Does God exist?

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby egg » Tue May 04, 2010 8:20 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:
egg wrote:I would hate to think of It as sentient in the human sense.


Rintendo first hit the nail on the head about the tendency to anthropomorphize God, and this comment by Egg reinforces that. If God, in whatever form you wish to believe, exists, trying to pigeonhole God into "looking and sensing" as human is just way too easy, and quite the cop-out. It leads to the kinds of deductive reasoning that give rise to statements like "God would want it this way because it only makes sense to any human." As if any human has the "big picture" purview that an alleged God has?

Indeed, I would expect God to be "super-sentient" if we define human sentience as the norm. What that means and how it affects ones reasoning capacities, I can only guess at. This is why I think it is also too easy to say "the proof there is no God is because of all the suffering in the world around us." Just because we see something as suffering does not mean that all sentient beings would see it as such. It is possible that all things that occur, if we assume there is a God, are for a purpose. Do we know that for a fact? Of course we don't.

The thing about systems, and especially systems-of-systems, is that they exhibit emergent behaviors. That means they exhibit behaviors that one would NOT expect to see as a result of a mere accounting of the behaviors of its sub-components. Now apply this systems understanding to a God, and you should come to the conclusion that God should exhibit behaviors that would be beyond our level of understanding or reason. They would be emergent behaviors that are in-line with a higher level of systemic organization. But at our level of reasoning, they may even seem cross-purpose, mostly because we are trying to enslave God with human purpose and reason.

Ray


Good stuff. I'm with you. The mercurial and/or enigmatic nature of God is exactly why we're having this discussion. Nice one!
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby egg » Tue May 04, 2010 8:26 pm

Zep Tepi wrote:You are saying that the creator deserves most, if not all of the credit. Conversley, by this logic, the creator should deserve most if not all of any blame for whenever anything goes bad or wrong.

Excellent point. We agree.

As for the rules we live by - what is good and bad and the consequences of our actions. Many forces attempt to indoctrinate you as to what is good and what is bad. Many of them come from religions which are supposed to have come from God. I want proof!
Every one of these organizations, whether religious or secular, have committed at least some of the "crimes" they try to prevent us from committing or punish us when we commit.

We create the rule, IMO. Until I see real evidence of God creating them. Yes, many of them are needed for a functioning society. Not all of them. If I were in charge, there would be many changes. I'm sure most would say the same.
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby egg » Tue May 04, 2010 8:32 pm

Rintendo wrote:I think that the temporal nature of our plane of existence should lead us to believe that everything, good or bad, is just an experience. If we had a limitless view of G-D/Universe then the tragedies would not seem so tragic. They are experiences felt much like that strange feeling of your foot falling asleep and then waking up again. We are part of a system so we can neither take credit or blame for good and bad, but experience it and learn from it. The human capacity to blame and reward means nothing and is an extension of ego.

Does this mean that I believe that we shouldn't strive to do good? No, not at all. It just means that we ought to put everything in the best perspective that we can and reduce the antagonistic form of blame atheism or agnosticism; if God doesn't perform on command or save us from the mess we created ourselves then he does not exist.

Evil exists because it draws space from the passivity of the good. There is much we can do but don't and label our apathy "pragmatism".

G-D more than exists. God is existence, including all of you.

I buy a lot of this.

However, perhaps evil exists because it is the baseline. If evil only exists from passivity of good (or absence of it), perhaps evil is the natural order of things and good is invader, the cancer, the unnatural. It's not a thought we like to think but, it seems that evil is far more persuasive to me (mild evil, at least). Turn on the news.

I have a lot of thoughts as to the part we play in things. Enough to start another thread. But, I'll say this, look at your lives. Ask yourself, how much you really had to do with your likes and dislikes, the path you've lead, the people you've come in contact with and kept around you. How much credit or responsibility should you take?
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue May 04, 2010 8:59 pm

egg wrote:However, perhaps evil exists because it is the baseline. If evil only exists from passivity of good (or absence of it), perhaps evil is the natural order of things and good is invader, the cancer, the unnatural. It's not a thought we like to think but, it seems that evil is far more persuasive to me (mild evil, at least). Turn on the news.


In an engineering sense, "good and evil" or "good and bad" can only be relative to a stated intention. A goal. What is it that you are trying to do? What desired end state is more important to you than others? Answering those questions will yield a determination of what is good and what is evil. If my top goal is the preservation of human life, then any form of induced-death (killing) is wrong, and thus "evil". If there are other, competing, goals then we have a problem.

That is why I tend to resist brands of good and evil unless they are accompanied by the goal state that is trying to be achieved. Therefore, without a statement of the goal you are trying to achieve, there is no good or evil. It does not exist until progress to a goal can be measured by the actions you take to achieve it, or prevent it.

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby egg » Tue May 04, 2010 9:04 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:In an engineering sense, "good and evil" or "good and bad" can only be relative to a stated intention. A goal. What is it that you are trying to do? What desired end state is more important to you than others? Answering those questions will yield a determination of what is good and what is evil. If my top goal is the preservation of human life, then any form of induced-death (killing) is wrong, and thus "evil". If there are other, competing, goals then we have a problem.

