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What is God?

November 26th, 2007 · Posted by Who Knows? · 59 Comments

I have one axiom, and one axiom only:

God exists.

If you are disagreeing with me, if you say “no he doesn’t”, you have missed the point already. You have assumptions that are blinding you to what I’m saying. You can tell me what it is that doesn’t exist, but you have not worked with the same axioms that I have, so we are not communicating.

So drop that nonsense of yours, remove all your assumptions, all your baggage, all your fundamentalistic brainwashings (and atheists are prone to that as well), and accept only one axiom (and it’s an axiom, so don’t argue):

God exists.

Done that? Great. Now you tell me about God. The God that does exist, not the one that does not.

Categories: Religion and Science
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59 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Negate // Nov 26, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Yeah well with statements like that you don’t understand atheist mind frames at all.

    We don’t want god to exist. The essence of god makes us not alive. So my answer to

    “Now you tell me about God”

    1. If there is a God(in all its definitions) it can not be responsible for my life. If you were made your not alive. If it happened by chance and thus i am lucky to be alive. Then the human races destiny is its own. We are in control of our destiny and the human race. there will be a end to your existence, thus affirming again you were alive.

    So if a god is not responsible for my life and is not influencing my life at all because i myself have to work hard at life, whats the point of believing or even making up characteristics of a needles interference.

    An atheist in this church will just have to get up and walk out, because your fundamental barking is just not cut out enough for what is needed to ensure a better future for the human race. That means our children. The world is going to change because of science and great people. Its part of our nature. With a great mind you can understand what is needed to ensure better survival of human race, like jesus did. But because of science and a rational human nature, the god argument is not going to cut anymore for future generations.

    In the end atheism and god are at there core totally different philosophies. We want different things. At best will your goal be seen a cult.

    >If you are disagreeing with me, if you say “no he doesn’t”, you have missed the point already.

    You have given no reason why a god is necessary. Is he necessary because it fits your dear old fundamental believes that you cant seem to get rid of? or please enlighten me with a response and tell me

  • 2 Negate // Nov 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    You can tell me what it is that doesn’t exist, but you have not worked with the same axioms that I have, so we are not communicating.

    Yes we are hugo. I know that warm fussy feeling i got when i received something and thanked god for it. I remember how i saw the wonder in gods creation. I remember my love of jesus for saving me. As atheist i have a stronger feeling towards wanting to be alive. and striving at something. In my group talk with 14 year olds, 2 out of 4 were happy that they will just be dead and cant go to hell.

    I also feel you have a assumption binding you towards what you believe. We all had major events happening in our life’s that molded and shaped us.

    so

    2. God must not have any control over life.

    so all that god can be is a symbol of human needs.

    Currently i don’t feel like putting god in my trolley im in another phase of human development.

    Its probably best that atheist leave you religious people alone and you leave us alone. And in the end we let our children decide. They Gonna know best.

  • 3 bluegray // Nov 26, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Of course God exists. But you will have to expand on that axiom. Does he exist in a real and practical sense, or does he exist in the collective mind of millions of people?

    Here is my axiom:

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.

    If you are disagreeing with me, if you say “no he doesn’t”, you have missed the point too.

  • 4 gerhard // Nov 26, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    hugo : I totally agree with bluegray, god exists as an abstract concept created by man for man.
    the question isnt if god exists or not.
    the question is , is there any need or reason for god to exist :)
    beyond that , you are just jumping to conclusions …

    no matter how much you state that god exists (in the chrsitain he is our concious creator kind of way) and no matter how much you say it is a truth (an axiom) it isnt so without understand why this is a truth. and in this case there isnt anything to understand … (hence the goal posts changing for your religion to the ludacris)

  • 5 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Heathens! ;)

    You guys are totally missing the point. There is one question. None of you answered the question. You keep on running around in circles that are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Oh, and by the way, gerhard, Negate, when I don’t answer a certain part of some of your statements, you may assume that I either agree with you, or that I don’t think it relevant to the discussion, not that I disagree and want to ignore it. If you think that, we will get nowhere.

    So… let me help you out here. Assuming the axiom that God exists, what can you guys tell me about God?

    – you can tell me that he did not create the universe six thousand years ago, because it is much older.
    – you can tell me that he doesn’t interfere through supernatural influences.

    Can anyone disagree with this? So why all the nonsense then? *sigh*

    If you guys are not interested in even trying to communicate, you are free to leave.

    Hell. What is hell? Hell is believing that 90% of the humans living around you are morons, and you are the only enlightened individuals. That, my friends, that is hell. Heaven is being liberated from that. I am trying to help you find heaven, but you guys are not interested. You clearly enjoy hell too much.

