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What God do you think I believe in?

PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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7/21/2014 4:51:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm increasingly coming across situations in which people refer to God as a "sky-fairy," "bearded man in the sky," or "something that's no more plausible than an invisible pink unicorn."

This is beginning to trouble me. Do people actually believe that the God theists believe in is some kind of physical being that is defined and limited? I'm well aware that terms such as "sky-fairy" are meant to simply dismiss the concept of God, as it appears silly to people. Yet the way people interact with each other in these forums appears as though they actually believe that this is what theists believe in. In fact, this is practically shown by the fact that people think the flying spaghetti monster is just as likely as God, since the same arguments can supposedly be made for the FSM.

Yet God is not a mere physical being. He (I use the pronoun for lack of a better one) is not something limited and defined by the physical realm. The FSM, on the other hand, is limited. It's defined as a spaghetti monster that can fly. It is often described as omnipotent and sharing similar qualities with God, yet this very notion is contradictory. Something that is limited to a physical form such as the FSM cannot be omnipotent. The same applies to an invisible pink unicorn or an all-powerful leprechaun that cannot be seen by the human eye. These are mere vain imaginings of the human mind, things that we come up with. God, on the other hand, does not have a beard. He does not reside in the sky. He is not a physical being, one that is limited and defined by certain characteristics and features.

The rational arguments that support God are ones that support the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being. They do not support the existence of a sky-fairy. They support the existence of a being. We happen to term this being God. We could have termed him instead Zaxoph. Or Yippo. But he is most certainly not something we eat at the dinner table, or a little man with green clothes who hides his gold under rainbows. If we term this supreme being anything, it should not be something that, in our language, is already used to define something physical such as spaghetti. To do so would be silly and would imply a lower status of a being than this supreme being really is.

So, what is God? Is he a being with the three O's? Is he omni-benevolent? We know next to nothing about what God is or his nature. It's impossible for a finite mind to comprehend and maintain in his puny mind something infinite like God. It'd be like a painting trying to comprehend it's painter. To be put simply - it is impossible.
E_Pluribus_Unum
Posts: 53
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7/21/2014 6:11:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You could always argue that calling God a "sky-fairy" or a "bearded man in the sky" is an appeal to ridicule and/or a false analogy. If your opponent is using such red herrings then there is a chance the individual's entire viewpoint is based on ideological assumptions, opposed to some kind logic, evidence, or argument in favor of one view or another.
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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7/23/2014 3:29:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
"Fairies are no more likely than Leprechauns, which are no more likely than gremlins, which are no more likely than God."

This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about.
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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7/23/2014 4:44:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/21/2014 4:51:18 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
I'm increasingly coming across situations in which people refer to God as a "sky-fairy," "bearded man in the sky," or "something that's no more plausible than an invisible pink unicorn."

This is beginning to trouble me. Do people actually believe that the God theists believe in is some kind of physical being that is defined and limited? I'm well aware that terms such as "sky-fairy" are meant to simply dismiss the concept of God, as it appears silly to people. Yet the way people interact with each other in these forums appears as though they actually believe that this is what theists believe in. In fact, this is practically shown by the fact that people think the flying spaghetti monster is just as likely as God, since the same arguments can supposedly be made for the FSM.

Yet God is not a mere physical being. He (I use the pronoun for lack of a better one) is not something limited and defined by the physical realm. The FSM, on the other hand, is limited. It's defined as a spaghetti monster that can fly. It is often described as omnipotent and sharing similar qualities with God, yet this very notion is contradictory. Something that is limited to a physical form such as the FSM cannot be omnipotent. The same applies to an invisible pink unicorn or an all-powerful leprechaun that cannot be seen by the human eye. These are mere vain imaginings of the human mind, things that we come up with. God, on the other hand, does not have a beard. He does not reside in the sky. He is not a physical being, one that is limited and defined by certain characteristics and features.

The rational arguments that support God are ones that support the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being. They do not support the existence of a sky-fairy. They support the existence of a being. We happen to term this being God. We could have termed him instead Zaxoph. Or Yippo. But he is most certainly not something we eat at the dinner table, or a little man with green clothes who hides his gold under rainbows. If we term this supreme being anything, it should not be something that, in our language, is already used to define something physical such as spaghetti. To do so would be silly and would imply a lower status of a being than this supreme being really is.

So, what is God? Is he a being with the three O's? Is he omni-benevolent? We know next to nothing about what God is or his nature. It's impossible for a finite mind to comprehend and maintain in his puny mind something infinite like God. It'd be like a painting trying to comprehend it's painter. To be put simply - it is impossible.
Well the basic Judeo-Christian view is that God is the transcendent tri-omni (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, sustainer, law giver, source of moral authority, designer, and countless other attributes. Your issue is with the nature of our perception of God. God is infinite in all respects, humans are finite in all respects. Intrinsically, we can't perceive of God. But this is simply false. On the Judeo-Christian view (which we are assuming), we gain epistemic knowledge of God through revelation, through the second and third persons of the trinity, and through scripture.
So we can establish certain qualities (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, but other qualities (Abrahamic, Trinitarian etc. are established through revelation.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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7/23/2014 5:08:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
They obviously think you believe in the Giod that is most susceptible to easy ridicule and dismissive quips. That way they don't have to deal think too hard about your position.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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7/24/2014 2:56:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/23/2014 4:44:43 PM, Toviyah wrote:

Well the basic Judeo-Christian view is that God is the transcendent tri-omni (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, sustainer, law giver, source of moral authority, designer, and countless other attributes. Your issue is with the nature of our perception of God. God is infinite in all respects, humans are finite in all respects. Intrinsically, we can't perceive of God. But this is simply false. On the Judeo-Christian view (which we are assuming), we gain epistemic knowledge of God through revelation, through the second and third persons of the trinity, and through scripture.
So we can establish certain qualities (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, but other qualities (Abrahamic, Trinitarian etc. are established through revelation.

I agree we can say that God is omnipotent or omnipresent, but we can't even begin to comprehend what this truly means when we say it. In fact, the mere words omnipotent and omnipresent are completely inadequate to describe God.
Toviyah
Posts: 88
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7/25/2014 6:51:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 2:56:44 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 7/23/2014 4:44:43 PM, Toviyah wrote:

Well the basic Judeo-Christian view is that God is the transcendent tri-omni (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, sustainer, law giver, source of moral authority, designer, and countless other attributes. Your issue is with the nature of our perception of God. God is infinite in all respects, humans are finite in all respects. Intrinsically, we can't perceive of God. But this is simply false. On the Judeo-Christian view (which we are assuming), we gain epistemic knowledge of God through revelation, through the second and third persons of the trinity, and through scripture.
So we can establish certain qualities (omni-potent, scient, benevolent), creator, but other qualities (Abrahamic, Trinitarian etc. are established through revelation.

I agree we can say that God is omnipotent or omnipresent, but we can't even begin to comprehend what this truly means when we say it. In fact, the mere words omnipotent and omnipresent are completely inadequate to describe God.
It almost entirely depends on your view of modality. Most philosophers think we have a good indication of what is Alethically (logically) possible or not. If we know that, then we can comprehend what it is like to actualise any logically possible state of affairs - that is, omnipotence. Same with omnipresence. It is only possible to say we have no comprehension of omnipotence or omnipresence if you take a complete modal skepticism like Van Inwagen, of which very few philosophers adhere to.