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Is every version of God a God-of-the-gaps?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by ruffen, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    In our relationships. God is the relationship -- the "medium" between people.
     
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  2. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry Verisimilitudinous

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    I think there are personal versions of God that are based more on relationship dynamics with the universe than explaining things.
     
  3. fantome profane

    fantome profane Keep safe, and keep your neighbours safe.
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    God is a method of investigation which searches for naturalistic causes for observable phenomena?
     
  4. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    The OP presents something of a false dichotomy: that explanations must either be gods or science. Not so. Describing natural phenomena in the language of gods - as our Pagan ancestors did - was a mythopoetic way of relating to reality (Paganisms were particularly fond of anthropomorphic mythopoeticism). Dismissing them as explanations for what science describes is quite an oversimplification. As a contemporary Pagan, I'm well aware of the scientific explanations for natural phenomena. That doesn't stop them from being gods or under the domain of gods. That is to say, it doesn't stop them from being awe-inspiring forces that people find worthy of worship and like using artful and poetic language to describe.

    But I'm sure I'm not going to be able to explain this in a way an atheist will understand if they're dead-set on seeing the gods of our ancestors and the one-god of the Abrahamics as a "god of the gaps." All I can suggest is try a little more art, try a little more storytelling, and try using your imagination a little more too.
     
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  5. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Sure. Why not? God is discovery, knowledge, natural order. when people engage the natural order and engage wisdom to learn about it, they're engaging God.
     
  6. Man of Faith

    Man of Faith Well-Known Member

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    This is a good post and I was thinking along the same lines. Even if science doesn't need God to explain something, or they have their own naturalistic theory as to why something happened, that doesn't mean that God didn't do it, it just means that science follows a priori adherence to material causes.
     
  7. ions

    ions Member

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    I agree with Thana, Man of Faith, and the others who have said God-of-gaps is not an appropriate reason for the existence of God.

    I will add that in the future if we discover multi dimensional universes or planes of existence with 'ethereal' beings, or understand mystical powers as the result of a more evolved being in some other planet or plane---all these things can still be 'understood' without the need to have God.

    The existence of God is not predicated to explain the world around us, although that may be seen as an indirect consequence. I believe God is necessary to give life meaning and to understand our eternal destination to associate with Him.

    I think that sort of also answers the question of why God is necessary if naturalistic laws could explain all phenomena.

    God does not break naturalistic laws, even as naturalistic laws are but probabilistic at quantum levels. God created these laws and governs through them, so why would he want to break them.

    God interacts with us in at least one very important way: His divine revelations, to show us the path, purely out of His mercy.
     
  8. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    I don't know how to respond to this. I don't see any value in this sentence.
     
  9. ruffen

    ruffen Active Member

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    I do understand that God can be an artistic way of describing one's awe for nature. But, many who believe in God believe that God is real in every sense of the word real, and not just a metaphore.
     
  10. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    God is also seen as an explanation and cause of miraculous events, which contradicted the understanding of the natural world back at the time of revelation.

    The prevalence of miracles across most religions show that God was never understood as simply the natural laws which govern this universe, as he was also understood to be the force suspending these laws, but something much grander than that.
     
  11. ruffen

    ruffen Active Member

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    Indeed, but what I mean is that any and every phenomenon attributed to God or gods or miracles or the supernatural, be it the Universe's existence, thunder, Jesus appearing on a toast, haunted houses, UFO sightings, someone "miraculously" being cured of a disease etc., seem supernatural or miraculous only due to human lack of understanding of the mechanics behind all this stuff. Either humanity's and science's lack of understanding ("true" gaps like abiogenesis or the mechanics behind Big Bang) or the specific observer's lack of understanding about what is actually known and not ("false" gaps like not knowing about pareidolia).

    Because every mystery ever solved where it seemed to be a suspension of the natural laws, have not concluded that is was divine intervention or something supernatural, but that our knowledge of the natural laws were incomplete. Then we learned.

