TED Conversations

Tim Colgan


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Who is God?

One thing I've become aware of in these conversations is that TEDsters have many different opinions on who God is. Hopefully this conversation will become a collection of those viewpoints.

Please don't attack other people's ideas. If you want, ask questions for clarification. But be respectful.

And tell us, in your opinion - who is God?

Topics: God religion

Closing Statement from Tim Colgan

To be continued at


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  • Apr 3 2011: God is a projection into the unknown. An attempt to answer to the unanswerable. For me, God is a concept born of humanities innate need to find earthly meaning, boundaries, stories; to explain and contain life within a framework that not only validates us and our place in the universe, but is within our mental grasp. It's a reaction against the mind boggling enigma of life, and the mystery of time, space, and the infinite. It's a coping mechanism; Our fear of uncertainty becomes denial, wrapped in a security blanket of cosy belief, huddled against the great dark unknown, reassured in the conceit that we have 'the' answer. I'm sorry if some find this offensive. It's not my intention; just an honest attempt to describe what 'God' means to me. Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't. Who ultimately knows. I'd like to deeply sincerely believe in a good and just God, but I simply can't. It just doesn't ring true, and never really has. The deeper I look into the question, the more unlikely it seems. If someone else believes, that's fine, as long as they don't expect me to as well. Why belief is such an issue mystifies me a little to be honest. Surely how you lead your life is more important than whether or not you believe in God. I try to lead a good honest life, to be kind to others, uphold values I've come to consider worthwhile; respect, consideration, compassion etc. I try to do the right thing because it seems like the right thing to do, not because some higher being ordains it. I like to think others will judge me by how I lived my life, rather than whether or not I 'chose' to believe in God. Not that I understand how you can choose such things; You either believe or you don't.
    • Apr 20 2011: Dear Andrew O'Sullivan,
      during history many people lived. but few knew real God. your idea is right but about deities and about people pray statue.
      many people use God as a projection into the unknown. but not all people.
      please not that you can not escape death.
      all disease has drug but death.
      after death there is no chance to back to this world.
      today is doing and not reward, tomorrow is reward and not doing
      if heaven and hell is true then what you will do?
      so belief is very important.
      we should solve problem of God before death.
      death has no news. death comes immediately.
      thinking about God is more important than eating and life style.
      time is going and life is finishing and death is cumming.
      • Apr 20 2011: If heaven and hell exist, then I'll deal with which ever I have to when the time comes. How can I possibly hope to resolve whether or not God, heaven and hell exist in this lifetime. I can see no compelling evidence to suggest they do, and likewise can't prove they don't, nor want to waste my time with such speculation. Solve the problem of God? What's to solve? Where is the problem?How is thinking about God going to make the world a better place or me a better person? Why would God want me to think about God? To what end? Time is going to be finished and death is coming, I suspect you are right in that respect. I fail to comprehend how pondering God is going to change that one way or the other. If God condemns me to eternal hell because I doubted his existance, then so be it. But it seems such far fetched and outlandish notion I couldn't get worked up about if I tried. There are far more pressing concerns such as eating, life style, and trying to be a good person, do the right thing, have a positive rather than negative impact on those around me.
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          Apr 21 2011: Hi Andrew
          "How can I possibly hope to resolve whether or not God, heaven and hell exist in this lifetime."
          Millions have done just that. Things are entirely different when you realise you are eternal. Friendships become eternal, or potentially eternal, & life becomes much more meaningful.

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        May 1 2011: Hi Ahmadi

        "during history many people lived. but few knew real God"

        Are you implying that some people actually saw God?

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