Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
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03-06-2017, 02:55 PM
Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
Mention the possibility to a believer that his god could simply be an aspect of nature science hasn't yet recognized and you'll get stomped on - all gods are supernatural by definition. But why is that? There really isn't any NEED for a god to be supernatural; all any god ever does is interfere with and fidget with nature; on that basis whatever a god is would be more likely to be natural than not.

I think gods are supernatural because they serve a purpose permanently outside the reach of science: they give veracity to deluded dreams. Science has two edges to its blade: one that cuts to what's true, and the other that simultaneously cuts away what can never be true.

Some dreamers can't cope with fond delusions mercilessly cut away from possibility. By maintaining belief in an entity unbound by science, hence supernatural, no delusion is ever put at risk.

It's another of our human ironies: we crave control of our destinies, and unlock every door of nature we can to attain the greatest possible control, yet at the same time steadfastly refuse to unlock doors still shut because doing so would prove we aren't totally in control - even though opening any door increases our control.
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03-06-2017, 03:03 PM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
(03-06-2017 02:55 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  ---
Some dreamers can't cope with fond delusions mercilessly cut away from possibility. By maintaining belief in an entity unbound by science, hence supernatural, no delusion is ever put at risk.
---

That's it, really.
Then of course, there is the accessory support unit for the god: religion.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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03-06-2017, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 05:34 PM by mordant.)
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
(03-06-2017 02:55 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Mention the possibility to a believer that his god could simply be an aspect of nature science hasn't yet recognized and you'll get stomped on - all gods are supernatural by definition. But why is that? There really isn't any NEED for a god to be supernatural; all any god ever does is interfere with and fidget with nature; on that basis whatever a god is would be more likely to be natural than not.
The concept of omnipotence requires that the deity have no dependencies or limitations. There is, in many people's minds (including mine, even when I was a believer) a conceptual difference between a very powerful, god-LIKE being, and an actual god. A deity would not be accountable or limited or lacking in any way. Having the deity be outside / beyond / apart from nature is a way to keep it pristine in this regard. Otherwise it is (more obviously) just a "might-makes-right" construct.

Of course this creates at least as many problems as it solves. Not least of which is, if something is outside of nature, inherently, we cannot have any knowledge of it, even if for the sake of argument there COULD be anything outside of nature. The moment anyone says "god is benevolent" or "god hates homosexuality" or "god's only son is the only way to him" or conveys basically ANY information about the deity, then this is only possible if the deity IS part of nature.

To cover for this, believers invent various forms of "spiritual discernment" and other special super-powers for themselves or at least for the original authors of scripture, as a conduit for this information from the "beyond" to humans. But there is no way they can explain the difference between this spiritual awareness, and their imagination.
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03-06-2017, 05:40 PM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
If it turned out God or a god or gods exist they would be real and therefore natural. They're supernatural because they don't exist. It sounds like what's being discussed here is the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence. Maybe some kind of dark matter superman exists out there. Maybe he has a G on his chest instead of an S. Maybe I'll worship his ass if he comes floating down from the moon.
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03-06-2017, 07:07 PM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
Supernatural doesn't mean anything. It's generally an equivocation between our models of nature and any actual governing laws of nature; or just an arbitrary partition of things that exist.

The only coherent definition anyone has ever given me is that supernatural means outside of our reality. Fair enough, but that just makes it a relative term and doesn't account for what almost everyone tries to mean by it. It makes us supernatural to "God", too.

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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04-06-2017, 06:18 AM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
(03-06-2017 02:55 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Mention the possibility to a believer that his god could simply be an aspect of nature science hasn't yet recognized and you'll get stomped on - all gods are supernatural by definition. But why is that? There really isn't any NEED for a god to be supernatural; all any god ever does is interfere with and fidget with nature; on that basis whatever a god is would be more likely to be natural than not.

I don't know if God/s by definition are supernatural, because it's not even clear what the term supernatural means anymore. It seems to me the distinction we try to draw between what's considered supernatural as opposed to natural is more recent phenomenon. It doesn't seem to me that in a pre-scientific age, in which God conceptions were formed, that there was any real conception of purely natural world, distinct from a supernatural one.

It also seems to be that what constitutes as natural, is pretty wide, and it appears that anything that can even be remotely explained through a mechanical process, or any observable phenomena constitutes as natural. Some new observations might arise that defies our previous understandings of physics, perhaps even defies the laws of nature we assumed incorrectly were immutable, but it seems unlikely that we'd call this supernatural as a result.

We live in a world were an atom can be in two separate places at the same time, yet we'd call that natural.

I'm sure plenty of people here can formulate an idea of what they mean by natural, but I think they'd have a harder time formulating an idea of what is meant by the term "supernatural", a criteria in which we could categorize certain phenomena as supernatural as opposed to natural . So the words seems absent of any real meaning.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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04-06-2017, 06:31 AM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
Gods needed to be supernatural to explain a variety of events and occurrences. Someone or something must be creating the thunder in the sky and if they can do that, well they're definitely quite powerful.

It's part of the human condition to believe something or someone is doing something to cause said noise or occurrence. You add in apophenia-someone sees "a face" in the clouds and there you have your thunder god.

Confirmation bias by asking the thunder god to make it rain and hopping around on one foot sometimes produces results to water your crops, therefore thunder god must exist. A supernatural being made it rain and thunder because clearly people aren't doing it or capable of doing it.

Move to current times and its the same thing on a different scale. You add in the power of suggestion of a god who makes things happen and any occurrence you pray for that ends up happening is due to a god pulling the strings.
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04-06-2017, 07:34 AM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
Yep, gods are unverifiable by definition. They were intelligently designed that way.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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04-06-2017, 08:57 AM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
Supernatural is the apex of irrational. If you want to hold onto an idea that defies all reason with impunity, you make it supernatural.

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning ~ Werner Heisenberg
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04-06-2017, 09:22 AM
RE: Why Must Gods Be Supernatural?
well, not only can't they be not natural, they can only be natural.

we can use what we have to describe the interactions we see around us. The big bad bolt thrower does not match our understanding these days. That doesn't mean we are not part of a living system.

maybe instead of us letting them telling us what it must be, why don't we regulars stand up and and tell them what we want our leaders to do?

yeah, I know, pipe dream. Sad
we believe in everybody's right to be the best they can be. That clashes with literalists.
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