  • 6 Negate // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    I did answer your question read my remarks under 1. and 2. in my posts

  • 7 Negate // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    > If you guys are not interested in even trying to communicate, you are free to leave.

    So communicating with you is to believe what you say or leave, pff just another cult.

    >Hell. What is hell? …That, my friends, that is hell.

    That is natural awesomeness.

    So yeah ill get up and leave this “church” of :

    I cant seem to give up relying on my big brother syndrome

    In noodles name
    Ramen

  • 8 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Ah, sorry Negate. My apologies.

    2. God must not have any control over life.

    There I disagree. Some people’s “God” has caused them to fly into buildings. Clearly that “God” has some control. And that is why I wish that their understanding of “God” were to improve.

    I cant seem to give up relying on my big brother syndrome

    Lol. Boxes.

    May you be touched by his noodly appendage, and through that, be set free to have life in abundance.

  • 9 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    So communicating with you is to believe what you say or leave, pff just another cult.

    I never asked you to believe anything. I only asked you to accept the axiom “God exists”. Dropping all other assumptions, such as “what is God”. And that, my friends, is where you missed the point. When you disagree that “God exists”, you have already included some other axioms. Drop those axioms. Forget about your definition of “God”. The only axiom, the *only* one relevant here, is “God exists”.

    It is not a belief. It is an axiom. It is a definition. Once we have that in common, we can make great progress in getting somewhere. You don’t need to believe, you just need to be able to talk from within the framework of that axiom.

  • 10 bluegray // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Well, you created God with your axiom, so you have to tell us about him.
    Listing a bunch of negatives about something I have no proof for is pointless. You can replace God in your examples with anything from The Hoff to father christmas. It will be just as true.

  • 11 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Two comments ago:

    There I disagree. Some people’s “God” has caused them to fly into buildings. Clearly that “God” has some control. And that is why I wish that their understanding of “God” were to improve.

    I immediately jumped to disagreement again. Sorry about that. Uh,… seriously, I agree with you, mostly. I agree with most of what you say. I agree that practically everything you say, is correct from the perspective of your worldview, um, rather, your language, worldviews are considered “wrong” and “right” by some.

    The only point I’m trying to bring home, is the gap in communication, which I feel is totally unnecessary, but best illustrated by the stubbornness that I have used. Because that’s the kind of stubbornness you will find amongst Christians. Understand that, accept that you can work with the axiom, and there is hope.

    If you can work with the axiom and understand why I’m being stubborn, then you can be an extremely valuable asset to this church of mine. However, if you are unable to do so, if you have grief with me at this moment, then you should rather leave, if only because I’m expecting an invasion of religionists within a few weeks. And then, then I want to make progress, not fight about language and definitions.

    C’mon guys, I need help…

  • 12 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    bluegray, I hear what you are saying. I understand what you mean. But right now, I cannot explain it any better. The previous comment is where I now stand. I hope all is clear enough. I’m getting back to work.

    God bless… ;)

    May you be touched by his noodly appendage…

    May your lives be experienced as meaningful.

    Synonyms.

    Shalom.

  • 13 Pieter // Nov 26, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    “God doesn’t interfere through supernatural influences”

    Here is what I believe: God is not supernatural. All atheists believe this, and you believe this (? sorry, boxen!).

    If all religionistas believed this…the New Atheists would just shut up.

    It is not that Colonialist Richard Dawkins esquire (beautiful btw!) hates the native people…he just hates cannibalism (i.e. supernaturalism). In his book somewhere he said he loved and respected certain christians very much. And I’m sure he loves you too.

  • 14 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    And I love him too! Thanks Pieter. Glad to have you on board. If only the whole world consisted of Pieter’s.

    Thankfulness.

  • 15 George // Nov 26, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Good grief. As Mohammed nie na die berg wil kom nie, moet die berg seker na Mohammed gaan.

    OK. God exists.

    So what? Why should I care?

  • 16 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    You don’t have to care. I never said you have to care. ;-) However, if people want to understand one another, they have to think from one another’s perspectives.

    The internet is a dangerous thing. Why the rise in fundamentalism? I reckon the cultural clash is a big reason. We all misunderstand one another, because we speak different languages, and we focus on our differences. This reinforces fundamentalism. This is why Richard Dawkins’ books can backfire. And this is why I call him a fundamentalist as well. He is unable to translate. Very few people are, I believe, because not many have gone to the effort.

    I am not here to be understood, I don’t care about being understood. I care about making the world a better place, and that requires better communication skills. This is why I refuse to spell things out simply to the intolerant. We have to meet each other half-way. Richard Dawkins is tired of fundamentalism, and he is disinterested in meeting them half way. That’s fine! He’s a scientist, let him focus on what he’s good at. Leave the translating, the meeting half way, to people like me and Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and Erwin McManus and Marcus Borg then.

