Define God

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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:10 am

Bob wrote:I agree that the scenario in which I reject God was something I thought through. I decided instead, that it was my imagination that was at fault. Anything that could be called God would have to be larger and so completely different, that my imagination, linked as it is to my spacial concepts, would be blown out.
Instead, I focused on the fact that, given what we know about the universe, where does my consciousness come from?
Even in nature, we have difficulty in finding a species that comes close to that, and if we did, then we would be able to work out how to communicate.
This is two observations that had me thinking that coincidence aside, something has included our consciousness in the fabric of being.
That, I concluded, would be worthy of the description/name God.


Note I argued for the cognitive dissonance that generate the existential crisis.

The general rule of the mind in facilitating survival is the default of consonance and against dissonance [very unbearable to be in suspense], thus the mind will always find some sort of answers [even false ones] to resolve the dissonance.
The inclination of people tending towards God as the final answer is the mind's default for consonance instead of the terrible dissonance.

Thus your leap of faith to a conclusion that a God is responsible for all your unjustified questions is a play of consonance to avoid the default dissonance.

This 'consonance over dissonance' has been at play ever since homo-sapiens first emerged into the scene.
Here is a scenario, when our ancestors [200,000 years ago] heard a sound [like a broken dry twig] they cannot be in state of dissonance to decide whatever the reasons are for that sound. From past experiences, their mind will jump into consonance mode and instantly confirmed there is a sable-tooth tiger around and so they ran for their life. Those who did NOT jump to conclusion and did not run would have the greater chance of being eaten by a sable tooth tiger.

Our ancestors, the successful ones to the present were the ones who acted upon consonance in the event of dissonance [they quickly jumped to conclusion] thus handed down to us the present generations the DNA that prompt a quick jump to conclusions, i.e. seeking consonance in the event of a crisis.

Note the example of the uncertainty 'a piece of rope in the darker shade.' The average mind will apply consonance and jumped to conclusion it is a snake, since generating caution and prevention is safer than the possibility dying from a poisonous snake bite.

Note the most obvious idea of causality, i.e. "cause and effect" which turned out NOT to be an absolute natural principle [as assumed for eons] till Hume argued convincingly the basis of 'cause and effect' is psychological, i.e. due to customs, habits and constant conjunction.

When humans became more driven [subconscious and conscious] by the existential crisis, they have to jump to conclusion via faith [as inherited from our early ancestors] to conclude a God exists to deal all complicated issues instinctively to soothe the terrible state of cognitive dissonance and existential crisis.

While the idea of God [from primitive to monotheism] has serve mankind net-positively in the past and till the present, the so far tolerated negativity from theism is very obvious.
The trend of theism is moving towards a net-negative situation in the future.
Thus there is a need to wean off theism from now on and deal with the inherent existential crisis using optimal, foolproof and voluntary approaches that are net-positive.

Thus I would define God on the above basis as leveraged on our ancestors handed down DNA driven cognitive dissonance and existential crisis.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:16 am

Bob wrote:That would be true if you have a view of God that is restrictive. If your view is somehow empowering, as is suggested by the spread of Christianity for example, then it gives you new perspectives.

I think there are a couple of approaches, at least, to thinking about religion. One tries to be bird's eye view, and this leads to all the discussions of omnipotence and paradoxes between atheists and theists, for example. And even a discussion of dasein is much like that kind of discussion. Or you have the in situ, what happens to me, over a long period of time when I try on the heuristics and participate in the practices. I think most people who move into a religion are in the latter approach. And most people within the religion stay because of something like that. The sad thing is that the Abrahamic religions were written to include a lot of non-spiritual ideas that might have been ok heuristics for tribal cultures in warring regions or under empirical oppression and that also included some just well hatred. So you have these mixed bag books of heuristics and metaphors and morals. It is really rather amazing that some people from each of these religions develop lovely spiritualities and manage to help people and themselves without carrying over any of the unpleasant stuff. Of course the Abrahamic approaches are not the only ones.

And people out there are finding the in situ approach where they test their way in to shamanism say, where belief comes after a love of the practices and the changes they lead to, rather than this bird's eye view type of this is good or logical (or not) approach, which is not, for example, how we come to treat the opposite sex or interact at work with our peers. IOW so much of life is filled with haphazard but the same time, sometimes, careful haphazard exploration, where we built up a connection or a returning to a process that works for us. A bit like falling in love and then doing the hard work to make a long term relationship continue to help and nurture us and even be a good thing for third parties.

But in the West we act like religions and lifestyles are belief driven and must be in all cases. So, it's take out the debate board and get down to bird's eye view discussions of stuff that in the end means very little.


And how is this world view not just another manifestation of dasein? Again, take your "general description" of how the world could be if others thought like you do out into the world and configure it into a specific context where degenerated conditions need to be improved. For example, the plight of immigrants in America. Or in Europe. In the age of Trump and Brexit. What might be done here if others thought like you do about God and religion?

I think there would be a large shift to focussing on the here and now, people wouldn't "sacrifice" themselves, but rather consider how to help effectively and just like revenge, "reward is mine [to give] says the Lord!"[/quote]Notice Bob how you get the onus. What might you do or your beliefs do? Now you give an answer, which he will be skeptical about.

But he is not skeptical about his answer. What is his dasein based nihilism and bemoaning the unknown doing? Is it helping immigrants? He never needs to justify trying to spread his ideas. He has found a set of questions and activities and engages in them, just like everyone else. Yes, he doesn't tell people to follow him, but he argues his case. He deconstrusts their ideas and evaluates both their origin and effects using his jargon. Is it helping? Now he can argue that he has no way to know if it helping since he has no way, at this time to know the good. Fine. But he is one of the sources of a kind of nihilism that judges anyone who can move forward into life without his hopelessness. The judgment may not be explicit, though it sometimes is: you have some kind of contraption, you are an objectivist (this is pejorative in his schema, and so is contraption though more implicitly).

What does all this.....do?
What is its effect on immigrants?

The odd implicit objectivist judgment that we should be doing something to ameliorate the plight of refugees - do you Bob, live up to this judgment? - even though he presents as not an objectivist.

To me it is a meeting with a tearing down, a deconstruction, and this can be useful.

And this tearing down will put the onus on you, over and over.

And one can wonder if this deconstruction will make the lives of refugees better or your life better, even just on a feeling level, forget morals.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:23 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I think there are a couple of approaches, at least, to thinking about religion. One tries to be bird's eye view, and this leads to all the discussions of omnipotence and paradoxes between atheists and theists, for example. And even a discussion of dasein is much like that kind of discussion. Or you have the in situ, what happens to me, over a long period of time when I try on the heuristics and participate in the practices. I think most people who move into a religion are in the latter approach. And most people within the religion stay because of something like that. The sad thing is that the Abrahamic religions were written to include a lot of non-spiritual ideas that might have been ok heuristics for tribal cultures in warring regions or under empirical oppression and that also included some just well hatred. So you have these mixed bag books of heuristics and metaphors and morals. It is really rather amazing that some people from each of these religions develop lovely spiritualities and manage to help people and themselves without carrying over any of the unpleasant stuff. Of course the Abrahamic approaches are not the only ones.

I think that the problem isn't as big as you think. Agreed, there are many people with a simplistic approach, but by and large, the average church-goer wants to hear things that he believes he has worked out for himself and thereby receive confirmation. The general gist of Christian teaching regarding the OT is that one should "look for Jesus", meaning that one should leave the questionable parts as outdated and take on the parts that are not contradictory. Paul definitely teaches a Gospel that supersedes the OT since the NT is the fulfillment of the OT.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:And people out there are finding the in situ approach where they test their way in to shamanism say, where belief comes after a love of the practices and the changes they lead to, rather than this bird's eye view type of this is good or logical (or not) approach, which is not, for example, how we come to treat the opposite sex or interact at work with our peers. IOW so much of life is filled with haphazard but the same time, sometimes, careful haphazard exploration, where we built up a connection or a returning to a process that works for us. A bit like falling in love and then doing the hard work to make a long term relationship continue to help and nurture us and even be a good thing for third parties.

And I think that the trial and error method, despite the availability of personal experience in others, is not something you can criticise. Children have often to feel the pain before they understand what mother means by "ouch".

But in the West we act like religions and lifestyles are belief driven and must be in all cases. So, it's take out the debate board and get down to bird's eye view discussions of stuff that in the end means very little.

I agree that it is often difficult talking to people about their faith from the metaphysical perspective. Many people have settled on a set of beliefs and only want confirmation. People like me just challenge their beliefs, even if I am showing them just how deep scripture goes. The fact that I have found another perspective isn't at all helpful for some people, which is why I leave them to it. I still have many friends in the church who avoid asking me questions, and if they do, they find it all very disturbing, whereas I find my discovery helpful.

