TED Conversations

Bernard White


This conversation is closed.

Can God be defined?

I find that after debating with many people, many don't have a definition of what "God" is. (For even when you go to a church many people have different definitions ; and not many have a "shared definition".) And I find that many people only list Gods, but (and correct me if I am wrong) that listing gods is just like listing various variations of Meats or dogs, you still haven't told me what a "dog" or a "meat" is! Or for that matter : What "God" is!
Also on the same matter, I am genially interested, what is the definition of "existence"?
Because these two issues are vital to the debate : "Does God exist?"
And I hope this question will be taken in good spirit, and that no offence is taken.

Strongly recommend you join my debate on this ( Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?) on this link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html


Closing Statement from Bernard White

God mostly only have subjective definitions. (And very few have a "shared (objective) definition" of what "God" is!) And usually reflects the moral code of that individual! (And the society's values).
Yet God does hold many mystical properties, and is sometimes defined as emotions such as "Love", which is dependent on the human mind and relies in all of us.
While others choose to define God as being more of a "Personal God", which is external (independent) to the body, A God of intervention.
And other choose to define God as a more of a Impersonal God, one of pure logic and maths. (If I can say that!)
However I will not comment much more, due to the fact that I have a feeling I would not do a good job of it!
This is my closing comment. :D
Hope you liked it!

  • Mar 21 2013: WHO AM I supersedes WHAT IS GOD. Answer the first, and the second fades into irrelevance.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: Scott,
      I LOVE your comment, and feel that it is very true. If we (humans) spent as much time on evaluating ourselves, as is spent with the question of god/no god, it might be helpful to our global community:>)

      I like to "BE" HERE NOW, and experience all there is to experience in the here and now.

      Are we NOWHERE? OR NOW HERE?

      It seems like these debates that go on and on about god/no god take us nowhere, while being fully aware and mindful in the life journey reminds us of being now here.
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: I sort of agree :)
        Yes living in the present does probably give more pleasure than worrying about the future.
        • Mar 21 2013: I like skepticism..... :-) As a side question for you, if you do not mind, I would ask: Do you perceive any Difference between the words Pleasure & Joy?
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: I agree Bernard....living in the present, being aware in the moment, provides the opportunity for more pleasure, joy, and contentment. What does "worrying about the future" provide?

          "to touch or disturb something repeatedly; torment; to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort; afflict with mental distress or agitation; make anxious; unceasing or difficult effort..."

          I perceive "being" in the present moment, and worrying about the future as choices. Worrying about something that is not yet reality doesn't make sense to me. Why would a human do that to him/herself?
      • Mar 21 2013: I dig your thoughts Colleen.....esp NOWHERE. I also like NO THING :-)
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: I dig your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and ideas too Scott. One thing I LOVE about your comments, is that you often say a LOT with few words:>)
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: To be honest I would probably ask Shakespear, what he meant by "Good" and "Evil".
          Because yes in a literal sense, there is no such thing as "Good" and "Evil". While once you have a definition of those things, then certain things can become "Good" and "Evil".
          Will explain this in more detail later!
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: Perhaps you need to explain something to yourself Bernard? Do you ever think that you may be making things more complicated for yourself?

          Since you mention Shakespeare, I assume you are refering to Scott's other comment...
          "For there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
          -Willie Shakespeare"

          There is no reference to "evil" in the quote.
          My interpretation of the quote, is that we can think about something, constantly coloring it with our own perceptions, and "make" it :"good" or "bad" in our own perception.
        • thumb
          Apr 2 2013: Will be spamming this message to all those who I think may be interested. (I want to raise awareness) I hope nobody minds "too much" :D : (To all those on these links such as : Can we define God)
          Strongly recommend you join my debate on this ( Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?) on this link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html
          Many thanks.
      • Mar 21 2013: Okay! Thats why your now here going nowhere...... nah! Just teasin!
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2013: What does worrying about the future achieve. It achieves a will to prepare and try and fight against the future, it achieves the ability to try and make the future a better place, so others won't have to worry about the future.
        While being optimistic ensures you ability to see your worries through and hope that you can conquer them.
        Your memories teach you what you should be worried and optimistic about. (From your own subjective experiences)
        And your perception (living in the present) makes you more aware.
        Just a few thoughts.
        I mean past present future to the human mind is memories, perception, and imagination.
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: Hi Bernard,
          Why do you choose to "fight against the future"?

