Okay, there is proof for love. You can feel it. It may be an arbitrary feeling, but a feeling nonetheless. You cannot feel God.
The notion of God is just plain silly." Really, an invisible man living in the sky who is all knowing and all seeing, but created a shit hole of a planet where he doesn’t step in… whatever. The Bible itself is one of the most comical reads ever.
And even if God himself came to me right now to prove his existance, I would reject him. I don’t want any part in a God who will punish man for all eternity for something two dumbasses did in a garden a couple thousand years ago.
And for the record: I’m agnostic. Just because I hate God and everything he stands for, doesn’t mean I’m not open to the possibility that he exists in some form or another.
If I were not open to considering silly notions, I would stubbornly deny the existence of . . . well, a lot of things I’ve actually seen. Ostriches. Intestinal worms. Professional wrestling. The Republican Party. Christianity.
I think understand what Zag was saying on a certain level, but it still doesn’t represent “proof” in any meaningful sense.
Yes, it is beyond question that lots of people feel a “presence,” and that they feel a certainty as what that presence represents. However, from an objective standpoint, the feeling is not really evidence of anything other than the feeling itself. Just because you are certain that you “feel” God’s presence doesn’t mean that God is actually present or that such an entity even exists.
If “God” is defined simply as that feeling, that emotional experience, that certainty, then “God” tautologically “exists,” but that doesn’t mean that any intelligent entity exists outside of, or independently of the person who is experiencing a certainty of presence…
I don’t mean to belittle the subjective persuasion of personal experience, I really don’t, but being really, really sure of something doesn’t make it true.
Nothing I’ve said means that God doesn’t exist either, though, but personally, I don’t want to be really, really sure, I want to know, and I don’t regard even my own subjective, uncommunicable, and unrepeatable experiences as being sufficient to constitute knowledge.
I don’t want to speak for the OP but I think I can speak for a lot us “unbelievers” when I say that we can reject “God” as it is traditionally taught to us (hate may be too strong of a word, but then again it may not be), but still be open to some other paradigm or metaphysic if evidence should present itself.
That particular notion of God may be “just plain silly” but, as Lord Ashtar has pointed out, it’s by no means the only, or the commonest, conception of God.
Well, again, you seem to be saying that because you don’t want any part of a particular conception of God, you would reject every conception of God.
The conception of God that you reject is, at best, a conception expressed by only a minority of theists. In fact, it’s more of a caricature of a conception of God expressed by a minority of theists. It’s not a valid basis for rejecting all conceptions of God, or asserting that all notions of God are “just plain silly” and, as a support for your header that “there is no God” it’s pretty poor.
Hey, in your OP you say that you are “open to the possibility that he exists in some form or another”. Are you saying that you “hate God and all he stands for” even if he exists in a form that differs radically and fundamentally from the caricature that you are putting up for attack?
Except that in all of those cases, you’re picking a specific instance and saying it’s silly. The OP states that “the notion of God,” which i take to mean any sort of higher being, is silly, which is painting with a pretty wide brush. It would be like saying that the notion of a bird is silly, to use your Ostrich example.
Now if he were to say that the notion of the Christian version of God is silly, then sure, i could buy his argument, since he could buy into a different version (or no particular version) of the whole “higher being” thing and still be considered agnostic. Saying that you think the whole “God” notion is silly sorta puts you outside of “agnostic” territory, i think.
For the record, i would agree with DtC (and the OP, if it’s what he meant) that it’s possible to disagree with the traditional Christian version of God and believe in some other version (God v2.0 if you will) if proof were presented.
But higher power is silly. That’s what I mean. Any higher power.
I don’t think it’s contradictory to say that I believe that, then say that I am open to the idea of God. I also don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m fascinated by ghost stories.
OK, that didn’t really have anything to do with anything. Let’s put it like this: I used to be religious. I was confirmed by the church and am even an ordained minister (in some respects). My sister is studying to be a Youth Minister, and we discuss religion a lot.
One day, I decided religion is not for me. It’s just too hard to believe. But that’s not to say that something, someday, couldn’t change my mind, it’s just unlikely.
Let me pose this question to you: Even if God was real, and I wholeheartedly believed he existed, would I be a bad person for not wasting my time on him?
If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is that the notion that there exists a being (or beings) which is greater than, or more powerful than, human beings is silly; i.e. that a rational and thoughtful person could not entertain such a notion.
If I’ve misunderstood you, my apologies. Can you restate your position more clearly?
If, on the other hand, I’ve correctly summarised your position, can you defend it? At the very least, you’ll have to concede that many rational and thoughtful people do entertain the notion that there exists a being or beings greater than us and, given that, you’ll have to demonstrate how the notion is nevertheless “silly”.