Notice Bob how you get the onus. What might you do or your beliefs do? Now you give an answer, which he will be skeptical about.

I think that there is no way around it. If I'm asked I must answer. There are enough people who don't want to know, even if they are Christians.

But he is not skeptical about his answer. What is his dasein based nihilism and bemoaning the unknown doing? Is it helping immigrants? He never needs to justify trying to spread his ideas. He has found a set of questions and activities and engages in them, just like everyone else. Yes, he doesn't tell people to follow him, but he argues his case. He deconstrusts their ideas and evaluates both their origin and effects using his jargon. Is it helping? Now he can argue that he has no way to know if it helping since he has no way, at this time to know the good. Fine. But he is one of the sources of a kind of nihilism that judges anyone who can move forward into life without his hopelessness. The judgment may not be explicit, though it sometimes is: you have some kind of contraption, you are an objectivist (this is pejorative in his schema, and so is contraption though more implicitly).

I appreciate you pointing this out, but he does allow me to answer him. I think it is very important to be put to the test, and that he does. I would agree with you that his stance isn't particularly productive, but if I give him his due, he has reasons for the skeptical approach. Of course, you can't always trust what people say about themselves, but I have chosen to take things at their face value on forums like this. I can't check it out, so why bother?

The odd implicit objectivist judgment that we should be doing something to ameliorate the plight of refugees - do you Bob, live up to this judgment? - even though he presents as not an objectivist.

To me it is a meeting with a tearing down, a deconstruction, and this can be useful.

And this tearing down will put the onus on you, over and over.

And one can wonder if this deconstruction will make the lives of refugees better or your life better, even just on a feeling level, forget morals.

The lives of refugees are not the subject, they're just thrown in, just like the hurricane was. It is hypothetical, no more. I don't know if I live up to some eternal standard, I have the feeling that I do not. However, the attraction of Christianity is the forgiveness, which you haven't earned either way.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:30 am

Prismatic567 wrote:Thus I would define God on the above basis as leveraged on our ancestors handed down DNA driven cognitive dissonance and existential crisis.

The only thing I disagree with is the DNA part. Otherwise, the way in which human beings have coped with existential crises is largely as you say, but it is a construct that needs fleshing out.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:35 pm

Bob wrote:I think that the problem isn't as big as you think. Agreed, there are many people with a simplistic approach, but by and large, the average church-goer wants to hear things that he believes he has worked out for himself and thereby receive confirmation. The general gist of Christian teaching regarding the OT is that one should "look for Jesus", meaning that one should leave the questionable parts as outdated and take on the parts that are not contradictory. Paul definitely teaches a Gospel that supersedes the OT since the NT is the fulfillment of the OT.
Sure, though I am not fond of Paul. I can't remember the details. Some kind of internal harshness. Or wants a harshness turned inward. But I have a different set of issues with the NT. I do think many Christians to manage to separare the wheat ( :icon-lol: ) from the chaff in daily life. There can be problems when they hit what are, for them, anomalies: transpersons, 9/11, large incursions of refugees. Suddenly some of the harsher parts of the Bible seep out, perhaps not consciously, but with effect.

And I think that the trial and error method, despite the availability of personal experience in others, is not something you can criticise. Children have often to feel the pain before they understand what mother means by "ouch".
yes.

I agree that it is often difficult talking to people about their faith from the metaphysical perspective. Many people have settled on a set of beliefs and only want confirmation. People like me just challenge their beliefs, even if I am showing them just how deep scripture goes. The fact that I have found another perspective isn't at all helpful for some people, which is why I leave them to it. I still have many friends in the church who avoid asking me questions, and if they do, they find it all very disturbing, whereas I find my discovery helpful.
One must in life pick and choose, I think. What to reveal, how deep to go. When to protect oneself or, to put it less dramatically, when to avoid unpleasance for oneself or even both parties. When to 'see what happens'. I don't have any rules for myself, though my approach has changed over time and it is more dependent on my particular mood and hard to track intuitive reactions to the person, context, their mood and so on.

I think that there is no way around it. If I'm asked I must answer.
A kind of commandment?


I appreciate you pointing this out, but he does allow me to answer him.
Of course. Not sure how he could prevent you doing that, but of course. He does not have the fault of silencing people or trying to. Quite the opposite. The questions keep on coming.

I think it is very important to be put to the test, and that he does. I would agree with you that his stance isn't particularly productive, but if I give him his due, he has reasons for the skeptical approach.
Absolutely.

Of course, you can't always trust what people say about themselves, but I have chosen to take things at their face value on forums like this. I can't check it out, so why bother?
Sure, I wasn't getting at hidden motives. I was describing the process as I see it. I think given the nature of his framing, you will bear the onus and any attempt to shift the onus or to share the onus, will fail.

If you think of a couple relationship and you have one person who is always put in the position of having to justify the effects of their actions and idead, and the other, through whatever means, is never really in that position, most people would think that this is an imbalance, a problem. Though probably most of us have allowed that imbalance that at some point and probably most of us, at least around some issue or in some period, have been the one who puts the onus on the other as a rule. And you and he are not in a couple relationship (yet, lol). But I think it is important in general to note that when two worldviews meet or set of heuristics meet through the people who believe in them, then each bears the onus for the effects of their worldview if either one does.

Otherwise it's a bit like having a judgmental stepfather or a harsh, judgmental auditory hallucination. O:)

The lives of refugees are not the subject, they're just thrown in, just like the hurricane was. It is hypothetical, no more. I don't know if I live up to some eternal standard, I have the feeling that I do not. However, the attraction of Christianity is the forgiveness, which you haven't earned either way.
I think in Christianity, despite all the Jesus dying for our sins stuff, it is earned in the sense that you need to 'get it.' You need to realize it was wrong. You cannot think it was ok and apologize. You need to feel that you wouldn't want to do it again. Not because of Hell, but because you get the cruelness of your act or attitude, say. Your empathy is awakened and applied to the act or attitude. You regret it.

Of course, I could be projecting, but I think, in the main, Christians don't believe the forgiveness is without a change. I just looked up the eytmology of 'earn' which, it turns out, I love. It comes from 'to do harvest work'. I was going to say that it perhaps isn't the best metaphor since it has to do with labor for money. But I think, in a sense, it is work. I suppose I would call it brave introspection.
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Re: Define God

Postby Prismatic567 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:36 am

Bob wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Thus I would define God on the above basis as leveraged on our ancestors handed down DNA driven cognitive dissonance and existential crisis.

The only thing I disagree with is the DNA part. Otherwise, the way in which human beings have coped with existential crises is largely as you say, but it is a construct that needs fleshing out.

Note there is the primal hardwired elements of the DNA and there are the softwired elements.
The primal hardwired elements and programs of the DNA are the construction of the whole basic physical human, consciousness, primal instincts and the likes evolved and programmed from over 3 billion years [single celled entities] to the present complex humans.

The softwired elements are the various forms of physical and mental elements that are programmed from nurturing factors from the later hundred thousands of years.
For example, that different humans has different skin tones is due to their exposure to different environment and their adaption to it since a long time.
These has to be programmed in the DNA, else how are babies born with White, brown, yellow, black skin tones.

The existential crisis is a softwired kind of algorithm from a combination of the primal instincts and other later sub-routines. This is passed on to the next generations [active in many] via the DNA codings i.e. nature. If not, how else?
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Re: Define God

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:03 pm

iambiguous wrote: But: Once you acknowledge this, in my view, you are then acknowledging that had your experiences been different for other reasons, you may well have come to reject God and religion altogether. As I did. In fact my point here revolves precisely around this:

"That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated... fabricated... refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."


Bob wrote: I agree that the scenario in which I reject God was something I thought through. I decided instead, that it was my imagination that was at fault. Anything that could be called God would have to be larger and so completely different, that my imagination, linked as it is to my spacial concepts, would be blown out.

Instead, I focused on the fact that, given what we know about the universe, where does my consciousness come from? Even in nature, we have difficulty in finding a species that comes close to that, and if we did, then we would be able to work out how to communicate. This is two observations that had me thinking that coincidence aside, something has included our consciousness in the fabric of being. That, I concluded, would be worthy of the description/name God.


Yes, this sort of thinking is ineffably embedded in a brain that can precipitate a mind and that can precipitate an "I" able to think this.

And, here and now, I can't even begin to explain that myself. It might be traced back to a God, the God, my God...or to the God of Spinioza...or to a wholly determined universe in which all of this is only ever as it ever could have been. And that's before we get to simulated worlds, and dream worlds and Matrix/Inception realities.

