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Featured Is God real?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by LukeH, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. LukeH

    LukeH New Member

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    If you don't believe in the God of the Bible or are unsure about what you believe concerning religion, please feel free to let me know any questions you have and I would love to dialogue with you. All conversation will be conducted in a polite, respectful manner.
     
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  2. buddhist

    buddhist Well-Known Member

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    Suffering is real.

    BTW, welcome to the forums :)
     
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  3. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Yes welcome. My humble opinion is that the God that people's imaginations have created is alive and well in the world of fantasy and that most religionists don't believe in God but instead, the God that their imaginations have formed.

    Thus, billions of people worship not God but what they imagine to be God.
     
  4. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    You thread is called "Is God Real." Well, unless you know what it is, there's no way to answer that question. If I ask you "is blargyfargle real," you would be correct to not answer until I told you what I meant by blargyfargle. Once I'd provided a reasonable definition, you could then go on and examine the question and try to determine blargyfargle's reality. But NOT before.

    So, I'll do the same for you. What do you mean by "God?" What is the actual nature of this thing that we are supposed to decide is real or not? If I know what it means, I will have some hope of determining how I might discover an answer. If I don't know what it means, I have no idea where to look.

    So since you're willing to answer questions "in a polite, respectful manner," that's my first question.
     
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  5. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    I'd like to contribute something of my own to this topic. I wrote the following piece about 10 years ago, but still drag it out occasionally.

    The God in Your Head is Real, by Evangelicalhumanist

    The vast majority of people on earth believe in the existence of God. But what sort of “god” is it? What characteristics does it have? How should this “god” be defined and how should it be known? What sort of claim to a separate reality can we find?

    The answer to this is very difficult for atheists like myself, and probably for agnostics, too, although I won’t claim to speak for them.

    What if I were to ask someone if “fratchly” exists? I think that the first answer I would get would not be either “yes, fratchly exists” or “no, fratchly does not exist,” but rather, “what do you mean by ‘fratchly?’ ” In fact, until I was prepared to provide some sort of definition for “fratchly,” I am unlikely ever to get a response as to whether it exists or not. Is it animal, vegetable or mineral, or perhaps spirit? Is it big or small? Is it here on earth, in the sky, in space, etc.

    It has been estimated that humans have created over 100,000 religions in the last 10,000 years. Some of our religions have had multiple gods with their own specific responsibilities; some religions have had only a few or even just one god. Some of our gods have been palpably real: they’ve lived on mountains, under the seas, in caves, or in the sky. Other gods have been intangible spirit only, some coherent spirits, others amorphous, everywhere at once. Some have been omnipotent, some had their powers limited and could be beaten. Some were loving, some cruel, some indifferent. The variety is endless.

    Every single one of them, without any exceptions whatsoever, have had – in the minds of their believers – human-like characteristics, whether those were physical, psychological, or both.

    And almost every single one of them has since passed out of favor, and thus out of existence. They are all dead and buried in the crypt that we call “mythology.”

    But for every human believer, there is, I think, a “god” fitting some sort of description, known only to the believer, existing in the believer’s mind. And inasmuch as this “God-in-the-Head” is perceived as having wishes, desires and needs, and inasmuch as it seems to issue commandments to lead the believer to satisfy those wishes, desires and needs, and inasmuch as the believer feels compelled to act on those wishes and commandments, then this “God-in-the-Head” is very real, and very potent.

    Some of those wishes are benevolent, and to the extent that they are acted upon can be of great benefit to humanity. Not always, though, as can be seen through the very benevolent desire of missionaries to “bring the heathen savages to God.” For the sake of their immortal souls, of course! This has frequently resulted in a few saved “souls,” and many, many merely dead ones.

    Some of the commandments of the “God-in-the-Head” are not so benevolent. The perceived “command” to kill witches, heretics and apostates has resulted in endless misery around the world for millennia. The perceived antipathy of the “God-in-the-Head” to those who are not quite like the rest of us has cast thousands into prison, or death. The perceived unwillingness of this "God-in-the-Head" to countenance independent thought, leading to differing world-views, has too often led to legitimate inquirers after truth being excommunicated or disfellowshipped or shunned by their communities. This has all too often come at terrible cost to individuals and their innocent families.

    Yes, as I think about it, because this “God-in-the-Head” has such power to act in the world through its host, it is very, very real. And it frightens me.
     
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  6. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    The only real God that exists is the One the Manifestations of God speak of. The one that we imagine in our head is not God as God cannot be imagined.

    We do not know the essence of God. We only know God by His Attributes such as Justice, love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness etc and being created in the image of God means we are able to mirror His attributes such as love and compassion.
     
  7. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member
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    Why after thousands of years of people trying to provide evidence of thousands of gods, none of them have been able to provide good evidence for any of them, even after studying the subject all of their lives?
     
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  8. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    Why then, you can know nothing whatever about what you cannot even imagine -- and therefore there's nothing left for you to think about the subject.

    If you cannot imagine something, you certainly can't imagine anything about it, or what it might want or anything else. Do you see the dilemma?

    If, on the other hand, you imagine that it can make itself known or understood -- and has done so to some very few "prophets," then you must also imagine that it can make itself known and understood to you, in exactly the same way. Thus, you have no need to listen to the accounts of others -- which as you know can sometimes be fabricated for purposes of their own of which you know nothing.
     