          "Fighting against the future, and making an effort to "make the future a better place", are two different concepts.....are they not?

          I don't have any worries, so there is no need to "conquer" worries. Personally, I think/feel worrying (disturb something repeatedly; torment; persistent or nagging attention or effort; mental distress...agitation; anxious; unceasing or difficult effort), is a waste of precious time and energy.

          We can plan for a future, dream, imagine, and work toward making the future better for all of humankind. Worrying uses time and enery that can be used for more productive purposes.

          No Bernard, my memories DO NOT teach me what I "should" be worried about. Memories certainly can provide lessons, and it is a choice regarding how I use that information. If YOU choose to use it as a reason to worry, that is up to you my friend. I see worrying as a misuse of MY time and energy, so worrying is not my choice.
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2013: I'm afraid I have a slightly odd view of what you are saying, because I agree and disagree at the same time :)
        I mean I agree that "living in the present" and "optmism" should probably be encouraged, yet I do not think that happiness is a choice. I view that "choosing" to try and "achieve" happiness, increases the likelihood, but does not guarantee.
        While I do see how you could train yourself to become "more happy", and become more of an optimist.
        If you act out upon your worries, then I honestly don't see what is bad about worrying. I mean if you just "worry" then it probably doesn't achieve much.
        I feel that we could have different definitions of worry though. I mean with happiness, I view that it can be "achieved" and made more of a mean, rather than an end. (So in that sense I agree with you).
        Humans will always synthesise happiness and be poor predictors of what make them happy, while I can see your logic. Sorry to go on....
        I am finding this quite difficult to explain. :)
        (Did you watch those TED talks I gave you the link to? :
        Tali Sharot: The optimism bias :
        Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness :
        Dan Gilbert: Why we make bad decisions :
        I apologize if I am not making "complete" sense.
        Actually after thinking about it : I suppose you can teach yourself to be a satisfier. (Reference : Paradox of Choice!)
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: Dear Bernard,
          What you describe....agreeing and disagreeing at the same time, is sometimes called the "split". It happens sometimes when people are bridging the gap between old and new thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs. It feels like you are exploring?

          I believe that happiness is a choice for ME. If you do not want to embrace that concept for yourself, it's ok:>) As I said to you in another comment....there are no guarentees in life.

          Being happy is not a matter of "training" in my perception. It is a matter of "being".

          I don't think I said that worrying is "bad"....I said it is not useful to me. If you feel that it is useful to you, then carry on!

          The definition of worry I provided is from the dictionary.

          Yes....I agree.....happiness is a way of travel....not just a destination.

          I don't think it is accurate to say that "Humans will always synthesise happiness and be poor predictors of what make them happy..."

          When we KNOW ourselves, are mindful and aware in the moment, we do not struggle or worry about happiness/contentment. It simply IS.

          I watched those TED talks a LONG time ago.....thanks:>)
        • Mar 23 2013: For there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
          -Willie Shakespeare
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: There you go again Scott, with one of your short sweet comments that says it all!!!
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2013: Actually after thinking about it.
        I would probably have to admit I was wrong.
        And that happiness is probably a choice in "most" cases, and it increases the chance of produticity and happiness. Yet it still doesn't guarantee happiness.
        While I can't help but think : if happiness is a choice, why aren't more people happy. And why do people seek material gain if they "know" it probably won't make them any more happy?
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: Hello again Bernard,
          Here's another idea. How about being kind and loving with yourself and "admit" that you are a human being, exploring thoughts, feelings and ideas?

