Incomprehensible God

Hubble2005-01-barred-spiral-galaxy-NGC1300I suppose part of the reason I remain an atheist (and am one in the first place) is because believers can’t seem to come up with a comprehensible version of God. The only versions that I’ve ever heard that make any sort of sense whatsoever is the deist and pantheist versions of God.

DeismThe belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.

Even deism doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You could certainly argue that any position taken without evidence is not one based ‘solely on reason’, but even if you were to grant that you could take such a position, why would such an entity bother to create everything and then abandon it?

More importantly, why would we bother to worship such a fickle deity? Our lives aren’t made better by the act of getting on our knees and worshiping an entity that exerts no influence on natural phenomenon and abandoned creation once it was finished creating it.

Then you have the pantheist version:

a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe

Okay. I can sort of agree with this one, but why even call it God? This God wouldn’t be conscious in the way other versions of God supposedly are. By that I mean that we could be considered part of the universe and we’re conscious, which would by extension mean the universe is conscious as long as conscious entities exist, but it seems to me that there is no reason to worship such a thing. Why worship a universe that we’re a part of? It wouldn’t hear your prayers or grant you a miracle if you performed a ritual correctly.

Then you have more complex Gods, such as the Christian Trinity. You’d think that by virtue of being more complex, it would be easier to defend your position, but I think the more complex the God, the harder it is to defend. The Christian God is one such example.

If you watch enough debates on religion, you will quickly notice that many Christians, Muslims etc. actually defend their beliefs by taking a deist position. They don’t want to defend their faith using their holy books because that’s damn inconvenient. It’s much easier to defend the simplicity that is deism, than it is to defend their beliefs in talking snakes, resurrections, flying horses and even their very concept of God.

For example, the Christian God is often described as being omnibenevolent, which literally means ‘all good’ in Latin. Yet, if we look in their very own holy book, we find this:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

—Isaiah 45:7

Huh…

It would seem that according to their holy book, their God created evil. How could something described as ‘all good’ be capable of creating evil? If it were capable, why would it be willing to create evil?

Even if their holy book didn’t tell them flat out that their deity created evil, many Christians would tell you that their deity created everything. If their God created everything, and they believe evil exists, then by extension their deity created evil.

Then you have the concept that God is outside of space and time.

In other words…God is capable of existing no place at no time.

What the…*insert expletive here*

The point being that I’ve yet to hear a concept for God that I found comprehensible. Most people don’t bother to explain what they mean by ‘God’ or expand on its supposed traits. They merely revert to defending a deist God, which I don’t see worth debating in the first place, since it would play absolutely no role in how we as a species live our lives.

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42 Comments

  1. that is y he is called GOD. THE MOMENT YOU KNOW HIM, HE CIEZES TO BE GOD. HE IS MEANT TO BE MYSTERIOUS. NO PERSON KNOWS GOD HUNFRED PERCENT. NO RELIGION OR BELIEF IS HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE IN DESCRIBINH GOD

  2. I believe. There are a lot of things that I don’t understand and I won’t go into every stitch that I believe, but for me, there is a holy Blob that I believe in.

    I know that there are more belief choices: No blob, multi-blob, Mean Blob, Financially Blessing Blob, but I choose to believe in the Blob that I feel connected to.

    Maybe because that’s better than being connected to nothing. My husband kinda-sorta believes in my Blob, but I think that’s because he likes blow jobs…

    I believe that everyone should believe in whatever blob they feel drawn to and I try not to mess with Blob.

  3. The concept of God (and all “gods” that have ever existing) was to explain things for we humans had no explanations and to answer questions for we had no answers. We were primitive, superstitious people and attributed great powers to the gods because we needed to explain the unexplainable. And then the “religious leaders” glommed on to this whole “god is the answer” thing and added “fear of god” into the equation in order to manage our behaviors to their liking.

    And here we are, no longer a primitive, superstitious people and yet we still believe in this omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God. Wait, did I say we are no longer primitive and superstitious? Silly me.

    • @ Doobster:

      “We were primitive, superstitious people and attributed great powers to the gods because we needed to explain the unexplainable.”