That's why I can only come back to the part where whatever you have come to define God to be, you are able to demonstrate that it reflects the most rational definition of all.

Otherwise, in my view, it all becomes entangled in "I" as the embodiment of dasein.

Here, of course, in relation to God. And how we come to define him. And that in relation to our moral narratives. And that in relation to the behaviors we choose.


Bob wrote: I think that, given the presence of natural laws, there should be a law of behaviour. That is, there is a given way to behave that is best suited to prolong life and assist coexistence and cooperation amongst sentient beings.


But this sort of "general description" assessment [like mine above] still needs to be explored/encompassed existentially by focusing in on actual behaviors chosen by actual individuals in relationship to the manner in which they define God. Otherwise it all gets yanked up into the stratosphere of dueling definitions and deductions. Natural laws either explain all of our behaviors, or God is involved, or, sans God, we are able to choose freely to think, feel, say and do the things that we opt for.

But how then to actually prove that?

If you are among the living and wish to remain so, the hurricane becomes an existential threat from God.
Are you arguing here that hurricane Dorian might be construed as an object lesson from God? An actual golden opportunity enabling the people down there to learn how to better deal with confrontation?
And that God then steered it out to sea because there and then He figured the people in Florida did not need this objective lesson?
Bottom line [mine]: How does a particular definition of God take into account these actual events themselves?


Bob wrote: No, I am not suggesting that the hurricane is an existential threat from God, but that existence itself, as harsh as it seems, is what we are confronted with.


But existence itself [to most religious people] is synonymous with God. Just as [ultimately[ nature must be.

Bob wrote: Like I said before, the sages of humanity have come to realise that existence means suffering, but that a behaviour that aligns with the positives in life can help us overcome suffering.


But: Gun control, immigration, the consumption of animals, gender roles, the role of government, immigration, war and peace, capital punishment, abortion, busing, separation of church and state, and on and on and on: With or without God, what constitutes a positive in life? Clearly, given particular political policies, what some see as overcoming suffering, others see as creating it.

And that's when, in presuming a No God world, the components of my own philosophy kick in.

Bob wrote: The fact that we are confronted with a world that is naturally decaying is a challenge, which has led people to think up reasons for coping with it. There has been the hope that, after death, it will somehow go on ... however you interpret that. It may be irrational, but isn't our whole existence is somehow irrational?


Which just brings me back to this:

1] someone defines God in a particular way
2] this definition then allows them to reflect on the relationship between God, nature, natural disasters and mere mortals coping with the terrible results of them

But: How does their definition of God account for the fact that mere mortals are left to cope with the consequences of disasters that can only be attributed to God Himself?

Yes, that's one way to look at it. Another way is to suggest that once "I" is no longer anchored to the will of God, this allows for considerably more freedom of choice in an autonomous universe. Purpose can be construed in ways that allow individuals to flourish in a manner that the religious are advised never to even imagine.

It cuts both ways.


Bob wrote: That would be true if you have a view of God that is restrictive. If your view is somehow empowering, as is suggested by the spread of Christianity for example, then it gives you new perspectives.


Yes, but we still need to bring less restrictive views down to earth and explore them in a particular context. And then connect the dots between that and Judgment Day. A cafeteria Christian gets to pick and choose the behaviors that he or she presumes is okay with God. But then any number of other far more orthodox denominations protest vigorously that this is not the case at all. So, how then ought God to be defined here in order to reconcile this? Again, with so much at stake throughout all of eternity: immortality, salvation, divine justice.

But then others insist that this is embedded far more in the capitalist dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fattest political economy.

That the solution here is actually more a political struggle to uproot it. Again each individual embodying his or her own unique set of experiences will come to understand this differently. Sure, with God, "I" is anchored. As it is anchored to any number of ideological scriptures.


Bob wrote: The struggles within societies that essentially mean you have to "fight" to survive, are man-made. They can also be unmade.


But then all societies have to deal with natural disasters. And millions upon millions have been forced to fight to survive regarding calamities that are anything but man-made.

Bob wrote: However, up until now, such attempts have gone terribly wrong. That is why I think that the best solution is from inside out. The "revolution of the soul", however, is a struggle that few undertake.


With regard to man-made struggles, who gets to actually decide who is to blame for this or that experience going terribly wrong? Who gets to decide how individuals from the inside out can make things right? What things? In what contexts? Given whose rendition of rewards and punishment?

And are we to just dismiss altogether the part played by those struggling to upend the policies of the rich and powerful who own and operate the global economy. Hoping against hope that they have a "revolution of the soul" in sync with what you construe to be "the right thing to do"?

In other words, from my point of view this sort of assessment...

Bob wrote: If scripture becomes ideological, then we have the problem that we have with any ideology throughout history. It is the difference between ideology and religion that Jordan Peterson makes. As long as religion is helping you to achieve the "revolution of the soul", no-one is being killed. As soon as it becomes a fight of one ideology against another, people die, especially if the reward is "on the other side".


...is just another classic example of the "general description". The mentality of those who do not construe human interaction as I do given the points raised in my signature threads.

Their own non-ideological "revolution of the soul" all comes together "in their head" to create this wonderful rendition of how the world could be: https://youtu.be/Nz9BNwbKM0M

Some with God, some without.

Well, until [like most things] it all becomes "politicized": https://www.npr.org/2012/01/13/14505950 ... -bad-thing

Or, rather, so it all seems to me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:57 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Sure, though I am not fond of Paul. I can't remember the details. Some kind of internal harshness. Or wants a harshness turned inward harshly. But I have a different set of issues with the NT. I do think many Christians to manage to separate the wheat from the chaff in daily life. There can be problems when they hit for them anomalies: transpersons, 9/11, large incursions of refugees. Suddenly some of the harsher parts of the Bible seep out, perhaps not consciously, but with effect.

I agree that Christians often have difficulties in coping with modern life, but I must stand up for the fact that life in our western societies is getting ridiculous in many places. Christians are given a picture of harmony that can work but face a disharmonious world. It isn't fair to make such conditions the norm and criticise people for their inability to cope.
Having said that, I think that the call of Christ to love one's neighbours is so universal, that when you find people with misgivings or even outright hate of "others", then you are right about them missing the mark. Paul does provide a vocabulary for such ill-feelings, which is where my problems with Paul lies. Discomfort is okay, but hate is clearly wrong.
One must in life pick and choose, I think. What to reveal, how deep to go. When to protect oneself or, to put it less dramatically, when to avoid unpleasance for oneself or even both parties. When to 'see what happens'. I don't have any rules for myself, though my approach has changed over time and it is more dependent on my particular mood and hard to track intuitive reactions to the person, context, their mood and so on.

I agree, that would be a more suitable approach.
I think that there is no way around it. If I'm asked I must answer.
A kind of commandment?

No, but it is a requirement if you want to stay authentic.
If you think of a couple relationship and you have one person who is always put in the position of having to justify the effects of their actions and the other, through whatever means, is never really in that position, most people would think that this is an imbalance, a problem. Though probably most of us have allowed that at some point and probably most of us, at least around some issue or in some period have been the one who puts the onus on the other. And you and he are not in a couple relationship (yet, lol). But I think it is important in general to note that when two worldviews meet or set of heuristics meet through the people who believe in them, then each bears the onus for the effects of their worldview if either one does.

I'm glad you noted that I am not in a relationship, but just reacting in a discussion. Like I said, having the onus is something you have to accept if you are going to actively stand up for a worldview. We have lost the ability to argue our cause and there are millions just sitting on the fence. That makes it difficult, but obviously, we haven't spread the ability to express views enough or made people able to think for themselves, even though they assume sitting on the fence is an expression of their views.
I think in Christianity, despite all the Jesus dying for our sins stuff, it is earned in the sense that you need to 'get it.' You need to realize it was wrong. You cannot think it was ok and apologize. You need to feel that you wouldn't want to do it again. no because of Hell, but because you get its cruelness, say. Your empathy is awakened and applied to the act of attitude. You regret it.

Of course, I could be projecting, but I think, in the main, Christians don't believe the forgiveness is without a change. I just looked up the eytmology of 'earn' which, I love, comes from 'to do harvest work'. I was going to say that it perhaps isn't the best metaphor since it has to do with labor for money. But I think in a sense it is work. I suppose I would call it brave introspection.

I agree, and I must thank Jordan Peterson for putting it in terms that are not necessarily religious: The natural course of the world and everything in it is entropy, degeneration, and decay. If you align yourself with that, everything goes down the drain. If instead, you align yourself with all that is wholesome, uplifting and orderly, then you can reverse that course for the time that you can keep it up. Therefore, righteousness is an active behaviour that is preventing degeneration.

