What is God?
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03-05-2016, 09:00 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 04:54 PM)debna27 Wrote:  
(03-05-2016 11:28 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I had a think the other day, Thursday, and thought to myself...you know, none of these religions actually tell you what their God is. That may seem kind of stupid but then I thought to myself, well, actually Christianity does because in John it says that "1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God".

Whereas Genesis just starts "Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Hey, did I miss something? Like, who are you?

We have a good idea who the Greeks and Romans thought the gods were. They had names, lived up a mountain, they had images made of them. But this guy who "we" in the Western Judeo-Christian world are told is god is only described once and it is in the New Testament and it doesn't seem to jive with the way god operates in the Old Testament.

And here's another thing. Why is it in John, which is last, not first?

What's going on here, eh?

Seriously, we seem to think from back to front and then ignore the obvious, jump to the wrong conclusion and then pull ourselves to pieces because we JUST CAN'T FIGURE THE DAMN THING OUT...MAN!

There is a lack of rigourous analysis, I feel, on this subject, and anachronistic thinking.

Did the people of the Near East in antiquity actually have a notion of the metaphysical? Or did they think that the place god lived was real, accessible somehow and this god thing was a real corporeal being? I think they did.

We have retreated away from that, probably because of advances in mountain climbing techniques. However, what is startling and seems to go unmentioned here is that Christianity does define "god" and defines it as a concept, the word/logos. That is actually quite a starkly dramatic thing when you think about it and what I find somewhat irritating, to be honest, is, first of all, on the one hand, Christians just saying that god could utter a word, or something equally silly, and, secondly, on the other hand, critics of Christian thought not grabbing this ball and running with it, because it is the most profound shift in religious thinking imaginable.

I'm having trouble grasping your point here. How is John being more clear when he defines god as "the word" vs Genesis which just begins by stating god's actions? Doesn't John create another problem by now needing to define what "the word" is? Maybe it's a problem of translation or of my own personal comprehension of the text, but I don't see the two passages as being vastly different in terms of allowing for a more practical understanding of who/what "god" is.


I have to say that I have difficulty understanding why you have trouble grasping my point.

Genesis jumps in to the story with god creating the universe. How? What is god that he can do this?

John says god is the Word. Taken literally, how does a Word create anything? It is a concept. In Greek it is the "logos".

One might say that the earlier version is a god who created man because he is an inseminating god of a fertility cult. For instance, in Kashmir people worship a phallus made of ice: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...-mountain/

The Egyptian god Osiris is said to have been torn apart by Seth and lost his phallus. Presumable he used it for something! Pharoahs had to show they could use theirs publicly...
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03-05-2016, 09:17 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2016 09:25 PM by Deltabravo.)
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 05:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(03-05-2016 04:54 PM)debna27 Wrote:  I'm having trouble grasping your point here. How is John being more clear when he defines god as "the word" vs Genesis which just begins by stating god's actions? Doesn't John create another problem by now needing to define what "the word" is? Maybe it's a problem of translation or of my own personal comprehension of the text, but I don't see the two passages as being vastly different in terms of allowing for a more practical understanding of who/what "god" is.

It's always "watch out" when he says he "had a think".
He's gonna connect some dots.
Cuz when you have NO education on the topic, you're free to make up anything.

I do have an education on the topic. I studied religion at university. The head of our department was a Jesuit and my degree program required I study religion. Much of classical political thought revolves around religious thought. We read St. Augustine, Aquinas, Thomas More...

In the entry level course in the department's honours course we read the Synoptic Gospels first before moving on to read Plato. I later studied the works of Norman Cohn. In History classes we studied Charlemagne and his conversion to Christianity and rise to Holy Roman Emperor and St. Francis of Asissi. In ethics we studied religious v secular concepts of morality.

I'm not looking for an answer. I am pointing out a problem for religions. We accept that when Genesis starts by saying "god created the universe" that this is ok in terms of an explanation. The problem is that by the time we have reached an age where we can read, we have, in some cases, been told by our parents who and what God is, that he is a big guy up in heaven. But it doesn't say that in Genesis. Nor does it say that in the New Testament.


In one, OT, you have to guess who god is...he's up a mountain, can speak to Moses, causes bad things to happen to people, smites them.

