Define God

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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:10 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I think Peterson is a bit Jungian, so it might nto be a surprise.

Quite right about Peterson being Jungian in his approach. However, I think that there are both unconscious and conscious forces at work. There are many people who beat themselves up, having an idealistic idea about the world, or having a high standard they are trying to achieve. Feeling inadequate or as a failure may be a way of elevating their being, but I see his meaning as something that is far more a principle of validating people, putting them up a step higher and acknowledging them as complex human beings.

The spirit that brings everything together is a force against those influence that lie transversely in relationship to what would make things good. Those who are in this spirit align themselves with what is good and elevates being, whether in action or in prayer for example. Prayer is more about actively being a channel for good and using affirmations to that goal. Incarnate truth is where people are actively in faithful to the truth you can sense an air that is somehow different and inspiring.

Here's a tangential thought, when think of the unconscious or supernatural beings like God.

Often when one is dicussion these entities, one is supposed to know. KNOW. If you don't know the whole of the thing, then you are not supposed to talk about it. You are considered irrational but the skeptics for believing in something you cannot define and you are considered not faithful by religous peers or other Jungians, Freudians, artists, whomever if you do just confidently repeat whatever some authority as said God is or your unconsious is.

But these demands for complete descriptions and knowledge are themselves irrational.

Agreed, mystical experience is a sensual experience, which is something you can never describe perfectly, even if you employ all methods available to do that.

Think of what one knows from a romantic partner or best friend. Their mind/self. Can you define them? Even these specific individuals`?

To a degree, sure. But what is going on behind the scenes, what is their experience, what are they hiding, what is hidden for them from even themselves. We do not expect full definitions of other people's selves, but rather incomplete ones. Here's what I experience. Here are the patterns I have experiences. There is much more that I haven't touched. There is more I can never touch. I have an incomplete picture. I work with that but know they exist.

Yes, but why would you want to touch that which hides behind their personae? Are you as open in your relationships? I think not, nobody is. We feel that they could stumble upon the shadow that is lurking behind some facade, and suddenly shy away. Why expect other people to accept your shadow – you don’t!

We can pretend to be theologians of our lovers and friends and family. Or we can simply be lovers friends and family to them. Believing they exist without presuming to know the whole.

Even these most basic hard to deny the existence of entities have a supernatural element. Facets beyond the empirical, for us. And yet they exist and we can talk about the interface we have with them.

It is a good thing that it is that way too. A little mystery is what lures us and enthrals us at the beginning of a relationship and once we think we have nothing more to discover, we grow tired. We may start looking in other quarters for the next mystery.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:28 pm

Bob wrote:Yes, but why would you want to touch that which hides behind their personae?
My point was that when people are confronted to give explanations of God by skeptics, it is presumed that you either have a completel coherent answer or it is meaningless or you have no reason to believe. So, I was talking about how we only know portions of those we live with for years. IOW the demand and the conclusion is confused.

But, now, in answer to your question: sure, of course. What hides behind the persona is in contact with us already and ours with them. We cannot keep others from experiencing even things that we are not conscious of about ourselves. And beyond that, yes, I want that. I want as much of the authentic other as I can find. If I am either wanting to be close to them or sometimes if I want to protect myself from them.

Are you as open in your relationships?
There are obviously degrees, but my relationships generally include agreements to show as much as possible, even if it seems ugly, evil, chaotic. This is balanced with the day and everyone's needs.

I think not, nobody is. We feel that they could stumble upon the shadow that is lurking behind some facade, and suddenly shy away. Why expect other people to accept your shadow – you don’t!
Me and my spouse, for example, are openly working on integrating our shadows and are will to expose these to each other. We can even do this very expressively. But also we discuss what we find and are quite open with the very unpleasant stuff we find. It is much harder to integrate the shadow alone.
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Re: Define God

Postby Arcturus Descending » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:21 pm

Why bother? We can only be all wrong anyway though we think that we know. We like to romanticize things.
As much as I would like to know God AS IS, IF IS, it is never going to happen.
If i cannot know the Real, or even IF it is Real, I would much rather be within the mystery within the darkness.


It is all darkness - well perhaps except for the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest pinpoint of light and do I even see that!
That is not God. What is it? I have no idea.
"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."


“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

Immanuel Kant
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:43 am

Arcturus Descending wrote:Why bother? We can only be all wrong anyway though we think that we know. We like to romanticize things.
As much as I would like to know God AS IS, IF IS, it is never going to happen.
If i cannot know the Real, or even IF it is Real, I would much rather be within the mystery within the darkness.

It is all darkness - well perhaps except for the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest pinpoint of light and do I even see that!
That is not God. What is it? I have no idea.

I think it is worth the effort to be clear about what we mean by God, even if you are an atheist, so that we are aware of what we are thinking. There are many people who have an unclear idea about what they mean and in some, their idea of God needs some exchange. It is in defining that we come to terms with what we’re thinking.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who have no idea of their own, but instead obey what the church or the party, or their particular peers group, say they have to say. I believe we are religious creatures insomuch as we need an orientation that gives us that meta view, as though from above, the big picture etc. so that they have a blueprint of acceptable behaviour.

When people are talking to themselves, even in thought, who do they mean? Themselves? Maybe, but I believe that people hope that someone is listening, especially when pleading that something will or won’t happen. Many are acting AS IF, but what do they hope for?

I too accept God to be a mystery, but there are aspects of interaction, like mystical experiences, or that surprising alignment of events that leaves us in awe. We experience selfless love and ask where it comes from. Or we are amazed at what can happen when people with the same spirit join together. Or quite simply, we look into that chaos of stars and ask, why me, here, at this time?
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:54 am

Bob wrote:The main argument for something not graspable, but present, is the fact that our existence and abilities beg the question, how can consciousness come to be on a bunch of rocks if it isn’t inherently present in the universe? There are simply things that we have to leave open.

The question of consciousness, i.e. the hard problem, does not warrant anyone to jump to the conclusion God exists.

What you missed out is the criticalness of the existential crisis and the terrible impulses manifesting from it.

Here are the facts surrounding the existential crisis;

    1. DNA wise all humans are programmed with terrible fears under any threats [real or apparent] of premature death.

    2. This is why babies and children will be very fearful and cry if they are away from their parents. They will feel relieved and secured in the presence of their parents.

    3. But for adults, they are endowed with self-awareness to be aware from empirical evidence, death is inevitable. While most can suppress the thought of death at the conscious level to some degrees, there is nothing to prevent the more stronger 90% subconscious mind to pick up this fact of death.

    4. At the subconscious level, a cognitive dissonance is generated, i.e. the person don't want to die but death is inevitable. Note more to the subconscious mind than the conscious.

    5. This cognitive dissonance at the sub-conscious level in ALL humans generate terrible angst, anxieties and despairs to drive the mind to seek solutions to relieve this terrible mental sufferings.

    6. For the majority of humans, the idea of God [despite factually illusory] is twisted and bent by the subconscious mind to be real and thus provide instant relief to the terrible mental sufferings.

    7. For the non-theists they will find other non-theistic solutions which could be good or evil.

For all the deflections and excuses you gave above, you cannot avoid the above fact of the existential crisis.

As I had stated the idea of God is manifested from very crude reasons, e.g.
    -Every creation must have a creator [from cause and effect]
    -The vast universe is an existing creation
    -Only God the omnipotent an create a vast universe.
    -Therefore God exists

The above is driven by crude reasoning without proper empirical groundings and each premise is full of holes but theists would not give a damn with proper reasoning and justifications as long as what they thought of is sufficient to relieve the terrible mental pains exuding from the above existential crisis.
Why such bad logic is accepted is because the belief in a God [despite illusory] really works to relieve the mental sufferings and in many cases almost immediately.

If you were to research the scriptures of all religions, the main purpose for the believers are focused on the eschatological and salvation, for most the assurance of going to heaven with eternal life [a relief to the existential crisis].

The relieving and maintaining of the resolution of the natural existential crisis at the subconscious level is so critical that many believers are willing to kill if there is a threat to their belief or a calling by God to do so. [note Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son].
Such a permission is sanctioned within the Quran - words of Allah, the core scripture of Islam.
Christianity [based on Gospel] is basically a pacifist religion but it has it other negatives in hindering the progress of humanity.

While theism provide instant relief for the existential crisis which is good since past years but it has its cons. The point why serious criticisms of theism is needed now and the future is because its cons are slowly outweighing its pros toward the future.

For God to provide the maximum assurance to relieve the existential crisis, God has to be perfect, totally unconditional and second to none. But a God with such qualities is impossible to be real.
What is real is that which can be empirically justified with philosophical reasonings [not groundless crude reasons].

Thus God manifesting out of crude reasons necessarily to deal with the inherent unavoidable existential crisis is an impossibility to be real, i.e. a transcendental illusion.
Last edited by Prismatic567 on Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:55 am

Arcturus Descending wrote:Why bother? We can only be all wrong anyway though we think that we know. We like to romanticize things.
As much as I would like to know God AS IS, IF IS, it is never going to happen.
If i cannot know the Real, or even IF it is Real, I would much rather be within the mystery within the darkness.
I think you should do what you want. But the 'why bother' and some of the way you word your response is as if there is a general answer to what one should bother with, and also that everyone's experience is similar. Below also....
It is all darkness - well perhaps except for the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest pinpoint of light and do I even see that!
That is not God. What is it? I have no idea.
Why should you bother? I have no answer for you on that. That's up to you. The same question could be asked 'why bother trying to be intimate with people?' or with nature, or even for 'being within the mystery within the darkness.'

We bother about things that matter to us, and also based on our experiences, both of which differ. Sometimes be don't bother based on ideas we have been given or built up, perhaps based on experiences or emotions - ones we may or may not be conscious of.

We are a varied bunch.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:15 am

Prismatic567 wrote:The question of consciousness, i.e. the hard problem, does not warrant anyone to jump to the conclusion God exists.

What you missed out is the criticalness of the existential crisis and the terrible impulses manifesting from it.

An existential crisis is, as I have already said, not something to ignore. It forces people to recount what they consider important, valuable and desirable. It is, after all a matter of existence.

Here are the facts surrounding the existential crisis;

1. DNA wise all humans are programmed with terrible fears under any threats [real or apparent] of premature death.

There is no proof that the fears of humanity is genetic, but rather they start from the moment the unborn experiences its existence in the womb. Fear is reactive, even if the stimulus is imagined, and the body goes into flight or fight mode – to the degree at which it is able.

2. This is why babies and children will be very fearful and cry if they are away from their parents. They will feel relieved and secured in the presence of their parents.

The parent, usually the mother, is the only interaction it knows of and when this interaction is terminated (even in the short term), the baby cries until another soothing influence is given. The baby is getting to know its environment and its experiences in a spiral outwards. If it experiences something unpleasant it will cry. However, the experience of the child teaches it when to cry and they are not fearful from the beginning.

3. But for adults, they are endowed with self-awareness to be aware from empirical evidence, death is inevitable. While most can suppress the thought of death at the conscious level to some degrees, there is nothing to prevent the more stronger 90% subconscious mind to pick up this fact of death.