That is why I tend to resist brands of good and evil unless they are accompanied by the goal state that is trying to be achieved. Therefore, without a statement of the goal you are trying to achieve, there is no good or evil. It does not exist until progress to a goal can be measured by the actions you take to achieve it, or prevent it.

Ray

I agree. That's much like what I was saying to Zep, above. We decide what is right and wrong.
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby ryguy » Tue May 04, 2010 9:19 pm

Zep Tepi wrote:You are saying that the creator deserves most, if not all of the credit. Conversley, by this logic, the creator should deserve most if not all of any blame for whenever anything goes bad or wrong.

But now you're trying to say that isn't what you meant?


Strawman. This is what I wrote.

I didn't say people shouldn't be held responsible, but that the blame (or credit) isn't entire one's own.


Yes, blame too if we must go by the terms blame and credit.

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby ryguy » Tue May 04, 2010 9:26 pm

egg wrote:As for disliking New Age spirituality, I understand. I don't like all of it either. However, I don't like much of the Old Age religions or spirituality either.


Touche...good point... lol.

Your belief of humility in approaching God is your own decision. I don't say it is a bad one. In fact, even if we are part and/or total God, I think it's probably the right approach. But, that may be the New Age influence talking :wink:
Yes, breaking the ego shackles which bind us is difficult but so is lifting 260 lbs or saving $100,000 (for most people) or learning Kung-Fu. Difficulty does not necessarily measure anything but difficulty. Of course, we're all different to a degree. For a few, being humble is easy but baking a souffle is difficult.


Well said...personally I've always felt that those who are closest to enlightenment seem so humble and mild - obviously buddhist monks come to mind. I watched a documentary last week on their belief (and claimed proof) of reincarnation - some of which was pretty amazing stuff. While I do feel that the "force" exists outside of us, and that we are only a piece of the larger picture (not the center of it) - I also agree (at least I think we agree) that traditional Western religions don't quite have it right.

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby egg » Tue May 04, 2010 9:29 pm

ryguy wrote:Well said...personally I've always felt that those who are closest to enlightenment seem so humble and mild - obviously buddhist monks come to mind. I watched a documentary last week on their belief (and claimed proof) of reincarnation - some of which was pretty amazing stuff. While I do feel that the "force" exists outside of us, and that we are only a piece of the larger picture (not the center of it) - I also agree (at least I think we agree) that traditional Western religions don't quite have it right.

-Ry

As far as religions go, I am a fan of the Buddhists. In keeping with the thread's question, the funniest thing about the Buddhists is, there is no mention of God or the afterlife. Your spiritual duty is here on earth. Buddhism helps one to help themselves make their time here better. Major reason why I like the religion. Compassionate pragmatism.
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby ryguy » Tue May 04, 2010 9:31 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:In an engineering sense, "good and evil" or "good and bad" can only be relative to a stated intention. A goal. What is it that you are trying to do? What desired end state is more important to you than others? Answering those questions will yield a determination of what is good and what is evil. If my top goal is the preservation of human life, then any form of induced-death (killing) is wrong, and thus "evil". If there are other, competing, goals then we have a problem.


Ray - do you mean that within this framework, we each individually have a set of what makes up "good" and "evil" and so long as it moves us toward the stated intention then it's good...even if it conflicts with someone else's "good"? I'm picturing a world of collective sub-systems - not all of which are working in harmony with the larger picture...which of course is an accurate representation of the world today. I guess maybe you're onto something...lol.

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Zep Tepi » Tue May 04, 2010 9:38 pm

Strawman? Maybe you should look-up the definition for that particular term.
Maybe you missed the part I emboldened? You know, the part that shows you can't have it both ways.
You either mean one thing, or you don't. If you want to flip-flop on your own opinion, that's your perogative. But don't start using cheap ATS debate tactics on me because it won't work.

ryguy wrote:
Zep Tepi wrote:You are saying that the creator deserves most, if not all of the credit. Conversley, by this logic, the creator should deserve most if not all of any blame for whenever anything goes bad or wrong.

But now you're trying to say that isn't what you meant?


Strawman. This is what I wrote.

I didn't say people shouldn't be held responsible, but that the blame (or credit) isn't entire one's own.


Yes, blame too if we must go by the terms blame and credit.

-Ry
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Zep Tepi » Tue May 04, 2010 9:41 pm

egg wrote:
Zep Tepi wrote:You are saying that the creator deserves most, if not all of the credit. Conversley, by this logic, the creator should deserve most if not all of any blame for whenever anything goes bad or wrong.

Excellent point. We agree.


I'm glad someone does ;)

As for the rules we live by - what is good and bad and the consequences of our actions. Many forces attempt to indoctrinate you as to what is good and what is bad. Many of them come from religions which is supposed to have come from God. I want proof!
Every one of these organizations, whether religious or secular, have committed at least some of the "crimes" they try to prevent us from committing or punish us when we commit.

