The New God Topic

Here’s the thing. Leave your beliefs at the door: this topic is not to prove Mr Almighty exists or otherwise. Instead, I’m going to try an approach that is crucial to the thesis I’m developing. You guys will be my informal peer review of sorts. I cross my heart and swear I’m not going to steal any ideas (anyone more acquainted with my thesis project can readily guarantee that I couldn’t even if I wanted to).

For the time being, we all assume in spite of our most fervent beliefs that God’s existence cannot be proven or disproven. If you have trouble playing that argument, go straight ahead and assume he doesn’t exist.

My question is: does God have agency? That is to say, can we isolate a bunch of events that cannot be credited to any human alone, nor to any single human group, but which must be credited to God? —to be sure, not the supernatural entity we’re not sure that exists, but a self-consistent social phenomenon strong enough to have a rather clear personality and his own self-interested agenda.

Can we attribute actions to God regardless of his existing?

~ * ~

Me again, trying to edit some sense into the topic with an example or two. Picture this: a bunch of considerably mad, poor Arabs blinded by faith steal a bunch of airplanes and throw them at the symbols of Western civilisation on a mission from God. Western civilisation reacts by invading Arab countries and beating them into democracy, and the speech that advocated such a posture claims this to be a mission from God and that speech resonates because the people who hear it in the States believe they are indeed on a mission from God. Now, check out that God: what the hell is his agenda? (Try not to split him into two gods, try not to demonise one of the sides).

Nazis say God is obfuscating the love for the nation and so they set out against God. Communists say religion is the opium of the masses and thus declare war against God. Who is this great strategist, who is this tangible enemy we take social action against. Playing the card “he’s just a construct of our minds” is to avoid the question, because I’m not interested on whether or not he exists objectively: I want to figure out how he surfaces from the belief of billions of individuals, and how consistent he is, and what’s his agenda.

If I understand correctly - you are asking what would happen if we take the idea of God in every human being to have ever lived, and put it to a single, coherent creature.

In other words, if we had a god-creating machine, and we put all the concepts of God to have ever exist in it, what would we get?

More or less. Let’s put it that way: there are two Gods we can talk about. One is the hypothetical supernatural entity religious people believe in. The other is the social phenomenon that arises from how theists, atheists and everyone in between deals with the notion of a supernatural God. The social God exists, and my question is: is that social phenomenon more or less random and unpredictable, or is it coherent — coherent enough for us to say it has a personality? And, if it does have a personality of its own, what the hell is he trying to do?

I see. Before saying anything, I would like to express my hope that my words do not hurt anyone, for they are not intended to. Anyway…

Though it is a rather cheap argument - I guess a fine starting point might be that God is trying to amuse himself - and more specifically, to laugh.

In other words - God is neither good nor evil; He’s just bored. His thinking paradigms are as liberal as it gets - and he doesn’t care for our feelings the tiniest bit. His sense of humour is often macabre.

It might seem at first glance as if it doesn’t settle with everyone’s notion of God, (Or rather, settles with very few people’s notion of God), but it could explain how come such a God acts so differently at such similar situations, as well as why he wishes to make every other person kill each other on this planet: He just finds it funny that people would believe it, even though it makes little sense and has little usefulness to them.

I think, at that, we’re talking about the spread of memes and the victory of one memeplex over another… right? Talking about this overarching memeplex, whether it’s too complex to be characterized or not?
The thing is, if we can even consider God an overarching memeplex, then by definition It is characterized. But what this social God is characterized as, is… well… very individual.
(I’m suddenly reminded of David Gamez’s What We Can Never Know, where he argues that neuroscience can’t exist because it’s a study of our perceptions based on our perceptions. :confused: )

I’ll go out on a limb and vote Yes to coherency. And, I’d say the personality is that of one who seeks growth. The conflicts you described can be shrunk to, say, a situation where you’re angry at your friend but don’t know how to confront them, so you just hold yourself a little stiffer than usual when they hug you. (The context isn’t important, just the inner turmoil.) One rather angry part of the mind is saying something like, “My chosen people must be freed! Smite thee with locusts and rivers of blood!” Another part would rather not rock the boat, and this part recognizes itself as part of society (universe) and tries to align itself accordingly: “We’re all One, spread the word and lead others to the light.” or just pretend like everything’s normal.