    If you care, if you want to make a difference to fundamentalism yourself, and not leave it to the pros, then stick around, and I can teach you. Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (That’s from the Bible by the way. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t cite my sources, because people hate the Bible so.)

    So, George, let me rephrase it: meaning exists. There is meaning to our lives, if we choose to accept meaning. If we choose to reject all meaning, well, … uh, then we might as well be animals. Find yourself some meaning, and you find yourself a God. My meaning in life? Compassion and exploration, just like Carl Sagan I’ll wager. Also much in common with Richard Dawkins, I just think I am less “angry” about fundamentalism. Because I have been there, it is easier for me to understand. That makes it easier to be compassionate. Richard Dawkins is gatvol but not sure what he can do about it.

    Well, he’s inspired me, so that’s a start. :-P

  • 17 bluegray // Nov 26, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Usually after much debate and pointing out faulty reasoning to fundamentalists, the faulty party will retire with the statement: “well you just don’t understand.” He is then free to discard the whole argument and go on believing what he started out with. You see it often with fundamentalist that are unwilling or unable to let go of their beliefs, no matter how many times you point out the errors in their arguments.

    But you cannot simply assume someone doesn’t understand your point just because he does not agree with it. Trying to see someone else’s point of view is important, but I think even more important is a willingness to scrutinise your own argument and to be able to concede if your argument is shown as faulty.

    I can understand what God is to you or anyone else perfectly, but in the end you will have to provide proof of his existence before I believe in him. And that is what religious people fail to understand, because their need to believe is greater than their need for proof.

  • 18 gerhard // Nov 26, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Done that? Great. Now you tell me about God. The God that does exist, not the one that does not.

    I did this , i said god exists as an abstract concept. you said , remove all your assumptions. I did this :) I am not making the assumption that god is physically real concious entity, as I am and hopefully you are. (i have no reason to assume this, existance can mean alot of things.) I am not assuming supernatural powers or concept.(i have never encountered anything supernatural, nor heard or seen anything remotely like it, there for it would be supernatural of me to use the supernatural as a starting assumption) by abstract i mean , He exists , just as one would say gandalf does or the easter bunny or numbers in algebra math. He exists as a expression of human longing for understanding and order if you will. (this tho is an assumption on what he exists as but u are asking me to assume about the “tell you about ‘god’” :) [i know i am saying this over and over ]

    I never asked you to believe anything. I only asked you to accept the axiom “God exists”. Dropping all other assumptions, such as “what is God”. And that, my friends, is where you missed the point. When you disagree that “God exists”, you have already included some other axioms. Drop those axioms. Forget about your definition of “God”. The only axiom, the *only* one relevant here, is “God exists”.

    It is not a belief. It is an axiom. It is a definition. Once we have that in common, we can make great progress in getting somewhere.

    Dropping all other assumptions, such as “what is God”. … this doesnt make sense in the context of the actual post. you are saying we should tell you about god but arent allowed to speculate about god himself. we are simply left with the fact that noone could say anything about god. just that god exists :P but anyway , if you accept my earlier mention of what assumptions not to make about god there can:P just dont be one of those people that jumps to the conclusion (make assumptions) of a physically real concious entity. if you want to talk start your axiom there.

    pieter: i think supernatural in the case of “God interfere through supernatural influences” means has concious control and can do anything with in a concious plan. is this the idea you are saying isnt the case?

  • 19 HappyNat // Nov 26, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    OK, God exists. God exists in the mind of many people. God is very different depending on the individual person and their life experiences. God is quite malleable and can fit into as many holes as there are minds on the earth.

  • 20 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    bluegray, I was agreeing with you completely up to this point:

    but in the end you will have to provide proof of his existence before I believe in him

    At that point, I realise you still misunderstand me. We will sort out this later. December, maybe. I’m sorry I can’t be clearer right now and right here.

    gerhard: you’re getting closer, but here you’re still missing it:

    by abstract i mean , He exists , just as one would say gandalf does or the easter bunny or numbers in algebra math.

    Gandalf and the Easter Bunny do not exist. If that is your notion of God, you’ve got different axioms to me. ;-P

    HappyNat: I disagree. People have diverse understandings of God, yes, but God itself does not change. It is never-changing… um… by definition? Hehe, ok, I’m adding another axiom here, but I feel it flows naturally from “God exists”.

    Human understanding has changed much over time. In the pre-modern times, God was a supernatural entity that interferes in supernatural fashion on behalf of those that worship it.

    Assume Jesus did exist. And now I mean, you must *seriously* assume these things. If you have a notion of Jesus and God that make you unable to believe in Jesus or God, I want you to drop that assumption. What is left, is your idea of “God”.

