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Biffster 04-26-2018 06:27 PM

God and Life
 
I read a lot of debates around here between theists and non-theists, but there is one topic I really haven't seen discussed much. I suppose it's more of a pantheistic belief, but it is certainly one I lean toward. Here goes...

A little spirituality for today, courtesy of Neale Donald Walsh. Do you believe in life? Are you alive whether you believe in life or not? Does it really matter whether or not you believe in life? An interesting read.

Quote:

My dear friends,

What if the words "God" and "life" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make for an extraordinary spiritual cosmology?

The implications are—if it's possible to imagine this—more than enormous. They're staggering, earth shaking, paradigm-shattering. This is because everyone knows what is true about life. Everyone may not know what is true about God, but everyone knows what is true about life.

What is true about life is that nothing stands outside of life. Nothing exists without life, and life does not exist if nothing exists.

[...removed rest of copy/paste...]
https://spiritlibrary.com/neale-dona...n-god-and-life

Darren Garrison 04-26-2018 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926171)
What if the words "God" and "life" are interchangeable?

Then the word "God" becomes meaningless in any other sense than as a synonym for "life."

God Insurance.
Lifedamn it!
God without parole.
Hitler! (Damn, Lifewin'd the thread.)
Godsavers candy.
Are You There, Life? It's Me, Margaret.
God of the party.

ETA: I see that is a quote from a book, not your own thoughts, so I don't have to worry about it being considered a personal attack to call it a gigantic steaming pile of worthless bullshit from an addlepated simpleton.

Biffster 04-26-2018 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20926216)
Then the word "God" becomes meaningless in any other sense than as a synonym for "life."

God Insurance.
Lifedamn it!
God without parole.
Hitler! (Damn, Lifewin'd the thread.)
Godsavers candy.
Are You There, Life? It's Me, Margaret.
God of the party.

ETA: I see that is a quote from a book, not your own thoughts, so I don't have to worry about it being considered a personal attack to call it a gigantic steaming pile of worthless bullshit from an addlepated simpleton.

I wouldn't go so far as "gigantic steaming pile" but yes, it is the opinion of the author of the books, Conversations With God. I quite like his approach to religious thought and it helps me make a lot of sense of the religious divisiveness I see in the world. Do you believe in Life? Does it matter whether or not you worship Life? Are you sill alive even if you don't accept Life as your personal saviour? I think there is much more to this idea than you're giving credit for. So far.

Darren Garrison 04-26-2018 07:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926231)
I wouldn't go so far as "gigantic steaming pile" but yes, it is the opinion of the author of the books, Conversations With God. I quite like his approach to religious thought and it helps me make a lot of sense of the religious divisiveness I see in the world. Do you believe in Life? Does it matter whether or not you worship Life? Are you sill alive even if you don't accept Life as your personal saviour? I think there is much more to this idea than you're giving credit for. So far.

I think that both that excerpt and this comment are 100% pure deepity.

Biffster 04-26-2018 07:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20926242)
I think that both that excerpt and this comment are 100% pure deepity.


Well then, thank you for your contribution. I learned a new word today.

Czarcasm 04-26-2018 07:20 PM

I'm too busy wondering if the atoms in my hand are miniature galaxies filled with people staring at their hands and wondering...

To settle this matter, the words "God" and "life" happen not to be interchangeable according to any/every dictionary.

edited to add: And another thank you for the "deepity" link.

Ambivalid 04-26-2018 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926231)
Does it matter whether or not you worship Life? Are you sill alive even if you don't accept Life as your personal saviour?

What do these things mean?

Czarcasm 04-26-2018 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 20926263)
What do these things mean?

That someone is really bad at Mad-Libs?

DavidwithanR 04-26-2018 07:33 PM

If life is God, then a lot of religious people claim that God created God, and that God offers eternal God to those who reach the aftergod.

God, God is confusing. FMG anyway.

Darren Garrison 04-26-2018 07:39 PM

Merrily, merrily, merrily, God is but dream.

Bone 04-26-2018 07:40 PM

Moderating
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926171)
I read a lot of debates around here between theists and non-theists, but there is one topic I really haven't seen discussed much. I suppose it's more of a pantheistic belief, but it is certainly one I lean toward. Here goes...

A little spirituality for today, courtesy of Neale Donald Walsh. Do you believe in life? Are you alive whether you believe in life or not? Does it really matter whether or not you believe in life? An interesting read.



https://spiritlibrary.com/neale-dona...n-god-and-life

Please observe fair use and do not copy entire large articles.