I know that several Christians told me that I was being too radical, but unless it makes a difference, you haven't accepted forgiveness. This is born out by the etymological meaning of earn, which as you say, is work. We have to work at preventing degeneration if we are Christian.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:59 am

iambiguous wrote:"That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated... fabricated... refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."

I’m not sure we can anchor our identity. I think that our identity is a process that makes us go through several modes of being and makes us look back and wonder who that was, back then. We all know that the years seem to be speeding up as we get older, the image in the mirror changes faster towards the end. Am I really the same person that my wife married 43 years ago? She says yes and no. Having been going through a similar process and watching me, she knows that I am the same person, but in many ways I’m not. The world is spinning and our minds give us whirling images of all those years at the same time sometimes, our dreams, especially after traumatic experiences, make us wake up suddenly in the night, back on earth thank goodness.

iambiguous wrote:And, here and now, I can't even begin to explain that myself. It might be traced back to a God, the God, my God...or to the God of Spinioza...or to a wholly determined universe in which all of this is only ever as it ever could have been. And that's before we get to simulated worlds, and dream worlds and Matrix/Inception realities.

That's why I can only come back to the part where whatever you have come to define God to be, you are able to demonstrate that it reflects the most rational definition of all.

Otherwise, in my view, it all becomes entangled in "I" as the embodiment of dasein.

I disagree that rationality is the yardstick by which we measure whatever we comprehend to be God. It would be nice if that were so, but life is so irrational, thereby the source of life may be too. Besides, it is tangled up in Being, tangled up in our experiences, in our dreams and imaginations, tangled up in how we see our peers and, not least, tangled up in how our life works out. It is tangled up in our vocabulary, our ability to make words and speak them. Our comprehension is wrapped up in so much irrationality that our ideas of God cannot ever meet any kind of reality.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: I think that, given the presence of natural laws, there should be a law of behaviour. That is, there is a given way to behave that is best suited to prolong life and assist coexistence and cooperation amongst sentient beings.


But this sort of "general description" assessment [like mine above] still needs to be explored/encompassed existentially by focusing in on actual behaviors chosen by actual individuals in relationship to the manner in which they define God. Otherwise it all gets yanked up into the stratosphere of dueling definitions and deductions. Natural laws either explain all of our behaviors, or God is involved, or, sans God, we are able to choose freely to think, feel, say and do the things that we opt for.

But how then to actually prove that?

I like the way that Jordan Peterson describes it, he says that the narrow path to salvation passes between chaos and order, a middle way. It is a pathway of conscious choice, choosing order and chaos/creativity in measured quantities, keeping the ship on an even keel on whatever course you’ve chosen. This takes in the reality that confronts us, sees the co-residents of the planet, and provides balance there too. A healthy life, according to Ayurveda, is a life in balance.

But existence itself [to most religious people] is synonymous with God. Just as [ultimately[ nature must be.

Maybe, but maybe not … there are a myriad of ways to describe God, consciousness is also on offer as the “spirit” of God.

But: Gun control, immigration, the consumption of animals, gender roles, the role of government, immigration, war and peace, capital punishment, abortion, busing, separation of church and state, and on and on and on: With or without God, what constitutes a positive in life? Clearly, given particular political policies, what some see as overcoming suffering, others see as creating it.

And that's when, in presuming a No God world, the components of my own philosophy kick in.

I think that we don’t take symbolism seriously enough, or think that it is too overbearing, given the amount of symbolism that went bad in the 20th century. However, how do we present the good that we want to promote? How do we make it clear to people where we want to go? How do we make any engagement in good behaviour appealing? If you manage to do that, and help society to become morally clear on some of those issues, you have a direction away from chaos, decay and degeneration

Which just brings me back to this:

1] someone defines God in a particular way
2] this definition then allows them to reflect on the relationship between God, nature, natural disasters and mere mortals coping with the terrible results of them

But: How does their definition of God account for the fact that mere mortals are left to cope with the consequences of disasters that can only be attributed to God Himself?

In the end, if God is all powerful, then you can attribute the bad things to him. That is the weakness of theism. But what if God is the starting point of everything and where we end up? What if we fall, struggling as we were in this life, into “the arms” of God, like waking from a bad dream? That is how many people rationalise suffering.

we still need to bring less restrictive views down to earth and explore them in a particular context. And then connect the dots between that and Judgment Day. A cafeteria Christian gets to pick and choose the behaviors that he or she presumes is okay with God. But then any number of other far more orthodox denominations protest vigorously that this is not the case at all. So, how then ought God to be defined here in order to reconcile this? Again, with so much at stake throughout all of eternity: immortality, salvation, divine justice.

The road to salvation is narrow and winds left and right, up and down. But it goes right through the middle of existence. There are many voices, some are unbearably restrictive, some are unbelievably lax in their approach. There is only one way, and that is the one you choose. I don’t think the way is the most important thing, but why you choose it. That shows our moral fibre.
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Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:15 am

Bob wrote:I disagree that rationality is the yardstick by which we measure whatever we comprehend to be God. It would be nice if that were so, but life is so irrational, thereby the source of life may be too. Besides, it is tangled up in Being, tangled up in our experiences, in our dreams and imaginations, tangled up in how we see our peers and, not least, tangled up in how our life works out. It is tangled up in our vocabulary, our ability to make words and speak them. Our comprehension is wrapped up in so much irrationality that our ideas of God cannot ever meet any kind of reality.
That seems like an unnecessary conclusion. Let's say you engage in some set or religious or spiritual practices. And that in your beliefs, you believe you are coming closer to God or communicating with God or receiving from God in those practices. One need not have a final, complete or even remotely near a complete conception of God, let alone some verbal summation you can pass on to others to convince them, to 'meet a kind of reality.' If the process, as far as you can tell, leads you to experiences, attitudes and emotions, heck even practical conclusions, that please you or you find worthwhile, then you have an instrumental approach to God.

And this is not so different from what we have with other people. We say we love them and engage in practices (activities) with them. Do we know them fully? Might they not have depths and secrets and contradictions and qualities we miss? Might we spend our whole lives learning about them and still not have some complete picture, but perhaps this felt knowledge and appreciation for the contact?

And that's with a corporeal being that scientists will tell us exists.

There is no reason a theist would need to have some rational, verbal knowledge of the deity that can convince others they should also conceive of God as X.


I think that we don’t take symbolism seriously enough, or think that it is too overbearing, given the amount of symbolism that went bad in the 20th century. However, how do we present the good that we want to promote? How do we make it clear to people where we want to go? How do we make any engagement in good behaviour appealing? If you manage to do that, and help society to become morally clear on some of those issues, you have a direction away from chaos, decay and degeneration

The road to salvation is narrow and winds left and right, up and down. But it goes right through the middle of existence. There are many voices, some are unbearably restrictive, some are unbelievably lax in their approach. There is only one way, and that is the one you choose. I don’t think the way is the most important thing, but why you choose it. That shows our moral fibre.
And there is no possible way to avoid using intuition for our core life choices. And every choice,e ven the choice not to act - which is not possible - is still a choice. We are damned to choosing. Or blessed or both. But there is no waiting room in reality where one can say 'I cannot prove that my choice for living is the rational one all people should engage in so I will stay in here.' That waiting room, however you manage to make it, is still in the world, is still a choice and you haven't proven it is the right most logical one all should choose.

So one might as well acknowledge that one is already in life, has already made choices based on intuition and incomplete knowledge. There is no sideline to sniper from.
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Re: Define God

Postby iambiguous » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:37 pm

iambiguous wrote:"That is the question that has always fascinated me the most. Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated... fabricated... refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."


Bob wrote: I’m not sure we can anchor our identity. I think that our identity is a process that makes us go through several modes of being and makes us look back and wonder who that was, back then. We all know that the years seem to be speeding up as we get older, the image in the mirror changes faster towards the end. Am I really the same person that my wife married 43 years ago? She says yes and no. Having been going through a similar process and watching me, she knows that I am the same person, but in many ways I’m not. The world is spinning and our minds give us whirling images of all those years at the same time sometimes, our dreams, especially after traumatic experiences, make us wake up suddenly in the night, back on earth thank goodness.


There are of course the actual facts that have accumulated over the years regarding our identity in the either/or world -- age, date of birth, place of birth, height and weight [at any given time], family, community, childhood experiences etc. They are able to be confirmed as true objectively. It is only in regard to "I" in the is/ought world of value judgments [including views about God] that the three components of my own philosophy kick in.

iambiguous wrote:And, here and now, I can't even begin to explain that myself. It might be traced back to a God, the God, my God...or to the God of Spinoza...or to a wholly determined universe in which all of this is only ever as it ever could have been. And that's before we get to simulated worlds, and dream worlds and Matrix/Inception realities.