As long as the wrathful side/meme is alive, you won’t really be able to feel that everything is normal-- and you might even blow up if your friend makes a mention of that sensitive topic. Or, maybe you can confront them but not in a strong, structured enough way that they understand what your problem is (because a part of you keeps nagging that speaking up is wrong.)

They’re both Mindset, they’re even a single Mindset… but only once someone has fully matured will they be consistent with their reactions, and secure enough with themselves that they’ll never be bothered by petty things or doubt themselves as they take action. Thus, I see the social God as either a bratty child, an awkward teenager, or going through a midlife crisis.

I’m sorry, I might have biased your answer. Surely, like I said, people go to war on God’s behalf — but there are some more humane crusades and some finer jihads than literal war. In the name of God people spread lots of love, they volunteer to build houses and community centres, to deliver 28 flavours of basic education to the needy, to provide food and water and shelter.

If we are to infer a personality from God based on what people say and do in the name of God, then we must take into account everything that’s done on his behalf, not just the cosmically hilarity of us, fleas of the universe, killing each other as if it actually mattered. But my major problem with your argument is that it explains past events at the cost of not being able to foresee what people are going to do on God’s behalf. That’s like being vaguely acquainted to God, it makes sense that he did this and that, but you’re not really sure what he’s going to do next. Can’t say we know his personality, now, can we?

(Plus, your argument begs the point that Godwise, the nazis and commies were the Good Guys, a rather tough to swallow collateral).

Except I don’t like memes. But yes, in part, yes. Most of the time, if we have two different wills inside of our heads (call them memes if you must), and they seem to oppose each other, then one of them must prevail before we’re able to take action. Society isn’t like that: if a society has two wills among its people and they seem to oppose each other, it might just as well be that both prevail.

Then, either God is an inconsistent pile of memeplexes, or else he’s one step removed from them: he’s a person just like us, subject to memes just like us, but taking action with an eye on those memes unlike us. The question then would be: why, and how. But don’t use memes, they weren’t conceived for that, they seem to confuse, more than enlighten… everything. But especially God. I’m trying to think of God as a politician of sorts, not as meme stuff.

(Otherwise the whole discussion becomes rather boring anyway :smile: but it would be good to try and back up that yes, I’m still undecided about it and it’s definitely food for thought).

That has some interesting implications, but one is rather intriguing. Your explanation begs the point that God is happening, that’s to say, he’s embeded in time. We are his inner turmoil, and history is the resolution of God’s own opposing wills. History is his biography, the many forces behind each historical event, his wills. Now, if we accept (and I can rather elegantly argue this point if you want) that the Devil is Time, or at least is determinant to Time, we would have to accept that our perception of God is at best in relation to (and under the strict terms) of the Devil. Which is a quite intriguing point.

Also, your notion seems to encompass human action to such an extent that it cannot account for those people who act relative to God, but not on his behalf (atheists, commies, nazis, hindus &c)… even worse when it comes to people who are indifferent to God.

When people take action relative to God, or on behalf of God, what do they say that makes them sure God really approves of their decisions?

A universal agenda of a universal God could not exist because a universal God could not be. Because many different religious traditions posit the distinct entity of God as something unique, the claims of all these religions cannot be formed into a unified whole.