[/moderating]

John Mace 04-26-2018 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20926292)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, God is but dream.

God finds a way.

DavidwithanR 04-26-2018 07:59 PM

Walsh's questions and thoughts, when read much more carefully than he seems to have intended, actually form a pretty nice takedown of all religions in general.

Biffster 04-26-2018 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 20926263)
What do these things mean?


I take it to mean if we regard God as a life force instead of a human being we created in our own image (with all the personal baggage that entails), then our need to do the things religions typically require, like worship, disappear. Just keep on living life and enjoying it. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Biffster 04-26-2018 08:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 20926292)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, God is but dream.



Truer than you might realize.

Biffster 04-26-2018 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bone (Post 20926293)
Please observe fair use and do not copy entire large articles.



[/moderating]



It's an excerpt from a much longer book, but thanks for your input.

Biffster 04-26-2018 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidwithanR (Post 20926327)
Walsh's questions and thoughts, when read much more carefully than he seems to have intended, actually form a pretty nice takedown of all religions in general.


I agree. It may seem simplistic on the surface, but it explains a lot without all of the semantic shoving matches that often ensue in religious discussions.

Yllaria 04-26-2018 08:22 PM

For profound sounding phrases I prefer "God is a verb". I didn't like it well enough to buy the book, though. And I think the phrase is older than the book.

DavidwithanR 04-26-2018 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926368)
I agree. It may seem simplistic on the surface, but it explains a lot without all of the semantic shoving matches that often ensue in religious discussions.

You mean, he IS actually an atheist who's posing as a religious writer to get his point across? I'm not familiar with him but it's the impression I got from what you posted.

Miller 04-26-2018 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926171)
What if the words "God" and "life" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make for an extraordinary spiritual cosmology?

Counterpoint: what if the words "God" and "Wankel Rotary Engine" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make working on a late '60s Mazda a religious service?

Ludovic 04-26-2018 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 20926258)
I'm too busy wondering if the atoms in my hand are miniature galaxies filled with people staring at their hands and wondering...

Waoh, dude! You just blew my mind! Life only knows how I will go on after this!

snfaulkner 04-26-2018 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 20926437)
Counterpoint: what if the words "God" and "Wankel Rotary Engine" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make working on a late '60s Mazda a religious service?

This freaks me right out. That would mean I was given the gift of God at 17 by my parents. A 1986 RX-7 powered by God!

Telemark 04-26-2018 09:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926368)
I agree. It may seem simplistic on the surface, but it explains a lot without all of the semantic shoving matches that often ensue in religious discussions.

Actually, it explains nothing. It just hand waves a bunch of things and provides no insights into how to live your life.

Clothahump 04-26-2018 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926171)
I read a lot of debates around here between theists and non-theists, but there is one topic I really haven't seen discussed much. I suppose it's more of a pantheistic belief, but it is certainly one I lean toward. Here goes...

A little spirituality for today, courtesy of Neale Donald Walsh. Do you believe in life? Are you alive whether you believe in life or not? Does it really matter whether or not you believe in life? An interesting read.

Allow me to address the first part of your quote:
Quote:

My dear friends,

What if the words "God" and "life" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make for an extraordinary spiritual cosmology?
He can "what if" all he wants. The terms are not interchangeable. Life can be proven to exist. God cannot. End of discussion.

Ambivalid 04-26-2018 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 20926437)
Counterpoint: what if the words "God" and "Wankel Rotary Engine" are interchangeable?

God...high hopes but disappointing results.

Sunny Daze 04-26-2018 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ambivalid (Post 20926540)
God...high hopes but disappointing results.

Sing it. Worst car god ever.

snfaulkner 04-26-2018 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sunny Daze (Post 20926576)
Sing it. Worst car god ever.

Nah, it brought me much joy for a while then left me stranded in the rain. So it still fits.

Biffster 04-26-2018 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yllaria (Post 20926373)
For profound sounding phrases I prefer "God is a verb". I didn't like it well enough to buy the book, though. And I think the phrase is older than the book.


I like that idea. Kind of gives us a little more accountability.

Biffster 04-26-2018 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidwithanR (Post 20926375)
You mean, he IS actually an atheist who's posing as a religious writer to get his point across? I'm not familiar with him but it's the impression I got from what you posted.



I certainly wouldn't describe him as an atheist. He believes in God—just not the same God you might find in the Bible.

Biffster 04-26-2018 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 20926437)
Counterpoint: what if the words "God" and "Wankel Rotary Engine" are interchangeable? Wouldn't that make working on a late '60s Mazda a religious service?


Good point. I think.