Self-awareness grows on people and young children can be confronted with death so that it becomes a reality for them. Once children realise that something as final as death can happen, they fear it. However, we all suppress the thought of death until we are reminded by circumstance.

4. At the subconscious level, a cognitive dissonance is generated, i.e. the person don't want to die but death is inevitable. Note more to the subconscious mind than the conscious.

A mental discomfort (psychological stress) can be experienced by any person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, but it isn’t necessarily the case with death. Many people go through life blissfully ignorant until confronted with death.

5. This cognitive dissonance at the sub-conscious level in ALL humans generate terrible angst, anxieties and despairs to drive the mind to seek solutions to relieve this terrible mental sufferings.

I don’t believe that the fear of death is always present. The may be fears, like suffocating for example, but the fear is mostly concerned with the experience rather than its consequence. There are many fears that a human being can have without it being a fear of death.

6. For the majority of humans, the idea of God [despite factually illusory] is twisted and bent by the subconscious mind to be real and thus provide instant relief to the terrible mental sufferings.

No. God is not always the relief of fear, but the all-seeing eye. There are many children who are brought up on the idea that God is only good and they are quite shocked when they read that God is also a source of fear. I don’t see the instant relief, especially because many children have no idea of a God in the Judaeo-Christian sense. There are enough children in the West that only become aware of something called God when they are confronted with the idea in school or church. That can be relatively late. Then it is also a question of how the parents opinions influence children.

7. For the non-theists they will find other non-theistic solutions which could be good or evil.

Like what exactly?

For all the deflections and excuses you gave above, you cannot avoid the above fact of the existential crisis.

As I had stated the idea of God is manifested from very crude reasons, e.g.
    -Every creation must have a creator [from cause and effect]
    -The vast universe is an existing creation
    -Only God the omnipotent an create a vast universe.
    -Therefore God exists

You really push your argument that this reasoning is something that everybody goes through. I didn’t, for a start. I experienced Sunday school as a place where we were told stories that we immediately forgot when we left the room. I couldn’t even relate them to my mother, despite being an imaginative child. In all my games, God wasn’t a part of them, despite being “impressionable”. Speaking to other people, there are many who grew up completely ignorant of the idea of God.

My first experience was when, at 11, I was on a summer camp run by Christians who read the Bible to us. On the way back, we had to cross the Bristol Channel on a small ferry and were caught up in a storm. Despite the storm being something I had never experienced in that way before, with the sea rising up above the boat only to fall immediately afterwards, I wasn’t scared. Waves came crashing on deck, soaking all those who were hanging over the rail to be sick. I was enthralled by the experience and felt quite safe, and connected for the first time with the God of my imagination.

The above is driven by crude reasoning without proper empirical groundings and each premise is full of holes but theists would not give a damn with proper reasoning and justifications as long as what they thought of is sufficient to relieve the terrible mental pains exuding from the above existential crisis.
Why such bad logic is accepted is because the belief in a God [despite illusory] really works to relieve the mental sufferings and in many cases almost immediately.

I don’t see many people with “terrible mental pains”, and especially not in church. I don’t know where you get this from. People do experience suffering in its various forms but their immediate reaction is not to believe in a God that will relieve that.

If you were to research the scriptures of all religions, the main purpose for the believers are focused on the eschatological and salvation, for most the assurance of going to heaven with eternal life [a relief to the existential crisis].

You obviously haven’t read scripture. The book of Genesis first describes the situation of humanity in a myth that is very truthful in its estimation. It then goes on to describe the situation of the world. Then there is the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which are all very cryptic and gives food for thought. It is followed by the story of Israel, the rise of Kings and finally prophets.

The NT commences with the tragedy of Christ, follows with the hope of Christianity and letters to the communities and ends with Revelations, a book with seven seals. It is what theology takes from that great anthology that turns it into what you have said.

The relieving and maintaining of the resolution of the natural existential crisis at the subconscious level is so critical that many believers are willing to kill if there is a threat to their belief or a calling by God to do so. [note Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son].
Such a permission is sanctioned within the Quran - words of Allah, the core scripture of Islam.
Christianity [based on Gospel] is basically a pacifist religion but it has it other negatives in hindering the progress of humanity.

Hearsay I’m afraid. It is what people with little knowledge of the Bible assume, but once you get to know it, it becomes quite another thing.

While theism provide instant relief for the existential crisis which is good since past years but it has it cons. The point why serious criticisms of theism is needed now and the future is because its cons are slowly outweighing its pros toward the future.

For God to provide the maximum assurance to relieve the existential crisis, God has to be perfect, totally unconditional and second to none. But a God with such qualities is impossible to be real.
What is real is that which can be empirically justified with philosophical reasonings [not groundless crude reasons].

Thus God manifesting out of crude reasons necessarily to deal with the inherent unavoidable existential crisis is an impossibility to be real, i.e. a transcendental illusion.

I’m sure there are people like you describe, but all of them? I think not. You shouldn’t whitewash everyone with your theories.
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Re: Define God

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:46 pm

"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand.
Little flower--but if I could understand
What you are, root and all and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."--Tennyson.
As a pantheist I see religion's atheists and agnostics as arguing with parts of themselves they dare not try to understand.
To understand is to acknowledge being part of the whole.
Many ideas from indigenous people are superior to ideas espoused by literalist Christians and atheists. The Earth as holy is one of these as is the idea of all creatures being relatives.
"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:09 pm

Ierrellus wrote:"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand.
Little flower--but if I could understand
What you are, root and all and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."--Tennyson.
As a pantheist I see religion's atheists and agnostics as arguing with parts of themselves they dare not try to understand.
To understand is to acknowledge being part of the whole.
Many ideas from indigenous people are superior to ideas espoused by literalist Christians and atheists. The Earth as holy is one of these as is the idea of all creatures being relatives.

A beautiful verse. D.T. Suzuki wrote in his Essays in Zen Buddhism, “‘shujvo’ (or a staff) … seems to have been most favourite instrument used in the demonstration of the truth of Zen … According to Yeryo (Hui-leng), of Chökei (Chang-ch’ing), ‘when one knows what that staff is, one’s life study of Zen comes to an end’. This reminds us of Tennyson’s flower in the crannied wall. For when we understand the reason of the staff, we know ‘what God and man is’; that is to say, we get an insight into the natureof our own being, and this insight finally puts a stop to all doubts and hankerings that have upset our mental tranquillity. The significance of the staff in Zen can thus readily be comprehended.”
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:07 pm

Karpel Tunnel,
I think you should do what you want.

I certainly agree with this BUT perhaps it is not so much what I want but what I sense/feel/see leading me to my only recourse.

But the 'why bother' and some of the way you word your response is as if there is a general answer to what one should bother with, and also that everyone's experience is similar

No. I do not think that I was coming from that kind of a "place". I do not see a general answer to most things. But many people do experience the same kind of things insofar as the God concept goes and many people experience other things.

I do think that my response "why bother" came from a place of never being able to know. This is what I see. At the same time, I can and will admit that perhaps the moment before I typed that in, I may have been feeling a bit disheartened by the whole idea.
Normally, I have no problem living with not knowing because there is just so much beauty and knowledge in the universe that gives meaning. At the same time, none of that is an answer to the question of who is God or is there God. We can try to lie to ourselves and to sweep the questions under the carpet, but they do not go away.

Why should you bother? I have no answer for you on that. That's up to you.

I wonder if bothering would actually make a difference to my mind. I wonder how one would even go about changing or trying to change an agnostic mind. I wonder what journey one could take toward bringing that mind a little closer to seeing a reality of whatever pertains to this God question.

The same question could be asked 'why bother trying to be intimate with people?' or with nature,

That is an easy question. We are human beings. We need human intimacy, we need to be intimate with nature. It stands there and waits for us. It is healing, it is teaching. We need that for human survival or we can whither and die (metaphorically speaking - but for some in actuality).

Of course, people also feel a need for God but how can one have a relationship with something which they cannot fathom?

or even for 'being within the mystery within the darkness.'

We need that to feed our psyches, to come to know ourselves, our real selves at our core. Mystery allows us to realize that we cannot know everything and that is a good place to be. I also have a thing for the darkness (not evil). You can experience your self there in all the ways in which you might not even like but need to see before you can bring on chaos.

We bother about things that matter to us, and also based on our experiences, both of which differ
.
They do not necessarily differ. But those things we can reach out and touch, we can feel them, they are "real" to us even though on a different level as far as experiences go, they may be something different. We are human beings. Do not get me wrong. There are times when I wonder and muse about this God thing but I am not able to take that leap because the branch is just not strong or long enough to uphold this human mind.

Sometimes be don't bother based on ideas we have been given or built up, perhaps based on experiences or emotions - ones we may or may not be conscious of.

This is certainly true. I think that for the most part, I am quite conscious of my unconscious self and needs and conflicting interests.
I have done quite a bit of excavation in those nooks and crannies.
But how do we find or know God with only one's rational mind. Everything else is just chemicals right?

We are a varied bunch.

Yes, we are. I wonder what the world would be like if we all realized that?!
"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."


“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

Immanuel Kant
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Re: Define God

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:53 pm

Bob,

I think it is worth the effort to be clear about what we mean by God, even if you are an atheist, so that we are aware of what we are thinking.


I agree with that. We have to do that with our thinking about everything for ourselves and those with whom we are speaking.
Maybe I defined what I meant by God perhaps on the other side of the coin? Or did I?

There are many people who have an unclear idea about what they mean and in some, their idea of God needs some exchange. It is in defining that we come to terms with what we’re thinking.


True and also in opening the doors to change that thinking. This is, after all, a philosophy forum. How does one define something in the negative?


There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who have no idea of their own, but instead obey what the church or the party, or their particular peers group, say they have to say. I believe we are religious creatures insomuch as we need an orientation that gives us that meta view, as though from above, the big picture etc. so that they have a blueprint of acceptable behaviour.


Does that make us religious creatures or people who have to follow the pack?

When people are talking to themselves, even in thought, who do they mean? Themselves? Maybe, but I believe that people hope that someone is listening, especially when pleading that something will or won’t happen. Many are acting AS IF, but what do they hope for?


Can you explain this a bit more.

I too accept God to be a mystery, but there are aspects of interaction, like mystical experiences, or that surprising alignment of events that leaves us in awe. We experience selfless love and ask where it comes from. Or we are amazed at what can happen when people with the same spirit join together. Or quite simply, we look into that chaos of stars and ask, why me, here, at this time?


But then why not focus on those things individually? Why bring God into the equation?
"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."


“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

Immanuel Kant
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Re: Define God

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:40 pm

Bob wrote: I appreciate that this is definitely a question that those suffering the onslaught of a hurricane may ask. They may even be praying that the hurricane swerves away or that they survive. Of course, how their ideas of God play out under such circumstances, we can’t know. My father was once in an accident with an amphibious tank that sank and took his crew with it. He survived because he was a good swimmer. After that, he couldn’t bear the sight of a pastor or priest. I didn’t understand that for a while, but now I do.


I know. It's no small matter that I lost faith in God myself given what I had experienced in Vietnam. And given the arguments of those then and there who had already embraced a No God world.

But that's my point. Any particular individual's belief in God is, in my view, predicated largely on his or her own actual experiences in the course of living his or her own actual life.

