are talking, Satan says: "A man will always loose his faith in you if he gets broken down enough." God says: "No way, Jose, I'll prove it." So then he goes and destroys Job. To top it off, God (read it from the book if you don't belive me) kills Job's wife and children. God does this! When I mentioned this to a nice pentecostal woman, she said: "Yes, yes, but read on, God gives him another wife and more children!"

    I loved that woman, but I just couldn't process that answer of hers. It blew my mind. The determination, the fanaticism. If that (killing Job's family) wasn't a work of evil, what was?

    Are we supposed to be like an ant-farm at the mercy of a masochistic brat?

    God: "Sorry about your family, Job. I had to make a point. Here's a new one."
    Job, Bible version: "Thank you, Sir! May I have another?"
    Job, the uncut version: "I miss my old family."

    I like Jesus. He really gave some good advice about life, things even a non-believer can use.

    God? No thanks. If you're running heaven, I'll go to hell and spare myself the abuse.

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