That's why I can only come back to the part where whatever you have come to define God to be, you are able to demonstrate that it reflects the most rational definition of all.

Otherwise, in my view, it all becomes entangled in "I" as the embodiment of dasein.


Bob wrote: I disagree that rationality is the yardstick by which we measure whatever we comprehend to be God. It would be nice if that were so, but life is so irrational, thereby the source of life may be too.


Yes, in regard to religion, reason quickly gets tangled up in emotion, in psychology, in the subconscious/unconscious mind and in the biological imperatives built right into our genetic blueprint. No doubt about that.

But: In discussing God and religion in a philosophy venue what seems most relevant to me is the extent to which one can demonstrate to others that what is seen to be reasonable to them ought to be deemed reasonable in turn by all men and women who wish to be thought of as rational human beings. After all, what else is there?

Bob wrote: Besides, it is tangled up in Being, tangled up in our experiences, in our dreams and imaginations, tangled up in how we see our peers and, not least, tangled up in how our life works out. It is tangled up in our vocabulary, our ability to make words and speak them. Our comprehension is wrapped up in so much irrationality that our ideas of God cannot ever meet any kind of reality.


That's clearly true. But if philosophers [and scientists] don't fall back on reason and demonstrable proof to untangle all the conflicting assessments of God, then it simply comes down to what anyone claims to believe "personally".

Bob wrote: I think that, given the presence of natural laws, there should be a law of behaviour. That is, there is a given way to behave that is best suited to prolong life and assist coexistence and cooperation amongst sentient beings.


iambiguous wrote: But this sort of "general description" assessment [like mine above] still needs to be explored/encompassed existentially by focusing in on actual behaviors chosen by actual individuals in relationship to the manner in which they define God. Otherwise it all gets yanked up into the stratosphere of dueling definitions and deductions. Natural laws either explain all of our behaviors, or God is involved, or, sans God, we are able to choose freely to think, feel, say and do the things that we opt for.

But how then to actually prove that?


Bob wrote: I like the way that Jordan Peterson describes it, he says that the narrow path to salvation passes between chaos and order, a middle way. It is a pathway of conscious choice, choosing order and chaos/creativity in measured quantities, keeping the ship on an even keel on whatever course you’ve chosen. This takes in the reality that confronts us, sees the co-residents of the planet, and provides balance there too. A healthy life, according to Ayurveda, is a life in balance.


Yes, that is how he describes it. But how does he then take this general description itself out into the world of conflicting goods...of conflicting assessments/definitions of God?

Imagine proponents of all the different religious denominations and sects getting together in order to pin down that which constitutes a healthy life in balance.

With respect to what specific context, viewed in what specific way? As you note, "there are a myriad of ways to describe God, consciousness is also on offer as the “spirit” of God."

That's where I always take these discussions:

1] Intertwining what one construes to be the "spirit" of God into
2] their definition [understanding] of God into
3] the behaviors that they choose on this side of the grave in order to secure what they hope their fate will be on the other side

But: Gun control, immigration, the consumption of animals, gender roles, the role of government, immigration, war and peace, capital punishment, abortion, busing, separation of church and state, and on and on and on: With or without God, what constitutes a positive in life? Clearly, given particular political policies, what some see as overcoming suffering, others see as creating it.

And that's when, in presuming a No God world, the components of my own philosophy kick in.


Bob wrote: I think that we don’t take symbolism seriously enough, or think that it is too overbearing, given the amount of symbolism that went bad in the 20th century. However, how do we present the good that we want to promote? How do we make it clear to people where we want to go? How do we make any engagement in good behaviour appealing? If you manage to do that, and help society to become morally clear on some of those issues, you have a direction away from chaos, decay and degeneration


Again, this just another general description assessment in my view. How, in your interactions with others, would what you mean by these words embody both a use value and an exchange value in regard to moral clarity around an issue like abortion?

For some, moral "chaos, decay and degeneration" revolves around killing the unborn. For others, it revolves around forcing women to given birth. And right on down the line regarding so many other conflicts that most religious folks insist ultimately comes down to Judgment Day itself. Some folks go up, some go down.

That's why the stakes are so high here in discussion like this. Everything is on the line [and for all of eternity] in getting it right.

Which just brings me back to this:

1] someone defines God in a particular way
2] this definition then allows them to reflect on the relationship between God, nature, natural disasters and mere mortals coping with the terrible results of them

But: How does their definition of God account for the fact that mere mortals are left to cope with the consequences of disasters that can only be attributed to God Himself?


Bob wrote: In the end, if God is all powerful, then you can attribute the bad things to him. That is the weakness of theism. But what if God is the starting point of everything and where we end up? What if we fall, struggling as we were in this life, into “the arms” of God, like waking from a bad dream? That is how many people rationalise suffering.


What if...

And if philosophy does not revolve around coming as close as we possibly can to pinning that down, what's the point of it?

And here definitions of God only go so far.

we still need to bring less restrictive views down to earth and explore them in a particular context. And then connect the dots between that and Judgment Day. A cafeteria Christian gets to pick and choose the behaviors that he or she presumes is okay with God. But then any number of other far more orthodox denominations protest vigorously that this is not the case at all. So, how then ought God to be defined here in order to reconcile this? Again, with so much at stake throughout all of eternity: immortality, salvation, divine justice.


Bob wrote: The road to salvation is narrow and winds left and right, up and down. But it goes right through the middle of existence. There are many voices, some are unbearably restrictive, some are unbelievably lax in their approach. There is only one way, and that is the one you choose. I don’t think the way is the most important thing, but why you choose it. That shows our moral fibre.


Well, as to why we do choose the things we do regarding questions and answers pertaining to God, I myself [here and now] can only come back to "I" being an existential contraption derived from the life that we have actually lived derived from the part where we are "thrown" adventitiously at birth into a particular historical, cultural and experiential context. Then all the points raised in my signature threads.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:34 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:That seems like an unnecessary conclusion. Let's say you engage in some set or religious or spiritual practices. And that in your beliefs, you believe you are coming closer to God or communicating with God or receiving from God in those practices. One need not have a final, complete or even remotely near a complete conception of God, let alone some verbal summation you can pass on to others to convince them, to 'meet a kind of reality.' If the process, as far as you can tell, leads you to experiences, attitudes and emotions, heck even practical conclusions, that please you or you find worthwhile, then you have an instrumental approach to God.

In fact, I feel that we have said the same thing, albeit my words were perhaps not so clear.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:And this is not so different from what we have with other people. We say we love them and engage in practices (activities) with them. Do we know them fully? Might they not have depths and secrets and contradictions and qualities we miss? Might we spend our whole lives learning about them and still not have some complete picture, but perhaps this felt knowledge and appreciation for the contact?

And that's with a corporeal being that scientists will tell us exists.

There is no reason a theist would need to have some rational, verbal knowledge of the deity that can convince others they should also conceive of God as X.

But they often do claim that, don’t they. That is where I feel that many Christians fall down, claiming that the “know” God so intimately that they “know” that he’s not the same as “your” God. I have often spoken with Christians that wouldn’t entertain my ideas, but have said that “their” God can do all the things that I said could be done through us. "Salvation doesn't come through works" they have told me. "But compassion does", I answered

And there is no possible way to avoid using intuition for our core life choices. And every choice, even the choice not to act - which is not possible - is still a choice. We are damned to choosing. Or blessed or both. But there is no waiting room in reality where one can say 'I cannot prove that my choice for living is the rational one all people should engage in so I will stay in here.' That waiting room, however you manage to make it, is still in the world, is still a choice and you haven't proven it is the right most logical one all should choose.

So one might as well acknowledge that one is already in life, has already made choices based on intuition and incomplete knowledge. There is no sideline to sniper from.

I agree completely, and would only add that I think that the exchange of ideas about existence is completely fascinating. The ability of someone to talk from a certain perspective doesn’t collide with my perspective, they are both aiming for the same spot. It’s when the aim goes wrong because I am too concerned with someone else’s perspective that we have to re-adjust. That has been the problem with evangelical Christians as far as I can make out, many just identifying themselves with what they are not, rather than what they are. Calling devil when they don’t understand another perspective. But it has also been a problem with pseudo Religions that are not aiming but just claiming. We must aim, otherwise, we can end up all over the place, but not where we want to be.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:57 am

iambiguous wrote:Once I become cognizant of how profoundly problematic my 'self' is, what can 'I' do about it? And what are the philosophical implications of acknowledging that identity is, by and large, an existential contraption that is always subject to change without notice? What can we 'anchor' our identity to so as to make this prefabricated... fabricated... refabricated world seem less vertiginous? And, thus, more certain."