It's just that with a belief in God, the stakes are considerably higher. The folks in the Bahamas, as with all of us facing calamitous situations, are faced with the option of continuing to believe and putting their faith in God's "mysterious ways", immortality and salvation...or rejecting God and accepting that their wrecked lives are merely as the result of an essentially meaningless existence, with no prospect of anything other than just accepting in turn their plight and preparing for oblivion.

My thinking then is that the option chosen here is embodied more in dasein than in a "thinking through" their situation and, using the tools of philosophy, agglomerating the most rational conclusions.

Bob wrote: I don’t believe in the God of millions of Christians across the planet, but I do experience faith in the whisper in the storm, in hope in the face of disaster, in the beauty of poetry and metaphorical stories, or in love and in flow. None of it is graspable, but it is there none the same. Many of these things are only individual experiences, impossible to be passed on, except by metaphor or in poetry, but it can be life changing.


I can respect that. After all, there is no way that I could ever possibly understand the choices that you make, given how our lives are, I suspect, very, very different.

But, in a philosophy venue, my own interest in religion revolves more around closing the gap between what one believes about God and what one is able to demonstrate that, perhaps, all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

Also, in exploring the manner in which this belief is more the embodiment of "I" as an existential contraption. In other words, a sense of self ever subject to change given new experiences. Rather than as a commitment to the "real me" in sync with the "right thing to think feel and do" in relationship to God.

Finally, the manner in which someone connects the dots between their faith/belief in God on this side of the grave as that impacts on the behaviors they choose here and now in order to sustain what they wish their fate to be there and then on the other side of the grave.

The "for all practical purposes" implications of choosing here.

So, when I see a thread entitled "define God" my own interest lies in taking that definition out into the world of interacting men and women, and putting it to the test given particular contexts.

But that's no less my own embodiment of "I" -- here and now -- as an existential contraption. It will either click with others or it won't. I am certainly not suggesting that others ought to share it. Let alone are obligated to.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:12 pm

Arcturus Descending wrote:
I would much rather be within the mystery within the darkness.
It is all darkness - well perhaps except for the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest pinpoint of light and do I even see that!

Maybe I defined what I meant by God perhaps on the other side of the coin? Or did I?

Darkness, and a tiny pinpoint of light … that reminds me of Elijah who, after a great hullabaloo in which God “was not”, heard a whisper… the account ends there, leaving the reader to guess. I think that there are multiple ways to describe the phenomenon we call God. The religious traditions of the world give us a lot, but is that all?

True and also in opening the doors to change that thinking. This is, after all, a philosophy forum. How does one define something in the negative?

That’s why we’re here. I think many people have defined God by what he/she/it is not … including the story of Elijah. I think that we need as many possibilities as there are, including pantheist ideas.

Does that make us religious creatures or people who have to follow the pack?

I think we are both, following the pack may be just be following the best alternative.

When people are talking to themselves, even in thought, who do they mean? Themselves? Maybe, but I believe that people hope that someone is listening, especially when pleading that something will or won’t happen. Many are acting AS IF, but what do they hope for?


Can you explain this a bit more.

I have caught myself, especially in situations of stress, thinking as though I was addressing someone and some of my friends, even atheists, have admitted the same. I asked myself who I was talking to. Am I talking to myself in such situations, or do I assume that there is someone listening? There are times when I know I’m beating myself up for being so stupid, but that’s different.

I too accept God to be a mystery, but there are aspects of interaction, like mystical experiences, or that surprising alignment of events that leaves us in awe. We experience selfless love and ask where it comes from. Or we are amazed at what can happen when people with the same spirit join together. Or quite simply, we look into that chaos of stars and ask, why me, here, at this time?


But then why not focus on those things individually? Why bring God into the equation?

I think it is because I feel it has to come from somewhere and if consciousness is inherent in the cosmos, what is behind it all? Especially when things happen so beautiful that they stand out, I ask myself how that can be. Of course, on the surface, you accept these things individually, but underneath my curiosity starts up ...
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:51 am

Bob wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:The question of consciousness, i.e. the hard problem, does not warrant anyone to jump to the conclusion God exists.

What you missed out is the criticalness of the existential crisis and the terrible impulses manifesting from it.

An existential crisis is, as I have already said, not something to ignore. It forces people to recount what they consider important, valuable and desirable. It is, after all a matter of existence.

Here are the facts surrounding the existential crisis;

1. DNA wise all humans are programmed with terrible fears under any threats [real or apparent] of premature death.

There is no proof that the fears of humanity is genetic, but rather they start from the moment the unborn experiences its existence in the womb. Fear is reactive, even if the stimulus is imagined, and the body goes into flight or fight mode – to the degree at which it is able.

2. This is why babies and children will be very fearful and cry if they are away from their parents. They will feel relieved and secured in the presence of their parents.

The parent, usually the mother, is the only interaction it knows of and when this interaction is terminated (even in the short term), the baby cries until another soothing influence is given. The baby is getting to know its environment and its experiences in a spiral outwards. If it experiences something unpleasant it will cry. However, the experience of the child teaches it when to cry and they are not fearful from the beginning.

You got it wrong.
DNA wise all human are coded and born with the primal instinct and the primary emotion of fear i.e. necessary to avoid dangers, threats and premature death thus ensuring survival.
A child will not be able to express feelings of fear consciously but the actions of primal fears in a child and adults are very universal.

Signs_and_symptoms of Fear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear#Signs_and_symptoms

This is proof, fear [primal and emotion] is genetic.

3. But for adults, they are endowed with self-awareness to be aware from empirical evidence, death is inevitable. While most can suppress the thought of death at the conscious level to some degrees, there is nothing to prevent the more stronger 90% subconscious mind to pick up this fact of death.

Self-awareness grows on people and young children can be confronted with death so that it becomes a reality for them. Once children realise that something as final as death can happen, they fear it. However, we all suppress the thought of death until we are reminded by circumstance.

4. At the subconscious level, a cognitive dissonance is generated, i.e. the person don't want to die but death is inevitable. Note more to the subconscious mind than the conscious.

A mental discomfort (psychological stress) can be experienced by any person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, but it isn’t necessarily the case with death. Many people go through life blissfully ignorant until confronted with death.

5. This cognitive dissonance at the sub-conscious level in ALL humans generate terrible angst, anxieties and despairs to drive the mind to seek solutions to relieve this terrible mental sufferings.

I don’t believe that the fear of death is always present. The may be fears, like suffocating for example, but the fear is mostly concerned with the experience rather than its consequence. There are many fears that a human being can have without it being a fear of death.


I had mentioned above, there are two levels re the fear of death;

    1. Conscious fear of death

    2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death

1. Conscious fear of death
DNA wise a person will experience conscious fear of death intermittently when triggered by the sight of it or thoughts of it. Humans are programmed with inhibitors and modulators to ensure that the conscious fear of death do not manifest all the time.
This is a very natural to ensure all humans are not paralyzed by the conscious fear of death.

Anyone who has a persistent conscious fear of death is a mental case and has to see a psychiatrist. This mental illness is called Thanatophobia or Death Anxiety.

    Death anxiety is anxiety caused by thoughts of death. One source defines death anxiety as a "feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to 'be'".[1] Also referred to as thanatophobia (fear of death), death anxiety is distinguished from necrophobia, which is a specific fear of dead or dying people and/or things (i.e., fear of others who are dead or dying, not of one's own death or dying).
    -wiki

2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death
This is the critical issue.
I had stated above, the power of the subconscious mind is 10 time greater than that of the conscious mind.
The subconscious mind is very cognizant of the cognitive dissonance of must not die but will certainly die. This create a turmoil in the mind that manifests unidentifiable unease, anxieties, despairs, Angst that drives the mind to find solutions to ease the mental pain.

    Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.[1] The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian, and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud.[1][2][3]
    It [Angst] is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

It is this cognitive dissonance and Angst that drives theist to a God as a very quick-fix solution and it is very immediate and effective.

6. For the majority of humans, the idea of God [despite factually illusory] is twisted and bent by the subconscious mind to be real and thus provide instant relief to the terrible mental sufferings.

No. God is not always the relief of fear, but the all-seeing eye. There are many children who are brought up on the idea that God is only good and they are quite shocked when they read that God is also a source of fear. I don’t see the instant relief, especially because many children have no idea of a God in the Judaeo-Christian sense. There are enough children in the West that only become aware of something called God when they are confronted with the idea in school or church. That can be relatively late. Then it is also a question of how the parents opinions influence children.

Generally it is a relief but not instant relief all the time.
It is an instant relief when there is a conscious crisis and when one surrender to God there is instant relief.
For the majority of theist the idea of God is like a comfortable security blanket. For many theists, when that security is pull or tug, they will even kill the one who is pulling their security blanket - this is so evident.

7. For the non-theists they will find other non-theistic solutions which could be good or evil.

Like what exactly?

There is non-theistic religions like Buddhism [including Zen] and others.
Others may turn to pain-killers and all sort of drugs to relieve the mental unease to their detriment in the long run.
Others keep themselves occupied with various interests to keep suppress these impulses from the subconscious mind for an idle mind is the devil's playground.
Others turned to spiritual self-development programs to strengthen the inhibitors that inhibit the impulses of Angst.

For all the deflections and excuses you gave above, you cannot avoid the above fact of the existential crisis.

As I had stated the idea of God is manifested from very crude reasons, e.g.
    -Every creation must have a creator [from cause and effect]
    -The vast universe is an existing creation
    -Only God the omnipotent an create a vast universe.
    -Therefore God exists

You really push your argument that this reasoning is something that everybody goes through. I didn’t, for a start. I experienced Sunday school as a place where we were told stories that we immediately forgot when we left the room. I couldn’t even relate them to my mother, despite being an imaginative child. In all my games, God wasn’t a part of them, despite being “impressionable”. Speaking to other people, there are many who grew up completely ignorant of the idea of God.

My argument is that reasoning of the existential crisis is a fundamental and a potential, DNA wise, in ALL human beings.
It get triggered to be very active in various circumstances.
It is not likely to be triggered in a child until the person is in the late teens with a stronger self-awareness of death that feed backs to the subconscious.

My first experience was when, at 11, I was on a summer camp run by Christians who read the Bible to us. On the way back, we had to cross the Bristol Channel on a small ferry and were caught up in a storm. Despite the storm being something I had never experienced in that way before, with the sea rising up above the boat only to fall immediately afterwards, I wasn’t scared. Waves came crashing on deck, soaking all those who were hanging over the rail to be sick. I was enthralled by the experience and felt quite safe, and connected for the first time with the God of my imagination.

As stated above, for most, the existential crisis is active within the subsconscious during late teens or early twenties, and for adults it can be anytime when the inhibitors are weakened by stress and various factors.

The existential crisis will manifest stronger as one get older because all brain cells naturally atrophized and for the said inhibitors they are not replaced.

    Across the world, people have varying levels of belief (and disbelief) in God, with some nations being more devout than others. But new research reveals one constant across parts of the globe: As people age, their belief in God seems to increase.
    https://www.livescience.com/19971-belie ... m-age.html

Even the once world's most famous [a]theist, Anthony Flew, succumbed to the existential crisis impulse in the later part of his life where his neural inhibitors eroded and the existential crisis impulse overwhelmed his rational faculty to some degree that he turned to deism.