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  9. The Sum of Awe

    The Sum of Awe Realitarian

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    If the true God is the monotheistic one described by the Bible, why does polytheism predate monotheism?
     
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  10. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    God is beyond our comprehension so we only know God by His attributes such as love, justice, forgiveness etc. no one knows the essence of God.

    So in the Bible it says God is a spirit and God is love but we don't know anymore than that.

    God makes Himself known to us through His Chosen Ones such as Christ but what is made known to us is only His attributes.

    We know nothing else about God except what His Manifestations have conveyed to us. Also we know God by His Signs.

    Everything in existence has Signs of order and intelligence and so there must be an Organiser and Being Who designed it that way.

    A painting cannot create itself but must have a painter, so this universe must have had a creator.
     
  11. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    Maybe it took God some time to write the press releases and work out the communication channels. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    Then so must God.
     
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  13. LukeH

    LukeH New Member

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    Hello Evangelicalhumanist, thanks for your response.

    Your piece “The God in Your Head is Real” is excellently written and was a very enjoyable read. In that one brief post you touched on significant metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical questions that cannot be shoved under the rug or dealt with in a cursory fashion.

    You are absolutely right in requesting a definition of God, as it would be quite futile to debate the existence of something or someone of whom we knew nothing. I am referring to the God of the Bible – God as He claims to be in the Scriptures: eternal, unchangeable, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, creator of all things, savior, redeemer, king etc.

    Yet you would tell me (if I am understanding you correctly) that this “God of the Bible” is merely an idea in my mind - formed by my own imagination and the imagination of many Christians before me. This is a great objection and one that requires an articulation of your understanding of metaphysics.

    Do you believe that there are absolute truths? Or do you hold “truth” and “reality” to be merely that which man imagines to be true/real (i.e. a mental construct)?
     
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  14. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    God is without Cause. God just 'is' as this Buddhist Scripture indicates that there just 'is' an unborn and uncreated apart from the born and created. This is what others have call God.


    “There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore you do know an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned.”

    Udāna 8.3
    Tatiyanibbānasuttaṃ 73
     
  15. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    And now you should be able to at least begin to see the difficulty --

    We have this claim that there must be at least something that "just is" or that "must exist." But we cannot accept that that is most likely nothing more than the basic stuff of the universe itself. Instead, we have to assume that that one thing that must be is intelligent, has desires, motives, all sorts of things that mere existence has no need of. There's no reason whatever for that leap.

    Existence is enough. As I love to say, frequently, the reason there's "something" is that "nothing is impossible."
     
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  16. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    The only flaw is that the universe has intelligence in it and that it didn't create itself.

    Intelligence cannot come from the unintelligent. Man, who is an intelligent Being could not have come about by accident or a random act of nature because there are too many things like the eyes which require intricate designing in order to perfect and random acts do not have that ability.

    All we are saying is that there is a much higher intelligent Being than man in the universe. If we exist and are intelligent beings, why then isn't it possible there is a supremely intelligent Being?

    It's illogical to say there can't be as we ourselves are proof of intelligence in the universe. All I'm saying is that we're not the only intelligence.
     
  17. LukeH

    LukeH New Member

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    Hi Buddhist, thanks! I feel welcomed. ;)

    And you are right: suffering is certainly a reality in this life. Each of us knows this from personal experience on various levels. I approach this topic with caution because I know it sits very close to the heart for many who have dealt with extreme emotional or physical suffering.

    How do you view suffering? What is the nature of suffering? Why is there suffering in the world? How ought we to deal with it? Can we deal with it?
     
  18. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    Read your own words and do your own analysis. You make a claim you cannot substantiate: "the universe has intelligence." If you mean that the universe contains intelligence, well you seem to be right. I've seen some, while making no claims for myself. But if you are saying that the universe itself is intelligent, thinks and so forth -- well, on what do you base that? You've got literally nothing but your own imagination.

    As to "the universe didn't create itself," I will agree with you. Nothing, so far as I know, creates itself. But you don't seem to allow for the possibility that it didn't need to -- while you grant precisely that to "God," which you can't define at all. Doesn't that seem to you like you're inventing it as you go? That you're begging the question?
    You do not know that, unless you can explain precisely what intelligence is, and it comes to be. This is just something you've decided -- or read, or been told.
    This is just the rubbish from the religious right and the Intelligent Design purveyors -- who by the way are defeated in every court they try. Do you know how many different "designs" there are for eyes in the animal (and plant, surprise) kingdom? You really to drag yourself away from purely religious sites, and branch out into the world of real investigation for pursuit of knowledge, rather than pursuit of comfort. Unless comfort is all you care about -- in which case, why argue here?
     
  19. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...

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    Do you know, I really wish you would read my "God in Your Head" post again. What I am saying has nothing (really!) to do with God -- only what holding the idea of a "God" you can understand and must obey, can do to ordinary human beings.

    If you really understood my post, it would frighten you, too.
     
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  20. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    I'm only saying that there is a much higher intelligence in the universe than man.

    Are you saying we are the highest form of intelligence that exists in the universe?

    If you answer yes then how do you know?

    If you answer no then if there is a higher intelligence then it's possible we were designed by it. No? Proof please.
     
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