          I believe life is an exploration, and as we take in information from various sources, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate how the information impacts us. It's kind of like carrying baggage throughout our life experience. At each "station", we can re-evaluate what we want or need and maybe re-pack our baggage.....make any sense?

          You're right.....there are no guarantees in the life adventure.

          You ask..."if happiness is a choice, why aren't more people happy"?

          Could it be that some people do not believe it is a choice? Like you did not believe it is a choice?

          I suggest that those who are seeking material gain, thinking it will make them happy, are simply not ready to consider anything else. Sometimes, when people get "stuck" in their beliefs, it feels comfortable, and they are unwilling to explore another idea. Some folks do not want to consider different ideas because it is outside their comfort zone.

          Consider one of your questions in this discussion for example...""Does God exist?""

          Personally, I have been evaluating information since the time I was a child 60+ years ago. I was born into a catholic family, 12 years of catholic schooling and bible study, abandoned any religion and belief in a god for about 20 years. sustained a near fatal head injury, had a NDE/OBE, explored, studied, researched, and practiced several different religions and philosophical beliefs for about another 20 years, and with the information I have at this time, I do not believe in a god.

          That is simply MY story and perception, and there are many stories and perceptions with different individuals. Some people will try to convince us that what they believe is the one and only "right" belief. That simply tells me that they do not have a very open mind and heart. In my perception, life is a journey....an exploration.
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2013: I'm not sure if I am repeating myself : But concerning God's existence I'm not really sure what to call myself....
        I mean I'm a cross between Ignostism (I believe that God and existence haven't really been properly defined) an strong agnostic (I view it can never actually be know,due to the fact that there isn't any way to prove or disprove any "Gods", and the fact that no matter how logical and rational something may seem it doesn't make it "true", just likely). Also my belief that so many things on life rely on "faith" (e.g Trust) rather than empirical evidence. I mean sure you can trust someone bases on certain assumptions (e.g their nice therefore they are "probably" trustworthy) but this doesn't mean that it is certain. I mean my definition of "Belief" is "most probable" and in that sense nothing is "certain".
        Just like I can't be "certain" that the external world exists, but "objectively" it is probably the best option to live my life as if the external world exists, because if I acted out upon this belief outside a philosophy classroom you would probably be put into a mental asylum. (basically it does no harm to live your life as if other people + the external world exists/ is real)
        I would be interested in your opinion on this. :)
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2013: Bernard,
          Why do you need to call yourself something? Why do you need to label yourself? How about "explorer"? I don't like labels, and do not label myself.....works for me:>)

          You say..."nothing is certain". Can you let that idea "rest" in your mind and heart?

          You would like my opinion, and I'm not sure what exactly to address. You've written some interconnected thoughts, feelings and ideas.....could you be more specific?
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2013: " Can you let that idea "rest" in your mind and heart?".
        Yes, and in an odd sense it makes me "happy"! :) Because it makes so much more logical sense to me.
        While this is not to say that we shouldn't make decisions and act "objectively" the best we can with the data and knowledge we had. And to be prepared to admit you are wrong, and allow all opinions (pluralism). As I have said there is no harm living my life as if everybody exists, even though this can't be certain.
        Actually there is a good specific detail : If something is logical and rational does that make it 100 % true? Or does it just make it more probable? :)
        I mean it is logic (and I may be wrong on this) that "low expectations lead to more happiness, because you would never be disappointed" but this is false (to a certain extent, even though there is still debate about this). Or here is a better example :
        1. All elephants are pink
        2 Lucy is pink
        3. Lucy is pink, and all elephants are pink, therefore Lucy must be pink.
        Now this is a rational and logical conclusion, due to the data you have, but is false once you bring in more and more data. I mean I am sure you could probably produce a better example yourself.
        This is why I feel that business is quite unpredictable!
        While I hope I have not got this example wrong, so in that sense "logic + Rationality" can be wrong. Another example would be : Before evolution was discovered, It would be irrational and illogical to view that evolution was true, why? Because there was no "evidence"! But This wouldn't have stopped evolution from being true! :)
        I hope I have explained this well enough.
        Would be interested on your opinion about this...
        • thumb
          Mar 25 2013: I agree Bernard....when something makes sense to us, it "feels" good:>)

