God is Metaphorical
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Debate Rounds (5)
Consider Love for a second. There are many different situations in which this word is used to describe an actual specific thing. You can have romance, your can have parental care, you can have patriotism, you can have simple joie de vivre, you can have..............
The bottom line with this word is that it describes a specific emotive response within our being that we can clearly identify. Love is a mammalian trait that is part of our primate genetics, simple as. It is real.
The use of the word God is not like this. The only consensus that is disernable when people talk about God or their God in specific is that they are talking about 'something'. Why not just say 'something'. If you do this and I ask you what your something is you would have to say to me that you believe in a God that is human in nature, you would have to say that your God has a Son that he sent down from Heaven to redeem our sinfulness. I could then ask you in all sincerity how this could possibly be true.
In the present status of religious debate you would probably start, not with the word something but rather with the word God. You have now played a metaphorical wildcard that allows you to proceed to describe that thing in a metaphorical way. I do not want to know about what you think of God, but rather I want you to tell me about the something that God is.
Listen carefully here.
God is not a human loving entity.
God is not specifically human in any way unless He/It is an exclusive creation by mankind itself.
I believe that a God can exist for all life. I personally believe that a God of Life and a God of our existence is possible. I believe that that God can be experienced and mutually shared by all life in their own way. I believe that man can contribute to God and that mankind can co-participate and be absorbed by a something creater than all. I also believe that it is extremely feasible that mankind can extract benefit from engagement with the aspects of our existence that draw us to consider this God something. I believe that God is something. I believe that God can be experienced and that God can be treasured and worshipped and loved just as life can be wonderful to us all with any degree of good fortune.
I believe as in Eden that man can willfully extract himself from God and I also believe that the present metaphorical religious representations of what might actually exist are little more than the Craven Images of Genesis and Exodus. The chances of God being remotely like anything mentioned in Islam or Christianity is beyond consideration. At least in early Judaism ie the David Psalms we were meant to gaze at the happenings of God with our gobs open in bewildered wonderment. A loose interpretation of the something that is God has long ceased to be regarded as a theological currency. Apparenty this fails to provide the cohesion and control that is deemed necessary for a religion to function effectively and its electability is dismissed as a non starter.
We therefore speak in metaphorical riddles.
Pro says that, "the usage of the word God is not like this," that is, "real." He argues that, while God is "something," He is not literally God (since a metaphor is a description which is not literally applicable). However Pro fails to understand the proper meaning and usage of the term God. Sure many people loosely use the word to describe something they do not truly understand, but biblically God, or Elohim, is the Creator of the universe and an eternal Spirit. His creatorship can be verified through the study of nature and living systems, in particular the programed genome of organism's cells. His Spirit can be known through a relationship with Him via prayer and the reading of His word.
I believe I have succinctly addressed your argument. Most of the rest of your round can be classified as what you "think" about God to which you even stated you did not want to know. As to who God is, well both His word and His created universe tell us that. The list would be ridiculously long so I'll summarize with a few main characteristics: powerful, intelligent, empathetic, merciful, righteous, holy, and a real, spiritual being who transcends space-time.
Basically, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Since God is literally a Spirit and the term "God" describes a Spirit, God is not a metaphor. I think it would have helped you to define God. Since you did not, my biblical definition stands: the word "God" is defined as a spirit with particular attributes and characteristics which can be verified as literally true through prayer, scripture, and science.
You state that .............'Basically, God is a Spirit...........'
I can easily concede a notion of 'spirituality' to anyone as being an actual commodity worthy of consideration. Let us look at some examples of this in real life.
An orchestra would need to inject spirit into playing Mozart in order to do the music justice.
At the Euro matches we watch both players and supporters unite in spirit and purpose to promote their shared allegiances.
A person fighting against great misfortune or illness, ie Job might display great fortitude and spirit that might inspire others.
We detect this commodity in many situations and there is an broad agreement about this.
I worry for you on the other hand, Con.
In comments, I asked you some basic questions about the notion of spirit that you expressed in your first submission. You did not respond to them. Here they are again.
The brevity of your first submission has me examining it intently. In it you state....................'God truly exists and can be known both through a spiritual relationship with Him............'
Do you have a 'spiritual relationship' with anything else? (A place, a person, a................?)
If you do then please explain how this works. If you do not then I would suggest that this spiritual feeling that you have is almost like 'a hunch'of some kind. It is the calling that our existence makes to us and it is a calling from the place that we have been evolved to regard as our home, ie life on this beautiful planet.