    Um, ok, we can talk about this as well then: what is your morality? What is your meaning in life? That, my friends, that thing that directs your life, that’s your God. Forget about causality, that is science speaking, pre-modern times, pre-modern notions of “God”, did not know much about causality.

    Compassion is my God. Jesus is, to me, an example of an incarnation of compassion and perseverance and dedication and critical thinking. He did not give answers, he gave questions. He wanted people to think. He was a humanist. He was prepared to die for his beliefs, for his dedication to subverting oppressive regimes, for his humanistic values. He believed in a future for humanity that is free from sacrificial cult syndrome, free from tyranny.

    And that? That, is an incarnation of my God. Jesus *is* my God. I will follow his example and bear my cross, in the process of helping rid this world of the tyranny of sin. Christian theology states we are Jesus’ hands and feet. And yet, most Christians are scared of a couple of nails, so they sit in church to be spoon-fed. Where’s the passion? Where’s the compassion? Where’s the love? Where’s the revolution?

    Jesus was crucified. On the third day? What happened on the third day? People realised Jesus is so much more than just a bunch of cells living and breathing natural air. They realised Jesus is an idea, an ideal, an inspiration. And those things cannot die! Take those things, and run with them. Jesus lives. Through us, his hands and feet.

    You don’t need any supernatural beliefs to follow Jesus and make him your saviour and God. And you don’t have to, really, you can pick your own God. I’m just saying I picked Jesus. And why did I pick Jesus? Because seeking him, reading the works of scholars that created a historical reconstruction, I was set free from my own fundamentalism. Jesus did save me. And he nudged me to become an atheist. Only then was I completely free of bullshit baggage, and the label “God” was destigmatised and free for the taking, only then was I able to stick that label on Jesus. (You can see my journey on my blog.)

    Jesus is my God. And he still lives. I hope you understand now.

    And I have said too much.

  • 21 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Oh, and this is why I say Jesus is the answer to fundamentalism. I say this out of experience. This is my God, and I believe in God, because I experienced God.

    You know? Suddenly all that dogma, all those stories, they all just started making sense. As soon as I threw out the supernatural, everything fell into place.

    Viva La Revolucion!

    I intend to show the Christians Jesus. Because they really need him, badly. If you need him too, that’s fine. Be my guest. I don’t care. I’m not trying to convert you to Christianity, I’m merely sharing my own views and experiences, and it has nothing to do with the supernatural.

  • 22 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Sorry about my digression.

    And sorry about the confusion about defining “God”. Pull in some pantheism if you want, and then God becomes the creator, the Cosmos. I think God is more than that though, God is compassion. God is honesty. God is wonder. God is appreciation/thankfulness. God is inquisitiveness. God is consciousness. God is critical thinking.

    Consciousness. Just look at consciousness. It’s a fucking miracle! And I don’t mean the supernatural kind. I don’t deal in supernatural. I deal in real, and in not-real. And consciousness is really a miracle. If consciousness is God, and God hasn’t blown your mind yet, you haven’t spent enough time pondering the wonders of consciousness.

    Living an unconscious life? That, my friends, that is hell. Living a life of fear and anger and hate and that kind of thing. A live of love and compassion, a life of meaning, where you contribute to your fellow humans? That, my friends, that is heaven. Let us all strive towards heaven. Let us strive towards understanding and respect and compassion. Let us make this world a better place.

    And to start off with, stop thinking of religious people as “stupid”. They have *experienced* the reality that is God. You happen to know something about God, in that you know he isn’t supernatural, if he exists. Define God as existing, and you should realise he is not supernatural. Voilá.

    Except, hey, consciousness is supernatural! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • 23 Hugo // Nov 26, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Oh, and the reason I say I have said too much? It can be used against me. Unfortunately. So it might affect what I will be able to do and what not. So be it. I will still try, and hope people don’t notice this post. ;-) I don’t want to delete comments.

  • 24 gerhard // Nov 26, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Gandalf and the Easter Bunny do exist. :) they effect people every day and they have meaning and people dedicate their lives to them :)
    i am very sorry that you fail to see this. You did state drop you assumtion as to what god is but what you meant was, drop your assumptions and make the assumption you want us to take. :P

    at least you finally defined your god ;)

    ok, i can’t add productively to this but i will tell you something about myself. I was a theist :) quite mercylessly so . similar to your upbringing it sounds except my dad taught us to be curious to a point which i think you may not have had.(an assumption) Not just to have a natural thirst for knowledge but to also apply it actively but try not to over apply it. aside from this i was raised in a Evangelical Christian society, participated actively in the religion and unlike this country the culture i come from didnt give you a choice or alternatives and people were more actively ‘talked the talk and walked the walk’.
    I believed this stuff. i did so earnestly. I later was transplated to a culture that i can honestly say is as different as theism is to atheism.
    I got exposed to more things and briefly became a liberal theist , more along the lines of an theistic agnostic/apologist like yourself leaning towards christianity. the reason i am telling you this is because i don’t want you think i am oblivious to what christianity or belief in god is. I do have intimate knowledge of such experiances.
    I actually feel most atheists i have met have had religious upbringing. They tend to be the ones with passion about it because now as (stable) atheist they cant believe they were that stupid, not because its stupid , but because of huge jump in percieved progression made. (its like upgrading from fundamentalist christian 5.0 to methodist 1.0, huuuuuuuge)

