Personal relationships with deities
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01-04-2017, 07:14 PM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2017 07:18 PM by Robvalue.)
Personal relationships with deities
[This was something I wrote previously on another forum. I found it really helped some people.]

This is a phrase I've heard thrown about so much that I thought it deserved its own topic. To me, this is a sensible, loose definition of a personal relationship:

An independent observer can verify that

1) Both parties in the relationship exist, and are easily distinguishable from being imaginary.
2) Both parties have an independent intelligence.
3) Both parties directly communicate with the other party in a meaningful, observable way.

In this way, I can have personal relationship with any human, any animal that has some way to at least acknowledge my interaction with it, and arguably with an artificial intelligence. It seems to me that if these 3 criteria are not met, it is not a meaningful personal relationship. The only exception I can think of is where one party becomes unable to communicate at some point, such as a friend going into a coma. You could maybe argue that you can continue to have a personal relationship with them, based on your history together, even though they can't directly answer back.

However, it seems to me that most people's personal relationship with God/Jesus/Allah etc. satisfies not even one of these criteria. In those cases, I would expect to witness them simply sitting in a room by themselves, either talking out loud to no one or just thinking things. How can I possibly accept this as a relationship? I've asked for indirect confirmation, such as the other party telling them something they couldn't already know, but I've never received this even using very simple criteria.

If there is anyone here who thinks their relationship with a deity actually does meet all these criteria, I'd be very interested to hear about it. Do you think you could convince an independent observer of those points? If someone wants to argue you can have a relationship while not meeting any of these criteria, then feel free. Then there is the problem of people all having a personal relationship with supposedly the same being (God/Jesus etc) but then coming back with contradictory messages. This means that one of these must be the case:

(1) Most of the people who think they are having this relationship actually aren't
(2) The relationship is such that the being cannot accurately express itself in a meaningful way
(3) The being is deliberately sending out conflicting messages
(4) There is no such being and people are imagining the responses

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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02-04-2017, 06:22 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2017 07:29 AM by Vera.)
RE: Personal relationships with deities
Reminds me of one of *the* stupidest things I've ever come across (made worse by its sheer, mind-numbing pretentiousness. Dumb pretentiousness is a lethal combo). Went something like this:

You don't believe in God. You either know Him or you don't.

[Image: giphy.gif]

I think it's mostly people who at least have the decency to admit all the innumerable things that are wrong with basically all churches and religious institutions, but are unable to let go of the, to borrow a perfect phrase from Feynman, "special stories that have been made up about our relationship to the universe at large"

Truth of the matter is, we can convince ourselves of pretty much everything we want (and often, of things we really, really do not want) and honestly believe our own lies and fibs, and coping mechanisms. Fascinating thing, the human brain. Even when being wasted in such a horrible, sad way...

Oh, and as a counterpoint, one of my favourite (linguistic, of all things!) quotes, which I think describes religion to a T: "The human mind abhors a vacuum of sense. When faced with an absurdity, it strains its interpretative faculty to the utmost, trying to make the meaningless meaningful." Tell me this isn't exactly what religious (and "spiritual") people do!

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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02-04-2017, 06:25 AM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
(01-04-2017 07:14 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  An independent observer can verify that

1) Both parties in the relationship exist, and are easily distinguishable from being imaginary.
2) Both parties have an independent intelligence.
3) Both parties directly communicate with the other party in a meaningful, observable way.

Point 3 is where confirmation bias and post-hoc rationalization kick in, it's also a convenient starting point for con-artists to step in and interpret events in a certain way as to convince the believer that a god was communicating with them.

Many a fortune was made on the con-artist's ability to convince believers of this.

If something happens after you pray (something always happens) then god is communicating with you.

If you open the bible and you are able to interpret the verse that you see after you open it in a way that has meaning to you, then god is communicating to you. Facepalm

I really hate post-hoc rationalizing, it can convince you of anything as long as you're blind to it and like looking at the world through fallacious god goggles.

[Image: 9781622305384_p0_v1_s192x300.jpg]

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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02-04-2017, 06:51 AM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
A ",meaningful relationship with God" is similar to a 13 year old American geek kid having " a girlfriend in Canada", just far more unlikely.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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02-04-2017, 03:31 PM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
Yes, you too can have a personal relationship with bullshit.

Yog Sothoth! Yog Sothoth! Come back old ones! Yog Sothoth!

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02-04-2017, 04:02 PM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2017 05:19 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Personal relationships with deities
(01-04-2017 07:14 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  (1) Most of the people who think they are having this relationship actually aren't
(2) The relationship is such that the being cannot accurately express itself in a meaningful way
(3) The being is deliberately sending out conflicting messages

An undependable person (or god) is nobody's friend.
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02-04-2017, 04:20 PM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2017 04:42 PM by kim.)
RE: Personal relationships with deities
I think the only diety one can have a personal relationship with would be one's self. Which I have no problem with.

However, the minute my self starts telling me and others that I or anyone needs to be killed or harmed or just do something specific ... someone needs to bring round a hardcore atheist shrink to screw my head back on correctly.

That relationship shit can be a slippery slope - it all fucks with your head in some way. Dodgy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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02-04-2017, 04:24 PM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
(01-04-2017 07:14 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  If there is anyone here who thinks their relationship with a deity actually does meet all these criteria, I'd be very interested to hear about it. Do you think you could convince an independent observer of those points? If someone wants to argue you can have a relationship while not meeting any of these criteria, then feel free. Then there is the problem of people all having a personal relationship with supposedly the same being (God/Jesus etc) but then coming back with contradictory messages. This means that one of these must be the case:

Why do I need to convince an independent observer of my "personal relationship" with my deity? Why would they even care?

Does anyone here really care about my relationship with G-d? <-- Eh, cancel that question. There are a few people here who actually do care... and that's creepy and stalkerish of them.
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02-04-2017, 04:55 PM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
(02-04-2017 04:24 PM)Aliza Wrote:  
(01-04-2017 07:14 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  If there is anyone here who thinks their relationship with a deity actually does meet all these criteria, I'd be very interested to hear about it. Do you think you could convince an independent observer of those points? If someone wants to argue you can have a relationship while not meeting any of these criteria, then feel free. Then there is the problem of people all having a personal relationship with supposedly the same being (God/Jesus etc) but then coming back with contradictory messages. This means that one of these must be the case:

Why do I need to convince an independent observer of my "personal relationship" with my deity? Why would they even care?

Does anyone here really care about my relationship with G-d? <-- Eh, cancel that question. There are a few people here who actually do care... and that's creepy and stalkerish of them.

I have a feeling that RobValue is speaking about people who brag about their personal relationship with a higher power, usually Jeebus. The kind of people that are so high on their own supply of feel-good dopamine that they must share it with the world and drown you in it. I’ve met a few irl. Rolleyes

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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02-04-2017, 05:50 PM
RE: Personal relationships with deities
I go to AA and like every other comment someone mentions, God as I understand him, yeah you mean the imaginary friend you pulled out of your ass. Nobody seems the least bit concerned that shit doesn't actually exist because you've dreamed it up. Then they're like if you'll just be honest with yourself you'll see it's true. It's fucking surreal.
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