So what do you mean by God?

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Henry Plantagenet's picture
So what do you mean by God?

A neat way to shut up religious people is to demand that they define the God they believe in. Who is God? What is God? What the hell are you talking about?

It’s the perfect dilemma, known as the "ignostic dilemma": if they use Plan A, and define God in specific terms, i.e. the literalists who believe every word in the Bible, then you can whip out all the proof that the Bible is logically and scientifically wrong. All you have to do is whip out the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and the “specific” definition of God falls apart, because Genesis is loaded with provable lies.

Which is why the cleverer Jesus People go to Plan B, defining God in terms that are so vague and slippery that they essentially have no meaning, definitions that could easily apply to things that are entirely non-supernatural. Examples:

“God is, like, that feeling I get that makes me want to do good things.” In other words, conscience.

“God is, like, that feeling I get when I just feel really good”. Which, depending on circumstances, could be runner’s high. Intoxication, a really good toe-curling orgasm….

“God is, like, the thing which makes good things happen in the world.” In other words, dumb luck, which seems to hit evil people as much as the good.

“God is karma.” See “luck”.

“God is what created the universe.” In other words, a mass of unimaginable energy that exploded and turned itself into piles of dust and burning hydrogen and empty space. An unthinking pile of matter.

“God is the one who rules the universe.” The universe, the place that is 99.99999 percent dead, lethal to all life. In other words, God is the guy who rules with less competence than the warlords who “rule” Somalia.

“God is who we worship.” In other words, Justin Bieber. Or money. Which is kinda the same thing.

“God is the one who rules our world.” In other words, a consortium of corporations and banks that includes Exxon, Bank of America, and the Koch brothers.

“God is the one who dominates and takes over my life.” In other words, a new baby, an obsessive spouse, a cocaine addiction, or Facebook.

“God is what gives us our moral rules.” In other words, the primitive tribesmen who existed long before Jehovah was even thought of, tribesmen who worshipped a hundred little pagan Gods. In other words, our morality came from people who worshipped every ancient God EXCEPT Jehovah.

“God is all-knowing, all-powerful, endlessly good.” This one was exploded by the philosopher Epicurus before Jesus was even born. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

“God is the one who loves me and answers my prayers.” This takes us back to Epicurus. God never gives you any sign that he’s listening, and does nothing to improve your world or your life, that wouldn’t have happened anyway. In other words, he says nothing and does nothing. In other words, God is Uncle Bob who hasn’t worked since he got hit in the head with that ladder.

“God is the one who hates fags!” Which is why “he” created millions of them. Which is why there are over a thousand species that not only indulge in gay sex but have gay relationships. Which is why in America – God’s country – the founding fathers won the revolution and signed the Constitution wearing wigs, lace and satin tights. In other words, God hates nature, hates America, and hates millions of his own creations.

“God is the one who thinks every new life is precious.” And kills millions of young children each year with disease and hunger. In other words, God is plague and famine and death. Death of the most innocent among us. Let us praise and worship him!

“God sent us the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.” In other words, Mommy!

“God sent us Santa.” In other words, Daddy!

“God makes the food grow.” In other words, rain and cow shit.

“God is perfection.” Which just proves he doesn’t exist. Because there is no such thing as absolute perfection. Some things come close – the weightless frictionless pulley in physics homework, Jimmy Page's guitar, kd lang’s voice, my daughter’s platinum eyelashes, Kate Upton’s body – but only close. There are things that are perfect in certain aspects – the GOP is perfectly evil, pizza is the perfect food – but not perfect in all things. In other words God doesn’t exist in the real world.

“God is the one who will live forever.” Which is impossible since the universe is going to collapse and destroy itself in a few billions years.

“God is infinite.” The only thing that’s infinite is the emptiness of space, and even that is temporary.

“God is the one whose eye is on the sparrow: he watches everything and cares for everything, no matter how small.” Well, just look at the state the world is in. Millions dying of famine and disease, thousands of species going extinct, all life on the planet vulnerable to global warming, mankind lost in a morass of hate and murder and greed and ignorance. If God is watching everything, he’s doing damn little about it. Just sitting up in his celestial man-cave, watching the world fall apart like it’s a reality show. So God is Uncle Bob again.

“God is the being who created man in his own image.” Look at man. An ugly smelly hairy creature prone to stupidity and violence, small-minded, short-sighted, mean-spirited. And up in heaven is a creature just as repulsive. Yay! And by the way, most of mankind consists of brown-skinned people who don’t believe in the Bible. Which I bet the Baptists never really looked into very carefully.