I worry for you, Con because you do not assert that God is spiritual, but rather that 'God is a spirit' This is completely metaphorical. This fact is further illustrated when we examine the descriptive follow on that you achieve from the absolute acceptance of the God/Spirit metaphor. Watch and wonder at the level of exactitude that you achieve within this descriptive preaching.
You state, ' The list would be ridiculously long so I'll summarize with a few main characteristics: powerful, intelligent, empathetic, merciful, righteous, holy, and a real, spiritual being who transcends space-time.'
You have now produced a space travelling spiritual being that possesses the human traits of intelligence, and mercy, and that has given its 'listening ear' to man's situation. Later on you tell us that this God has had direct contact with us even to the point of written correspondence .
You state ' ...well both His word'.....................................'and the reading of His word.'
I do not wish to burst anyone's bubble in any shape or form, but the more you submit to this thread the more you illustrate the point that you are building a perceived reality upon an accepted metaphor. Yes, a metaphorical God can do all the things you mention, be they Yahweh, Allah or whoever but not if they are a real God commodity extracted from our perceived and experienced reality. Thank You for your participation in this discussion.
Pro asks, "Do you have a 'spiritual relationship' with anything else?" To which I answer: no I do not, my relationship with God is uniquely spiritual. However, suggesting this is a feeling or "hunch" of some kind is entirely subjective. This conjecture is even more unfounded given that I have provided an actual means beyond mere assertion by which God can be known to exist as I describe Him.
Pro claims that he is "worried" for me because I have, ". . . produced a space travelling spiritual being that possesses the human traits of intelligence, and mercy, and that has given its 'listening ear' to man's situation." First of all, I said God transcends space-time, not travels through it. Secondly, according to the biblical account t of God as Creator, we have been endowed with some of His traits, not the other way around. God does not have human traits, but more precisely, humans have God's traits. I am worried that Pro has not addressed my claims and neither has he supported his argument. How does the claim that God is a "real" being get relinquished to the non-literal, figurative notion of a metaphor? Can Pro's whole argument not be seen as a metaphor by this arbitrary definition? Indeed, a literally knowable God who can be discovered through scripture, prayer and science is not a metaphorical being. If this be true, we are all metaphors so why even have this debate? Sounds silly to me. Maybe you can clear up this mess in the next round. Good luck and thanks for your time!
Con inquires..............' Why must my concept of God needs be "extracted" from my perceived experience and not truly be represented of a literal God? '
I ask in reply what a 'literal God' is. I think you mean actual or real. The God you have described is absolutely 'just', literal and metaphorical and you make that admission here yourself. You tell us that He is to be found in literal description in the Bible. You tell us that you believe this book literally and that God extracted traits of goodness from Himself to make man in his image. When people present a 'wonder God' metaphor that encompasses everything from the start then they have a carte blanche for any argument, therefore.................they see God in nature,.................they see god in Science....................they see God in human 'goings on'.............................etc, etc. They have a can't loose literal argument.
You say that you have a uniquely spiritual relationship with this God. That does not work in that you cannot reference your actions in this matter to anything else you do. Isn't it more truthful to state that you are injecting emotive love into this relationship. Isn't it true that you are subjectively 'cherry picking' within this relationship , just like picking a vacation? Nothing we do is uniquely unrelated to our other actions. Your attempt to build this thing up only illustrates the fragility of its structure and it points to the copious amounts of self delusion that will be required to sustain it.
The Jewish Biblical God Yahweh, did not initiate the feelings that you describe as your relationship with God.
Yahweh was part of the tribal fabric of the Israelites, He was their tribal figurehead and he lead them in their wanderings, in their adversities and in their wars. He still does. He sold these people actual land in lieu of loyalty and he acted as a moral compass for them by which they could formulate and structure their society. There can only be one Yahweh and he belongs to the Jews of the Middle East. Yahweh is a figurehead, metaphorical concept for a nation and can be likened to 'Liberte' in the French psyche. Yahweh is a secular God of earth and earthly influence. You do not have a spiritual relationship with him, you obey him which means by default that you obey the leaders of your religion. You are by default 'a Jew' if you do this. I would consider this Yahweh as being real and regional and above all secular. He is not for me as I am not specifically Jewish.
Con pleads...........' Indeed, a literally knowable God who can be discovered through scripture, prayer and science is not a metaphorical being. '
I'm afraid it is, Con. Thanks for continuing with this conversation and I look forward to your next submission.
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