    Many people have over the years been very sure about what science can and cannot find out. For example, imagine that you lived a thousand years ago, and there was discussion about the age of our Earth and how all these living things got here. Without knowledge about fossils, rock layers, cosmology, geology, plate tectonics, DNA analyses, etc., it would be very easy to conclude that we can never get reliable facts about this. For how on Earth (literally!) would one find out the age of the world, if one wasn't there when it was made?

    The truly sad thing is that this gap of understanding has gradually over the last 500 years been closed, but it stills exists vividly in the minds of many creationists. So it has gone from a "true" gap to a "false" one, in that it now requires each individual's ignorance instead of humanity's scientific ignorance to keep the gap alive.

    Anyway, 1,000 years ago, it must have seemed like an impossible and insurmountable task that anyone ever could find out how old the Earth was. And yet here we are knowing it quite precisely today, despite of that extreme confidence people had in the past that this was a true mystery and that folklore, faith, and revelation were just as good sources for information as science and evidence. The wisest thing to do at the time might seem to be to ask an elder or cleric, and take his word for it on faith and authority.

    Yes mysteries remain in nature, but given our history on solving mysteries thought to be unsolvable, why should we expect that the mysteries of our time (like abiogenesis or Big Bang) are truly unsolvable mysteries and therefore God or ghosts or aliens or miracles?
     
    #131 ruffen, Feb 2, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  12. ruffen

    ruffen Active Member

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    And what reason is there to believe that any supposedly objectively real God (where God for example physically affecst anything within the Universe) is not just another gap? And if God is not supposed to be able to affect aything, what reason is there then to believe that God is something real and not just a poetic metaphor for nature itself?
     
  13. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    If your mindset is that it is "just" a poetic metaphor, I'm not sure I or anyone else can explain it to you. I wasn't sure how to respond to your earlier reply to my post here because of that. I don't think my gods are "just" metaphors because we happen to use mythopoetic language to describe the territory. If this is the case, I would also have to say my gods are "just" metaphors because we happen to use scientific language to describe the territory as well. My gods are "objectively" real, they're not "just" metaphors, and I use any human endeavors at my disposal - both arts and sciences - to describe and celebrate them. What you're calling "just metaphor" I'm understanding as the inevitable map of the territory we have to create, regardless of whether our verbiage is aesthetic or technical.
     
  14. enaidealukal

    enaidealukal Well-Known Member

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    Only that's the problem- the divine cannot fill in gaps of science, even in principle. If explanations are propositional AND explanations answer questions AND mysteries beg questions rather than answer them AND X is the greatest mystery (i.e. theos), then X neither explains nor justifies why things happen, and is metaphysically and ethically vacuous. To wit, theistic/religious explanations are pseudo-explanations.

    Ok, and what exactly is that, and where can we find it? How do we know that it isn't just... well, nothing? :shrug:

    ***

    Not really. They may be worthwhile as art or poetry, but as substantive, literally true discourse about the world, or as explanations, they don't do anything at all.

    People worship scientific explanations, or the forces/entities described therein? That sounds like more of a personal problem, than anything that makes these things themselves fall "under the domain of gods". It seems more accurate to just say that some people have a religious attitude towards science than to say that the objects or explanations of science are themselves religious in nature.
     
  15. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Wait... what? The entire point of what I'm attempting to do is explain to someone that not all gods are "gods of the gaps" or things that address what you're talking about here. Aren't you sort of proving my point?? Artful storytelling isn't supposed to be "literally true discourse" or "explanatory." Like all other human endeavors, it's a map reflective of the "literally true" territory that has a specific purpose and use.

    Hmm. I've never run into someone who considers my choice to find something in this great wide world to be worthy of celebration, gratitude, and honor to be a "personal problem." I have, however, seen the strange aversion some atheists have to using the g-word, though. What seems "more accurate" to you is a heck of a lot simpler to me by just using that awful, terrible g-word. The objects of religious worship and veneration - the ideas of the sacred - those are a people's gods. You can disagree with the label, sure, and as an atheist of course you would; but you don't get to define to us what our gods are in our religious traditions. And my gods are (among other things) these "objects or explanations of science" and are, in of themselves, highly religious for me. If some people can't deal with my theology of divine immanence, well... sorry? I can't deal with certain strange god-concepts (like gods of the gaps) either. :shrug:
     
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