      [From this, I take from it that we could (quite possibly) release the primitive attributes of our mysterious world, and begin to understand it in the fashion that we do everything else. Almost everything around us has undergone some kind of “update” or “upgrade”. It seems that our religions are superstitiously separating our planet from one another over deistical understanding, instead of looking at the actual factual state of our universal planet and the fact that we are ALL here (whether you hold a deity valid or not) on Earth, together. I was told once that the ‘fear’ was meant to be out of respect – I am not sure if that is how it was suppose to be taken, but that is what I understood from hearing that quote. But then again, why fear what has created so much beauty and wonderful aspects of our understanding within this planet?
      I feel like the deities are scientific artists. Discovery, research, reshaping and making are operations of the two. Would you agree?]

      • @namenews – I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking me if I agree to. If you’re asking me if I agree that “the deities are scientific artists,” I would say that, since we have created these deities, we can, and often do, define them any way we wish, either individually or through the group-think we call religion. If you’re asking me if fear is, or should be, based upon respect, I don’t agree. And if you’re suggesting that that which you were told to fear, which I assume is that deity, is what created “so much beauty and wonderful aspects of our understanding within this planet,” then I do not agree at all.

        But, on the other hand, if you’re saying that religions separating us from one another over how we understand and worship our god or gods, instead of reinforcing that we are all in the boat (i.e., planet Earth) together and there’s no such thing as a hole in just your end of the boat, then yes, I do wholeheartedly agree with you.

        • @ Doobster:

          Hah, I do apologize if the comment / question made things a bit confusing. But, you did answer my question (and a few others as well) regarding the planet and our selves as a community on a boat.

          I am not sure about the idea that the religious think-tanks are all under the same umbrella when “discussing” our nature as a species, and a culture defined by religious doctrines. If these actual think-tanks were applied throughout religious practices, cultural understanding, and science’s role of our selves, we could see a planet that is more tolerable of one another – Perhaps, more “environmentally conscious, spiritually within this planet.

  4. I’ve always enjoyed the deist definition of god- that one always sounds like such a chill guy.

    I think the common response to “god created evil” is “without evil there would be no good. God wanted us to have a choice.”
    But the thing about that is, if god is omniscient then he could create a reality where good does exist without evil. Why even bother with the choice? He could create existence where we live perfectly fulfilling lives without the choice.

    I think some people want to insist that the deist god exists because they like feeling that there’s a higher power out there, even if it doesn’t care about that. I guess being on top is scary to some people.

    Good post.

  5. I can understand your point of view. I am a christian but I do not attend church because I believe that not all churches are good. I have been to multiple churches but there is a lot of corruption and there is too much favoritism by who has the most to money to give to the “church”. I have read most of the bible. Does that mean I absolutely comprehend it all? No. Does that mean I follow and believe everything in it? Definitely not. There have been to many hands in writing it and I don’t believe for one second all of these people that helped write it, didn’t squeeze their own opinions in there. The best way I can describe god is like a long distance friend. I have felt him. On my death bed I begged for help but not for me, for my unborn daughter. In that moment I felt him and handed the reigns to him. When I did I felt him and I have known he is there ever since. So like a long distance friend, I may not see him in the flesh, he may not always return my phone calls, but I know he checks in on me.

    • Classic abused wife response: “I don’t understand him. Yes, he does “nasty stuff” but deep down, he’s a really, really, really, good guy who loves me in a way that the world doesn’t understand and sometimes that long distance love means favoring ME and ignoring the pain-filled cries of the six-year-old who is dying of a tumor. Yeah, he wiped out my neighbor’s house in a tornado and killed the entire family next door but hey, he left ME and MINE alone, and that’s what counts, right? We should always thank the serial killer for going after the neighbors and not MY family.” Load of bullocks.

      • I was just giving my opinion. I am sorry you see it that way. If there weren’t any trials in life, and everything turned out exactly the way we wanted it to, there would be no reason for faith and life would be really boring. Is it sad when bad things happen? Of course it is. I have had tons of really bad things happen to me but I wouldn’t be who I am today if everything turned out perfect for myself and everyone around me. I see that your screen name has 666 in it. Does that mean you believe in Satan? If so, you also believe in god. No matter if you worship him, you would still believe he exists.

  6. I firmly maintain you can no more prove there is NO god than you can prove there IS a god. I maintain an unyielding position that everyone is entitled to believe whatever he/she wants to believe. I object to anyone telling me what I should believe.

    I’m anti-dogmatic. I do not wish to be put in a box.