For instance, Hindu belief states that Brahman (what we roughly translate as God) is a transcendent, unchanging, infinite, and entirely unknowable presence. A heretical sect in Christianity (I define them as this because they self-define themselves as Christian, yet their beliefs are seen as heretical by the larger Christian church, so they have no definition except as heretics, I am not trying to be a bigot, just trying to define them) that has a considerable number of followers knows God as the transcendent, ever-changing, entirely personal God. Christian mystics view God as a singular yet infinite personal consciousness. Jainism believes that the gods created Earth but left us no help. Shintoism believes that the gods reside in nature. Protestant Christians believe in a personal and loving creator God, with a triune essence. Native African religions believe that a great God created the universe then left it to a host of other beings to control. Native American religions view the Great Spirit as being in all, thus pantheism yet monotheism. New Age movements see God as the material world coupled with a deeper reality without any higher intelligence or will. Greek mythology attributed the divine to a number of gods, without any single great God, and describes the gods’ dwelling place as the material world. Muslims believe in a single unchanging, impersonal, all-powerful God. Theravada Buddhism does not acknowledge any god per se, but seeks escape from this reality into Nirvana.

Thus, to derive a single Higher Power from the entire social environment of humanity is impossible. While these religions may have some things in common, some are entirely different. It is impossible to have no God yet a deeper reality while simultaneously having a plethora of gods who dwell only in the material world. While parallels can be made, if one accepts the truth claims of all these religions as contributing to the Ultimate Divine then cannot accept such opposite claims as contributing to the same God, and some claims must be rejected. Therefore, one ultimate God can not be deduced from the cumulation all human religion.

Because, then, an Ultimate Divine cannot be formulated from all humanity’s beliefs, an ultimate agenda for a being that does not exist is irrelevant.

Of course - many people do “good” on God’s behalf. But isn’t it funny, how sometimes those “good” people will only do good to people of similar religions?

What I’m trying to say is, war isn’t necessarily funny, and “good” deeds aren’t necessarily boring: Both have a potential to be either (Not only through the crude examples I have given…). However, macabre irony seems to be funnier than most other forms.

I take God to be an “ultra-modernist” (And pardon me if it is a wrong term): He sees all humans as strictly equal, and having no notion whatsoever of “good” and “bad”, maybe save for “good to humanity” and “bad to humanity”.

The Nazis and Commies weren’t necessarily “good” in God’s “opinion”: They made awful jokes :tongue:

My argument does lack the ability to foresee God’s actions, for the simple reason that God has access to far more knowledge than we do: Even if we know everything he finds funny, we’ll need to process massive amounts of data in order to know what is going to happen next. My argument is also rather evasive, claiming his humour might be very different from ours: But then again, it might be very similar to it.

I wholeheartedly agree: that’s in fact one of the main reasons my thesis is on the Devil rather than God. There can be an analysis of the social God, but it would become more of a study in comparative politics where God is the object of study, while my thesis aims at making the Devil a measure (that is, a standard, something constant and well coherent) for comparing different objects.

Not! :tongue:

Hey, I was the one who posted not long ago that the vast majority of Catholics have been technically excommunicated latæ sententiæ. :wink: There’s no prejudice to one’s faith for subscribing to a hegemony of which they don’t take every single dictum for granted. (A note to Tomothy: I’m exaggerating a bit, and I suppose if you would address that statement so would you to make your point clearer. From what I read from you in the forum and through private messages, I think we could agree to meet in the middle, although I’m in no way excusing myself out of this discussion if you want to make another topic out of it).

So what about the Western Christian God. Or even broader, the God of the Levant (in a gross simplification, the Christian/Muslim God). Can we talk about him? Does he have a much clearer personality? What can we say about him? What about the monotheistic God, from all monotheistic religions. Is there still a clear pattern? Is there still enough to call a personality?

But never forget: we’re talking about God the social phenomenon, not about God the (putative) cosmic entity. This is not theology, but anthropology: what can we say about the “God phenomenon”?

I think that’s a gross simplification. So let’s not challenge it for now! Let’s say that’s a feature rather than a bug: and let’s not attribute to the divine sense of humour. So people do good on God’s behalf, but chiefly to the people who share their weltanschauung. Then, if one of God’s main attributes is that of being the key to the truth (if not Truth itself), and people believe that their religion is true, and they prefer to do good to people who share their truth, then here’s our first objective aspect of God’s personality: he favors the people in touch with the Truth. (No need for characterising the truth, there are different truths: but something constant is that God and the self-styled people of God on his behalf, favor the true and the bearers of truth).