    Consciousness means alot of things to alot of people … so what do you mean with consciousness? i have much to say about this topic but it is dependent on your definition:)

  • 25 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Yes, Gandalf and the Bunny do exist. And you can make them your God if you like. But I know you well enough to know that you would not be able to do that. Which is why I say “drop that”, you won’t accept that.

    So sorry about the confusion, I hope you guys understand what I’m up to.

    I inherited my father’s genes, but was unable to inherit the memes that go with them, because my father died when I was 12. (See “We Remember, Heaven”, via the “You New?” link at the top.) As such, I had to develop my own memes, and that was tough, and took long.

    My mother’s side of the family had fundamentalistic memes. These seeped into my mind, without my father’s memes to offset them. Having genes without the memes that work with them, is a recipe for grief.

    Your summary of atheistic sentiments seems quite accurate to me. Atheists often project their own disbelief at their own “stupidity” onto other people, now calling them stupid. I refused to do this, which is what helped me reach my bilingual state. I continued looking for the reasons of religion, I continued looking for God.

    Now I am bilingual. Fully. Trust me. You are welcome to think of me as an atheist, if you like. It’s just a language. Christianity is also just a language.

    Consider my series of three starting with “How to Convert an Atheist”. That is aimed at getting the fundamentalists to think. Think, like an atheist does.

    Consciousness. The mere fact that you are you, that boggles the mind. That a collection of genes can develop into life so complex that it can become self aware… that’s all good and well, and easy to understand, if you were an objective observer. However, how on earth did you end up being that complex life form, experiencing it’s emotions? It’s mind boggling. It’s no wonder humanity came up with the idea of a “soul”, that is somehow connected to the “body”. Who knows. Whatever. It matters not, it’s an intriguing notion.

  • 26 Johan Swarts // Nov 27, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    As ek net hier kan inkap, sommer so as an aside (ek hoop almal verstaan Afrikaans; indien nodig vertaal ek graag in Engels):

    Die argumente wat hier gemaak word oor Gandalf en die paashaas is vieslik naïef en oningelig. Dis ‘n blote onderskeiding tussen iets wat in re bestaan en iets wat in intellectum bestaan (dus: in realiteit, soos ‘n baksteen of op ‘n abstrakte vlak, soos die getal sewentien).

    Dit mis die punt. Godsdiens is ‘n baie ouer manier van sin probeer maak oor die misterie van die heelal, oor die bestaan (en ontstaan) van lewe. Die wetenskap is ‘n baie onlangse, nuwer poging (met sy eie foute en tekortkominge – jy kan soveel keer in ‘n proefbuis loer as wat jy wil en jy gaan nog steeds nie weet of aborsie eties is nie) wat dinge in re ondersoek.

    Die begrip “God” verskil van die begrippe “paashaas” en “Gandalf” in die sin dat “God verwys na ‘n eerste beweger in ‘n ketting van kousaliteit (viz. die verskeie kosmologiese argumente vir die bestaan van God.) Die paashaas? Hel, hy verwys na ‘n vriendelike versteker van sjokolade-eiers. At best kan daar ‘n paar eksistensiële aktes aan hom toegedig word.

    Of God bestaan of nie is, soos Hugo tereg sê, besides the point. Dit gaan hier om ‘n eerste beweger. Gandalf en die paashaas (en kersvader en die tandfeetjie en wat ook al) verskil hemelsbreed (pun intended) omdat hulle as begrippe op ‘n semantiese vlak totaal anders funksies verrig as die begrip “God”.

    Hou tog net op posterboys wees vir die regurgitation van geykte ateïstiese argumente. Dis tog so onoorspronklik – die lees van ‘n bietjie Bertrand Russel sal dit vinnig uitwys.

  • 27 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Pragtig, Johan. Dit lyk ongelukkig of hulle weg gehardloop het. Hulle is nie gewoond daaraan om aangevat te word nie. Want hulle is mos slimmer as ons. Ons dommies hier, ons “deluded” klomp, moet maar eerder stilbly en sterf via “natural selection”.