If it helps, Buddhism has always said that self is an illusion, something comparable to an eddy, a current at variance with the main current in a river. It is really just a whirling collection of water, but when you come back another day, it is still there. When the obstruction is removed, the eddy is gone, lost in the main current. We are, in a way, just an existence at variance with existence itself, remove the blockage and we become part of existence itself. That is why I say I’m not sure we can anchor our identity. I think that our identity is a process that makes us go through several modes of being. At the final stage, the blockage is removed and we become one with existence (God?).

iambiguous wrote:There are of course the actual facts that have accumulated over the years regarding our identity in the either/or world -- age, date of birth, place of birth, height and weight [at any given time], family, community, childhood experiences etc. They are able to be confirmed as true objectively. It is only in regard to "I" in the is/ought world of value judgments [including views about God] that the three components of my own philosophy kick in.

Facts aren’t what we are, are they? They change with the years, but the observing “I” is what remains to the end.

iambiguous wrote:But: In discussing God and religion in a philosophy venue what seems most relevant to me is the extent to which one can demonstrate to others that what is seen to be reasonable to them ought to be deemed reasonable in turn by all men and women who wish to be thought of as rational human beings. After all, what else is there?

I think that the demonstration that is needed is doing what you preach. That would bring us a long way. There is no better way. If your God is love, then one would expect love to be the key aspect of your life, as well as the various degrees of love according to scripture: joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But if philosophers [and scientists] don't fall back on reason and demonstrable proof to untangle all the conflicting assessments of God, then it simply comes down to what anyone claims to believe "personally".

I think that the “fruits of the spirit” are as much demonstrable proof as you can get. No “personal faith” has any standing if you don’t do what you preach. That really is my answer to a bulk of questions you posted.

For some, moral "chaos, decay and degeneration" revolves around killing the unborn. For others, it revolves around forcing women to given birth. And right on down the line regarding so many other conflicts that most religious folks insist ultimately comes down to Judgment Day itself. Some folks go up, some go down.

That's why the stakes are so high here in discussion like this. Everything is on the line [and for all of eternity] in getting it right.

Like I said, to me, love would be the key to many behaviours, but we must also take into account where people have been forced to compromise to prevent the worst case. This world isn’t perfect, and we are also flawed, but that is why I said that what you do is often less important than why you do it. That is where we can only guess, not being able to see in the minds of others.

But chaos, decay and degeneration are facts of life that we either choose to combat, or we align ourselves with a psychological entropy and let things go down the drain. Usually it is the attempt to delay or prevent degeneration that is active and aligning one’s self with decay is the passive approach. In fact, any kind of inactivity is an alignment with decay and chaos, whether a cafeteria Christian or a more orthodox denomination is inactive.

Bob wrote: Well, as to why we do choose the things we do regarding questions and answers pertaining to God, I myself [here and now] can only come back to "I" being an existential contraption derived from the life that we have actually lived derived from the part where we are "thrown" adventitiously at birth into a particular historical, cultural and experiential context. Then all the points raised in my signature threads.

I think that the answers are evading you because you are making it too complicated and the answers are not.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:53 am

Bob wrote:In fact, I feel that we have said the same thing, albeit my words were perhaps not so clear.
or my mind.

But they often do claim that, don’t they.
They do, though I wonder how much that has to do with the cross-'cultural' battle. I do think they oversimplify, even between each other. But there is a whole God moves in mysterious ways camp - and not just using this in response to 'why did God give my three year old leukemia?' but as a more humble general attitude.

That is where I feel that many Christians fall down, claiming that the “know” God so intimately that they “know” that he’s not the same as “your” God. I have often spoken with Christians that wouldn’t entertain my ideas, but have said that “their” God can do all the things that I said could be done through us. "Salvation doesn't come through works" they have told me. "But compassion does", I answered
I haven't had a lot of interactions with the more self-certain Christian or fundmentalists. I'm sure you're take is right. But there is a kind of lowest common denomenator version of any system. And it is widespread.

I agree completely, and would only add that I think that the exchange of ideas about existence is completely fascinating.
that's great if you can maintain that feeling even in online discussion forums. I find that irl with people I more or less randomly meet, I can have warm exploratory conversations, even with Jehovah's witnesses arrived unasked at the door. I used to engage people who stopped me on the street - so this means, people who are out proselytizing, and have very interesting non-confrontational conversations. In the end I didn't give them what they wanted and there were awkward moments, but as long as I did not attack and was exploratory, they generally responded in ways that were actually rather nuanced. Here online, I find that the situation is seen as a kind of battle, where both sides - not that there are two - feel like righteous victims. So, if you can keep that feeling here online, you are doing something quite well.

The ability of someone to talk from a certain perspective doesn’t collide with my perspective, they are both aiming for the same spot. It’s when the aim goes wrong because I am too concerned with someone else’s perspective that we have to re-adjust. That has been the problem with evangelical Christians as far as I can make out, many just identifying themselves with what they are not, rather than what they are. Calling devil when they don’t understand another perspective. But it has also been a problem with pseudo Religions that are not aiming but just claiming. We must aim, otherwise, we can end up all over the place, but not where we want to be.
And, I would add, with nihilists, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, New agers, hindus, muslims
and more.
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Re: Define God

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:45 pm

Some ideas expressed by current progressive Christians:
1. God is a Force, not a person.
2. The Force is universal, unconditional Love.
3. This Love is the tao or way-- the Truth and the Life.
4 Reward and punishment amount to animal training or infantile persuasions.
5. Heaven and hell are here and now on this Earth.
6. Theism is comprised of myths that retard spiritual growth.
7. To be Godly is to achieve the full depths of what it means to be human.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:08 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
But they often do claim that, don’t they.
They do, though I wonder how much that has to do with the cross-'cultural' battle. I do think they oversimplify, even between each other. But there is a whole God moves in mysterious ways camp - and not just using this in response to 'why did God give my three year old leukemia?' but as a more humble general attitude.

In my experience, a humble general attitude has respect for dissenters or people like me. I met one such person, and evangelical man, we had a talk after I told him that I was leaving the congregation and after talking about my reasons, he said, “My boy, you’ve just gone further down the line than us. I wish you well on your way.”

I agree completely, and would only add that I think that the exchange of ideas about existence is completely fascinating.
that's great if you can maintain that feeling even in online discussion forums. I find that irl with people I more or less randomly meet, I can have warm exploratory conversations, even with Jehovah's witnesses arrived unasked at the door. I used to engage people who stopped me on the street - so this means, people who are out proselytizing, and have very interesting non-confrontational conversations. In the end I didn't give them what they wanted and there were awkward moments, but as long as I did not attack and was exploratory, they generally responded in ways that were actually rather nuanced. Here online, I find that the situation is seen as a kind of battle, where both sides - not that there are two - feel like righteous victims. So, if you can keep that feeling here online, you are doing something quite well.

That sounds familiar, my wife has now and then asked me why I wanted to speak to the JW, but I wanted to hear their explanation as to how they came to their beliefs. They wouldn’t answer but instead reeled off something they had learned. It was almost the same with all of them. In the end, they brought some high-ranking JW, but he wouldn’t answer my question either. After that, they stopped coming. I suppose I was confronting them in a way, but gently.

But you’re right about the situation on ILP, there have been some good conversations, many of them way back when. You can see how long I’ve been around here. It started as a chance for me to communicate in English. Living in Germany I was getting out of the habit. It was at that time that I was looking for somebody to bounce my ideas off and I learned a lot here.
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Re: Define God

Postby MagsJ » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:14 am

Ierrellus wrote:Some ideas expressed by current progressive Christians:
1. God is a Force, not a person.
2. The Force is universal, unconditional Love.
3. This Love is the tao or way-- the Truth and the Life.
4 Reward and punishment amount to animal training or infantile persuasions.
5. Heaven and hell are here and now on this Earth.
6. Theism is comprised of myths that retard spiritual growth.
7. To be Godly is to achieve the full depths of what it means to be human.

The modern way forward..?
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get that time back, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:52 am

Bob wrote:In my experience, a humble general attitude has respect for dissenters or people like me. I met one such person, and evangelical man, we had a talk after I told him that I was leaving the congregation and after talking about my reasons, he said, “My boy, you’ve just gone further down the line than us. I wish you well on your way.”
Now, that's rare.

That sounds familiar, my wife has now and then asked me why I wanted to speak to the JW, but I wanted to hear their explanation as to how they came to their beliefs. They wouldn’t answer but instead reeled off something they had learned. It was almost the same with all of them. In the end, they brought some high-ranking JW, but he wouldn’t answer my question either. After that, they stopped coming. I suppose I was confronting them in a way, but gently.
I tended not to confront - of course, I have some pretty far out there beliefs - but rather contrasted and compared. I suppose I got into some of my own justifications for why I saw things as I did then. But I generally did not ask for their justifications. I did ask questions. I suppose I was more of an anthropologist than a philosopher. And, well, a social guy.