I’d like to quote Proudhon in that “he who says ‘humanity’ intends to deceive”. We’re all human. But we all seem to hold it that “some are more humane than others”, even when we get out of our way to elliminate this prejudice. There’s no illness in thinking some are more human than others, find me a man who doesn’t ever slip on that notion. So here’s another interesting feature of the social phenomenon we call God: unlike the most popular theological views of God, the social God seems to act as if human was an honorific, something earned. At least, that’s how self-styled people of God reason on his behalf.

So not only is he the bearer of truth, he holds humanity on a short leash: the social God, unlike his theological counterpart, doesn’t believe in free will as much as he believes in doctrination. People must be taught about what’s best for humankind, before they can start acting human: this is how the social God acts, and it’s strictly against the dearest dogmas of the most popular faiths in the West. And that is quite a blast: because the social God, not the theological one, is the one behind speeches and political action these days.

But that is to transform the social phenomenon into a supernatural entity in its own right. God the supernatural entity is beyond our comprehension, I get that, but the social God can be talked about. He might as well have a personality, an agenda, a clear set of preferences and intentions.

Just a couple things tonight :tongue:

True true. To the uneducated in Hinduism, though, it may be the best way to describe Brahman. Brahman is sometimes a very difficult concept for Westerners to truly grasp, so as all the gods of Hinduism are manifestations of Brahman, I just decided to put that little parenthetical note in there, heavily emphasizing “roughly” in my head.

I’d say no, simply due to the fact that Allah is nearly entirely removed from reach in dominant Islamic thought, yet the Christian God is entirely personal in dominant Christian thought. These differences are polar opposites, eliminating a chance for a core personality.

Well, considering my major is in anthropology :tongue:, I’d say I could dive quite a bit into this subject. For starters, though, according to most anthropologists, the “God phenomenon” is too broad to be classified or given universal traits, even in a social perspective. Anthropologists are even hesitant to call a belief in “God” to be a belief in a higher power, as “God” is not always a higher power in some belief systems, but rather an equal.

I don’t think I’m getting at what you’re asking, and it’s really late, so feel free to elaborate and I’ll reply more in-depth later :happy:

Brahman fits somewhere in between the demiurge and the creator, which makes him very much like a monotheistic God in function… except that view only accounts for less than half of Hinduism. Myself being more acquainted with Shivaism, what you just said sounded like pure nonsense! :tongue: We’re Christian minded people even when we’re not Christian ourselves, maybe you’re trying to fit their mythology into your categories and priorities without questioning if that’s how the Hindu themselves think?

Except, you’re talking about the supernatural entities again. This is not a theology topic, it’s an anthropology topic. Also, clearly you’ve never had a single class about Islam, not its history, not even its current sects and divisions.

Sure, so is one of mine, can we stop waving majors now? :tongue:

That wasn’t the question! If God, regardless of his existing, had agency: that is, if we could pin down some emergent behaviour in society that we could blame only on God (again: regardless of his existing), and one more time: if we could by chance trace a personality of this God the social phenomenon, who is in no way related to the theological God or even to what people believe the theological God to be (for one thing, the Christian God is a pacifist, whereas Christians acting on their God’s behalf are consistently beligerent, which makes for a beligerent Social God). If we could interpolate this Body Politic of God which, I repeat, has nothing whatsoever to do with the cosmic entity, what can we say about him?

You keep delving back into theology.

Say even that there is no god (which there is)

The universe was created billions of years ago.

There has been civilization even until now.

The point that im trying to make across is that people on Earth is gonna be destroyed anyways wether its the apocalypse, global warming or the sun exploding.

So yeah… one way or the other, humanity will die out one day.