    Atheism is just as much a leap of faith as Christianity or any faith. Because no one, not you, not me, not ANYONE can prove anything to the contrary. Which is why I really believe we should let everyone enjoy the freedom to be as irrational as they want. Maybe we, in turn will be allowed to be irrational in our own, unique ways.

    If that makes me the ultimate fence sitter, so be it. I believe in individual freedom of belief. The rest of it is lots of fun to debate, but it’s just intellectual exercise. It makes great after dinner conversation, especially when you’re stoned.

    • I am not sure I agree that atheism is just as much a leap of faith as Christianity. While I consider myself an atheist, I am not 100% positive that God does not exist. At the same time, though, I have seen no evidence to support the notion that God does exist, except in the minds and imaginations of man. My belief is that God is a creation of man, rather than the creator of man. It’s not a faith that brings me toward atheism, but a lack of faith that this God that Christians (and other monotheistic religions) really exists anywhere but in our human mythologies.

      I, too, support everyone’s right to believe or to not believe whatever gets them through their lives and gives them meaning and comfort, but I don’t consider atheism to be a religion in any sense of the word.

    • I agree everyone is entitled to believe what they wish. I disagree with being unable to prove or cast doubt on the existence of something.

      For example, if something is logically inconsistent, I think it far more likely not to exist than exist, even if I’m unable to prove it doesn’t exist with 100% certainty.

      If I say there us an invisible magician who is occupying a space but isn’t occupying a space, most people would conclude it doesn’t exist. They wouldn’t normally conclude its existence and nonexistence are equally as likely to be true.

      If a gods attributes and nature is contradictory and logically inconsistent, its far more likely such a being doesn’t exist than does, although people should still be free to ignore the contradiction and believe anyways.

      I also do not think atheism is any firm of religion. You can be an atheist and religious, but atheism itself is not a religion.

      I don’t think people should be allowed to be irrational in public without being challenged. I don’t think we use this line of argument for any topic other than religion.

      No topic should be off limits or beyond questioning.

      I agree it dies make nice after dinner conversation. 🙂

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. As being a part of creation myself, I don’t feel abandoned by God at all, quite the opposite actually.

    And for me personally, worshiping God does make my life better, because not only do I enjoy it very much (if it feels good, do it), but it also helps me to reflect on and be more aware of all of the things in my life that I’m grateful for. One can also do that (be aware and grateful) apart from belief in God as well of course. 😀

    My bible translation uses the word ‘calamity’ in place of ‘evil’ in Isaiah 45:7, but I see the point you’re trying to make. The bible is one of those things… ten people can read the same portion of scripture and will most likely come up with ten different interpretations of what they think it means. I guess that is due to each individual’s perspective. And maybe it also has something to do with it being written thousands of years ago, by multiple people, in more than one language, all of which are foreign from our own and may not translate exactly word for word, not to mention cultural differences and the setting in which it was originally written. Ultimately, I guess it’s my perspective that good can come out of calamity, you see it all the time… people rising above their circumstances (calamity, evil) and becoming better people for it. Isn’t it in the struggles we face that we sometimes grow the most as people? Become kinder, more loving, and more understanding. So then in that regard could calamity also be considered as “good?” I don’t know, but perhaps.

    There’s a lot that goes into how “we as a species live our lives” for some, it’s believing in God, and for some it’s not. We’ve all got our own path to traverse through this life, and it is not for us to determine what path others should follow, to convince them ours is the correct way, or to judge the way they chose to live. All we can do is live a life that is being true to ourselves, whatever that may be.

    Unless it involves murdering people or being a douche. 😉

    You have posed some great questions here, thanks!

      • Thanks Marilyn! Your comment was well said too, and I literally lol’d at your “especially when you’re stoned” part. Hey, great philosophical conversations can be had while you’re stoned (not that I partake of that these days), it was after one of those stoned convos that I came to my own understanding of God. Guess that explains a lot hahaha!

        I also liked when you said “we should let everyone enjoy the freedom to be as irrational as they want. Maybe we, in turn will be allowed to be irrational in our own, unique ways.” I genuinely enjoy people in all of their glorious uniqueness, and I like hearing the views and perspectives of others. Well… except when they’re rude, there’s just no excuse for bad manners. We don’t all have to agree, and on the subject of religion or spiritual beliefs, we most likely never will. I don’t feel the need to defend or explain my beliefs, or to try to make another person understand why I believe the way I do, but I do enjoy meaningful conversation where there is a respect for the other person’s views, even as irrational or incomprehensible as it may seem.

