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

  1. #71
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    I tend to think of god as originating from some nebulous concept of mystery. One of my favorite thoughts to consider is stripping myself of all scientific knowledge and imaging the sound of thunder. It brings about a paradox: one of being alienated by nature, but at the same time subsumed by it. And that feeling, I think, sparks religious awe or an experience of the numinous. Of course, that would mean the experience is contingent on our knowledge of the natural world.

    Today, science tells us the ‘how’ of thunder, tells us a deity isn’t growling at us from the sky. And for that reason, it’s mystery isn’t quite as ripe in comparison to how it was experienced millennia ago. I think this points to the modern reliance on faith as an approach to god. Many will not agree, but I think science dominates the realm of objective inquiry, leaving only the subjective faith-based claims to the religious sphere. When the natural world becomes reducible and mathematically predictable, it loses a great deal of its mystery.

    I think this is why the biblical times seem rife with wonder and miracles and a theistic involvement within the scope of history -- a sufficient knowledge of the natural world simply wasn’t there, so mystery loomed at every corner. Thus, when thunder was heard in the sky, it was experienced as a growl. Today, we don’t experience the immediacy (in a culturally holistic way) of a theistic involvement within the natural world in the same way as the ancients. This implicates a distinction in world views and the basic premise that our knowledge necessarily dictates how we experience the world.

    For this reason, I don’t think the ancients were spinning fairy tales. I believe they were honest in their accounts, and perhaps those accounts were meaningful in their own context. We don’t live in that context, though, and should not align ourselves with its validity in such a rigid and at times feverish way. Perhaps there’s truth that can be applied allegorically to the modern human experience (the moral teachings of jesus), but those claims about the natural world (such as creationism) overreach their proper scope.

    That was a longwinded way of saying I think theism has anthropological origins, and really speaks little to what we consider the important question of ‘what created the world, what created us?’

  2. #72
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatInTheHat View Post
    Compassion is a learned behavior.


    And I think it is logical.
    What could be more logical, than in order to receive anything resembling compassion, good will, friendlyness or anything of any emotional/social value, you must be able to display the same capability if you wish to participate in that society.
    True pychopaths not quite being an exception to the rule, but they learn to mimic those behaviors if they're to become successfully intergrated..think Ted Bundy...they probably even had compassion at some point, until something shorted out the circuits.

    Put a child in a box with no human contact, with nothing but the essentials of life and force it to live, you'll have a creature not capable of compassion.
    If it has it hasn't known any, it won't have any.

    We start our compassion primer with the love & caring of a mother to her child from the moment of birth...well, thankfully most of us.
    Then family & society (we are social animals afterall) has to do it's part too, but the mother is the best start, as it's unconditional, the rest teaches us the differences in/of degrees.

    Those that don't have that from the beginning, hopefully find (or are thankfully found) by someone who can instill those needed nuggets of emotional education and support.
    I also don't think there's anything clinically cold about that, but rather one of the warmest & most wonderful things we are capable of, not to mention the great apes, who often seem to put us to shame in this department.

    I do agree though, cmpassion is the ultimate schnizzle!
    I agree with you partly....but it's not as simple as you put it tho.

    Mother-child compassion is complete different from compassion for a total stranger. A mother's got her genes to protect...she does not care for strange genes (as ALL animals also do...you won't find an example of a true altruistic animal).

    Humans can be compassionate for complete strangers. And that does not make us different from animals in the end, we are animals (tho we want to forget that somehow). We just evolved different with our brains. Like I said before: there are perfectly reasonable explanations for compassionate behavior. I'm not going to explain them all here...because that is not the topic of this thread and it's a lot of writing in English for me.

    If people want to believe compassion is the greater good (or the greater god), I truly admire that. But like i said before...it does not make it more true...and I do not like people who believe in buying themselves with loads of so-called compassion into heaven...

  3. #73
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhmyGod! View Post
    I agree with you partly....but it's not as simple as you put it tho.

    Mother-child compassion is complete different from compassion for a total stranger. A mother's got her genes to protect...she does not care for strange genes (as ALL animals also do...you won't find an example of a true altruistic animal).