I’ve supplied the emphasis.
Your rejection of religion appears to be entirely subjective. It tells us something about you, but nothing about God or religion, and it certainly can’t support the objective assertion that the notion of God/a higher power is silly. Religion is not for you, and therefore it can’t be for anyone? Lord Ashtar’s subjective experience of God is not evidence of God’s existence but your equally subjective rejection of religion supports an assertion that the notion of God is silly? I’m not persuaded.
Deciding not to waste time can never be bad, surely, but are you assuming that any time devoted to the contemplation of a real, existing God would be “wasted”?
That surely depends on the nature of the God that exists, doesn’t it? If there exists a God who is worthy of contemplation then time spend contemplating him is, by definition, not wasted. If, on the other hand, there exists a God who is not worthy of contemplation, then time spent contemplating him is wasted.
This semantic exercise doesn’t get us very far.
It is, I suspect, a particular form of Christianity that you have rejected, so let’s run with Christian conceptions of God. If God exists as mainstream Christians conceive him then among his attributes, I suggest, are that he is all-loving, that union with God is the ultimate good for any of his creatures, that God desires to be united with his creatures, that he has endowed his creatures with free will, that his creatures can choose to be united with him or not to be, that he will respect that choice, and that, for a creature who knows of and accepts God’s existence, union cannot be achieved if God is rejected.
Given those attributes, it would be hard to say that time spent on God would be wasted, wouldn’t it? So, I suggest, if you posit the existence of a God upon whom time can be wasted, that is not the mainstream Christian conception of God. The God you posit may possess some of the attributes of the mainstream Christian conception of God, but clearly not all of them.
He could, for example, have been a “special minister of the Eucharist” in the Catholic Church. It’s certainly a form of ministry and, while it doesn’t involve ordination in the sacramental sense, there is a ceremony of commissioning and, in a looser sense of the word “ordain” a special minister of the Eucharist could be said to be an ordained minister.
The theological formation required is minimal, and it’s not completely unknown for teenagers involved in church youth groups, etc, to act as special ministers at youth masses.
No doubt other churches have similar ministries and, if they don’t have a sacramental concept of ordination (as many Protestant denominations don’t) it would be even easier to describe someone engaged in such a ministry as an ordained minister.
Goldenchild487’s ministry could have been of this nature. If his name includes the month and year of his birth - a wild guess on my part - he is only 17, but he could still have worked in a ministry like this.
I’ve never been one to have a collected thought. I pretty much just smear my thouts all over paper and then organize them later. With message boards, however, that’s not so easy because you have to say what you mean and there isn’t much chance for editing. Things jump out at me randomly. So if any of this seems to be off topic, that’s why.
I think the idea of God is silly, and too many people have been caught up with the idea that God is there. I know I too often equate God to the Easter Bunny, but think about it: If you were told as a child the Easter Bunny was real, and the Easter Bunny was a figment that didn’t require proof (ie leaving chocolate eggs) to exist, like God, and nobody ever bothered to tell you it was all a fairy tale, you’d believe in him. It might seem silly, but you would. That’s how I see God. Just because millions are believers doesn’t make it any less… humorous. Millions of people also think that recycling is helping to save our planet, and I find that to be humorous too.
You are right, my rejection of religion is mostly personal. I don’t feel I need a God. I am not exactly sure I want a God. What point is there to having a God if he’s going to be apathetic towards everything?
One of my favorite questions, and this one isn’t my own, is this:
If God is willing but unable, then he is not omnipotent.
If God is able but unwilling, then he is not benevolent.
If God is unwilling and unable, then why call him God?
And I don’t believe that nobody should have faith if I don’t, but if a friend of yours was convinced that you and he went fishing when you were young and saw a dead body, and you knew this to be all in his head, you’d try to correct him, wouldn’t you – even if there was a very slight chance it actually was true and it was you who had forgotten about it? Can you see through my analogy? I’m not very good at them.
To put it quite bluntly, it’s not so much faith that I have a problem with. I in fact find faith to be very helpful. If it wasn’t for faith, I believe my entire family would be dead (not God, faith). My major problem comes from those who subscribe to the Bible as the one true word. Actually, from those who think of the Bible as true in any sense of the word. Certainly, there are some moral fables in there that give Aesop a run for his money, but those who consider it the absolute truth (as our resident hardcore Christians on this board do) are misinformed.
To address the question of devotion to God as a “waste of time”, that is exactly how I see it. If God needs my constant attention, or even just once weekly, then he can’t be a very good God. If I am to praise God and reassure this omnipotent being that he is in fact loved by me, then I can do without. Does God have a self-esteem complex, or is he simply narcisistic that he would expect the level of worship we have on this planet?