But you’re right about the situation on ILP,
And on other forums. It's harsh. Though I've experienced harshness online for a long time. I think it's gotten worse, though I may just be more tired of it. And, unlike you, once it gets aimed at me, I get harsh right back. Then I try to avoid people who bring that out in me. Or whom I see as dishonest or lacking in respect or who don't really respond just use one's responses as opportunities to repeat their positions. Not claiming any objectivity here.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:44 am

Ierrellus wrote:Some ideas expressed by current progressive Christians:
1. God is a Force, not a person.
2. The Force is universal, unconditional Love.
3. This Love is the tao or way-- the Truth and the Life.
4 Reward and punishment amount to animal training or infantile persuasions.
5. Heaven and hell are here and now on this Earth.
6. Theism is comprised of myths that retard spiritual growth.
7. To be Godly is to achieve the full depths of what it means to be human.


I think there are good reasons for all of them, because they are all deeply rooted in us as the archetypal ideal. The “Force” has become popular in the recent decades, but it has always been felt to be the way we should understand God.

The Bible gives us the statement that “God is love” and “Agape” is the unconditional love of God. It is given, not earned, especially when we consider the dark side of our character. The problem people have with this ideal is that life often isn’t compassionate with us, and seems to be an unyielding malevolence when, as Iam said, hurricanes and tornados, or any other natural catastrophe strikes.

Many traditions tell us that compassion is the Way, truth and life itself, if it be lived properly, and there is a lot to say for this. It is the alignment with all that is good and wholesome that restricts the amount of chaos in our lives, and therefore is promising. Even under duress, people that live in a community where this is lived, the way can be found to cope with hardships.

Reward and punishment are often what we conceive experiences to be, rather than declared and executed. If you have an idea of God that is mostly punishing, you might rate experiences this way.

Heaven and Hell certainly seem to be part of human experience here and now, rather than in an unknown future. Although, there are less heavenly experiences I would say. This can be taken to prove that people are not living in the Way, Truth and Life. It could be simply the way it is for many people.

Theism is certainly based on mythology, which is probably based on dreams or imaginations that ring true in real life. We tend to think in symbols, metaphors and allegories, especially when we experience something we can’t otherwise explain or portray. Having said that, the mythology of the Bible, for example, has withstood the test of time. We shouldn’t judge based only on our experience of life

No. 7 is probably especially true for Christians, although living fully is something that all traditions encourage us to do.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:25 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:In my experience, a humble general attitude has respect for dissenters or people like me. I met one such person, and evangelical man, we had a talk after I told him that I was leaving the congregation and after talking about my reasons, he said, “My boy, you’ve just gone further down the line than us. I wish you well on your way.”
Now, that's rare.

I must confess that he had been impressed with me after I had trained to be a geriatric nurse late in life, but he was the best of them and unfortunately died not long after our conversation. It was the training and the experience with the dying that had changed my attitude and I had brought this viewpoint into our meetings. Finally, I had to accept that they were not going to be able to cope with my approach, although many of them just interpreted what I said into what they wanted to hear. That is what I explained to him.

I tended not to confront - of course, I have some pretty far out there beliefs - but rather contrasted and compared. I suppose I got into some of my own justifications for why I saw things as I did then. But I generally did not ask for their justifications. I did ask questions. I suppose I was more of an anthropologist than a philosopher. And, well, a social guy.

I asked the young ladies how they had got into the JW, why they were so convinced that they knocked on peoples doors – even those of the obnoxious – and put up with what they had to put up with. They were taken aback by my questioning and tried to get back to the subject they had prepared. Unfortunately for them, at that time I was at home in the Bible and being the personality type that I am, I had recognised patterns in the Bible and remembered them when we spoke. They were obviously not so well versed and the conversation regularly broke down because of that. They couldn’t cope with me bringing in psychological viewpoints or experience with the dying. It was probably totally unfair of me, but that’s how I was then.

And on other forums. It's harsh. Though I've experienced harshness online for a long time. I think it's gotten worse, though I may just be more tired of it. And, unlike you, once it gets aimed at me, I get harsh right back. Then I try to avoid people who bring that out in me. Or whom I see as dishonest or lacking in respect or who don't really respond just use one's responses as opportunities to repeat their positions. Not claiming any objectivity here.

I went through a phase here on ILP when I followed links and found out some things about people who bugged me. When I presented them with contradictions, they went to town with me and I suffered a barrage every time I posted. It was probably well deserved ...
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Re: Define God

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:55 am

Bob wrote:They couldn’t cope with me bringing in psychological viewpoints or experience with the dying. It was probably totally unfair of me, but that’s how I was then.
Well, they were coming to put forward their ideas, they can't really expect people to behave differently from them. It was an encounter. They are really looking to learn, generally. I met scientologists, odd Buddhist sects, the Moonies, Jews for Jesus, and then more run of the mill groups. Sometimes I even went to meetings - though I always told friends where and when, and when to call out the cavalry - at least with the Moonies.

I went through a phase here on ILP when I followed links and found out some things about people who bugged me. When I presented them with contradictions, they went to town with me and I suffered a barrage every time I posted. It was probably well deserved
Do you mean you went private detective on people? I love that.
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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
I went through a phase here on ILP when I followed links and found out some things about people who bugged me. When I presented them with contradictions, they went to town with me and I suffered a barrage every time I posted. It was probably well deserved
Do you mean you went private detective on people? I love that.

It wasn't that difficult, people sometimes gave information about themselves and I just followed it up. The best one was the one who used the same avatar for uploading on youtube.

I don't do it nowadays, what with the amount of misuse around.
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Re: Define God

Postby Ierrellus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:29 pm

MagsJ wrote:
Ierrellus wrote:Some ideas expressed by current progressive Christians:
1. God is a Force, not a person.
2. The Force is universal, unconditional Love.
3. This Love is the tao or way-- the Truth and the Life.
4 Reward and punishment amount to animal training or infantile persuasions.
5. Heaven and hell are here and now on this Earth.
6. Theism is comprised of myths that retard spiritual growth.
7. To be Godly is to achieve the full depths of what it means to be human.

The modern way forward..?

I hope these point to the modern way forward. Most of them can be found in Bishop Spong's 1998 work "Why Christianity Must Change Or Die."
"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: Define God

Postby iambiguous » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:37 pm

Bob wrote:If it helps, Buddhism has always said that self is an illusion, something comparable to an eddy, a current at variance with the main current in a river. It is really just a whirling collection of water, but when you come back another day, it is still there. When the obstruction is removed, the eddy is gone, lost in the main current. We are, in a way, just an existence at variance with existence itself, remove the blockage and we become part of existence itself. That is why I say I’m not sure we can anchor our identity. I think that our identity is a process that makes us go through several modes of being. At the final stage, the blockage is removed and we become one with existence (God?).


But there are any number of factors embedded in the self that seem to be anything but illusions. The biological me. The world around me bursting at the seams with clearly demonstrable facts -- things -- that I [and you and everyone else here] take for granted as there objectively.

Only when going out onto the Matrix, sim world, demonic dream world limb does that begin to crumble.

Still, the eddies and obstructions in the river of life need a particular context in which to explore, among other things, a definition of God.

As for becoming at one with existence [God or No God] that is still construed by me to be a psychological defense mechanism some are able to think themselves into believing because believing that is so much less disturbing than subscribing to the brute facticity of an essentially meaningless existence that ends in the obliteration of "I" for all time to come.

Bob wrote:Facts aren’t what we are, are they? They change with the years, but the observing “I” is what remains to the end.


Yes, facts about you -- biologically and circumstantially -- do change over time. But they are still able to be demonstrated to others at any particular time and in any particular place to be what they are. As for the observing "I", that depends on any number of factors that may or may not be beyond ones control. The use of drugs or a mental illness or a brain tumor or diseases like Alzheimer and dementia, can reconfigure "I" into a frame of mind barely recognizable to yourself and to others.

With God, you may have once in fact defined Him one way, but then in fact came to define Him in another way instead. But either way that does not in fact enable you to demonstrate His actual existence.

And that is always the distinction I come back to in discussions such as this. This part:

iambiguous wrote:In discussing God and religion in a philosophy venue what seems most relevant to me is the extent to which one can demonstrate to others that what is seen to be reasonable to them ought to be deemed reasonable in turn by all men and women who wish to be thought of as rational human beings. After all, what else is there?