“God built heaven and hell for the saints and sinners.” Actually heaven and hell, as conceived by modern Christians, appear almost nowhere in the Bible. And a good thing too, since astronomers have looked into heaven and found no sign of God or his angels, and geologists have looked down below to find nothing but rock.

“God is beyond our comprehension, it’s a mystery!” In other words, the concept of God is meaningless, and defenders of the concept are just copping out.

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TW Duke's picture
All hail, Justin Bieber.

All hail, Justin Bieber.

firebolt's picture
Who's that?

Who's that?

mysticrose's picture
Well, very rational and

Well, very rational and skeptical explanations.
I wonder why I still believe in god despite of I'm considering myself as a humanist.
Frankly, this forum is one of the things that have made me confuse just recently...

Henry Plantagenet's picture
The first step on the road to

The first step on the road to wisdom is often...confusion.

mysticrose's picture
Does it means that I'm not

Does it means that I'm not wise enough as well as the billions of people out there who believe in their deities?

Spewer's picture
No, it means that you can't

No, it means that you can't just up and change your beliefs on a whim.

It has little to do with wisdom.

TW Duke's picture
The person you were, the

The person you were, the person you are, and the person you will be, will be three different people.

SammyShazaam's picture
Nice, I like that!

Nice, I like that!

Zaphod's picture
If this is an election poll,

If this is an election poll, Uncle Bob has my vote!

mysticrose's picture
I admit that I'm quite

I admit that I'm quite confused but it doesn't mean that I'm planning to change my belief from theist to atheist. I still believe that god exist even if I can't prove it. I must admit that I'm fascinated with how atheist can skeptically explain the non-existence of god but I still know that their reasons are not enough to say if there is really no god.

Shock of God's picture
Well, I don't accept the

Well, I don't accept the Bible as truth, because a book does not and cannot describe an being as absolute and large as God. So, this doesn't work for me, but my definition of God can be found elsewhere on this website.

Pathway Machine's picture
What an . . . interesting

What an . . . interesting excursion into the logical.

JahLive's picture
Why do we always have to look

Why do we always have to look to the Bible to find God? I mean, it is an amazingly influential collection of ancient literature, and as a Christian, our source for our beliefs, but would God really only reveal Himself (Itself) to only a select group of people? I don't think so.

"Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble." ~ Joseph Campbell (Author of Hero with a Thousand Faces)

In other words, fundamentalists have poisoned religion for everyone, and it makes me very upset... In the Jewish Rabbinic tradition there is in fact 4 different levels of interpreting scripture: Literal, Metaphorical, Allegorical and Secret (Mystical)
Rabbis also find questions to often be more important then answers... So thinking for yourself and questioning authority is actually encouraged! It will bring you closer to G-D...

Here is another quote by my favorite mystic Rumi:

"I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.
I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there.
I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.
With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only 'anqa's habitation.
Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.
Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range.
I fared then to the scene of the Prophet's experience of a great divine manifestation only a "two bow-lengths' distance from him" but God was not there even in that exalted court.
Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else.”
― Rumi

I'm not here to convert anyone, just to raise some eyebrows and entertain your minds with some new ideas ;)

Allan Watts is a brilliant lecturer as well who has good eastern philosophical videos on Youtube... Cheers

SammyShazaam's picture
I will agree that there's an

I will agree that there's an insane amount of christian bias on this site :/

I'm on the A-team, personally, but I still do think, if we're adding theists, that this site could use more people from the *other* religions...

Zaphod's picture
I think as described by many

I think as described by many religions in order for god to be all knowing, all powerful and the force that gave us all life the beginning and the end the creator of all things, god would have to be everything, nothing more and nothing less.

I think people read to deep into things and if what I just said is the case I don't think god would care any more or less about the opinions of any particular part that makes up its whole.. Furthermore If this god we speak of is everything that makes each and every thing that exist a part of god, you me the all the animals, plants grains of sand stars and other lifeforms in all of creations all parts of god. So in effect god is just a word for everything.

As far as god's will goes, I guess it would just be the natural system of checks, balances and science once again nothing more and nothing less. People could pontificate all day and all their lives forming opinions about this god and hand down stories for generations slowly assigning personality to it but learning about everything in creation and how it works would be the purest form of worship. Worship this god could care less one way or the other if it received but could greatly benefit the worshiper.

JahLive's picture
So I think we might be

So I think we might be advocating Pantheism at this point.. haha, and I'm not sure how 'Christian' that makes me, but their are Christian mystics who describe god in a similar way, like Meister Eckhart:

"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love."