        None of us will ever truly know all of the answers of the universe, but it’s fun to explore and learn and discover, and maybe in the end, we’ll realize we’re not all so different after all…

    • So you can justify Yahweh’s epic genocides with this little gem, “people rising above their circumstances (calamity, evil) and becoming better people for it. Isn’t it in the struggles we face that we sometimes grow the most as people? Become kinder, more loving, and more understanding. So then in that regard could calamity also be considered as “good?” I guess the Jewish people who saw their children being hauled off to the gas chambers, screaming, should ultimately “thank Yahweh” for the opportunity to “become better people”. I’m sorry, but this line of thinking is seen in Christian apologetics ALL the time (William Lane Craig) and it is more fucked up than Lot’s daughters. It is so morally bankrupt that it triggers the gag reflex, like watching flies feed.

    • “My bible translation uses the word ‘calamity’ in place of ‘evil’ in Isaiah 45:7, but I see the point you’re trying to make.”

      Yes, later translations tried to soften the verse because it has some repercussions to the faithful.

      However, the original Hebrew word used is ‘ra’. It’s used in other places in the bible, such as:

      Genesis 2:17: the tree of good and ra

      The tree of good and calamity? Or the tree of good and evil? The tree of good and calamity clearly doesn’t make as much sense.

      Or Deuteronomy 1:35: Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil (ra) generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers

      Calamity generation?

      It obviously doesn’t fit. But evil sure does, especially when you consider God is pissed in this passage.

      You also wouldn’t need to become stronger if you weren’t faced with horrible crap that likely wouldn’t exist in a universe that was created by a God with the all-good attributes. The very fact that it would want to create evil, shows that it is contradicting its supposed nature.

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  9. The things we need to know about God; the important things the god-believer has no answer and yet, so many pray enough to make a donkeys back leg fall off.
    But still we are none the wiser regarding whether He prefers Vanilla or Chocolate chip ice cream, whether he prefers Soccer of Golf. If he…oops..He gets his leg over on the week end…or indeed if he has a weak-end or even a circumcised willie.
    Does he shave with a Gillette or use an electric shaver?
    Maybe he doesn’t shave at all and simply ‘magics’ away that 4 pee em shadow?
    Then again perhaps he never need to shave in the first place, which begs the question, how come we’re created in His image and the bastard never has to shave?
    You cannot, in all good conscience worship such a god.

  10. A couple of discussions have popped up recently reminding me of Gaia principle (something I first came accross in Isaac Asimov’s foundation and only later learned was an actual hypothesis). It seems to fit into the pantheism you describe here. Describing Gaia is the closest I ever come to sounding ‘spiritual’ I think, but I agree that a God concept is unnecessary within the argument. It’s not something that needs to be disproved, there’s just no need to consider it in the first place.

    Here’s a related description, though I don’t have a good name for it. Socially constructed God. The idea that, although God is an invention of the human mind, it has become independent of any individual and is therefor real. Subjective reality is more real to humans than objective. I believe we need to outgrow God, but for some people that might mean developing the concept rather than dismissing it.

    • The Gaia principle is a pretty neat one. It’s very interesting, but like you point out, it’s hardly worthy of the God label. Pantheism makes sense to me. I can understand seeing the universe in that way, although I think it makes worship unnecessary.

      However, such a view might help push environmentalism a bit, since it values us within a larger system.

      I don’t think God has become independent of the human mind. We’ve seen with past religions that once believers stop believing, their Gods seem to disappear as well.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Ha, not quite what I meant. Independent of an individual, not of human minds collectively. To most people it seems like a pointless distinction to call something we’ve imagined real, but it’s important to me to acknowledge that god is as real as democracy or justice. Whether you want to empathise with believers or argue god out of existence, it’s good to try and understand its nature in any number of ways. Though maybe I’m just thinking in circles on this point.

  11. Hey long time since I visited your blog…hope all is well! I was wondering if you ever read Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. I think is a great book that at the very least will clarify how Theist see God. Just a suggestion :-). By they way The Lord of the Ring Trilogy is one of my favorite movies of all time as well!

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