    Humans can be compassionate for complete strangers. And that does not make us different from animals in the end, we are animals (tho we want to forget that somehow). We just evolved different with our brains. Like I said before: there are perfectly reasonable explanations for compassionate behavior. I'm not going to explain them all here...because that is not the topic of this thread and it's a lot of writing in English for me.

    If people want to believe compassion is the greater good (or the greater god), I truly admire that. But like i said before...it does not make it more true...and I do not like people who believe in buying themselves with loads of so-called compassion into heaven...

    I agree completely about a mother/child relationship vs. all others, though I do believe it's a lot more than just a primal gene pool saving instinct, not that it doesn't play a great part in it.
    I don't agree that there's no such thing as a truly altruistic "animal"..I believe great apes have shown not only the capability, but the desire.

    I didn't mean to simplify it, but Ms. Mod's got better things to do than read one (another one okay, sheeesh) of my wordy ramblings on a question posed that peaked my brain ( don't nobody go there), and gave me the occasional pause for a few days.
    Owwy owwy owwy..hmm, I suppose it coulda been a stroke.

    And while we humans commit acts of compassion to total strangers (and isn't that the point), it is a behavior that has been displayed by apes (and dolphins to name another species) to our species as well, and totally altruistically
    And just like us, they were taught compassionate behavior by their Mama's, their own extended families and social groups, in order to function within the those groups.
    It's not only for protecting the direct gene pool, not to mention a species as a whole, but for individual survival as well..okay ya got me maybe it is rather simple to me.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by smerdyakov View Post
    ...One of my favorite thoughts to consider is stripping myself of all scientific knowledge and imaging the sound of thunder. It brings about a paradox: one of being alienated by nature, but at the same time subsumed by it. And that feeling, I think, sparks religious awe or an experience of the numinous. Of course, that would mean the experience is contingent on our knowledge of the natural world. ...Today, we don’t experience the immediacy (in a culturally holistic way) of a theistic involvement within the natural world in the same way as the ancients. This implicates a distinction in world views and the basic premise that our knowledge necessarily dictates how we experience the world. ...
    I disagree. I don’t believe that our cultures have diverged so far from their origins that it is no longer possible to experience the world mystically. Some individuals, overly secure in popular interpretations of select facts, may suffer such an inability to experience the depths of reality, but this hardly proves that it is impossible for everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by PatInTheHat View Post
    ...What could be more logical, than in order to receive anything resembling compassion, good will, friendlyness or anything of any emotional/social value, you must be able to display the same capability if you wish to participate in that society. ...
    I think that that is indeed a good description of development in a psychopath, but I’m not so sure that it adequately describes genuine altruism. I’m positive that some do more than mimic a behavior which they wish to receive. (Although I have indeed known and, to be frank, disliked some who thought to, so to speak, “buy salvation” myself.)
    Anyway, though, I didn’t mean to assert that compassion has no natural cause. OhmyGod! asked about measuring goodness, and all I intended was to suggest that the scope of effect from a given positive fact or situation might be taken as a starting point. The further idea that any good greater than one that is purely subjective to a single individual must be supreme good is also not my position.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    I disagree. I don’t believe that our cultures have diverged so far from their origins that it is no longer possible to experience the world mystically. Some individuals, overly secure in popular interpretations of select facts, may suffer such an inability to experience the depths of reality, but this hardly proves that it is impossible for everyone
    Perhaps, but we do know the mechanism of thunder. I'm not being overly secure about that knowledge -- it's just knowledge. And with that knowledge there's no way to attribute any force beyond the natural (in terms of the 'how') without denying the natural. You can say god put the law into effect, but it's still natural law that we are dealing with. This claim would need some arguments and also need to explain why occam's razor isn't valid. Regardless, the mystery I was alluding to in the earlier posts -- is thunder a growling god -- no longer exists. What we now become concerned with is god prior to thunder (something whose nature is in line with what we consider 'the rational' because we are dealing with law).

    Like I said, I'm sure folks do experience something they consider the religious -- but it will be a subjective experience, not a culturally holistic experience (like the ancient contexts I was referring to). Again, this seems to be the result of a difference in world views. The past was dominated by a religious worldview; the modern worldview is one dominated by science (at least in terms of objective validity). I think the former was dominated by the religious because there was no sufficient understanding of the natural world.