          You ask..."If something is logical and rational does that make it 100 % true? Or does it just make it more probable? :)"

          With the idea of something making sense to us and "feeling" good, consider that we all may have different information and preferences. What feels good, logical, reasonable, and rational to one person, may not feel the same to another person because of the information they are willing to consider.....make any sense?

          Based on the information I have at this time, it makes no reasonable, logical, or rational sense to believe in a god. A person who believes in a god, may say NOT believing in a god makes no reasonable, logical, rational sense. That's why I often refer to "my truth", which is a belief that is "true" to me, based on the information I have at any given time.

          I agree with you...low expectations, or no expectations may lead to more happiness/contentment because you would not be disappointed. Why do you say this idea is "false"?

          I think/feel it is true, and I observe that unhappiness and discontent often manifests BECAUSE of our expectations, which may not be consistant with reality.

          LIFE is unpredictable my friend. As soon as we discontinue trying to predict and expect, we may experience more happiness/contentment.

          23 years ago I was a competitive athlete, actor, singer, dancer in the best physical and emotional shape I had ever been in my life. I was honored by an international group as a "woman of the 90s", very active in the community and with my family. I felt like I was on top of the world. One day I went horseback riding, and regained consciousness two weeks later in a child-like state emotionally and physically.

          If I had been "stuck" with my expectation that I was in great shape and on top of the world, I probably would have been very disappointed. However, I had embraced the idea that life was about learning, so that's what I did...make sense?
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: Very interesting indeed!
        However if you have watched the optimism bias, there are conflicting pieces of data.
        Tali Sharrot claims that low expectations can become a self-self-fulfilling prophecy and that it changes your perception and has data which suggests that even when people do well with low expectations they claim "they were just lucky" and don't take credit for it.

        Actually a lot easier way if for you to watch :
        Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice:
        Tali Sharot: The optimism bias:
        These two contradict eachother a lot. Yet they are both rational and logical assumptions from the data they both have...
        I like your idea of a sort of "subjective truth" (from the data we have, rational and logical conclusions).
        While I do believe in objective truth and morality, partly because I believe that defining morality is subjective, but once you have defined it it can become objective. (Even if there isn't a God) while we may not know it, but it is still there. In the way is beating your child going to encourage emotional growth? Probably not. You need to test your moral "hypotheses" and rational for them. And if you find they are wrong, try and correct them!
        Out of interest : Would you say I am irrational?
        Because Gail (formerly TED lover) keeps claiming that I am being irrational by claiming that "rationalization" is the fundamental cause of suffering, and that defining evil as : "An intentional action to harm someone physically, mentally or spiritually" as irrational as well.
        But I am not sure how this is irrational at all!
        I mean there are many definitions of happiness and "God" (as we have seen). And he is basically saying (to my interpretation) : If you don't agree with my preconceived definition you are irrational. I am finding it hard to understand his point of view! I was hoping you could help.
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2013: Bernard,
          There are probably "conflicting pieces of data" about almost anything....don't you think?

          Glad you like my idea regarding subjective truth, often based on information we are willing to evaluate and accept.