It is possible for any [a]theist including me that the relevant inhibitors will weaken via atrophy in my later years. Thus I am taking steps to strengthen the relevant inhibitors so my mind do not drive me into theism in the future.

The above is driven by crude reasoning without proper empirical groundings and each premise is full of holes but theists would not give a damn with proper reasoning and justifications as long as what they thought of is sufficient to relieve the terrible mental pains exuding from the above existential crisis.
Why such bad logic is accepted is because the belief in a God [despite illusory] really works to relieve the mental sufferings and in many cases almost immediately.

I don’t see many people with “terrible mental pains”, and especially not in church. I don’t know where you get this from. People do experience suffering in its various forms but their immediate reaction is not to believe in a God that will relieve that.

I have explained above, the conscious mind is not supposed to fear death persistently and have feeling of fears.
But deep down, the existential crisis is brewing strongly deep in the brain especially those theists who are zealous of a belief in God.

If you were to research the scriptures of all religions, the main purpose for the believers are focused on the eschatological and salvation, for most the assurance of going to heaven with eternal life [a relief to the existential crisis].

You obviously haven’t read scripture. The book of Genesis first describes the situation of humanity in a myth that is very truthful in its estimation. It then goes on to describe the situation of the world. Then there is the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which are all very cryptic and gives food for thought. It is followed by the story of Israel, the rise of Kings and finally prophets.

The NT commences with the tragedy of Christ, follows with the hope of Christianity and letters to the communities and ends with Revelations, a book with seven seals. It is what theology takes from that great anthology that turns it into what you have said.

What??
As a Christian, you are not aware what is the core of Christianity for a Christian?
The core of Christianity is not the Bible but the doctrines of God expressed by Christ in the Gospel. The Epistles, Acts and OT [relevant verses] are merely supporting texts to the main doctrines within the Gospel of Christ.

For a Christian, the central focus in the Gospel is God's offer within John 3:16 and the likes;

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The above is an offer for anyone to accept.
One a person accept the offer, there is an implied contract, i.e. a personal covenant with God.
Once the divine contract is signed, the Christian will have to comply with the covenanted terms as in the Gospel in exchange for an everlasting eternal life in heaven.

Thus the main purpose of Christianity for a Christian is to receive the promise in a contract of everlasting eternal life in heaven.
Everything else is secondary.

The relieving and maintaining of the resolution of the natural existential crisis at the subconscious level is so critical that many believers are willing to kill if there is a threat to their belief or a calling by God to do so. [note Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son].
Such a permission is sanctioned within the Quran - words of Allah, the core scripture of Islam.
Christianity [based on Gospel] is basically a pacifist religion but it has it other negatives in hindering the progress of humanity.

Hearsay I’m afraid. It is what people with little knowledge of the Bible assume, but once you get to know it, it becomes quite another thing.

I am not an expert of the Bible, but I am well aware of the main doctrinal principle of Christianity from the Gospel alone. Note my explanations above.

While theism provide instant relief for the existential crisis which is good since past years but it has it cons. The point why serious criticisms of theism is needed now and the future is because its cons are slowly outweighing its pros toward the future.

For God to provide the maximum assurance to relieve the existential crisis, God has to be perfect, totally unconditional and second to none. But a God with such qualities is impossible to be real.
What is real is that which can be empirically justified with philosophical reasonings [not groundless crude reasons].

Thus God manifesting out of crude reasons necessarily to deal with the inherent unavoidable existential crisis is an impossibility to be real, i.e. a transcendental illusion.

I’m sure there are people like you describe, but all of them? I think not. You shouldn’t whitewash everyone with your theories.

Whitewash??
I have justified all my points.
I don't expect anyone to agree with me based on blind faith but for one to review the justified arguments I have presented and counter them rationally.

Show me, where am I wrong or have presented clear-cut falsehoods in the above.

My point;
God is an idea which is a transcendental illusion manifested out a psychological driven existential crisis to ease existential pains and Angst.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:35 am

iambiguous wrote:It's no small matter that I lost faith in God myself given what I had experienced in Vietnam. And given the arguments of those then and there who had already embraced a No God world.

But that's my point. Any particular individual's belief in God is, in my view, predicated largely on his or her own actual experiences in the course of living his or her own actual life.

War is said to either drive men away from God or into his arms. I can only imagine some of the things you had to watch or do in Vietnam as I was a child at that time, living not far away, but safely in Malaya.

But you are right about belief being predicated by peoples experiences. It was one reason why I had to leave the church and pursue a spiritual path which led me to the various traditions and to the awareness of how similar religions are, in a strange way. I was following Thomas Merton in doing so, although he was long dead by then. I was also led to believe that religion, including Christianity, had monastic beginnings, even if it was mixed. That is why it is hard for people caught up in everyday life to practise and why it seems so outlandish.

It's just that with a belief in God, the stakes are considerably higher. The folks in the Bahamas, as with all of us facing calamitous situations, are faced with the option of continuing to believe and putting their faith in God's "mysterious ways", immortality and salvation...or rejecting God and accepting that their wrecked lives are merely as the result of an essentially meaningless existence, with no prospect of anything other than just accepting in turn their plight and preparing for oblivion.

My thinking then is that the option chosen here is embodied more in dasein than in a "thinking through" their situation and, using the tools of philosophy, agglomerating the most rational conclusions.

I question the existential threat that you see the people in the Bahamas are up against. The storm is still the storm, whether they believe or not. In fact, there are people that say that humanity only learns via confrontation, and that is one mighty confrontation. That is where we have to think things through.

We have spoken about dasein before. I understand the struggle with existence (or being) in the use of that word. All aspects of being cause a struggle with suffering in its various forms. Life is suffering, but there are ways to confront it. I read Peterson as saying that if you follow a few rules, you will find that existence aligns with you and things can get a bit easier, although the struggle stays. Buddha had some good ideas as well. It is the fact that there are ways to successfully struggle with being that is so astounding. I have read him as well as various other authors who have brought up the fact that things going right are some kind of miracle in a world that is caught up in decay and degeneration.

I can respect that. After all, there is no way that I could ever possibly understand the choices that you make, given how our lives are, I suspect, very, very different.

But, in a philosophy venue, my own interest in religion revolves more around closing the gap between what one believes about God and what one is able to demonstrate that, perhaps, all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

Closing that gap might be easier than you think, the problem is that it isn’t the solution that many Christians would want. If we could agree that the stories of the Bible have more to do with psychology than with history, we could pull the wisdom that is held in there out of the more dated stories. The value of the Bible is the thousand year tradition that rings true to life when you observe it that way and the message that the New Testament carries. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not a sensible thing to do. It is like felling a massive Hyperion, the grandparent of all tall trees, to have firewood.

Also, in exploring the manner in which this belief is more the embodiment of "I" as an existential contraption. In other words, a sense of self ever subject to change given new experiences. Rather than as a commitment to the "real me" in sync with the "right thing to think feel and do" in relationship to God.

I think we can’t ignore the fact that, since we have driven modern man out of the churches, there has been a degeneration of purpose. People are struggling to find meaning and we are seeing it in our societies. More people are depressive, suicidal or have other psychological disorders. Practitioners are saying that it is the lack of orientation and reduction of purpose to getting through the day. That is why it is true that religion is often a crutch that people lean on. When that, as in recent times, fails to support, or is corrupt, those being supported fall.

One could say, what’s it to me that these people are mentally ill? However, depression is something that sneaks up on people and can have purely somatic symptoms that have doctors baffled until it becomes clear that the cause is depression. It hits all kinds of people, not just those below the minimum wage or those reduced to beggars. It is also one reason why Jordan Peterson wrote his book, “12 Rules for Life” with a subtitle “An Antidote to Chaos”. There are human resources being lost to psychological disorders, not because they are incapable, but because they have lost direction.

Finally, the manner in which someone connects the dots between their faith/belief in God on this side of the grave as that impacts on the behaviors they choose here and now in order to sustain what they wish their fate to be there and then on the other side of the grave.

The "for all practical purposes" implications of choosing here.

So, when I see a thread entitled "define God" my own interest lies in taking that definition out into the world of interacting men and women, and putting it to the test given particular contexts.

But that's no less my own embodiment of "I" -- here and now -- as an existential contraption. It will either click with others or it won't. I am certainly not suggesting that others ought to share it. Let alone are obligated to.

I have always said, we live here and now, and hoping for something better on the other side is an option, but can’t be the prime motivator. It is this world, and our own space, that we have to put in order. The good news is that when a large group work together and align their purpose, 2 + 2 becomes 5. Unexpected things happen that improve conditions. They seem wondrous in the face of degeneration, decay and corruption. The problem is that to motivate people to do that, you have to have the bigger picture in view. That’s where a world view comes in.

I don’t think that it is possible to motivate in the way needed without a world view with defined goals and standards, complete with an interactive group that embodies that world view in what they do. That is where mutual obligation comes into the picture. Agreeing to do things based on that world view. God is then the conjectural eye in the sky, the meta-vision, and judge of all things.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:16 am

Prismatic567 wrote:You got it wrong.
DNA wise all human are coded and born with the primal instinct and the primary emotion of fear i.e. necessary to avoid dangers, threats and premature death thus ensuring survival.
A child will not be able to express feelings of fear consciously but the actions of primal fears in a child and adults are very universal.

Signs_and_symptoms of Fear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear#Signs_and_symptoms

This is proof, fear [primal and emotion] is genetic.

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat. A baby can’t perceive a threat, but it can’t be alone after growing for nine months inside the mother. That is probably the next discomfort after the traumatic experience of birth. But reading that quote from Wikipedia, it is the response that is inborn, not fear per se. Our bodies know how to react to threat or danger, but it must first be perceived.

I had mentioned above, there are two levels re the fear of death;

    1. Conscious fear of death

    2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death

1. Conscious fear of death
DNA wise a person will experience conscious fear of death intermittently when triggered by the sight of it or thoughts of it. Humans are programmed with inhibitors and modulators to ensure that the conscious fear of death do not manifest all the time.
This is a very natural to ensure all humans are not paralyzed by the conscious fear of death.

Anyone who has a persistent conscious fear of death is a mental case and has to see a psychiatrist. This mental illness is called Thanatophobia or Death Anxiety.

Here again, the reaction is what is inborn, not a fear. Fear has to be perceived, regardless whether the threat is real or imagined.

    Death anxiety is anxiety caused by thoughts of death. One source defines death anxiety as a "feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to 'be'".[1] Also referred to as thanatophobia (fear of death), death anxiety is distinguished from necrophobia, which is a specific fear of dead or dying people and/or things (i.e., fear of others who are dead or dying, not of one's own death or dying).
    -wiki

Thanatophobia is a pathological disorder, an abnormal fear of death. It isn’t “normal”, i.e. in someone’s DNA.

2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death
This is the critical issue.
I had stated above, the power of the subconscious mind is 10 time greater than that of the conscious mind.
The subconscious mind is very cognizant of the cognitive dissonance of must not die but will certainly die. This create a turmoil in the mind that manifests unidentifiable unease, anxieties, despairs, Angst that drives the mind to find solutions to ease the mental pain.

    Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.[1] The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian, and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud.[1][2][3]
    It [Angst] is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

It is this cognitive dissonance and Angst that drives theist to a God as a very quick-fix solution and it is very immediate and effective.

Terror management theory (TMT) attempts to explain a type of defensive human thinking and behavior that stems from an awareness and fear of death. According to TMT, death anxiety drives people to adopt worldviews that protect their sense of self-esteem, worthiness, and sustainability and allow them to believe that they play an important role in a meaningful world.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basi ... ent-theory

It is an awareness, that it a perception of death that people fear. That means, it is comes when people become capable of perceiving death. This isn’t usually the case in children, unless they are confronted with death and it has a traumatic effect. Normally this fear grows with the death of parents, but also with the premature death of siblings. That is why older people tend to return to the church to find the meaning that is lost when people around them are dying.

There is non-theistic religions like Buddhism [including Zen] and others.
Others may turn to pain-killers and all sort of drugs to relieve the mental unease to their detriment in the long run.
Others keep themselves occupied with various interests to keep suppress these impulses from the subconscious mind for an idle mind is the devil's playground.
Others turned to spiritual self-development programs to strengthen the inhibitors that inhibit the impulses of Angst.

Once again, this is all necessary if one develops a fear of death. I would say that the fear of futility or pointlessness of existence can make people take drugs to soothe their misgivings about life. Buddhism accepts that life is absurd and that suffering is the lot of mankind, but offers a way to cope.

For all the deflections and excuses you gave above, you cannot avoid the above fact of the existential crisis.

As I had stated the idea of God is manifested from very crude reasons, e.g.
    -Every creation must have a creator [from cause and effect]
    -The vast universe is an existing creation
    -Only God the omnipotent an create a vast universe.
    -Therefore God exists

My argument is that reasoning of the existential crisis is a fundamental and a potential, DNA wise, in ALL human beings.
It get triggered to be very active in various circumstances.
It is not likely to be triggered in a child until the person is in the late teens with a stronger self-awareness of death that feed backs to the subconscious.

I have never avoided the fact that an existential crisis can occur, but to say it is in our DNA is misleading. What is inborn is the bodies reaction to fear. But there are normal causes and abnormal causes of fear, which have to be separated from each other. That a growing fear of death is normal is something I accept, but to say that the cry of a baby is a sign of that fear is just as misleading.
As a Christian, you are not aware what is the core of Christianity for a Christian?
The core of Christianity is not the Bible but the doctrines of God expressed by Christ in the Gospel. The Epistles, Acts and OT [relevant verses] are merely supporting texts to the main doctrines within the Gospel of Christ.

For a Christian, the central focus in the Gospel is God's offer within John 3:16 and the likes;

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The above is an offer for anyone to accept.
One a person accept the offer, there is an implied contract, i.e. a personal covenant with God.
Once the divine contract is signed, the Christian will have to comply with the covenanted terms as in the Gospel in exchange for an everlasting eternal life in heaven.

Thus the main purpose of Christianity for a Christian is to receive the promise in a contract of everlasting eternal life in heaven.
Everything else is secondary.

Your reading. It may also be the way many people see it. I do not see it that way.

The sacrifice of the son is an age old mythological storyline, especially when you see Christ as the Logos, the word that created the heavens and earth. There is a deeper storyline there than this modern evangelical view. We can discuss the meaning of sacrifice seen through the words of the Bible and even in the Quran. How this reflects on key stories and practices, such as Abraham's offering of his son, the Leviticus rites of sacrifice and purity, the Hajj, and the death of Christ. But that would have to be another topic.

Whitewash??
I have justified all my points.
I don't expect anyone to agree with me based on blind faith but for one to review the justified arguments I have presented and counter them rationally.

Show me, where am I wrong or have presented clear-cut falsehoods in the above.

My point;
God is an idea which is a transcendental illusion manifested out a psychological driven existential crisis to ease existential pains and Angst.

The gods are primal images to describe deep phenomenon in the lives of human beings at a time when survival was the most important thing to talk about. The Ancients were considering how to understand the world and their role in it. Being pre-science, Gods, devils, angels and evil spirits describe influences they experienced and they developed stories which they enacted as a means to spread the information of how to live and survive. These stories became more and more complex and gradually a primitive understanding of human and animal behaviour crept in, which made the stories multi-layered.

When Israel formed, they were gathering all kinds of mythological descriptions of existence, and there were many. Each culture had their own gods but Israel saw this as primitive and chose one god, who was god of gods. This wasn’t an easy process and so they told a story that described how they were found and chosen by that one God. They developed a code of behaviour which became the Torah, and wrote themselves a history, based on the histories that they found in other cultures. They had heroes and Kings, but all the time, an underlying message was in these stories – Kings are not reliable but become self-serving. They envisaged a King that would not be so, but would be aligned to the will of God. The were various forerunners in their records, people who are said to have been closer to the ideal, but not quite. David was one of them.

The prophets described how God’s people betrayed him and they were punished by God, suffering defeat and being deported, finally losing ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. Only Judah and Benjamin remained. Christianity has it, that from these two tribes, only one person remained true to God and he was sacrificed. They saw it as the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. And he was the One who died to save all from retribution of God, but only those who aligned with him and his spirit, the spirit of God.

The Sermon on the Mount spelled out a new law, one of love and compassion, which revolutionised the parts of the world in which it was spread. But then, for reasons we can only guess, it became a religion of the diaspora, of gentiles and not Jews. Still it was very effective in changing the religious landscape – until Rome adopted it as a state religion. That is when things started falling apart. It is amazing that there were still pockets of the faithful, which preserved and developed the faith until this day. Today we can look back on that miracle that occurred despite the terror and the pillage that became part of Christian history. Especially the attempts to wipe out Jews is contemptuous, but also the deaths of dissenters and so called heretics, who in fact were transporting the spiritual heritage of the faith.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:25 am

Bob wrote:Your reading. It may also be the way many people see it. I do not see it that way.
Prismatic talks about 'proof' not understanding that proof is either legal or mathematical/symbolic logic, but has little to do with any complex phenomenon like the source of beliefs. And legal proof is a very contingent - depends on the laws, customs and particular jury or judge - whereas mathematics and symbolic logic do not have, for example, empirical and semantic issues. So right off the bat when he uses proof, we should be wary that we are dealing with certitude based on confusion. This doesn't mean his argument is wrong, it just means that he doesn't understand the frame his argument is in and since he refers to it as proof, then he is confused in his certainty.

That said, he also confused correlation and cause. It's a complicated counterargument, but basically since we fear death and religions offer, potentially, a pleasant solution to this fear - this fear causes the belief in God, all the other testimony by religious people be damned. A so far correlation being taken as cause. There are also religions that have no very pleasant afterlives, sometimes as one possibility, sometimes as the only one. And there are many people who believe and are terrified of that afterlife, at least for them. There are also religions where the person does not continue, where there is a return to God or Self or Vishnu or whatever. Most people have fears that come up around intimacy, let alone dissolving into a greater whole permanently, and anyone with a knowledge of, say, certain traditions in Hinduism, know that the practitioner has to deal with tremendous fear to achieve the before death goals in the religion where there is union with (fill in the blank). Why people would put so much effort into trying to do something so terrifying before death if fear is the motivator for belief, I don't know. And then there are whole swathes of scary religions, where being god fearing is the experience. Or ones with no afterlife.

He is also spitting in the face - by mind reading claims - of all the people who would disagree based on their experiences, not just religious ones, for why they believe, the role of religion in their lives and what their belief is based on. Both theists and atheists can agree, especially on philosophy forums, that the issue around belief is either faith or some kind of logical or illogical argument. Whereas, in fact, most belief has a huge empirical component. Whether one has grown up in the religion or one has converted or come to it later. These empirical facets can be anything from what they experience in prayer, contemplation, rituals, meditation, in meetings with religious experts - gurus priests, whomever - to the experienced effects of the practices on their lives to mundane, non-controversial affects of participating in what are often highly social practices to visionary experiences in shamanistic practices or other religious practices - experiences that are often predicatable and come in certain sequences - to quite a bit else. IOW the beliefs are based on a wide range of experiences and experiences in the context of practices led or taught by experts and more.

He feels that on paper he can prove, yes prove, that they are all wrong about the source of their beliefs-

What I notice is that atheists I know don't seem to be very afraid of death - in fact their emotions often seem dampened in general. Even those who leave religions do not seem to me to be facing fear - except their fear that they might go to hell now. I haven't heard of this huge guantlet of fear that atheists go through converting from theism to atheism.

And in fact it seems like atheists don't fear death more then very religious people.

https://www.newsweek.com/fear-death-ath ... ers-575496

There is even evidence that religious people are more afraid of death....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7949111.stm

Me, I think there are a lot of factors involved, but I see no reason to accept Prismatic's universal mind reading claims, especially since he seems to think he even could present a proof and also his weak grasp of correlation cause, and last because I found him, despite his claims otherwise, to be closed to any criticism.

If you enjoy the dialogue, great.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:26 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Prismatic talks about 'proof' not understanding that proof is either legal or mathematical/symbolic logic, but has little to do with any complex phenomenon like the source of beliefs. And legal proof is a very contingent - depends on the laws, customs and particular jury or judge - whereas mathematics and symbolic logic do not have, for example, empirical and semantic issues. So right off the bat when he uses proof, we should be wary that we are dealing with certitude based on confusion. This doesn't mean his argument is wrong, it just means that he doesn't understand the frame his argument is in and since he refers to it as proof, then he is confused in his certainty.

Agreed ...

That said, he also confused correlation and cause. It's a complicated counterargument, but basically since we fear death and religions offer, potentially, a pleasant solution to this fear - this fear causes the belief in God, all the other testimony by religious people be damned. A so far correlation being taken as cause. There are also religions that have no very pleasant afterlives, sometimes as one possibility, sometimes as the only one. And there are many people who believe and are terrified of that afterlife, at least for them. There are also religions where the person does not continue, where there is a return to God or Self or Vishnu or whatever. Most people have fears that come up around intimacy, let alone dissolving into a greater whole permanently, and anyone with a knowledge of, say, certain traditions in Hinduism, know that the practitioner has to deal with tremendous fear to achieve the before death goals in the religion where there is union with (fill in the blank). Why people would put so much effort into trying to do something so terrifying before death if fear is the motivator for belief, I don't know. And then there are whole swathes of scary religions, where being god fearing is the experience. Or ones with no afterlife.

Yes, I can follow this argument. My estimation on the subject comes from two basic areas, Geriatric Nursing and Comparative theology. Jordan Peterson has spoken in both areas, which is why I quoted him to begin with. Having had a lot of experience with death and the dying, it is, as you say, a complex issue. I have had people who had so much faith that it almost bordered on certainty, who died as they planned by just lying in bed and closing their eyes. There was no fear in them. But I have had people of the other side of the spectrum, where, even though their dementia caused the loss of speech, they were scared out of the wits and hard to contain. They died with fever and Tachypnea, that is fast, shallow breathing, usually under drugs to calm them down. There were others who just held on, and very often we had the children tell their parents that it was okay to go, everything is okay. Relatives were often amazed at how fast these words soothed the dying. Some were outright atheists but prepared themselves and put all their family at ease and then just died.