    Modern science has its bed in religion for this very reason. The ancients approached an understanding of God via the natural world -- demystifying the mysterious. But this understanding has exceeded its original intent (at least for some) by limiting the necessity of god's role in our current understanding of the universe. Some still argue for intelligent design, but that's very much different from the early myths of creationism we find in the bible (which were reliant on other near eastern myth traditions, at least for the hebrews, not science).

    BTW, I think the conundrums of quantum theory give plenty of depth and complexity to the world as we know it. There still exists mystery! So god can still have a role in the world that we will discover in the future -- will perhaps force us to reevaluate our understanding all together. But I see no evidence for such a conclusion as of yet, although will humbly recant my position if something of the sort comes about.

    As of yet, I think God is limited to the realm of a subject's own experience/faith and has no evidence in terms of objective validity. I have some thoughts on why god cannot have objective proof -- I think it would give us a contradiction of conception -- but will leave that out for the sake of this discussion.

    Those are just my thoughts. I should also say that I'm speaking primarily to the existence of a theistic god, not a deistic one. Given the complexity and improbability of life, perhaps some agent kickstarted the world into a linear trajectory. I'm not entirely convinced of this argument, but find it more reasonable than common assertions for a theistic god who enters history, changes the course of events, saves us from hell, and all that.

    Anyway, sorry if that was kind of long. Thanks for responding.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Oy!

  7. #77
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatInTheHat View Post

    And while we humans commit acts of compassion to total strangers (and isn't that the point), it is a behaviour that has been displayed by apes (and dolphins to name another species) to our species as well, and totally altruistically
    There is no evidence of 'totally' altruistic behaviour in the animal kingdom...it may look that way...but in the end it can all be explained to save the animals own genes.

    No animal will ever try to save the whole species. That's not how evolution works. There is not one example of an animal caring altruistic for the group/species. (only wasps and ants...but they are not the gene carriers...the queen is).

    Quote Originally Posted by smerdyakov
    Given the complexity and improbability of life, perhaps some agent kickstarted the world into a linear trajectory. I'm not entirely convinced of this argument, but find it more reasonable than common assertions for a theistic god who enters history, changes the course of events, saves us from hell, and all that.
    If one would think logical...it kind a makes no sense if some magic-god kick-started the world into a linear trajectory...that would make as much sense if a unicorn would blow the universe into working...
    And life didn't start out complex....it started out simple...and how improbable live is, can be questioned....we don't know how many times other universes without live excited...we do know it was a process of millions of years...we do know how many other planets exist with no live....if you count all these things up...it might not all be that improbable in the end. For example: It is improbable to throw a penny right into a bottle...but if you tried it a million times on a million different places....the improbable factor would drop, wouldn’t it?

  8. #78
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    God (in all its many forms) is a human response to the basic fear of nature.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Compassion and empathy are both special traits found in spiritual people. Happiness and joy come from within and is given away to those in need by the compassionate. Whatever God is or isn't to an individual is not important, what is important is the spirit of the person themselves. Look inside and find what is good and you will find spirituality.

  10. #80
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    Default Re: what is god to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by OhmyGod! View Post
    If one would think logical...it kind a makes no sense if some magic-god kick-started the world into a linear trajectory...that would make as much sense if a unicorn would blow the universe into working...And life didn't start out complex....it started out simple...and how improbable live is, can be questioned....we don't know how many times other universes without live excited...we do know it was a process of millions of years...we do know how many other planets exist with no live....if you count all these things up...it might not all be that improbable in the end. For example: It is improbable to throw a penny right into a bottle...but if you tried it a million times on a million different places....the improbable factor would drop, wouldn’t it?
    The cell is vastly more complex than darwin could have ever dreamed. And on top of that, how the cell could have come out of cosmic soup is even more unfathomable -- and something evolutionary theory can not reasonably account for. And on top of that, to form something like a human eye? Evolution requires favorable mutation. The probability of favorable mutation can excede to the trillionths. So consider: We have unfavorable mutations in the trillionths. All this to produce ONE favorable mutation. The amount of favorable mutations necessary to gradually assemble the human anatomy is mind boggling. And on top of that, where are all of these species with unfavorable mutations in the fossil record? They ought to be bountiful.

    Gradual evolutionism would require its own magical unicorn. It seems to me a theory only effective once we have a level of complexity in place to account for a gradual change in a species.

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