          No, I would not say you are irrational, because I don't like to judge people. Do you think/feel a judgment could be another subjective truth based on information one is willing to evaluate and accept?
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2013: Sorry to go on!
        But how did you get so many TED Cred points? :D
        Also the reason I feel you could help me understand GAIL is because in some area's you had quite similar thoughts.
        I mean my rational for Rationalization (Rationalizing your actions)being the heart of all suffering and evil (and not desire) is because :
        1. You desire to have a pencil.
        2. You steal the pencil
        3.. You realize it is just a pencil so it is okay to steal it and nobody will mind.
        You would only 3rd step if you could do the 3rd step!
        While yes desire is the fundamental cause of most things, but it is also important thing for pleasure and various other positive actions!!
        I mean rationalization of your actions can be achieved in lots of ways. E.G :
        1. The person i stole the pencil from deserved it (a slight dehumanization)
        2. Everybody was stealing pencils.
        3. I was ordered to steal a pencil/ had no choice.
        4. I was tired and I needed that pencil.
        5. Nobody stopped me from taking the pencil so it must have been okay.
        6. I helped someone from stealing the pencil.
        7. It was only a pencil! Get over it! :D
        I mean there are many ways we can "rationlize" our actions.
        I hoped I have explained this well enough!.
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2013: Bernard,
          Re: TED Cred....as it says in our profile....it reflects a person's participation on TED. I've been participating on TED for quite awhile, and based on the feedback I get, it appears that some people agree with the ideas I share:>)

          The only way I might help you understand another person, is to suggest that you listen ......really listen and hear. More words, in defense of your argument is not always the best way to understand another person.

          That being said, what are you trying to express in the comment above from the first number 1 to the end? If you could put all that in a couple sentences, what would it look like? What is the message or question?
      • thumb
        Mar 28 2013: I see your point. :).
        To be honest I would probably agree with you in the way that there is usually conflicting pieces of data for most things.
        What am I trying to express in number 1 to the end. I suppose all the different way you can rationalise your actions about stealing a pencil.
        I really like your thoughts though about judging people. Seems pretty accurate a s reasonable to me.
      • thumb
        Apr 2 2013: Will be spamming this message to all those who I think may be interested. (I want to raise awareness) I hope nobody minds "too much" :D : (To all those on these links such as : Can we define God)
        Strongly recommend you join my debate on this ( Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?) on this link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html
        Many thanks.
        I would be very interested in your opinion, and input in this subject Colleen Steen.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: I honestly don't know for now.
      I mean concerning God I would probably call myself an "ignostic" until you define God (which very few do) and then become an "strong agnostic" once you define God. And my own definition of God would sort of be a pantheist approach. Sorry to go on a little there.
      Now with the "Do you perceive any Difference between the words Pleasure & Joy?". Hmmm. I can imagine pleasure being more momentarily than joy, but from pure intuition they both sound roughly the same. But I suppose I would need to know your own definitions to tell you if I perceive a difference. (Sorry to not give you a very clear answer! :) )
    • Comment deleted

      • Apr 10 2013: The Ego is the only thing that is vain. Are you the Ego? If so, where did you come from? Only the Ego claims itself as the Ultimate Self. Quality of enquiry is the key. The ego Strives and a settles for tidy explanations........that reduce the likelihood of Deeper investigation.

        So, WHO is it that is Vain?
  • thumb
    Apr 12 2013: I think, the nature of God is in his name: "I am who I am" as given in Genesis 3:14. God is an abstraction of "self". I think, "God exists" is a tautology because God is existence. What else can "I am" mean?

    What drives evolution? Survival. Can the concept of "survival" be separated from the concept of "existence"?