And finally, yes, a lot of what I say is from the mainstream ideas of Christianity. I grew up Presbyterian, and have attended Lutheran, Catholic, and Episcipalian churches, also one denomination I’m not sure what it was, but it was scary. I may not be as informed as the professional theologian, but I am just as entitled to my opinions.
Or Goldenchild could well be ordained similarly to my ordination- by mail order or internet.
And Goldenchild- if God indeed was proved to you as the Supreme Creator & Source of Goodness & Fairness, along with some understanding on why evil & misfortune are allowed to exist, and you then refused to waste your time on Him/Her, or expressed the same hatred that you already have, then you might or might not be a bad person, you would certainly be a quite silly one.
Btw, I don’t believe you would be thrown into an eternal torture chamber for such silliness- you could however be either eternally spared the offensive presence of Deity (along with the Goodness which emanates from God) or eternally afflicted by the offensive presence of Deity. Either would adequately fit the Biblical descriptions of “Hells” (Sheol-Hades, Tartarus, Abyss, Gehenna-Tophet-Lake of Fire). And it may well be that as God is the Source of all existence & you find God so intolerable, that God will allow you to opt out of continued existence.
Finally, I do believe that you would undergo such final judgement only after rejecting every opportunity to surrender to & embrace God as God truly is (which I believe to be the God revealed to the Jewish prophets & Christian apostles as YHWH Elohim through His Son-Word Jesus).
Although the existence of God may be an interesting debate for many, it’s probably unimportant. A God could not, by any standard, hold a species responsible for something that can in no way be known.
The world is fraught with religions. Those religions are divided into sects or denominations. Wars have been fought; people have died over disagreements about the notion of God. All this is proof only that we do not know.
Take one notion; that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was sent to Earth to die for the sins of humankind. Some Christians believe that the only way to gain eternal life is to confess Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Yet those same Christians teach that the sacrifice of the Son of God is so powerful that it washes away the sins of the world and there is no act a human could perform to earn that salvation.
This is a profound contradiction; to say there is nothing we can do to earn salvation, but we must adopt a certain belief system to obtain it.
Religion is foolish… even Jesus knew that, and taught it regularly. If a belief in God comforts you, if it helps you to be a better person or enriches your life in some way, it is a wonderful thing.
If it doesn’t, I’m sure God won’t hold it against you.
TRhat you find people’s beliefs (whether about God or about the benefits of recycling) humorous, tells us nothing about whether those beliefs are true or not, does it?
(Unless, of course, you are omniscient. You’re not by any chance God posting under another name, are you? You’re already registered under your primary name and, as you (necessarily) know, multiple registrations are forbidden.)
In other words, you want God to be both willing and able. Fair enough.
But willing and able to do what, exactly? The usual answer is “to do Good” or “to ensure that Good prevails over Evil” or some variant on, or specific example of, this (e.g. the relief of suffering children).
But that begs the question, what do we mean by “Good”? A Christian would answer that “Good” is, by definition, whatever God wants, but obviously
(a) you can’t adopt that definition without first of all assuming that God does, in fact, exist, and
(b) if you do adopt that definition, what God is unwilling to do cannot, in fact, be Good.
So to rely on the argument implicit in these three statements you have to adopt an alternative definition of “Good” and then establish that it is objectively true, which I think is extremely difficult. Your own subjective judgment cannot establish what is objectively good (unless you are God – see above) but if you can’t establish an objective standard for good, doesn’t your argument come down to “God doesn’t do what I think he ought to do, and therefore he cannot exist”? And isn’t that, in logical terms, fairly weak? (Not to mention a teeny bit arrogant?)
Stand still, dammit! In the one paragraph you’re saying that you have a problem with those who find any truth at all in the bible (once) and with those who consider the bible “the absolute truth” or “the one true word” (twice). Which is it? And there’s a more fundamental groundshift here; you’re arguing about whether the bible has any value and, if so, what the value is, but obviously that argument has little or no bearing on the question of whether God exists. The bible could be nonsense from beginning to end, but that would tell us nothing about whether God existed or not.
You’re ignoring the (fairly obvious) possibility that devoting time to God might be to your benefit, rather than to his.
Indeed you are, but – no offence - the problem is you don’t seem to know what your opinions are. You make inconsistent statements, you shift your ground quite a lot, you largely express yourself in terms of what you don’t believe and, even there, you don’t seem very sure of what it is that you don’t believe. You can see, can’t you, why we wouldn’t find this very helpful in reassessing our own beliefs?