Bob wrote:I think that the demonstration that is needed is doing what you preach. That would bring us a long way. There is no better way. If your God is love, then one would expect love to be the key aspect of your life, as well as the various degrees of love according to scripture: joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


Based on your definition and understanding of God, you do certain things. Based on conflicting definitions and understandings of God, others do very different things. These precipitate conflicts in which rewards and punishment are meted out on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation are rewarded to some on the other side of it. While others are punished. Depending entirely on which Scripture one subscribes to.

As for, "joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control", we'll need an actual context. In my view, these words pass through your mind and they soothe you. Why? Because you are able imagine a future [with God] where they are just there. There all the time.

I've been there myself.

But if philosophers [and scientists] don't fall back on reason and demonstrable proof to untangle all the conflicting assessments of God, then it simply comes down to what anyone claims to believe "personally".


Bob wrote:I think that the “fruits of the spirit” are as much demonstrable proof as you can get. No “personal faith” has any standing if you don’t do what you preach. That really is my answer to a bulk of questions you posted.


Yes, many religious folks over the years have basically summed it up in that manner. After all, with objective morality, immortality, salvation, divine justice and all the rest of it on the line, all there really is are soul-fulfilling leaps of faith like that. And then all the terrible things are able to be subsumed in "God works in mysterious ways".

And, again, my own [at times] disgruntled reaction here is no doubt embedded in having to accept the fact that this sort of thing is no longer available to me.

As for this part...

Bob wrote:...chaos, decay and degeneration are facts of life that we either choose to combat, or we align ourselves with a psychological entropy and let things go down the drain. Usually it is the attempt to delay or prevent degeneration that is active and aligning one’s self with decay is the passive approach.


...you are not now yourself burdened with the manner in which "I" construe human interactions given the points I raise in my three signature threads.

And this, in my view, is deeply embedded existentially in dasein.

From my frame of mind, you subsume the reality of the world as I understand it in general descriptions of this sort. In other words, as soon as you take these words out into the world of actual human interactions, the words [and the definitions] become so much, much more problematic.

So that is avoided as much as possible. But this assumption can only be but an existential contraption of my own.

Bob wrote: Well, as to why we do choose the things we do regarding questions and answers pertaining to God, I myself [here and now] can only come back to "I" being an existential contraption derived from the life that we have actually lived derived from the part where we are "thrown" adventitiously at birth into a particular historical, cultural and experiential context. Then all the points raised in my signature threads.


Bob wrote:I think that the answers are evading you because you are making it too complicated and the answers are not.


Of course the answers are less complicated when all that matters is what you are able to convince yourself is true "in your head".

The part that, in my view, any number of objectivists [God or No God] will strive mightily to take with them to the grave.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Define God

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:08 am

iambiguous wrote:But there are any number of factors embedded in the self that seem to be anything but illusions. The biological me. The world around me bursting at the seams with clearly demonstrable facts -- things -- that I [and you and everyone else here] take for granted as there objectively.

Only when going out onto the Matrix, sim world, demonic dream world limb does that begin to crumble.

The part in the funeral, where the Pastor says, “From dust you came and to dust you shall return”, is enough to show that the river metaphor applies, even when out of water. We came out of this planet, and our bodies will return, but the question is posed, what about the “breath of God” that made mankind a “living spirit?” What happens to that?

iambiguous wrote:Still, the eddies and obstructions in the river of life need a particular context in which to explore, among other things, a definition of God.

As for becoming at one with existence [God or No God] that is still construed by me to be a psychological defense mechanism some are able to think themselves into believing because believing that is so much less disturbing than subscribing to the brute facticity of an essentially meaningless existence that ends in the obliteration of "I" for all time to come.

However you call it, it is hope that helps us get up in the morning, do our jobs well and keep a positive approach to life. Given just the knowledge about life that we have today, and accepting it as fact, we don’t achieve anything but the loss of hope.

Yes, facts about you -- biologically and circumstantially -- do change over time. But they are still able to be demonstrated to others at any particular time and in any particular place to be what they are. As for the observing "I", that depends on any number of factors that may or may not be beyond ones control. The use of drugs or a mental illness or a brain tumor or diseases like Alzheimer and dementia, can reconfigure "I" into a frame of mind barely recognizable to yourself and to others.

With God, you may have once in fact defined Him one way, but then in fact came to define Him in another way instead. But either way that does not in fact enable you to demonstrate His actual existence.

I think you choose the exception to the rule as though it were the rule. I agree, there are numerous things that can happen, which endanger the observing “I”, but the various examples you have given tell me nothing about how people in those circumstances experience their observing “I”.

Your insistence that one should demonstrate the existence of some thing called God fails to accept that God isn’t a “thing”. The Bible is clear on that, except when speaking metaphorically.

iambiguous wrote:And that is always the distinction I come back to in discussions such as this. This part:

iambiguous wrote:In discussing God and religion in a philosophy venue what seems most relevant to me is the extent to which one can demonstrate to others that what is seen to be reasonable to them ought to be deemed reasonable in turn by all men and women who wish to be thought of as rational human beings. After all, what else is there?

Demonstrably, over thousands of years, there has been faith. It is only since we try to apply rationality to religion that we find it doesn’t compute. But that is because it never should. The truth of the Bible, for example, is the “true to life” truth. It is listening to a poem that takes us back to the past. It is singing a song that reminds us of the last time we were singing with loved ones who have departed. It is observing a painting and being caught up in its colours. It is listening to a symphony and flying in the clouds. It is being in everyday situations and feeling an inspiration overcome us. It is being in a loving community and feeling it with all our senses. It is being in flow modus.

Based on your definition and understanding of God, you do certain things. Based on conflicting definitions and understandings of God, others do very different things. These precipitate conflicts in which rewards and punishment are meted out on this side of the grave and immortality and salvation are rewarded to some on the other side of it. While others are punished. Depending entirely on which Scripture one subscribes to.

As for, "joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control", we'll need an actual context. In my view, these words pass through your mind and they soothe you. Why? Because you are able imagine a future [with God] where they are just there. There all the time.

I've been there myself.

What other people do I can’t influence, and even if I do, then it was out of my control. The fruits of the spirit are not there to soothe, but they give a direction of flow in which everything wholesome can align and may then soothe or inspire, but most of all it spreads. The fruits of the spirit are the splitting of the light of love into a rainbow.

But if philosophers [and scientists] don't fall back on reason and demonstrable proof to untangle all the conflicting assessments of God, then it simply comes down to what anyone claims to believe "personally" ...

Yes, many religious folks over the years have basically summed it up in that manner. After all, with objective morality, immortality, salvation, divine justice and all the rest of it on the line, all there really is are soul-fulfilling leaps of faith like that. And then all the terrible things are able to be subsumed in "God works in mysterious ways".

And, again, my own [at times] disgruntled reaction here is no doubt embedded in having to accept the fact that this sort of thing is no longer available to me.

That is also my opinion, that if someone has a personal faith, the fruits will show it to be what it is.

The terrible things are the boundaries that we come up against, and we realise that we are not in Eden, but have been metaphorically driven out by our consciousness. Our knowledge of Good and Evil makes us no longer innocent and this presents us with borders that we can’t cross. It is what the sages that wrote Genesis came up against and tried (quite well in my opinion) to come up with some way of understanding it.

iambiguous wrote:As for this part...

Bob wrote:...chaos, decay and degeneration are facts of life that we either choose to combat, or we align ourselves with a psychological entropy and let things go down the drain. Usually it is the attempt to delay or prevent degeneration that is active and aligning one’s self with decay is the passive approach.


...you are not now yourself burdened with the manner in which "I" construe human interactions given the points I raise in my three signature threads.

And this, in my view, is deeply embedded existentially in dasein.

I’m still not really sure what you mean by this.

From my frame of mind, you subsume the reality of the world as I understand it in general descriptions of this sort. In other words, as soon as you take these words out into the world of actual human interactions, the words [and the definitions] become so much, much more problematic.

So that is avoided as much as possible. But this assumption can only be but an existential contraption of my own.

Bob wrote: Well, as to why we do choose the things we do regarding questions and answers pertaining to God, I myself [here and now] can only come back to "I" being an existential contraption derived from the life that we have actually lived derived from the part where we are "thrown" adventitiously at birth into a particular historical, cultural and experiential context. Then all the points raised in my signature threads.

You can see it that way, but there are other ways to consider existence in this contradictory world.

Bob wrote:I think that the answers are evading you because you are making it too complicated and the answers are not.


Of course the answers are less complicated when all that matters is what you are able to convince yourself is true "in your head".

The part that, in my view, any number of objectivists [God or No God] will strive mightily to take with them to the grave.

If you are attempting to overcome the contradictions you encounter in the world, there is no book with an objective explanation. There only the books with metaphor, allegory, fables, and myths.
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