Oh hey! Isn’t this what I had originally said, yet you immediately said no to? Something tells me you hadn’t actually known this and have since looked it up…

I am referring to classical and orthodox Hinduism. It may be the minority in number now, but it is still what is referred to by the general term “Hinduism.” As this is what I originally had referred to, rather than any sect of Hinduism such as Shivaism, why in the world would you have said “Not! :tongue:”? Obviously, you acknowledge that classical Hinduism affirms Brahman in this light, yet you decided to criticize me?

So make it an anthropology topic then. Anthropology is the study of people, not necessarily the study of culture, which is sociology. People’s beliefs about a certain God do carry much weight. If you wish to discuss the concept of a social God, then you must ignore the beliefs about a God by the people who believe in it, as these beliefs conflict with each other and could not form a unified whole “social God.” If you ignore beliefs and observe simply human actions, as anthropology studies the whole person, then you move into the study of sociology, and the “social God” phenomenon is indeed in sociology.

Your ignorance humors me. First and foremost, it should be of the utmost appearance from my post that I have taken classes on Islam (2 completed, one in progress, to be exact). The usual American hears that Muslims believe wholeheartedly that they are doing the “will of Allah” in terrorist attacks. If one can know the will of Allah aside from what is in Islamic scripture–as most Americans, to my knowledge, have by now heard that terrorism (note that I did not say Jihad, which hopefully most Americans can differentiate from acts of war and terrorism) is not condoned in the Qu’ran–then certainly Allah can be known, and is not nearly entirely removed, opposing what I said in my post that you cleverly gleaned your information from. Therefore, it should be of the utmost appearance that my knowledge of Islam goes beyond traditional American knowledge, and as you knew my major was in Anthropology, you might have correctly assumed that I had taken classes in Islam. I was obviously speaking in our Judeo-Christian Western terms, referring to the fact that Allah is not a personal God, and is removed, in the Christian sense (as I directly contrasted Islam with Christianity), from human affairs. I know that the will of Allah can be learned from holy men of Islam, but Allah is nonetheless nearly removed from the everyday life of the individual, as I implied earlier. I know all about Muslim beliefs, caliphs, the hadith, Sunnis, Shiites, and Sufis–whom, by the way, I know believe that Allah is somewhat of a personal God and can be known through mystical experience. This isn’t the limit to my knowledge of Islam, so don’t continue to make faulty assumptions based upon the small posts that I make.

Is qualifying yourself to speak on a subject wrong? I wasn’t stating my opinion was above anyone else’s, I was simply stating that I enjoy this subject and would enjoy discussing it. You just had to go and take the fun out of it though…

Oh hey, that looks like I admit I don’t get what you’re asking… not that I’m claiming to answer your question using theology…

To actually answer your question: you can’t pin anything down on him. Those who claim to act entirely in his name are too controversial, creating a self-defeating or impossible God. :eek:! Didn’t I say that same thing, just using the basis of belief rather than action before? Obviously beliefs percolate into actions, and as stated, these actions would be self-contradictory. One could not pin any certain personality or agency down on God aside from him being a liar.

noo!!! not another one of these useless is god real topics. do you remember all the drama and nonsence that happened in the last one people :ohno: why cant we just stop this its useless annyways and comes up with the exact same conclusion every time annyway:“is god real”?..a whole bunch of arguing later…“hmm i dont know”

Nothing about either of our posts said anything like “is God real?”…

wait freecube ur saying god is never mentioned lol

Considering I am the major propagator of the theistic view on ld4all, and I had not argued with this guy in any way, nor did I even mention him (the “either of our posts” referred to Bruno and I), I didn’t even take this guy into account with your reply. You’re right, in this topic God is discussed as to whether or not he’s real, but I’d say it’s safe to assume that aside from that arrogant idiot, everyone in this topic is safe to ignore the argument for God’s existence.

Mahdiii: if your views are so set that you feel like bringing drama into this topic, PM me. We’ll see if your views still stand after our discussion.

you see this is exactly what i mean you know this is not cool dude we need to stop this. i really dont care about the whole god thing just how it effects us.


hahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahha!!! :wink: