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Shaker
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 4:58 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

cyberman wrote:
This simply isn't true.

Sure it is. I've had the unfortunate experience of reading around enough theology to know that it is.

Quote:
If someone presented you with a cup of tea, and called it God, and acte dlike that is what they usually think people mean when they say "God", it would certainly occur to you that this is different from what people usually mean when they say "God". If it were "just noise", then this could not be the case.

Is that any different - in any way - to passing off a definition of "God" with such spurious twaddle as "being itself," "the ground of being," "the universe/cosmos itself", "nature" and similar, as a great many highly-regarded theologians past and present have done and do? Not as far as I can see.

If, when you refer to what people usually think they mean when they say "God", you mean a conscious, aware as you would have it, personal, personalistic, supernatural (non-matter/energy) entity with likes and dislikes, preferences for this or that state of affairs over this and that state of affairs - essentially a supernatural giant person with none of the apparatus that makes a person a person - then that's merely one of a huge array of different conceptions of a deity and a highly popular one (arguably the dominant one) amongst ordinary believers at large.

But that just makes it common, that's all. Hinduism, for example, acknowledges that while this sort of belief isn't "true," there are psychological reasons why so many people adhere to it, something that Christianity would do well to catch up on.
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cyberman
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaker wrote:


If, when you refer to what people usually think they mean when they say "God", you mean a conscious, aware as you would have it, personal, personalistic, supernatural (non-matter/energy) entity with likes and dislikes, preferences for this or that state of affairs over this and that state of affairs - essentially a supernatural giant person with none of the apparatus that makes a person a person - then that's merely one of a huge array of different conceptions of a deity and a highly popular one (arguably the dominant one) amongst ordinary believers at large.


Someone with a similar user name to yours recently said that they had no idea at all what people meant when they said 'God'. As far as he was concerned it was just noise.

Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above! Unlike you, he would not have been able to list these things that people mean when they say God.
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Ketty
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaker wrote:

In the very long and so far fruitless attempt to get those who claim to believe in such a thing to explain precisely and clearly what they mean by it. Most of the time what comes out is the conceptual equivalent of candyfloss, ...


When an unbeliever wants to go beyond the concept of some big old beardy ex Jew and now Christian bloke up in the sky, the exercise must be fruitless.  We are trying to confine something that's not able to be confined by our limited human brains and our limited words and our limited understanding, and our limited intellect however imaginative or learned we are.  Looking through that limited lens, it must be like airy, fairy, woolly 'conceptual candyfloss' to explain Spirit and who is (The Lord) God (Almighty).  He just 'is'.  He is I AM.  He is Alpha and Omega: omnipresent,  omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent.

But we can know some of GOD through the Bible and in His human form of Christ Jesus - the Son of God made son of man, so that sons of men may become adopted sons of God.

Other people will have other explanations of other gods.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cyberman wrote:
Someone with a similar user name to yours recently said that they had no idea at all what people meant when they said 'God'. As far as he was concerned it was just noise.

Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above! Unlike you, he would not have been able to list these things that people mean when they say God.

I remember that - perhaps you weren't paying attention when chappy with a similar user name to mine observed that that was just one interpretation of the word, one of countless different and more often than not mutually contradictory, mutually exclusive ones, because I distinctly remember that being said.

Given that there are in practical terms almost as many different definitions of the word as people to be asked, the lack of any consistent, coherent definition (i.e. one which isn't a constantly moving target; one which doesn't have all the structure and rigour of a Bird's trifle) is what makes it just noise. If I'm unfamiliar with a particular thing and ask around - ask people who claim to know what it is - and I receive not a consistent set of answers but any number of incredibly disparate, widely divergent answers (Tom says this, Dick, says this, Harry says that, and so forth) I'm going to conclude that nobody really knows what they're on about, and furthemore will conclude that the thing is likely to have no existence save in the minds of those people, hence the fact that they seem free to make up their own definitions of it just as it suits.

There's an old medical maxim to the effect that if there seem to be a great many different would-be "cures" for a particular condition (such as the common cold, for example, or maybe a hangover) you can pretty much take it as read that in fact there's no real cure, just a lot of folk remedies, old wives' tales and half-arsed wishing, guessing and hoping.

It looks to me very much as though that principle applies here as well.

Quote:
Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above!