You see, when you have experienced all these possibilities, it doesn’t make sense to say that fear of death is the main motivator to believe.

He is also spitting in the face - by mind reading claims - of all the people who would disagree based on their experiences, not just religious ones, for why they believe, the role of religion in their lives and what their belief is based on. Both theists and atheists can agree, especially on philosophy forums, that the issue around belief is either faith or some kind of logical or illogical argument. Whereas, in fact, most belief has a huge empirical component. Whether one has grown up in the religion or one has converted or come to it later. These empirical facets can be anything from what they experience in prayer, contemplation, rituals, meditation, in meetings with religious experts - gurus priests, whomever - to the experienced effects of the practices on their lives to mundane, non-controversial affects of participating in what are often highly social practices to visionary experiences in shamanistic practices or other religious practices - experiences that are often predicatable and come in certain sequences - to quite a bit else. IOW the beliefs are based on a wide range of experiences and experiences in the context of practices led or taught by experts and more.

Agreed ..

He feels that on paper he can prove, yes prove, that they are all wrong about the source of their beliefs-

What I notice is that atheists I know don't seem to be very afraid of death - in fact their emotions often seem dampened in general. Even those who leave religions do not seem to me to be facing fear - except their fear that they might go to hell now. I haven't heard of this huge guantlet of fear that atheists go through converting from theism to atheism.

And in fact it seems like atheists don't fear death more then very religious people.
See above ...

https://www.newsweek.com/fear-death-ath ... ers-575496


There is even evidence that religious people are more afraid of death....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7949111.stm

Me, I think there are a lot of factors involved, but I see no reason to accept Prismatic's universal mind reading claims, especially since he seems to think he even could present a proof and also his weak grasp of correlation cause, and last because I found him, despite his claims otherwise, to be closed to any criticism.

Yes, in my experience too, those afraid of death could be found on both sides.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:28 am

Bob wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:You got it wrong.
DNA wise all human are coded and born with the primal instinct and the primary emotion of fear i.e. necessary to avoid dangers, threats and premature death thus ensuring survival.
A child will not be able to express feelings of fear consciously but the actions of primal fears in a child and adults are very universal.

Signs_and_symptoms of Fear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear#Signs_and_symptoms

This is proof, fear [primal and emotion] is genetic.

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat. A baby can’t perceive a threat, but it can’t be alone after growing for nine months inside the mother. That is probably the next discomfort after the traumatic experience of birth. But reading that quote from Wikipedia, it is the response that is inborn, not fear per se. Our bodies know how to react to threat or danger, but it must first be perceived.

It very common sense the feeling of fear is trigger by related perception.

But what is more critical is there is a neural algorithm that is already in place [DNA coded] which is ready to react to perception which will trigger the feeling of fear.
You are wrong to think this neural algorithm related to 'fear' is solely triggered and will react only to sense perception.
The point is this neural algorithm responsible for fear can be triggered by other than perception, e.g. by thoughts, dreams, and other neural activities the algorithm is connected to.

Thus there are many sources that can trigger the 'fear neural alogrith [re the fear emotions] which need not necessary manifest as a conscious feeling of fear, but rather the reactions are subliminal and they combine with other neural processes and manifest as Angst, anxieties and despairs when an acceptance of a God [illusory] will relieved these mental pains and discomforts.

I had mentioned above, there are two levels re the fear of death;

    1. Conscious fear of death

    2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death

1. Conscious fear of death
DNA wise a person will experience conscious fear of death intermittently when triggered by the sight of it or thoughts of it. Humans are programmed with inhibitors and modulators to ensure that the conscious fear of death do not manifest all the time.
This is a very natural to ensure all humans are not paralyzed by the conscious fear of death.

Anyone who has a persistent conscious fear of death is a mental case and has to see a psychiatrist. This mental illness is called Thanatophobia or Death Anxiety.

Here again, the reaction is what is inborn, not a fear. Fear has to be perceived, regardless whether the threat is real or imagined.

    Death anxiety is anxiety caused by thoughts of death. One source defines death anxiety as a "feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to 'be'".[1] Also referred to as thanatophobia (fear of death), death anxiety is distinguished from necrophobia, which is a specific fear of dead or dying people and/or things (i.e., fear of others who are dead or dying, not of one's own death or dying).
    -wiki

Thanatophobia is a pathological disorder, an abnormal fear of death. It isn’t “normal”, i.e. in someone’s DNA.

2. Subconscious [subliminal] fear of death
This is the critical issue.
I had stated above, the power of the subconscious mind is 10 time greater than that of the conscious mind.
The subconscious mind is very cognizant of the cognitive dissonance of must not die but will certainly die. This create a turmoil in the mind that manifests unidentifiable unease, anxieties, despairs, Angst that drives the mind to find solutions to ease the mental pain.

    Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.[1] The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian, and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud.[1][2][3]
    It [Angst] is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

It is this cognitive dissonance and Angst that drives theist to a God as a very quick-fix solution and it is very immediate and effective.

Terror management theory (TMT) attempts to explain a type of defensive human thinking and behavior that stems from an awareness and fear of death. According to TMT, death anxiety drives people to adopt worldviews that protect their sense of self-esteem, worthiness, and sustainability and allow them to believe that they play an important role in a meaningful world.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basi ... ent-theory

It is an awareness, that it a perception of death that people fear. That means, it is comes when people become capable of perceiving death. This isn’t usually the case in children, unless they are confronted with death and it has a traumatic effect. Normally this fear grows with the death of parents, but also with the premature death of siblings. That is why older people tend to return to the church to find the meaning that is lost when people around them are dying.

You missed my point and focused too much on the concept of 'fear'.
I had stated normal people do not 'fear death' persistently, otherwise that would be a mental and medical issue. Where such conscious fear is a phobia, it is not DNA driven but they are exceptions due to short-circuits in the brain.

My main point is focused on the DNA driven existential crisis driven by a cognitive dissonance arising from the combination of the subsconscious processes involving the algorithm that generate the fear of death and self-awareness at the subconscious level that generate Angst, anxieties, despairs, hopelessness, etc.
These are the impulses of the existential crisis that drive theists to cling to a God to relieve these mental pains of Angst, anxieties, despairs and hopeless.

When I state "subconscious fear of death" the central point here is the existential crisis because there is no question of direct feeling of death at the subconscious level.

Thus my point again;
God is an idea which is a transcendental illusion manifested out a psychological driven existential crisis to ease existential pains and Angst.
(there is no mentioned of 'fear of death').

There is non-theistic religions like Buddhism [including Zen] and others.
Others may turn to pain-killers and all sort of drugs to relieve the mental unease to their detriment in the long run.
Others keep themselves occupied with various interests to keep suppress these impulses from the subconscious mind for an idle mind is the devil's playground.
Others turned to spiritual self-development programs to strengthen the inhibitors that inhibit the impulses of Angst.

Once again, this is all necessary if one develops a fear of death. I would say that the fear of futility or pointlessness of existence can make people take drugs to soothe their misgivings about life. Buddhism accepts that life is absurd and that suffering is the lot of mankind, but offers a way to cope.

I disagree.

Thus my point;
It is the psychological driven existential crisis generate existential pains and Angst that drive many [a]theists to seek pain killers, drugs and other avenues to relieve the mental pains and Angst.
(there is no mentioned of 'fear of death').

For all the deflections and excuses you gave above, you cannot avoid the above fact of the existential crisis.

As I had stated the idea of God is manifested from very crude reasons, e.g.
    -Every creation must have a creator [from cause and effect]
    -The vast universe is an existing creation
    -Only God the omnipotent an create a vast universe.
    -Therefore God exists

My argument is that reasoning of the existential crisis is a fundamental and a potential, DNA wise, in ALL human beings.
It get triggered to be very active in various circumstances.
It is not likely to be triggered in a child until the person is in the late teens with a stronger self-awareness of death that feed backs to the subconscious.

I have never avoided the fact that an existential crisis can occur, but to say it is in our DNA is misleading. What is inborn is the bodies reaction to fear. But there are normal causes and abnormal causes of fear, which have to be separated from each other. That a growing fear of death is normal is something I accept, but to say that the cry of a baby is a sign of that fear is just as misleading.

Why not DNA driven.
    1. It is coded in the human DNA, all humans will die eventually not more than 150 years of life based on present empirical facts.
    2. It is coded in the human DNA, all humans are coded with a neural algorithm to generate fear and other related responses consciously or subconsciously.
    3. It is coded in the human DNA, all humans will matured with a high sense of self-awareness in contrast to the primates.

The combination of 1, 2 and 3 plus others not mentioned generate an existential crisis within the subconscious mind that manifest a range of mental discomforts, anxieties, despair, and Angst that drive theists to cling to a God [illusory] to get immediate relief from those mental pains.


As a Christian, you are not aware what is the core of Christianity for a Christian?
The core of Christianity is not the Bible but the doctrines of God expressed by Christ in the Gospel. The Epistles, Acts and OT [relevant verses] are merely supporting texts to the main doctrines within the Gospel of Christ.

For a Christian, the central focus in the Gospel is God's offer within John 3:16 and the likes;

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The above is an offer for anyone to accept.
One a person accept the offer, there is an implied contract, i.e. a personal covenant with God.
Once the divine contract is signed, the Christian will have to comply with the covenanted terms as in the Gospel in exchange for an everlasting eternal life in heaven.

Thus the main purpose of Christianity for a Christian is to receive the promise in a contract of everlasting eternal life in heaven.
Everything else is secondary.

Your reading. It may also be the way many people see it. I do not see it that way.

The sacrifice of the son is an age old mythological storyline, especially when you see Christ as the Logos, the word that created the heavens and earth. There is a deeper storyline there than this modern evangelical view. We can discuss the meaning of sacrifice seen through the words of the Bible and even in the Quran. How this reflects on key stories and practices, such as Abraham's offering of his son, the Leviticus rites of sacrifice and purity, the Hajj, and the death of Christ. But that would have to be another topic.

It is not my reading.
Rationally, what is Christianity is leveraged on Christ, i.e. Jesus Christ and the message Christ as son brought from God. This message is presented in the Gospels.
The central focus of the Gospel of Christ in relation to the individual is God's offer within John 3:16.

If you interpret otherwise from the above, that is not Christianity per se.
You don't have any god given divine authority to ignore John 3:16 and their related verses

It is the same with the Quran, where a Muslim must accept Allah's offer of a promise of eternal life in paradise in exchange for the Muslim's compliance to Allah's commands in the 6236 verses in the Quran. The need for a contract with Allah is very explicit in the Quran.
Btw, I claim to be a reasonable expert on the Quran and Islam.

The mystics of Islam, i.e. the Sufis are heretics in accordance to the objective interpretation of Allah's words in the Quran. Many Sufis are killed for that justified reason.


Whitewash??
I have justified all my points.
I don't expect anyone to agree with me based on blind faith but for one to review the justified arguments I have presented and counter them rationally.

Show me, where am I wrong or have presented clear-cut falsehoods in the above.