    Ek stem saam met alles wat jy sê, behalwe een ding:

    God verwys na ‘n eerste beweger in ‘n ketting van kousaliteit

    Daar het jy reeds vir God in ‘n boksie gedruk. ‘n Modernistiese boksie. ‘n Boksie van kousaliteit. God is groter as dit. ;)

  • 28 Johan Swarts // Nov 27, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    OK, ek sal rephrase. My persoonlike, ideosinkratiese godsbeeld sluit ‘n eerste beweger in. Beter? ;)

  • 29 bluegray // Nov 27, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Jip, Johan, jy is reg. Ek stem saam dat die twee konsepte verskil. Maar die punt is dat daar ewe veel bewyse is vir die paashaas as die “eerste beweger in ‘n ketting van kousaliteit” as God. En bloot omdat jou godsdiens ouer is, verander niks aan dit nie (btw wetenskap is nie so onlangse poging soos jy voorgee nie, en daar is baie godsdienste wat baie jonger is) . En dit is hoekom Russell se argument hier van toepassing is, gooi maar op as jy moet ;)

    Hugo, ek is nog steeds nie heeltemal seker wat jy met jou axiom wou doen nie, maar dit wil voorkom of jy een of ander konsep van god wil skep sonder al die intellektuele probleme en irrasionaliteit wat daarmee saamkom. Of sit ek die pot mis?

  • 30 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Ja, so iets. God is ‘n realiteit vir baie mense. Die hele vraag van “God bestaan nie” is nonsens. Hy is ‘n ervare realiteit. Die vraag dan eerder, is wat is dit wat hierdie mense ervaar? Dis iets diep en eie aan die mensdom, dalk. Ons ken nie diere goed genoeg nie. Maar anyway…

    Die punt is, ja, die “supernatural” bestaan dalk nie, maar God bestaan. Maak hom los van die dinge wat jy “weet” nie bestaan nie, dan kan jy saam gesels oor God, en dalk ‘n verskil maak in hierdie wêreld.

  • 31 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Volg my, dan maak ek julle vissers van mense.

  • 32 bluegray // Nov 27, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Sure, ek stem saam. Maar as jy hom los maak van al die dinge dan bly daar niks van God oor nie.

  • 33 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    As jou God net bestaan uit daardie dinge wat jy níe in glo nie, dan ken jy nie vir God nie…

    Modernisme het vir God in ‘n boksie geplaas, en toe bewys dat daar niks in daardie boksie kan wees nie. Wat as God in die eerste plek nooit in daardie boksie was nie? Non-overlapping magisteria. En ja, geloof in die bonatuurlike oorvleuel wel, so daaroor kan jy wel ‘n uitspraak maak. Maar met ‘n groot genoeg God, leer jy dan net iets nuuts oor wat God nie is nie of nie doen nie, eerder as wat jy hom vernietig.

    Verskoon, ek gebruik teïstiese taal. Dit werk net soveel makliker, want die woordeskat is ontwikkel oor millenia. Modernisme het nog nie so ‘n woordeskat nie, so ver ek weet.

  • 34 gerhard // Nov 27, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    hi guys , *wave* johan : i can read afrikaans , but i am struggling to read this afrikaans ..

    the way i read it , is that u are debating wether its a gandalf is valid example as hugo doesnt mean exists in the intelectual realm? is that right ?the thing is, i consider memes more than just fictional characters. thats why i used gandalf and the easter bunny specifically , because they to our contemorarys have had a ‘forming’ effect. I say they exist as more than just intelectual characters because of their massive impact on society :) (i’ve heard people talk of gandal as a kind of a messiah) the reason i avoided teacups and pastadish monsters is that they havent actually ever been part of forming and shaping society :) maybe the use of gandalf is a strech , maybe i should have used that women from sex and the city (samantha i think). i am not just talking of existance withing the intelectual domain here , we’re talking about existance where their effect is as real as that of a real person :)

    hugo kinda said, drop all assumptions , i dont think he expected me to drop assumptions of what ‘exists’ mean..
    personally , i feel that a running program exists as much as the computer does, and so , a meme can exist as much as a real person.. it just isnt in the same context of a person. a meme also isnt very limiting.
    i am gonna paraphrase this one more time , just to be certain.. I am not assuming that god is a sentient physical being that exists in quite the same way you or i do (ie. i am not personifing god :P )

    i feel this is the halfway point between atheist and theist.

  • 35 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Gerhard, that sounds good. It seems as though you are indeed on a journey with, um, “God”. Congratulations. ;)

    You talk about a line, from atheists to theists, and being somewhere on that line. To borrow from Brian McLaren, the suggestion is to get off the line. The line boxes you in. Um… …ag, you know what I mean. ;)

    Welcome Gerhard. My latest convert. :-P But you can keep the “atheist” label if you find it useful in certain contexts. Just understand what I mean when I say that label means nothing to me.