Perhaps he's read a lot, and in this regard specifically read a lot of what people have tried (and failed) to say and embarrassed themselves in attempting to explain this thingummy-whatsit-whatchamacallit they claim to believe in.

It's probably that.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ketty wrote:
He just 'is'.  He is I AM.  He is Alpha and Omega: omnipresent,  omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent.

Which of those attributes are you actually going for, since you patently can't have all of them simultaneously?
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IvyOwl
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if the God concept is as you say:-

Quote:
We are trying to confine something that's not able to be confined by our limited human brains and our limited words and our limited understanding, and our limited intellect however imaginative or learned we are.


Then that makes anyones attempt at trying to define it as good or as bad as all others. There have been many attempts to explain the unknowable over all different cultures since the dawn of mankind. Since sentient creatures had the ability and time to look up and wonder they have come up with creative notions to answer the Big Question. (It would be interesting to know what the Neanderthals and others came up with. No doubt some of their notions lived on, to be honed and redefined, as do some of their genes)

But in saying:-
Quote:
But we can know some of GOD through the Bible and in His human form of Christ Jesus - the Son of God made son of man, so that sons of men may become adopted sons of God.


You are starting off from a big supposition ie that the God of the Bible is the only one that has any validity.

In saying that:-
Quote:
When an unbeliever wants to go beyond the concept of some big old beardy ex Jew and now Christian bloke up in the sky, the exercise must be fruitless.


You are being a tad disingenous. You may feel that as a believer you have gone 'beyond' but nevertheless that's where your jump off point is. You haven't gone so far beyond that you can ditch that version of God that came to you via 'limited human imaginations' at some point in the past. So you are already starting to define this great unknowable because you believe this to be 'The One'.

An atheist or non-Christian debating with a Christian on what the nature of God might be can hardly be blamed if they bring the OT Abrahmic God into it.

We don't know the answer to the Big Question If anyone wants to run with the notion of an indefinable 'God' as a prime cause fair enough but what I don't get is why on earth suppose that the OT God is it? Especially when you go on to say that even that God is 'unknowable'.
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Ketty
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaker wrote:
Which of those attributes are you actually going for, since you patently can't have all of them simultaneously?


I can't.  He can.  He's God.
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Ketty
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IvyOwl wrote:
You are starting off from a big supposition ie that the God of the Bible is the only one that has any validity.


You are starting from a demand that any other should have any validity for me.  They don't.  As I said: Other people will have other explanations of other gods.
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IvyOwl
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not demanding any such thing ..... merely pointing things out. If you personally believe that the God depicted in the OT is the one true one then fair enough. It would seem that that God answers a deep need for you and gives your life purpose and meaning. I'm not trying to argue you out of that belief.

What I am pointing out is that as far as coming up with a definition of God 'I believe in something I can't fully understand or fathom' doesn't actually get us very far. I'd have said the same to a believer in any other God if they were playing the 'I can't define it' card during the course of a discussion as to what a God actually is.

Nothing to discuss if the terms are so ...... oh we're back to what Shaker said about Candyfloss notions.
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Shaker
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IvyOwl wrote:
There have been many attempts to explain the unknowable over all different cultures since the dawn of mankind.


All of them absolutely and utterly pointless, since you can't say anything at all about something deemed to be unknowable, including that such a thing even exists. Anything truly unknowable is just that - unknowable, including whether anything like that is even there in the first place. You won't know, because it's unknowable. You can, up to a point, say something about a thing which is partly unknowable - that gives you some purchase on the concept, even if only a little. But unknowability is just that - unknowability: and if you take the word on its face with its plain meaning, an unknowable thing is just that. Unknowable. Not only do you not know its attributes, you don't even know that it exists. You've just stated as much as soon as you invoked the concept of unknowability.

This might look like semantics, but it's a patent feature of reality. If something is unknowable, it's unknowable and you can't say anything at all about it including that it exists, because if it's unknowable, how do you know? If you claim that it exists it might be very mysterious but clearly not totally mysterious, because you think that something is there and something isn't completely unknowable.

Quote:
You are being a tad disingenous. You may feel that as a believer you have gone 'beyond' but nevertheless that's where your jump off point is. You haven't gone so far beyond that you can ditch that version of God that came to you via 'limited human imaginations' at some point in the past. So you are already starting to define this great unknowable because you believe this to be 'The One'.





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