God and Life

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

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!

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

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.

God…high hopes but disappointing results.

Sing it. Worst [del]car[/del] god ever.

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

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

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

Good point. I think.

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

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

It’s a hard-knock God for us.

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.)

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?

When Walsh says

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.

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.

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.