"I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God."

And this last one I like most: "Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language"

He has a lot of interesting writings...

SammyShazaam's picture
You always have such

You always have such interesting quotes :) I've read Ekhart, but I completely passed those over! Thanks for reminding me to reread :)

Zaphod's picture
Yeah, I am not sure if hes

Yeah, I am not sure if hes still around on the forums but I liked him though he posted a lot of interesting stuff.

Shock of God's picture
As an agnostic Christian

As an agnostic Christian theist, I think the Biblical interpretation of God is extremely misleading and even malevolent. Firstly, to understand what God's personality must actually look like, you must start with His most noticeable traits, which are as follows:
Firstly, God is transcendent. He exists wholly apart from anything and everything else, and is dependent upon nothing for his own existence. He transcends all of science itself, including spacetime, which leads us into the next trait.
God is spaceless and timeless. He is non-spatial and non-temporal and, as can be inferred from the first trait, does not require these dimensions to exist.
God is eternal. Being spaceless and timeless constitutes being uncaused, beginningless, endless, changeless and immaterial. God undergoes no changes, He is already the perfect being. He has no cause, no end, and no beginning, and is not physically bound.
God is personal. He has a personality, a mind, a consciousness. God is close to all of His creation. He created us to get to know Him, and He already knows us. "Come close to God and He shall come close to you".
God is omnipotent. God has the ability to do anything and everything so long as He wills it being done. If He does not will it being done, it will not be done. All He must do is speak and it shall be so.
God is omniscient. Now this is where it gets interesting. God, in being omniscient (all-knowing), must be perfectly logical and rational. He must also be absolutely open-minded. If this is true, then God cannot be against homosexuality, as it has been proven to be epi-genetic; caused by biology, which God created. If God created biology then He created homosexuality, and to be against it would be ignorant and narrow-minded of Him, and He, therefore, would not be omniscient. He also cannot condemn us for sins He already knows we're going to commit. This is akin to killing your dog for eating a steak *you* put in its bowl. Once again, to do so would be ignorant and narrow-minded of Him, and also quite unloving, which means, then, that God would not be omniscient.
God is omnibenevolent. God is all good. He can do no evil (though His definition of evil and ours are very different. Don't assume to know what God does and does not consider evil). If God is omnibenevolent, then damn-near half of the stories in the Bible must be wrong, as God kills innocent people in the Bible. His omnibenevolence can be witnessed personally. Just talk and you will know how good God really is.
God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. He is with you always. You shall never walk alone, for the light of the Lord shines beside you.

These are the traits that God must possess in order to be God, and as I have shown here, many of his traits actually contradict how the Bible portrays him. This is part of the reason I disregard the Bible as a Christian doctrine; it's just too malevolent. In my opinion, God is exactly as I have described him, and the basis for my belief in Him arises from these very basic traits that God possesses.

Zaphod's picture
How can you call your self

How can you call your self agnostic and a theist at the same time?

Spewer's picture
Agnosticism is a statement

Agnosticism is a statement about knowledge, while theism is a statement about belief. SOG is a theist because he believes and an agnostic because he does not know.

Zaphod's picture
good response but what I have

good response but what I have trouble with is most people who believe in God would say they know he exist and to say they don't know if he exist would say they don't believe or at the very least have some doubt. I guess is is possible but I think the term agnostic alone would better apply to a case like this or perhaps agnostic/leaning theist. it could just be a hang up of mine but I don't consider someone who has doubt or who is unsure of the existence of god to be a theist.

Shock of God's picture
I am firstly an agnostic

I am firstly an agnostic because, all in all, I do not know if God *for sure* exists. His existence, whether it actually is fact or not, cannot be proven to us. I am a Christian theist because I believe in the single Christian god.

Pathway Machine's picture
It seems to me that the term

It seems to me that the term agnostic, at least when applied to either theist or atheist, would be redundant. Applied on its own would seem appropriate, however.

Shock of God's picture
Agnostic simply means "I do

Agnostic simply means "I do not possess the knowledge to truly know".

Pathway Machine's picture
Yes, I know, and don't you

Yes, I know, and don't you think that would naturally descibe both the theist and atheist position? Or perhaps do you think that it is a necessary reminder to both positions?

Shock of God's picture
It should be applied to both

It should be applied to both world views as you can never know *for sure* either way. So, technically speaking, at most all you can be is either an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist.

Zaphod's picture


Zaphod's picture
How can you say you believe

How can you say you believe if you can't say you know for sure there to be a Christian God?


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