My point;
God is an idea which is a transcendental illusion manifested out a psychological driven existential crisis to ease existential pains and Angst.

The gods are primal images to describe deep phenomenon in the lives of human beings at a time when survival was the most important thing to talk about. The Ancients were considering how to understand the world and their role in it. Being pre-science, Gods, devils, angels and evil spirits describe influences they experienced and they developed stories which they enacted as a means to spread the information of how to live and survive. These stories became more and more complex and gradually a primitive understanding of human and animal behaviour crept in, which made the stories multi-layered.

...

Yes, survival, which is still critical in the present age.

As I had stated the neural elements contributing to the existential crisis are DNA driven and are embedded deep in the brain.
Since they are the basic neural elements for survival and DNA driven, they cannot be got rid of but merely can be inhibited and suppress.
At present the average human being do not have strong inhibitors to inhibit the primal impulses of the existential crisis, the their resorting to a God [illusory] to do so.

Buddhism [proper] not from the sects and cults is a classic case of managing and modulating the existential crisis.
The existential crisis is well presented in the myth of the Buddha Story highlighting the threat of old age, illness and death [the corpse].
The central core of Buddhism is about how to deal with the existential crisis via the 4 Noble Truths and 8 Noble Paths [4NT-FP].
From the 4NT-8FP, the various schools and sects of Buddhism derive [in a range of efficiency] a wide range of strategies and approaches [mindfulness, concentration, theories, practices, etc.] to strengthen the inhibitors and modulators within the brain of the Buddhist to manage the inherent unavoidable pains manifesting from the existential crisis.

The changes and improvement in Buddhist practitioners can be objectively verified by images within their brain.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/1847442.stm

    Scientists investigating the effect of the meditative state on Buddhist monk's brains have found that portions of the organ previously active become quiet, whilst pacified areas become stimulated.

http://www.andrewnewberg.com/research
How do meditation and prayer change our brains? [for the better].
Last edited by Prismatic567 on Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:41 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:Your reading. It may also be the way many people see it. I do not see it that way.
Prismatic talks about 'proof' not understanding that proof is either legal or mathematical/symbolic logic, but has little to do with any complex phenomenon like the source of beliefs. And legal proof is a very contingent - depends on the laws, customs and particular jury or judge - whereas mathematics and symbolic logic do not have, for example, empirical and semantic issues. So right off the bat when he uses proof, we should be wary that we are dealing with certitude based on confusion. This doesn't mean his argument is wrong, it just means that he doesn't understand the frame his argument is in and since he refers to it as proof, then he is confused in his certainty.

That said, he also confused correlation and cause. It's a complicated counterargument, but basically since we fear death and religions offer, potentially, a pleasant solution to this fear - this fear causes the belief in God, all the other testimony by religious people be damned. A so far correlation being taken as cause.

And in fact it seems like atheists don't fear death more then very religious people.

https://www.newsweek.com/fear-death-ath ... ers-575496

There is even evidence that religious people are more afraid of death....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7949111.stm

Me, I think there are a lot of factors involved, but I see no reason to accept Prismatic's universal mind reading claims, especially since he seems to think he even could present a proof and also his weak grasp of correlation cause, and last because I found him, despite his claims otherwise, to be closed to any criticism.

If you enjoy the dialogue, great.

Your above is a straw man.

As explained in my post to Bob, my main focus is not on 'fear of death' but rather the existential crisis triggered by the various inherent neural algorithms in the brain encoded in the DNA.

I will accept any criticism that is well argued and justified.
In the above, your counter is a straw man.
So far no one has presented any convincing counters to my arguments.

Btw, you can test my hypothesis by observing the reaction of the majority of theists when any inkling is indicated to the threat of the belief in a God.
With any inkling of a threat to their belief based on faith, they will feel very uneasy and the defense mechanisms will be triggered. This is why there are blasphemy laws to protect criticisms of theistic religious beliefs.
At the extreme, theists will kill those who threatened their theistic beliefs, this is so evident with Muslims at present and even Christians in the past.

This is a sign when theists belief which they relied upon to suppress the terrible existential pains are threatened, they [driven subconsciously] will do what is necessary to ensure the terrible pains are kept suppressed.
If they cannot defend their beliefs, the inherent existential pains will return, thus the triggering of the defense mechanisms or even killing to ensure the existential pains are suppressed.

You can test this hypothesis by drawing cartoons of Muhammad is a busy city square in Afghanistan. If you survive this, you will be able to review the intensity of the anger of the crowd in merely a perception of the cartoons of prophet Muhammad being drawn. This is due to a threat to the security blanket they have from their belief and thus their reaction to that threat.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:46 am

Bob wrote:Yes, in my experience too, those afraid of death could be found on both sides.
And a sinner, especially in some forms of Christianity, has grounds for terror no atheist faces. Even though I am only partly influenced by Christianity, for a very small part of my childhood, and not pushed at all by my parents, that concept of Hell sits somewhere deep down and creates fears that easily compete with any comfort the idea of Heaven might bring. I have also noted that there are tendencies in the personalities of atheists - for example a dominance of deduction over intuition, logic verbal thinking over other kinds of thinking - even in, for example relationship discussions - and a discomfort with emotion. Very rarely does anyone consider that their lack of belief, which is supposed to be the default, might be based on fears of losing control, emotional relations, intimacy and so on.

But arguments like that and Prismatic's ultimately are a kind of ad hominim argument.
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:14 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:Yes, in my experience too, those afraid of death could be found on both sides.
And a sinner, especially in some forms of Christianity, has grounds for terror no atheist faces. Even though I am only partly influenced by Christianity, for a very small part of my childhood, and not pushed at all by my parents, that concept of Hell sits somewhere deep down and creates fears that easily compete with any comfort the idea of Heaven might bring. I have also noted that there are tendencies in the personalities of atheists - for example a dominance of deduction over intuition, logic verbal thinking over other kinds of thinking - even in, for example relationship discussions - and a discomfort with emotion. Very rarely does anyone consider that their lack of belief, which is supposed to be the default, might be based on fears of losing control, emotional relations, intimacy and so on.

But arguments like that and Prismatic's ultimately are a kind of ad hominim argument.

DNA wise all humans are coded with an algorithm to be receptive to threats re one's survival and all sorts of reactions are triggered including fear which trigger 'flight' as in 'fight or flight'.
In normal situations both theists and [a]theists will feel fear when that neural algorithm is triggered upon perceptions [even misperceptions] of a threat, e.g. facing a growling lion and other dangerous situations. This is the conscious fear of death.

I have mentioned many times, the primary basis and in most cases why people believe in a God is not due to conscious fear of death.
The drive to theism happens mostly within the subconscious mind is said to be 10 times more powerful than the conscious mind.

The primary reason why people believe in a God more zealously beside being born into a theistic family is due the terrible impulses generated from an existential crisis activating within the subconscious mind from a combination of existential elements, of which the avoidance of death is one of the elements.

Lack of belief in a God is because the person's inherent existential crisis is not directed in the theistic direction. Why the majority's inherent and unavoidable existential crisis is mainly theistic is due fact that the majority of people are theistic as accumulated over the past years. Point is a belief in God to deal with the inherent existential crisis is the most popular is because that is most natural, logical [crude reason] and effective.

A belief in a God even though illusory and not real would be no issue if theism is without cons and negativity to humanity's progress. The cons of theism are more glaring as humanity evolve and progress further when the cons of theism will outweigh whatever pros it has. This is the reason why theism must be heavily critiqued.

Ad hominen??
Not deliberately, but in the case of the existential crisis, we MUST refer its existence within the individual, i.e. any individual thus involving the person discussed with.
When the existential crisis is highlighted in an individual, it will often trigger the defense mechanism to deal with a threat and thus feeling a sense of offense thus a claim of ad hominen.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: Define God

Postby iambiguous » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:32 pm

Bob wrote: War is said to either drive men away from God or into his arms. I can only imagine some of the things you had to watch or do in Vietnam as I was a child at that time, living not far away, but safely in Malaya.

But you are right about belief being predicated by peoples experiences. It was one reason why I had to leave the church and pursue a spiritual path which led me to the various traditions and to the awareness of how similar religions are, in a strange way. I was following Thomas Merton in doing so, although he was long dead by then. I was also led to believe that religion, including Christianity, had monastic beginnings, even if it was mixed. That is why it is hard for people caught up in everyday life to practice and why it seems so outlandish.


But: Once you acknowledge this, in my view, you are then acknowledging that had your experiences been different for other reasons, you may well have come to reject God and religion altogether. As I did. In fact my point here revolves precisely around this:

"That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated...fabricated...refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."


Here, of course, in relation to God. And how we come to define him. And that in relation to our moral narratives. And that in relation to the behaviors we choose.

Which then make the stakes here much, much higher:

It's just that with a belief in God, the stakes are considerably higher. The folks in the Bahamas, as with all of us facing calamitous situations, are faced with the option of continuing to believe and putting their faith in God's "mysterious ways", immortality and salvation...or rejecting God and accepting that their wrecked lives are merely as the result of an essentially meaningless existence, with no prospect of anything other than just accepting in turn their plight and preparing for oblivion.

My thinking then is that the option chosen here is embodied more in dasein than in a "thinking through" their situation and, using the tools of philosophy, agglomerating the most rational conclusions.


Bob wrote: I question the existential threat that you see the people in the Bahamas are up against. The storm is still the storm, whether they believe or not. In fact, there are people that say that humanity only learns via confrontation, and that is one mighty confrontation. That is where we have to think things through.


If you are among the living and wish to remain so, the hurricane becomes an existential threat from God.

Are you arguing here that hurricane Dorian might be construed as an object lesson from God? An actual golden opportunity enabling the people down there to learn how to better deal with confrontation?

And that God then steered it out to sea because there and then He figured the people in Florida did not need this objective lesson?

Bottom line [mine]: How does a particular definition of God take into account these actual events themselves?

Bob wrote: We have spoken about dasein before. I understand the struggle with existence (or being) in the use of that word. All aspects of being cause a struggle with suffering in its various forms. Life is suffering, but there are ways to confront it. I read Peterson as saying that if you follow a few rules, you will find that existence aligns with you and things can get a bit easier, although the struggle stays.


But this in my view is just another "general description". Each individual embedded in their own unique set of circumstances will interpret and then act out their own understanding of what they think you mean here.

Bob wrote: Buddha had some good ideas as well. It is the fact that there are ways to successfully struggle with being that is so astounding. I have read him as well as various other authors who have brought up the fact that things going right are some kind of miracle in a world that is caught up in decay and degeneration.


Yes, this is a "frame of mind" that some are able to find comfort in. But one way or another they have to come to grips with how the manner in which they define God is able to be reconciled with a man-made world "caught up in decay and degeneration". And this is embedded in the manner in which I have come to construe the meaning of dasein above as a existential contraption.

And, then, on top of all that, they have to deal with what the folks in the insurance industry call "acts of God".

But, in a philosophy venue, my own interest in religion revolves more around closing the gap between what one believes about God and what one is able to demonstrate that, perhaps, all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn.


Bob wrote: Closing that gap might be easier than you think, the problem is that it isn’t the solution that many Christians would want. If we could agree that the stories of the Bible have more to do with psychology than with history, we could pull the wisdom that is held in there out of the more dated stories. The value of the Bible is the thousand year tradition that rings true to life when you observe it that way and the message that the New Testament carries. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not a sensible thing to do. It is like felling a massive Hyperion, the grandparent of all tall trees, to have firewood.


Okay, but: How does this make it easier to close the gap between what you believe about God and what you are able to demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn? After all, however one takes the stories in the Bible, there is still the part where substantial proof exists to confirm that in fact they are true or there is not.

And the baby and the bathwater still needs to be grappled with in a particular context.

Also, in exploring the manner in which this belief is more the embodiment of "I" as an existential contraption. In other words, a sense of self ever subject to change given new experiences. Rather than as a commitment to the "real me" in sync with the "right thing to think feel and do" in relationship to God.


Bob wrote: I think we can’t ignore the fact that, since we have driven modern man out of the churches, there has been a degeneration of purpose.


Yes, that's one way to look at it. Another way is to suggest that once "I" is no longer anchored to the will of God, this allows for considerably more freedom of choice in an autonomous universe. Purpose can be construed in ways that allow individuals to flourish in a manner that the religious are advised never to even imagine.

It cuts both ways.

Bob wrote: People are struggling to find meaning and we are seeing it in our societies. More people are depressive, suicidal or have other psychological disorders. Practitioners are saying that it is the lack of orientation and reduction of purpose to getting through the day. That is why it is true that religion is often a crutch that people lean on. When that, as in recent times, fails to support, or is corrupt, those being supported fall.


True enough. But then others insist that this is embedded far more in the capitalist dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fattest political economy.

That the solution here is actually more a political struggle to uproot it. Again each individual embodying his or her own unique set of experiences will come to understand this differently. Sure, with God, "I" is anchored. As it is anchored to any number of ideological scriptures.

But the components of my own argument never go away.

Finally, the manner in which someone connects the dots between their faith/belief in God on this side of the grave as that impacts on the behaviors they choose here and now in order to sustain what they wish their fate to be there and then on the other side of the grave.

The "for all practical purposes" implications of choosing here.

So, when I see a thread entitled "define God" my own interest lies in taking that definition out into the world of interacting men and women, and putting it to the test given particular contexts.

But that's no less my own embodiment of "I" -- here and now -- as an existential contraption. It will either click with others or it won't. I am certainly not suggesting that others ought to share it. Let alone are obligated to.


Bob wrote: I have always said, we live here and now, and hoping for something better on the other side is an option, but can’t be the prime motivator. It is this world, and our own space, that we have to put in order.


But for any number of religious folks this is basically blasphemous. It is precisely the behaviors that we choose here and now that connects us to God for all of eternity on the other side. But here again my own argument is that these inclinations are rooted in "I" as an existential contraption. Some embody a set of experiences that take them in one direction here while others are predisposed to go in other directions. That there does not appear to be a way [theologically, philosophically, spiritually etc.] to take that into account and then to "think through" to the optimal frame of mind is my point.

Bob wrote: The good news is that when a large group work together and align their purpose, 2 + 2 becomes 5. Unexpected things happen that improve conditions. They seem wondrous in the face of degeneration, decay and corruption. The problem is that to motivate people to do that, you have to have the bigger picture in view. That’s where a world view comes in.

I don’t think that it is possible to motivate in the way needed without a world view with defined goals and standards, complete with an interactive group that embodies that world view in what they do. That is where mutual obligation comes into the picture. Agreeing to do things based on that world view. God is then the conjectural eye in the sky, the meta-vision, and judge of all things.


And how is this world view not just another manifestation of dasein? Again, take your "general description" of how the world could be if others thought like you do out into the world and configure it into a specific context where degenerated conditions need to be improved. For example, the plight of immigrants in America. Or in Europe. In the age of Trump and Brexit. What might be done here if others thought like you do about God and religion?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:49 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:And a sinner, especially in some forms of Christianity, has grounds for terror no atheist faces. Even though I am only partly influenced by Christianity, for a very small part of my childhood, and not pushed at all by my parents, that concept of Hell sits somewhere deep down and creates fears that easily compete with any comfort the idea of Heaven might bring. I have also noted that there are tendencies in the personalities of atheists - for example a dominance of deduction over intuition, logic verbal thinking over other kinds of thinking - even in, for example, relationship discussions - and discomfort with emotion. Very rarely does anyone consider that their lack of belief, which is supposed to be the default, might be based on fears of losing control, emotional relations, intimacy and so on.

Yes, I can understand that threats spoken to impressionable children can follow them their life long and influence them in later years. I think too, that there are as many psychological “types” of a believer as there are types of human beings. There will be those that need deduction, logical verbal thinking and a certain degree of control over aspects of life that discomfort them. There others, like me, who are at home with intuitive feeling, assessment of human actions, being at home with emotion, etc. Because the first group is not being fed what they need, they will wander away. It is only when the second group becomes effective and there is graspable evidence of that, that the first group can be reached. The Church seems to be very ineffective at present, despite their involvement in many areas of social action.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:38 am

iambiguous wrote: But: Once you acknowledge this, in my view, you are then acknowledging that had your experiences been different for other reasons, you may well have come to reject God and religion altogether. As I did. In fact my point here revolves precisely around this:

"That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated... fabricated... refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."

I agree that the scenario in which I reject God was something I thought through. I decided instead, that it was my imagination that was at fault. Anything that could be called God would have to be larger and so completely different, that my imagination, linked as it is to my spacial concepts, would be blown out.
Instead, I focussed on the fact that, given what we know about the universe, where does my consciousness come from? Even in nature, we have difficulty in finding a species that comes close to that, and if we did, then we would be able to work out how to communicate. This is two observations that had me thinking that coincidence aside, something has included our consciousness in the fabric of being. That, I concluded, would be worthy of the description/name God.

Here, of course, in relation to God. And how we come to define him. And that in relation to our moral narratives. And that in relation to the behaviors we choose.

I think that, given the presence of natural laws, there should be a law of behaviour. That is, there is a given way to behave that is best suited to prolong life and assist coexistence and cooperation amongst sentient beings.
If you are among the living and wish to remain so, the hurricane becomes an existential threat from God.
Are you arguing here that hurricane Dorian might be construed as an object lesson from God? An actual golden opportunity enabling the people down there to learn how to better deal with confrontation?
And that God then steered it out to sea because there and then He figured the people in Florida did not need this objective lesson?
Bottom line [mine]: How does a particular definition of God take into account these actual events themselves?

No, I am not suggesting that the hurricane is an existential threat from God, but that existence itself, as harsh as it seems, is what we are confronted with. Like I said before, the sages of humanity have come to realise that existence means suffering, but that a behaviour that aligns with the positives in life can help us overcome suffering.

But this in my view is just another "general description". Each individual embedded in their own unique set of circumstances will interpret and then act out their own understanding of what they think you mean here.

I think there is only that way to go. Every one of us has examples of the struggle with existence, some far more problematic than others. It is for each of us to answer the question that always occurs, would it have been better not to have lived at all, or was it worth the struggle? The writers of the Bible and various other sources of wisdom have concluded it is.

Yes, this is a "frame of mind" that some are able to find comfort in. But one way or another they have to come to grips with how the manner in which they define God is able to be reconciled with a man-made world "caught up in decay and degeneration". And this is embedded in the manner in which I have come to construe the meaning of dasein above as a existential contraption.

And, then, on top of all that, they have to deal with what the folks in the insurance industry call "acts of God".

The fact that we are confronted with a world that is naturally decaying is a challenge, which has led people to think up reasons for coping with it. There has been the hope that, after death, it will somehow go on ... however you interpret that. It may be irrational, but isn't our whole existence is somehow irrational?

Okay, but: How does this make it easier to close the gap between what you believe about God and what you are able to demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn? After all, however one takes the stories in the Bible, there is still the part where substantial proof exists to confirm that in fact they are true or there is not.

And the baby and the bathwater still needs to be grappled with in a particular context.

I think that the challenge that sages were up against already sorted that. They were able to show that their prophecies regarding the purpose of life were effective to the degree that they were believable and people followed them. Many were incarcerated and killed though, despite this. But they were also a source of wisdom in areas of life that needed assistance, which helped some sages survive and even be revered.

Yes, that's one way to look at it. Another way is to suggest that once "I" is no longer anchored to the will of God, this allows for considerably more freedom of choice in an autonomous universe. Purpose can be construed in ways that allow individuals to flourish in a manner that the religious are advised never to even imagine.

It cuts both ways.

That would be true if you have a view of God that is restrictive. If your view is somehow empowering, as is suggested by the spread of Christianity for example, then it gives you new perspectives.

But then others insist that this is embedded far more in the capitalist dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fattest political economy.

That the solution here is actually more a political struggle to uproot it. Again each individual embodying his or her own unique set of experiences will come to understand this differently. Sure, with God, "I" is anchored. As it is anchored to any number of ideological scriptures.

The struggles within societies that essentially mean you have to "fight" to survive, are man-made. They can also be unmade. However, up until now, such attempts have gone terribly wrong. That is why I think that the best solution is from inside out. The "revolution of the soul", however, is a struggle that few undertake.

If scripture becomes ideological, then we have the problem that we have with any ideology throughout history. It is the difference between ideology and religion that Jordan Peterson makes. As long as religion is helping you to achieve the "revolution of the soul", no-one is being killed. As soon as it becomes a fight of one ideology against another, people die, especially if the reward is "on the other side".

So, when I see a thread entitled "define God" my own interest lies in taking that definition out into the world of interacting men and women, and putting it to the test given particular contexts.

But that's no less my own embodiment of "I" -- here and now -- as an existential contraption. It will either click with others or it won't. I am certainly not suggesting that others ought to share it. Let alone are obligated to.

Exactly, the "revolution of the soul" is personal and has its dark night in which the soul struggles with reality.

Bob wrote:I have always said, we live here and now, and hoping for something better on the other side is an option, but can’t be the prime motivator. It is this world, and our own space, that we have to put in order.

But for any number of religious folks this is basically blasphemous. It is precisely the behaviors that we choose here and now that connects us to God for all of eternity on the other side. But here again, my own argument is that these inclinations are rooted in "I" as an existential contraption. Some embody a set of experiences that take them in one direction here while others are predisposed to go in other directions. That there does not appear to be a way [theologically, philosophically, spiritually etc.] to take that into account and then to "think through" to the optimal frame of mind is my point.

I can't help those who are focussed on a reward on the other side, even though I too hope there is, but the example of Jesus and his beatitudes will have us concentrate on this side, and on what we can do. Anyone doing something only for the reward contradicts his approach and is said to deserve punishment. I think the way ahead is very simple concerning an interaction with the world.

And how is this world view not just another manifestation of dasein? Again, take your "general description" of how the world could be if others thought like you do out into the world and configure it into a specific context where degenerated conditions need to be improved. For example, the plight of immigrants in America. Or in Europe. In the age of Trump and Brexit. What might be done here if others thought like you do about God and religion?

I think there would be a large shift to focussing on the here and now, people wouldn't "sacrifice" themselves, but rather consider how to help effectively and just like revenge, "reward is mine [to give] says the Lord!"
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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