Do other people see “God” as some kind of intelligent force in the universe?
I used to believe that the universe was a few thousand years old and was created in 6 days where plants were created before the Sun and Moon: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-ordercreation.html
I was offended by a kid’s science magazine article that criticized creation “science”. I sent a several page letter to the magazine which had counter-arguments for theirs as well as further “evidence” that creation “science” was true. BTW there is just about a counter-argument for every argument for evolution/old universe.
I looked at anti-creationist books but they had poor arguments - they should have had counter-arguments to creationists’ counter-arguments. I told “God” that I wanted know the truth no matter how upsetting or depressing it might be. I felt a tingling all over - I might have also felt that one other time…
A few months later I was contacted by an ex-creationist and he convinced me that the earth was at least millions if not billions of years old. Since I believed that either Genesis was literally true or the Christian God wasn’t real, I became an atheist. I already had rejected other religions so atheism was all I had left. Well sometimes I was an agnostic since there could be a god out there somewhere, hiding from me.
A couple of years later after reading a lot of self-help books and also was hospitalized sometimes for mania/psychosis, depression and being catatonic…
I had beliefs such as:
Maybe I’m God because if I was I’d set up a life like mine where I’m ignorant…
How to play the game of life…
“don’t have demands have preferences” was from early books from Ken Keyes. His early books claimed that people could learn to become happy 100% of the time. He said that people who were like that wouldn’t need as much sleep… I followed the book’s advice mostly and negative emotions became very slight and short. But I think we crave threats to what we care for and I put myself into more and more unusual situations - I’d seek out criminals because I wanted them to share in the happiness I had. The books said that love was a main key and so I thought unhappy people didn’t have enough love. Anyway I kept on seeing the police asking about where the criminals were and eventually they took me to the hospital for a psych evaluation. If they had initially warned me that I would be locked up for a few weeks I would have avoided the police.
Anyway now I sometimes go to Bible studies and church though I ask a lot of questions - I have a lot of problems with the Bible - I found some ideas here: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/
Recently there was a house that suited me, my wife and two friends perfectly. I said that if we got it I’d believe in God (but not the Christian God). Anyway it was the house I liked most of all and it was the first house we applied to rent. It is the best house in many a dozen ways - extremely close to my wife’s parents and a bus stop, in fact if it was one suburb away the buses wouldn’t start there early in the morning and buses are very important for two of us.
I feel like a lot of the time things are just falling into place. And when bad things seem to happen, I often learn from it or think it is good in some way or that it could have been a lot worse.
I don’t see God as anything other than something humanity has invented to explain gaps in our knowledge. I don’t really have a problem with the “God of the Gaps” as it just seems to stem from our desire to find out why things are the way they are. What worries me is when God is used to explain things that we have perfectly good scientific explanations for or for which we could reasonably expect to be able to discover a scientific explanation for, in other words when the supernatural is used to stifle intellectual curiosity rather than just being a place holder for some gaps in our knowledge. At this point in time I don’t think there is a place for a God of the Gaps anymore. We have learnt enough to realize that just because we don’t know how or why something happens, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good scientific explanation out there waiting for us to discover.
People try to put way too much meaning into events around them. We can be incredibly egotistical and self centered in that way. We just don’t seem to like the notion that lots of stuff just happens. Sometimes it is good, sometimes bad, but never intentionally perpetrated by some kind of god.
As far as the house goes I think we’re incredibly lucky. That doesn’t prove there is a god but for me it is enough evidence for me to believe that there is some kind of intelligent force in the universe. On the other hand I am unable to find sufficient evidence to even begin to believe in the Christian God despite the possibility that such a belief would save me from an eternity of suffering and lead to an eternity in paradise. (Though I don’t find worshiping God forever to be that great)
I’ve never really understood why people felt the Bible had to be factually correct. Someone says “God can’t exist, rocks have been proven to be way older than the Bible says.” I say, “If people are willing to believe God can make rocks, why shouldn’t he be able to make old rocks?”
What about the other people who the house was perfect for who didn’t get it? Is the fact they didn’t get it a sign to them that there is no god? I’m looking at building a house at the moment but the perfect house is far more expensive than I can afford. Does that mean there is no god? Is god only interested in you? Is it your god but not mine? Why do lots of good people have bad shit happen to them? Why are you special that you got the perfect house but some other person got killed in a motorcycle accident last month?