  • 36 bluegray // Nov 27, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    As jou God net bestaan uit daardie dinge wat jy níe in glo nie, dan ken jy nie vir God nie…

    And I assume you do know your God because he consists of something you do believe in? Please enlighten me.

    Wat as God in die eerste plek nooit in daardie boksie was nie?

    How would you know that? It’s unfalsifiable and therefore a bit useless. I can only reject that statement or believe it. Why would I believe it unless I have some need to believe it?

  • 37 Johan Swarts // Nov 27, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Van wanneer af het slegs falsifiseerbare dinge die moontlikheid om waar te kan wees?

  • 38 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    My existence is unfalsifiable, so I am useless. You don’t have to believe in me, unless you find it useful to do so.

    Here’s the thing: God is the thing that you believe in. Full stop. Whatever you believe in, that is your God. Therefore, convincing believers there is no God, is to convince them there is no morality or meaning or compassion or love, precisely because they have given these things a name: “God”.

    And Christians tell you that atheists also believe in God. By that they simply mean that atheists are also moral beings.

    The aim of this post was to break down the baggage that has been associated with the three letters G-o-d, in order to get back to the essence of what it really is, so that you might understand why it’s a fucking bad idea to attack the existence of God.

    God exists. Deal with it.

    And I repeat myself yet again: I never said you have to believe in God. God is an axiom. You work with the axiom, or you don’t. If you reject the axiom, you will be unable to communicate with the majority of humanity. God is a definition. God is a paradigm. You have to understand this if you want to communicate well with Christians.

  • 39 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    And let me translate to atheist-speak then:

    I insist that you believe there is a meaning to your life, that morality matters, that thankfulness and a sense of wonder are paramount to living a fulfilling life.

    This is exactly what the Christian really means when he says “You must believe in God”, even if he doesn’t know it. In that sense, I’m saying you probably already believe in God. You just haven’t accepted the axiom that uses that label for your God.

  • 40 bluegray // Nov 27, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Johan, I didn’t say that only falsifiable statements can be true. I didn’t even say whether God outside the box was true or not.

  • 41 Johan Swarts // Nov 27, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Wat is dan hoegenaamd die punt van hierdie opmerking: “How would you know that? It’s unfalsifiable and therefore a bit useless. “

  • 42 bluegray // Nov 27, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    The aim of this post was to break down the baggage that has been associated with the three letters G-o-d, in order to get back to the essence of what it really is, so that you might understand why it’s a fucking bad idea to attack the existence of God.

    I don’t have a problem with that. But lets call it what it is then. If you’re talking about love or morals, call it that. No need to sum it all up in the word ‘God’ if you’re trying to get rid of that word’s baggage.

    I insist that you believe there is a meaning to your life, that morality matters, that thankfulness and a sense of wonder are paramount to living a fulfilling life.

    I never said I didn’t believe this. I mostly agree with it. But there is no need to equate this with God. Even if some people do.

    And don’t worry, I understand christian-speak just as well as atheist-speak ;)

  • 43 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    But there is no need to equate this with God. Even if some people do.

    Then you completely missed the point, methinks. Sorry… But that’s okay, this will serve as good background for what I intend to be up to later.

  • 44 Hugo // Nov 27, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    It seems you still think I’m trying to convince you to believe in God. You really should drop that assumption as soon as you possibly can. And once you have done this, you can reread the post and maybe understand my intentions. Stop being so self-centred, not everything applies directly to you. ;)

  • 45 Hugo // Nov 28, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Modernism placed God in a box. Science then looked in the box, and found God wasn’t there. God was running free.

    It kind-of reminds me of the resurrection story, y’know?

  • 46 gerhard // Nov 28, 2007 at 1:13 am

    what do you mean by modernism?

  • 47 Hugo // Nov 28, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Boxes. Little boxes. And fact fundamentalism. Confusing truth with facts. Thinking in terms of labels, rather than concepts. The labels point to concepts. We lose sight of the concepts if we get too stuck in our labels.

  • 48 Hugo // Nov 28, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Take bluegray’s sentiments here:

    I don’t have a problem with that. But lets call it what it is then. If you’re talking about love or morals, call it that. No need to sum it all up in the word ‘God’ if you’re trying to get rid of that word’s baggage.

    Colonialistic modernism. He insists his language is the correct one. There is nothing wrong with theistic language. It is dangerous yes, like any language, but it is useful. And I know not of a word that captures the enigma of “God”. God is much bigger than any other word you try to assign to the concept. God doesn’t work in modernism. God works just fine in pre-modernism and post-modernism. Modernism is so focused on a particular magisteria, that it loses sight of what it means to be human.