We create the rule, IMO. Until I see real evidence of God creating them. Yes, many of them are needed for a functioning society. Not all of them. If I were in charge, there would be many changes. I'm sure most would say the same.


Absolutely, I couldn't agree more.
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue May 04, 2010 10:10 pm

ryguy wrote:Ray - do you mean that within this framework, we each individually have a set of what makes up "good" and "evil" and so long as it moves us toward the stated intention then it's good...even if it conflicts with someone else's "good"?


That is what I mean, yes. After all, we live in a relative universe, so why is it so hard for some folks to understand that good and evil are relative to something as well?

I'm picturing a world of collective sub-systems - not all of which are working in harmony with the larger picture...which of course is an accurate representation of the world today. I guess maybe you're onto something...lol.


Indeed, and the way I read the game of politics these days is to obfuscate any agreement upon the goals or their priority. Additionally, what I see more often is either not agreeing to goal priority, or shadily trying to switch priorities after they have been set. But that is the game of politics, so it should come as no surprise that it is going on. We should simply all recognize it, point it out, and not allow them to get away with it...on both sides of the political aisle.

But to show it is not just a politics thing, I see it time and again in engineering, and that makes me even more frustrated. The idea of an engineering trade study SHOULD BE to prioritize what is most important to you before you evaluate the options. But how many times does a person's personal favorite pet solution NOT come out on top, and so they then want to go back and re-order the priorities? This sort of thing can be done if you have a very loose trade study process. I always implement a very clear one that makes it pretty much impossible to change priorities without everyone seeing exactly what you are doing. If only we had such transparency in government, eh? One can dream! :lol:

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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Rintendo » Wed May 05, 2010 1:40 am

After reading your posts my thoughts are these:

That the "mercurial" nature of G-D cannot be established using human benchmarks. What if mercurial is the perfect existence because it allows for flux? We cannot know G-D by our terms.

Someone said that Buddhists do not talk of the afterlife and that is not true. They prepare you for it, absolutely. We have been everything and will be one with everything. They even prepare you to return should you desire to return.

As to religion...it did not create itself. It also was not created in a vacuum. If you look at the ancient religions all of the rules and commandments, both positive and negative were practical for people who still had to fear a wolf at the door, lions, and wars without warning. It makes sense to outlaw homosexuality if you need people to make a lot of babies. It makes sense to say no shellfish because someone may have seen what happened to someone with a shellfish allergy. It made sense to tell people to wash all the time for everything. They were very practical rules. Don't harm children. Don't mess around on your wife. Give alms to the poor.

What we did with religion is what we do with everything else--we abuse and ruin it. Can someone point out to me one pure untainted good idea. Philosophy? Karl Marx's ideas led to revolutions in China and Russia that killed more millions than any religion has by the time the regimes were done with their purges, but is Communism a bad idea? We have this negative reaction to being told what to do. We love to point out where rules and the people who instruct us with them have failed.

Is religion bad? Is it evil? What is it? It's not breathing. It's not a thing. There are codices and doctrines that explain a religion, but religion is an illusion. Religion, ironically, is the devil that made us do it.

G-D was never intended to be found in religion. G-D is found in spirit, in emotion, in joy, creativity, childbirth. These things are like drops of water in the ocean of what G-D is. If you've dipped your toe in a tidal pool you cannot say that you know what it is like to swim in the ocean. So to judge G-D by religion or religious peoples is to tip your toe in tidal pool.
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby gunter » Wed May 05, 2010 6:16 am

Those all very pretty and inspiring thoughts. But in arbitrarily assigning those qualities to god you've essentially defined her into existence. And of course this is the case with every description of the powers and qualities of any god. But in the end it's still nothing more than a presupposition. This god of yours is not subject to rational analysis. By definition. It's a conundrum that even the greatest of all German Philosophers, Kant, solved in a similar way. In the end he concluded that god (in his case the Christian, ethical god), was not just beyond the bounds of reason but was in fact the possibility of pure reason- the a priori Categorical Imperative- engraved by the hand of the god upon the Soul! In dialectical terms his god was therefore synthetic a priori- which in ordinary rational analysis is a contradiction in terms. What does it mean then? That god is the necessary presupposition. But really this is a circular argument based in tautology. And you know what? He both knew that and didn't care. But I'd say that if one finds it necessary for their own sanity to define the god into existence one would be better off deferring to Socratic dialectic as that definition. In that sense the god becomes un-qualified process. No 'good' or 'evil' nor any other quality need corrupt the purity of this process. The very Process is god. It simply is what it is- just as Moses said. "Who are you God?" "I am that I am." (ehyeh asher ehyeh.)
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Access Denied » Wed May 05, 2010 6:33 am

Does God exist? Although I’ve experienced what I can only describe as “being in the presence of God” on a few occasions, I don’t see any evidence to support the existence of God… the Universe doesn’t seem to require one to explain it.

“If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?”

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”


- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

As far as religious beliefs go, I believe Life is what we make of it… to the extent that sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.
Men go and come but Earth abides.
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