I know it is very hard for some people to accept, but stuff happens all the time. Some times the stuff that happens has an effect on people. Sometimes the effect is good sometimes it is bad. Just because something happened to someone does not mean that a god is controlling events, all it means is that stuff is happening.
P.S. I’m using “god” as a substitute for your “intelligent force” as they are effectively the same thing.
I do think that certain personality types need the comfort of feeling that there is some purpose to life beyond survival of our species, and I recognize that gods and other supernatural ideas can provide this kind of comfort. I just hope that they realize somewhere in the back of their mind that it is just a comfort and not representative of the way the universe really is.
I later said "that’s the first time I’ve ever said “if X happens I’ll believe in God”"
Though if it didn’t happen it doesn’t mean there was no god - it could be the case that god wasn’t listening or had a good reason not to give us the house.
Part of the thing that was perfect was the price - it was one of the cheapest…!
I think people should be good because they want to, not because it benefits them (I think it can benefit them emotionally though). If you read the kind of books I’ve read you’d see that people can have a mindset of love and abundance and that happiness isn’t necessarily dependent on the drama of life but your mindset. (e.g. the concepts of “life is suffering” and non-attachment, etc) Attachment has its problems but we can still choose to be attached if we want to.
I just am believing that an intelligent force blessed us for some reason. I don’t believe that “god” is perfectly good. I think that the game of life is a puzzle and includes extremes of good and bad and the good can be appreciated by experiencing the bad and the bad can develop character, etc. BTW I particularly think that torture and suffering is bad. BTW I believe that death is the end (unless we are inside virtual reality) so it isn’t such a big deal compared to things like deliberate torture.
Exactly. Which means you can justify the existence of your intelligent force either way. Which really means that your belief wasn’t actually dependent on getting the house, you were ready and willing to believe in a god already and just needed some kind of event to trigger your belief. You already believed when you allowed for the idea that an unlikely event occurring that benefits you would be a sign that there is a god. My non-belief on the other hand means that I would never consider an unlikely event to be evidence for a god. So I would never utter the words "if this happens I’ll believe in god. "
Of course, I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. I was just saying that you interpreted a positive event in your life as evidence for a god. What are we supposed to interpret a negative event as? A “bad” person might still interpret it as evidence for a god but a “good” person has bad things happen as well. They should either interpret a bad outcome as evidence that there is no god, or perhaps as evidence for an anti-god or that god is testing them. But that makes the good/bad events meaningless because regardless of whether the stuff that happens to you is good or bad it can still be interpreted as evidence for a god, which brings us back to my point above. You already believed when you started interpreting meaningless events as having meaning.
Why an intelligent force? If there was no intelligent force, you might still have got the house through random luck or maybe you present better to the real estate agent than you give yourself credit for. There is nothing particular about your story that requires an intelligent force, most likely you got a good house that suits you because you were at the right place at the right time and all the other people who could have benefitted from the house weren’t.
In your life you will always occupy a position in space and time. Imagine just how many times and places there are in your life if you were to break it down into seconds and millimeters. Is it really that surprising that every now and then you happen to be at the “right place at the right time” for your particular set of circumstances? It makes up for the millions of times you weren’t.
It doesn’t matter what you call it. If it has the qualities of being intelligent, having an interest in what appends to humans, and has the ability to control events in a supernatural way, “god” is as good a name as any. (Not God, the Christian God, god as in a generic higher power.)
Get a billion balls numbered from one to a billion. Hand them out to a billion people and tell them that whoever gets number 3 gets lots of money, a nice car, and a cool house. The chances of someone getting the prize is tiny, yet someone is guaranteed to get it. They could be forgiven for thinking it a miracle that they, out of all those people, got the prize. Do the same thing again and someone else will get the miracle. It seems that every time I do this experiment I create a miracle, but am I a miracle worker? Nope I’m just a guy with lots of balls and some spare cash to throw around, but it would be understandable if the winners were convinced they’d been “selected” by a higher power.
When you got your house you happened to be that guy who got the miracle ball. The balls were the many events that happen all the time and I was the laws of the universe that dictate how events create or influence other events. No intelligence necessary and nothing particularly miraculous about it, just good old chance.
BTW if that test about a god existing failed, then I would have kept track of it… so if it was my millionth time saying that I’d believe in god if some unlikely event happened, in the back of my mind I’d be aware that it failed the first million times.