  • 49 Rinus // Nov 28, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    It seems a lot of people here debate the existence of a ‘God’.

    Last time I checked, the axiom was “God exists”, not “A God exists”

    Aye

  • 50 Ben // Nov 29, 2007 at 12:50 am

    So drop that nonsense of yours, remove all your assumptions, all your baggage, all your fundamentalistic brainwashings (and atheists are prone to that as well), and accept only one axiom (and it’s an axiom, so don’t argue):

    God exists.

    OK. Unfortunately, in removing all my assumptions and baggage, I would also remove all my knowledge about what does exist. So I now have an axiom of zero informational content as a starting point. I would start over with this axiom and put everything that I come to believe exists into the set ‘God.’ Whoosh, I’m a pantheist. Now what?

  • 51 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Sorry Ben, I realise now that the Christianity you have been exposed to is probably considerably worse than the Christianity we’re mostly used to in South Africa. I think in this country we still have a better idea of what “God” is, having not been as badly influenced by American fundamentalism.

    It is probably silly of me to expect this post to work across cultural boundaries.

  • 52 Ben // Nov 29, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Do you at all see my point? That my idea of what is meant by the word “God” comes from theists telling me they mean and you’re asking me to NOT take them at their word?

  • 53 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 4:22 am

    I see what you mean Ben. And I cannot ask you to play embrace and extend, because for you, that would be dishonest.

    In my country, God is still something bigger than just the creator, so it works perfectly fine here.

    While I don’t know your context, I could suggest something along the lines of a response of “but I thought God was love?” or “but I thought God was bigger than that?” Again, this will only really work if you have a Christian background to draw from, so yea, just ignore me. It seems I was just attention-whoring while I was figuring out the best strategy.

    In other news:

    Aw man! Karen Armstrong stole my theory!

    Karen Armstrong (b. November 14, 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire, England) is an author who writes on Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Armstrong is a former nun, now a “freelance monotheist” [1]. She has advanced the theory that fundamentalist religion is a response to and product of modern culture. She was born into a family with Irish roots who after her birth moved to Bromsgrove and later to Birmingham. According to professor Juan Eduardo Campo, Karen Armstrong has been influential in conveying the more objective post-19th-century scholarship of Islam to a wide readership in Europe and North America.[2]

    For the record, with all my infinite wisdom and knowledge, I declare Karen Armstrong to be correct. Muhahahaha…

  • 54 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 4:24 am

    (And that, what Karen Armstrong is saying, is really what I mean by the evils of modernism/atheism. I suspect the word “Atheism” only really exists in the context of modernism.)

  • 55 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Theory of religious fundamentalism

    Armstrong has advanced a counter-intuitive theory of religious fundamentalism [citation needed], key to understanding the movements as they emerged in the late fifteenth and twentieth centuries:

    Central to her reading of history is the notion that premodern cultures possessed two complementary and indispensable ways of thinking, speaking and knowing: mythos and logos. Mythos was concerned with meaning; it “provided people with a context that made sense of their day-to-day lives; it directed their attention to the eternal and the universal” [4]. Logos, on the other hand, dealt with practical matters. It forged ahead, elaborating on old insights, mastering the environment, and creating fresh and new things. Armstrong argues that modern Western society has lost the sense of mythos and enshrined logos as its foundation. Mythical narratives and the rituals and meanings attached to them have ceded authority to that which is rational, pragmatic and scientific – but which does not assuage human pain or sorrow, and cannot answer questions about the ultimate value of human life. However, far from embarking on a wholesale rejection of the modern emphasis in favour of the old balance, the author contends, religious fundamentalists unwittingly turn the mythos of their faith into logos. Fundamentalism is a child of modernity, and fundamentalists are fundamentally modern.

    And she has a book titled “The Battle for God”… looked cool, I saw it in a shop. Maybe the back cover is where I got the whole idea, and I just forgot. Bad scholar I am. Bad.

  • 56 Ben // Nov 29, 2007 at 4:41 am

    I suspect the word “Atheism” only really exists in the context of modernism.

    Maybe. Wiki has this on the etymology:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism#Etymology

  • 57 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Interesting.

    Atheism: the realisation that the modernistic meaning of the word “God”, points to something that does not exist. However, they are stuck with that definition of God, so they remain atheists.

    Discover what God really is, and you realise that atheism does not exist.

  • 58 Hugo // Nov 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I realise now that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. That is what makes it so incredibly dangerous.

    And Douglas Adams is a genius.

  • 59 Ben // Nov 29, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Discover what God really is, and you realise that atheism does not exist.

    There is no such thing as ‘what God really is.’ God is a word, a symbol conveying an idea. There is no inherent meaning to the term beyond what humans assign to it. Same as any other word.

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