In the other, god is "the word/logos" and this "logos" requires us to "do unto other as we would have done unto us".

We expect better of our modern comic books. We get an explanation of why Superman can fly, how Spiderman can make webs and how Bruce Wayne changes into Batman. We don't get that in the Old Testament because it uses a method of attaching itself to an existing religion with an existing notion of what god is. The OT did not create the notion of god it relies on. It relies on an existing conception of god among a certain population. What was their concept of god?
I know it's hard but I think if you think carefullly about it you will notice a very slight difference in the notions of what god is between these religions...lol
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03-05-2016, 09:27 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2016 09:33 PM by debna27.)
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 09:00 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  
(03-05-2016 04:54 PM)debna27 Wrote:  I'm having trouble grasping your point here. How is John being more clear when he defines god as "the word" vs Genesis which just begins by stating god's actions? Doesn't John create another problem by now needing to define what "the word" is? Maybe it's a problem of translation or of my own personal comprehension of the text, but I don't see the two passages as being vastly different in terms of allowing for a more practical understanding of who/what "god" is.


I have to say that I have difficulty understanding why you have trouble grasping my point.

Genesis jumps in to the story with god creating the universe. How? What is god that he can do this?

John says god is the Word. Taken literally, how does a Word create anything? It is a concept. In Greek it is the "logos".

One might say that the earlier version is a god who created man because he is an inseminating god of a fertility cult. For instance, in Kashmir people worship a phallus made of ice: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...-mountain/

The Egyptian god Osiris is said to have been torn apart by Seth and lost his phallus. Presumable he used it for something! Pharoahs had to show they could use theirs publicly...
Okay, let me see if I can be a little clearer now that I'm at my computer rather than my phone.
Here is my understanding of your post:
In Genesis we have are told of a god who created the universe.

Then, in John, we are told that god is the Word. Just as you pointed to, how can a literal Word create anything? Since this doesn't make sense, the "word" that is spoken of must be a concept.

That's all that I'm getting from your post. How does the added information that god is defined as the concept of the word serve to enlighten anything at all? Are you trying to make the point that there are now two versions of a god being presented?

I'm not trying to be deliberately obtuse. Maybe someone else can step in and see if they can explain either of our points more efficiently.

Edit: I just read your response to Bucky Ball. So are you saying that John is more enlightening/informative because it's a new definition of god as "logos" rather than merely the one who created the universe, and this therefore establishes the religion as distinct from any others that came before it? If so, how is that special? Christianity defines its god as a specific deity/concept with a unique name and characteristics. That seems like a given.
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03-05-2016, 09:28 PM
RE: What is God?
Bucky, I believe that you are afraid of the answer to this.
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03-05-2016, 09:34 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 09:27 PM)debna27 Wrote:  
(03-05-2016 09:00 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I have to say that I have difficulty understanding why you have trouble grasping my point.

Genesis jumps in to the story with god creating the universe. How? What is god that he can do this?

John says god is the Word. Taken literally, how does a Word create anything? It is a concept. In Greek it is the "logos".

One might say that the earlier version is a god who created man because he is an inseminating god of a fertility cult. For instance, in Kashmir people worship a phallus made of ice: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...-mountain/

The Egyptian god Osiris is said to have been torn apart by Seth and lost his phallus. Presumable he used it for something! Pharoahs had to show they could use theirs publicly...
Okay, let me see if I can be a little clearer now that I'm at my computer rather than my phone.
Here is my understanding of your post:
In Genesis we have are told of a god who created the universe.

Then, in John, we are told that god is the Word. Just as you pointed to, how can a literal Word create anything? Since this doesn't make sense, the "word" that is spoken of must be a concept.

That's all that I'm getting from your post. How does the added information that god is defined as the concept of the word serve to enlighten anything at all? Are you trying to make the point that there are now two versions of a god being presented?

I'm not trying to be deliberately obtuse. Maybe someone else can step in and see if they can explain either of our points more efficiently.

Hi Debna,

This forum is for atheists. We don't believe there is a god.

What is it we are not believing in?

The whole of western history has at its center the notion of a god. All European monarchs considered they ruled by divine right. Somebody gave them this right. The Queen of England traces her ancestry back to King David, and Adam who was made by god... how? What is he that he did this?

