Is God real?

Let us say there is a difference between real and existent mental objects - for example the Unicorn which has existence as a mental object, but is not real (ie does not correspond to physical reality).

Now God, in various different forms also has existence as a mental object, and according to the accuracy of that object may be defined as real.

Suppose I say that God is all - God necessarily has existence, as an idea, and is real because the definition contains no logical contradictions.

So if someone were to define God clearly enough to avoid any disparity between the mental object and reality, he must by necessity be real.

So when the atheist attacks God, he is really attacking the mental object of the believer, which is usually badly defined.


No to what?

Yes, He’s real.

To me, the atheist is only attacking themselves, as God, among other things, is the living spirit of all beings including themselves. They are denying themselves when they deny God, which is sort of humorous to me. Also interestingly enough in your definition, there is life in our physical reality, though life itself, the quality of matter that makes it ‘living’, is not known in our physical world, at least not yet known.

So God, as life, is not a mental construct, but an undeniable real world, though still unexplainable, property, though not well defined as a physical construct.

The argument you present is sort of a straw man argument, God is defined in such a way that He would be so poorly defined that the argument becomes ‘does this described God exist’, though by such a definition the argument sort of falls apart.

Well, yes. The same is true when I disagree with a friend over, say, the Gold Standard. I’m actually addressing him, and disagreeing with his concept, his idea, the mental model he has in his head of the Gold Standard. I’m not arguing with “The Gold Standard,” an abstract concept that is wholly impersonal and wouldn’t listen to me if it could.

What you’re saying is completely correct.

I’m glad you agree!

This is where your argument falls short. Just because something’s definition contains no logical contradictions, why does that prove that it’s real?

You have to first decide what you are trying to prove -

a) Is ‘God’ real as a mental construct?

b) Is ‘God’ real as a physical construct?

If you’re only intrested in (a), then really there is no concrete reality to debate - what makes your mental construct any more right/wrong than someone elses? When does ‘majority’ rule make it right?

If you’re only interested in (b), then we have a whole host of ways to validate and provide evidence for the item in question.

Based on your OP, then you seem to be interested in (a), to which I would generally agree with your premise - folks regularly attack other folks mental image of what god is/isn’t or wants/doesn’t want - we’ve been doing it for thousands of years and will, apparently, continue to do it as long as people choose to believe myth over reality. This ‘attack’ is not limited to believer’s vs non-believers but is also manifest within purported believers of the same brand.

There is no solid evidence that God is real.

God has existed as a concept in many cultures, that’s true enough. That doesn’t make God real, however.

You could say the same thing about damned near anything then. What would it mean, though?

Why? Or, to put it another way, if someone defines rabid space weasels ‘clearly enough to avoid any disparity between the mental object and reality’, then does that make rabid space weasels ‘real’? Why or why not? And if so, then ANY concept or image that can be imagined is equally ‘real’.

When an atheist attacks God (or those who are pushing their concept of a God or gods) they are usually attacking the lack of evidence. Just because someone can conceive of a God or gods doesn’t make that concept real except in the imagination of those imagining such a being.


The titular question.

Existing as a mental construct is not “being real.” Since that is the only way one could say that gods exist, then the answer to your question is “no.”

Atheists don’t attack God. People in the real world can’t actually attack a fictional character.

I smell an ontological argument approaching!

First, it is not true that atheists claim to know or be able to prove that there are no gods anywhere. We just lack God belief or believe (but do not claim to know) that there are no gods.

There are three classes of gods. One is a God who by definition has no contact with his creation - who creates the universe and pops off into a black hole or something. That universe is equivalent to a universe with no god at all except maybe for deists taking comfort from the idea of a god.
Then there is a god who has actual interactions with his creations, just not with us. Until we visit someone who has actually spoken to a god, this case is equivalent to the first case.
Finally there is a god who has made himself know to some human or another. If we can demonstrate that each and every such supposed god is self-contradictory, is contrary to known facts, or makes incorrect predictions, then we can conclude that no such god exists to the best of our knowledge. It is the theist’s job to define such a god and give evidence for it, then we atheists can shoot it down, which we have done quite well. Though demonstrating that n-1 versions of god make no sense does not prove that the n th is also wrong, it is perfectly reasonable to provisionally believe so, and that is all which is required.

God is not necessarily existent, of course. Any God which is the “Greatest” is self-contradictory, since the greatest must be both omnipotent and omniscient, and these characteristics cannot co-exist in one entity.

I am of the opinion that if something is well defined it is true, and that the cardinal attribute of a real object is truth (ie correspondence to reality).

Perhaps you could persuade me otherwise?

Thats the problem - already you are defining God in an inconsistent way by attributing omniscience and omnipotence. Straw man?

Don Quixote is pretty well defined; there are 500,000 words in the novel about him, give or take. He’s still fictional.

I’m not seeing the connection.

You say that to be true, something has to be well defined and it has to correspond with reality - right?

If so, then just because you have a non contradictory definition of God (supposing you do), that doesn’t mean it corresponds with reality. It could be like the unicorn, which could also be very well defined, and we both agree doesn’t correspond to reality - not because it has contradictory attributes, but because there is no evidence of them.

What am I missing in your argument?

Since will and sentience are human qualities we are anthropomorphicising when we attribute them to God.

Since our wills are limited, we imagine God to have an unlimited will, an idea that is refuted by the existence of causality.

Unless you suppose that God’s will is manifest through the laws of nature, you are contradicting yourself.

The same goes for omniscience.

A unicorn is well-defined. It’s a horse with a horn growing out of its head. It’s better defined than any god is.

Do unicorns exist as concepts? Yes.

Do unicorns exist in the universe and something you can interact with, or something that performs miracles, or something you should pray to? No.

Even if you could perfectly define a god or gods in your head, or write down the definition, does that make it exist outside of that conceptualization? No.

Even if defining it as such would make it exist outside of that conceptualization, why would you worship it? Why would you make laws for it? Why would you, for example, make abortion or gay rights illegal because of it?

If we suddenly found a population of unicorns that popped into existence because people defined them so perfectly, would you worship the unicorns?

If I could precisely define the kind of mate I would want, down to the last detail, would that make her exist, and want to be my mate?