The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #86829   Message #1618036
Posted By: GUEST,Whistle Stop
01-Dec-05 - 08:25 AM
Thread Name: No invisible means of support
Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
Art, as I age and gain wisdom (or not), I find that so many of life's toughest questions really come down to conflicting definitions. What is "God"? What is "a god"? What is "conservative," what is "liberal," what is "torture," what is "folk music," etc. We argue about these things -- endlessly -- largely because we each have our own conception of what the words mean.

When people seek to define those words, they do so by using other words that are equally open to interpretation. For instance, if God is defined as a "supreme being" (which seems to be a common definition), what do "supreme" and "being" mean? Does God have a life? (What is "life"?) Does God exist as an entity that is separate and distinct from the consciousness of the people who believe in him? (What is "consciousness"?) Does the existence of the thought or concept of "God," in and of itself, make God real? (What is "real"?) The questions are endless, and the answers are always a matter of interpretation. Some might say that this is just playing with words, but words are all we have to use, and I would maintain that the answers to these questions depend on a cascade effect of definitions and interpretations that simply cannot be nailed down with the precision that is needed to get us to agree on what we're talking about.

At any rate, like you, I believe that God does not exist as a separate, distinct (to say nothing of anthropomorphic) entity who created the physical universe we inhabit. I simply see no evidence that this is so, and I see much that suggests that people have adopted these beliefs for psychological reasons -- good ones, perhaps, but that doesn't necessarily translate into literal truth. (What is "truth"? Pilate posed that question, of course, and I think it is one of the most interesting passages in the Bible.) However, if "God" is a synonym for "consciousness," and our consciousness is what allows us to experience the universe (unlike a tree falling in the forest, of which no one is conscious), then perhaps, in a sense, God really did create the universe? If I accept that, do I believe in God after all? Is it the same God that others believe in?

You can spend a lifetime pondering these questions, and many have. But if we take the most prosaic, mundane approach to defining these terms, then I'm with you on this; I do not believe that there's some old, bearded, guy floating around up in the clouds, causing floods, throwing thunderbolts, and deciding the outcome of the World Series.