Biffster 04-26-2018 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telemark (Post 20926473)
Actually, it explains nothing. It just hand waves a bunch of things and provides no insights into how to live your life.


Why do you assume that? Are there some actions that are more life-affirming than others?

Biffster 04-26-2018 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Clothahump (Post 20926475)
Allow me to address the first part of your quote:



He can "what if" all he wants. The terms are not interchangeable. Life can be proven to exist. God cannot. End of discussion.


Perhaps your definition of God needs revisiting. Or your definition of Life.

Bryan Ekers 04-26-2018 11:05 PM

It's a hard-knock God for us.

MEBuckner 04-26-2018 11:14 PM

Q. How many legs does a dog have, if you call his tail a leg?
A. Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
(Traditionally attributed to Abraham Lincoln.)

Telemark 04-26-2018 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926611)
Why do you assume that? Are there some actions that are more life-affirming than others?

I don't assume anything. I read the article and came away with the conclusion that he was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's just wordplay, and poor wordplay at that.

If you define life as skiing, many actions are more life affirming than others. But it's mostly useless for someone not interested in skiing.

Biffster 04-26-2018 11:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telemark (Post 20926662)
I don't assume anything. I read the article and came away with the conclusion that he was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's just wordplay, and poor wordplay at that.



If you define life as skiing, many actions are more life affirming than others. But it's mostly useless for someone not interested in skiing.


So why must "God" be defined in some manner that, for example, makes no sense to me? Who decides what constitutes "God" anyway? Who died and made them boss?

Voyager 04-27-2018 01:36 AM

When Walsh says
Quote:

What is true about life is that nothing stands outside of life. Nothing exists without life, and life does not exist if nothing exists.
Walsh is full of it. The universe existed long before life did, and there might be parts of it that life has never seen.
However as religious thought goes, it is pretty harmless.

But life requires sex, so if you define God as sex you would get a lot more attendance at church. And maybe more interesting religious tracts.

MEBuckner 04-27-2018 01:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926684)
So why must "God" be defined in some manner that, for example, makes no sense to me? Who decides what constitutes "God" anyway? Who died and made them boss?

All words are defined by the consensus of the users of that particular language. If you want to be able to actually communicate with people who speak that language, you pretty much have to accept the consensus view of definitions.

I don't think the above is an absolute rule--sometimes it feels good to push back against what you consider to be a solecism that's in danger of taking root, perhaps because it makes communicating in your language less precise. (Maybe you can't stand people who use "infer" and "imply" interchangeably.) It may be worthwhile for people who use a word as part of a specific technical vocabulary to push back against people who are using that word incorrectly. A physicist might do so with respect to New Age types who talk about how their crystals have "energy"; many of us atheists will push back against what we consider to be incorrect definitions of "atheist" or "atheism".

But hundreds of millions of believers over many centuries have used the word "God" (and "gods"), and while those believers certainly don't always agree with each other about what "God" means--they very often don't, in big and small ways--re-defining the word "God" to mean "life" is a very idiosyncratic "definition" of the word, that hasn't been historically been shared by any large portion of theists of any stripe. It therefore simply doesn't facilitate any meaningful conversation with anyone. Nor in my opinion does it provide any particularly useful insight into the nature of reality or the human condition that isn't better realized by saying something like "God (as defined by those who believe in Him) doesn't exist" ("almost certainly doesn't exist"; "very likely doesn't exist"; "more probably than not doesn't exist"; "there is no convincing evidence that such an entity exists"; depending on exactly which definition of "God" we're dealing with), but "human life" does exist.

Biffster 04-27-2018 01:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEBuckner (Post 20926769)
All words are defined by the consensus of the users of that particular language. If you want to be able to actually communicate with people who speak that language, you pretty much have to accept the consensus view of definitions.



I don't think the above is an absolute rule--sometimes it feels good to push back against what you consider to be a solecism that's in danger of taking root, perhaps because it makes communicating in your language less precise. (Maybe you can't stand people who use "infer" and "imply" interchangeably.) It may be worthwhile for people who use a word as part of a specific technical vocabulary to push back against people who are using that word incorrectly. A physicist might do so with respect to New Age types who talk about how their crystals have "energy"; many of us atheists will push back against what we consider to be incorrect definitions of "atheist" or "atheism".



But hundreds of millions of believers over many centuries have used the word "God" (and "gods"), and while those believers certainly don't always agree with each other about what "God" means--they very often don't, in big and small ways--re-defining the word "God" to mean "life" is a very idiosyncratic "definition" of the word, that hasn't been historically been shared by any large portion of theists of any stripe. It therefore simply doesn't facilitate any meaningful conversation with anyone. Nor in my opinion does it provide any particularly useful insight into the nature of reality or the human condition that isn't better realized by saying something like "God (as defined by those who believe in Him) doesn't exist" ("almost certainly doesn't exist"; "very likely doesn't exist"; "more probably than not doesn't exist"; "there is no convincing evidence that such an entity exists"; depending on exactly which definition of "God" we're dealing with), but "human life" does exist.


Thanks for a well-considered response. I agree that words tend to have meanings that we can all pretty much agree to, but I also think "God" is one of those terms that has as many interpretations as there are people. To reframe God as Life Itself may rub many people the wrong way, especially the Heaven and Hell/reward and punishment types, if all you really need to do in this world is live and breathe. No praise and supplications necessary. For me, God=Life is one way to reconcile my RC upbringing with my more atheistic leanings as an adult. No need to prove whether or not life exists.

eschereal 04-27-2018 01:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 20926258)
I'm too busy wondering if the atoms in my hand are miniature galaxies filled with people staring at their hands and wondering...

No, the atoms in your hand each contain the entirety of this universe, in which they reside. It is not a stack of turtles, it is recursive. You really need better acid, man.

Czarcasm 04-27-2018 02:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20926780)
No, the atoms in your hand each contain the entirety of this universe, in which they reside. It is not a stack of turtles, it is recursive. You really need better acid, man.

My acid is fine, thank you very much-You need to find a typeface that doesn't glow in the dark.

Darren Garrison 04-27-2018 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926777)
but I also think "God" is one of those terms that has as many interpretations as there are people.

Ah, so it is like "smurf" or "marklar"!

The Other Waldo Pepper 04-27-2018 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926777)
To reframe God as Life Itself may rub many people the wrong way, especially the Heaven and Hell/reward and punishment types, if all you really need to do in this world is live and breathe.


Well, he that loveth his god shall lose it; but he that hateth his god in this world...

Grrr! 04-27-2018 07:11 AM

Always loved the "God is just a state of mind" argument.

Biffster 04-27-2018 07:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20926780)
No, the atoms in your hand each contain the entirety of this universe, in which they reside. It is not a stack of turtles, it is recursive. You really need better acid, man.



Vishnu had the entirety of the universe in his mouth.

Vinyl Turnip 04-27-2018 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers (Post 20926650)
It's a hard-knock God for us.

I don't care what you say anymore, this is my God
Go ahead with your own God, leave me alone

Darren Garrison 04-27-2018 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biffster (Post 20926987)
Vishnu had the entirety of the universe in his mouth.

Spit it out, Vishnu, you don't know where that universe has been!

QuickSilver 04-27-2018 07:54 AM

God. Don't talk to me about God.

Mangetout 04-27-2018 08:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Clothahump (Post 20926475)
Allow me to address the first part of your quote:

He can "what if" all he wants. The terms are not interchangeable. Life can be proven to exist. God cannot. End of discussion.

It feels to me like that's sort of the intent of the argument - to handwave the arguability of God away with a 'yes, but what if...'

Which I think it just another way of saying "Except for all the objections you have, what's your objection?"

kanicbird 04-27-2018 08:27 AM

I sort of subscribe to aspects of God=Life, though That is more of Love (God) creates the matrix for life. We are alive not because of our biological nature, but because we are patterned on the alive Mother Earth, which so on is patterned after the universe, also a living being. Mother Earth is not just the planet, but the planet is akin to just one of her chakras, the being Mother Earth is to us the solar system.

Some faiths consider the Universe as God, or a God figure. The reason that we have biologic life is because of the life 'energy' of our mother (Earth). Her life energy causes, to use new age terms, vibrational patterns which organize matter into patterns, which it is the vibrational energy that groups around matter and sometimes arranges it it to what we consider a biological lifeform is the concentration of this life energy around matter which has grouped itself in a way to create what we consider a life. It is just a energy node of Mother Earth's life energy and pattern. Her pattern is based on, perhaps the galaxy's pattern who would be her parent.

In this different star systems would have slightly different life patterns, as it was from a different child of the common parent.

In this it sort of leads to after our biologic death we return to the source life pattern, never lost but the energy which made and sustain us gets mixed up and redistributed. However it also leads open that this energy in our current state (biological) is not the end point but just one phase and can evolve. This leaves open the possibility of refining. Those who evolve take that energy and go on to a higher form, those who don't fall back into the Mother, reprocessed and are the basis for more life to evolve.


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