Old religions were fertility based, masculine fertility. The god created by inseminating... by rain. That's how the Kashmir ice statue was formed, by a god raining down his semen on the planet and making things grow and he visited Mary and inseminated her.

But then the NT changes that and says god is a logos or concept of "good" which is a moral concept, not an inseminating fertility god.

Muslims still believe that god is up in the sky and Mohammed returned to him on a winged horse. They believe when they go to heaven they will be surrounded by 72 virgins each. It maintains the idea of god as a real, live being, somewhere up there, not a concept.
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03-05-2016, 09:35 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 09:28 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Bucky, I believe that you are afraid of the answer to this.

No one is afraid of anything, least of all a dot-connector's idiotic presumptions.
It is what it is.
Nothing you discussed gives you an education in the ancient Near East.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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03-05-2016, 09:48 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 09:34 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  
(03-05-2016 09:27 PM)debna27 Wrote:  Okay, let me see if I can be a little clearer now that I'm at my computer rather than my phone.
Here is my understanding of your post:
In Genesis we have are told of a god who created the universe.

Then, in John, we are told that god is the Word. Just as you pointed to, how can a literal Word create anything? Since this doesn't make sense, the "word" that is spoken of must be a concept.

That's all that I'm getting from your post. How does the added information that god is defined as the concept of the word serve to enlighten anything at all? Are you trying to make the point that there are now two versions of a god being presented?

I'm not trying to be deliberately obtuse. Maybe someone else can step in and see if they can explain either of our points more efficiently.

Hi Debna,

This forum is for atheists. We don't believe there is a god.

What is it we are not believing in?

The whole of western history has at its center the notion of a god. All European monarchs considered they ruled by divine right. Somebody gave them this right. The Queen of England traces her ancestry back to King David, and Adam who was made by god... how? What is he that he did this?

Old religions were fertility based, masculine fertility. The god created by inseminating... by rain. That's how the Kashmir ice statue was formed, by a god raining down his semen on the planet and making things grow and he visited Mary and inseminated her.

But then the NT changes that and says god is a logos or concept of "good" which is a moral concept, not an inseminating fertility god.

Muslims still believe that god is up in the sky and Mohammed returned to him on a winged horse. They believe when they go to heaven they will be surrounded by 72 virgins each. It maintains the idea of god as a real, live being, somewhere up there, not a concept.

Oh. I see. When I say I don't believe in a god, I take that to encompass all meanings of "god" as a higher power, creator, moral concept or literal being, as I haven't seen any good evidence for the existence of any of those as put forward by a religious person or doctrine.
I think I understand your point now...the OT defines god as a literal being, the NT adds a conceptual meaning into the mix. Do I have it so far?
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03-05-2016, 10:04 PM
RE: What is God?
Maybe I'm off base here but I'll contribute. I think the NT notion of god was created because when those that started Christianity looked at the OT they probably figured that not very many people would want to follow the god that is portrayed in the OT. So they created this loving father who would give us his only son in order to save all mankind. (It's interesting that god commands Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn son only to save him from death, but gods only son has to die to save all mankind. He could have saved Jesus from the cross and that too would have shown the world he was the son of god) That is why most Christian religions ignore the OT and tell followers to read and study the NT.
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03-05-2016, 10:04 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 04:26 PM)Alla Wrote:  Gods are Persons.
Physical bodies of all mortal men are organized in Their(Gods) image - male and female.

Bwahahahahaha. Brainwashing at it's finest.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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03-05-2016, 10:07 PM
RE: What is God?
(03-05-2016 09:34 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  ...
Muslims still believe that god is up in the sky and Mohammed returned to him on a winged horse. They believe when they go to heaven they will be surrounded by 72 virgins each. It maintains the idea of god as a real, live being, somewhere up there, not a concept.

I agree with the latter point but I challenge the assumptions.

"Some Muslims..." yes, fair enough. Or "Muslims are taught to believe..." would be more accurate. And the 72 virgins are for martyrs, not everyone.

In reality, the people here (Malaysia) are believers in belief rather than the literal stuff. They are Mocktail Muslims© much like Cultural Christians.

Having said that, in areas where education levels are low and internet access is minimal you still get shit like this.

Villagers stunned to discover 'angel from heaven' on beach. Turns out to be a sex doll

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