What if an atheist said “if God exists may he show himself”? That doesn’t prove the atheist believes though he might end up believing in the end. Or what about me saying “if you can fly then fly around” - I would believe if I saw them flying but it doesn’t prove I “already believed when you allowed for the idea” - it just means I would be open to the possibility.
I think that winning the lottery every week for many years is an unlikely yet theoretically possible event… would you consider a belief in god if that happened?
My life has only been about 12,000 days… significant events have only happened on some of those days. This event was one of the events that only came along every couple of years in the lives of the four of us… BTW it is hard to find rentals sometimes… recently in the news it said that there were about 80 applicants in a nearby rental property. Basically everything about our house worked out well. I don’t see any other property being superior to ours - except if it had a dishwasher or air-conditioners. (Though someone told us that they weren’t interested in ours because of the lack of air-conditioners and fans work well enough)
Within the history of rentals a certain percentage of people would get their first choice… a smaller percentage of this would be living a 7 minute walk from their parents… and also be next to one of several bus stops that are ideal for the jobs for two of the occupants… and be two storey (quite rare) and be cheap yet have 4 bedrooms… etc…
and also it was the first time I said that I’d believe in a god if it happened…
Yes versions of me could have said that many times all around the world and one or some of us would get the unlikely thing they wanted…
BTW I think the reason I said it is because nearly everyone around me is a strong Christian. They want me to believe… I used this as a test… I assumed that it would fail. I told a few Christians about this before the outcome was known…
Also my Christian sister has an ongoing health problem. She keeps telling me she will be healed and soon. She thinks that if she believes that she’s already healed then she will be healed. I keep on scoffing at her and she still hasn’t been healed.
You’ve missed the point a little. When you said earlier that not getting the house doesn’t necessarily mean there is no god, you gave away that you are able to justify the existence of god regardless of the outcome of the test. That means you already believed or were willing and ready to believe. The atheist who invites god to show himself but when no god appears suggests that maybe god was busy having lunch or something, is not an atheist. If you invite me to prove I can fly by flying around and I don’t do it, and you then allow for me perhaps being a bit tired, you are finding ways to maintain a belief I really can fly. You want to believe it.
No. I would think it far more likely that there was something wrong with how the lottery was being run.
Forget about significant events. They are only significant because you have decided they are. Events are happening to you continuously, every millisecond of your life is an event. All of these billions of events are times where nothing significant has happened but something significant could have happened. You could have been struck by a meteor just after posting your last post, or received an important phone call, or various other things. Billions of times where nothing of great import happened verses the one time when you wanted something good to happen, you said you’d believe in god if it happened, and it happened. Taken in isolation it’s pretty cool, maybe a bit freaky, but weighed up against all the times when nothing happened, it’s no more than a coincidence given meaning by someone looking to give meaning to events.
You created all of that yourself though. You searched for a rental that was in the right place and at the right price. You disregarded the many houses that were not right for you for the very reason that they were not right for you. You are disregarding the things about the house that are not quite right now, would it not be better if it was ideally placed for the jobs of all four people? would a house that was six minutes away not have been better? The only element of chance here was whether or not you would be successful in your application and you don’t know how likely or unlikely that was, it could be you we’re the only suitable applicant or it could be they had twenty they couldn’t choose from and they ended up rolling dice.
Again, the fact that you were willing to interpret a successful rental application as evidence for god means you already believed.
If she is healed it will be because she believed. If she is not healed it will be because God has other plans for her, or perhaps it will be your negative energy caused problems. Seriously though, don’t underestimate the placebo effect. If she believes that believing will work then she may do a little better than if she’d done nothing at all.
I don’t know how we’ll the placebo effect is understood. To some it might be evidence for god, to others it just means we don’t quite understand every yet.
Only two of us have jobs. Another does volunteer work and also drives everywhere and she is in an ideal location. (volunteer work is to the north, everything else is mostly to the south)
People should be getting exercise so it’s not so bad if it is a bit further. Also if it was any closer the street would have been busier. I’m saying that overall everything about the house is very good and if some things were changed to be better in isolation, it probably would negatively affect other aspects. On second thoughts when the weather is bad sometimes we lose most of the TV channels but that only came to my attention recently.
It means I was open to the possibility that a god might exist. If we didn’t get the rental I’d believe that there was no evidence for god though I wouldn’t believe that there definitely wasn’t a god. Lately I’ve been an agnostic. If I already believed I would have already been a theist.