    I could expand on this, but, I think those who spent some time thinking about it (and the meaning of symbols like "the kingdom of heaven is within", "life through death", virgin birth - without a physical father) understand what I mean.
    • thumb
      Apr 12 2013: A very good point indeed!
      I suppose if God was a tautology then it would be solved, and God probably would exist.
      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: Tautology cannot be solved. E.g. "This statement is true" is an absolute truth. It's a self-consistent, self-evident statement which refers to itself and affirms its own truth. It cannot be logically analyzed because of the self-reference. If it's true - it's true. If it's false - it's false. Whatever you believe. It can only be accepted or rejected, without proof. But it remains "true to itself".
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: I realize that the virgin birth is a symbol. It's not to be taken literally. But it's OK to profess the faith in the literal meaning. Autosuggestion is one of the cornerstones of faith. Everyone understands that when Catholics eat the Eucharist, they don't literally eat the "body of Christ" thus committing cannibalism. It's a symbol of spiritual unity with Christ and each other through His "body" (church), by literally "internalizing" (eating) it. But Catholics still insist that literal transubstantiation takes place. I view this autosuggestion as a perfectly valid way to "internalize" the unity - literally and figuratively.

        Red color often symbolizes blood on flags of many countries and the flags are often said to be "red with blood of the heroes" who fought for whatever ideals of that particular country - same kind of metaphor.

        Usually, people are born from a biological father who is "like myself", but "not myself" - a distinct and different human being. I guess, metaphor of virgin birth conveys the idea that divinity does not come from "something else", distinct from itself.

        In the same way, logic can show how the truth of one statement follows from the truth of another statement. But logic cannot validate itself, much like science cannot tell us what constitutes a scientific theory. Logic, science, and Bible are much like the sentence "this statement is true" - take it or leave it, and live with the implications.

        These references to "self" are impossible to explain without absurdity. So, if what I write doesn't make sense, I can understand. It's the same "take it or leave it" kind of deal :-).
  • thumb
    Mar 22 2013: God has already been defined. God is a character described in the Bible.

    If God were human, he would be called a sociopath and kept away from society. But he is God, so he is worshiped by the sheeple who are afraid to refuse to do so.

    God is a cruel sadist who loves to hear screams of torment - as demonstrated by his willingness to throw unbelievers in hell. As humankind has been around a long time, and as Christianity is in great decline, the number of people writhing and screaming in tormented pain is growing at a rapid clip. As God is omniscient, "He" is well aware of the suffering and screams, and as more and more are going to hell, the volume is increasing. God is also omnipotent, so "He" has the power to close down Hell, relieve the suffering, silence the screams, and blot out the memory of the torment of "His" victims. But "He" chooses not to. "He" appears to enjoy watching and listening to suffering. He is also a misogynist. His hatred of women is especially pronounced.

    Any description of God must include this documented description. As many who are afraid of Hell worship the tyrant and are ashamed of doing so, they pretend that God is something other than the monster that the Bible describes. They do this in order to block out their conscience that tells them how wrong this is - all in the name of survival - so they can live with themselves. This is where disagreement about God comes into play - even in a single church. But if you speak of God (as opposed to Thor or Mithra or Pele, etc.), "His" own book describes "Him" well enough.

    Good thing "He" doesn't exist.

    Consciousness exists though. Consciousness is not God, though it is much more than a brain in a body.
    • thumb
      Mar 23 2013: " God is a character described in the Bible".
      Then what are the Greek Gods? (+ Egyptian, Norse, Roman Ancient Gods ect...)
      Are they are just "pretenders" (/ not Gods) due to them not being the "character described in the Bible"?
      Or do you have a different definition for them? Please tell me if I have misunderstood your position. :)
      Because going by the Christian definition you have posed, the Egyptian Gods seem very different. (I might be wrong on this!) While not all Gods do promise an after life of punishment if they go against them. I mean there are many religions where they believe only in a positive after life, but it is interesting to note that you view this is a requirement. So if I was to pose a hypothetical scenario, of a being of extreme power who was the original creator and sent everybody to heaven afterwards, I am assuming by your definition then this wouldn't be a "God"? (Is this right?)
      Would be interested to see your response.
      While I feel that you are putting "God" (from your definition of an egocentric (/narcissistic), psychopathic being which has extreme power :p) in a slightly bad light. Even though I would be inclined to agree with you.
      However it is interested how some can view the same "God" you are describing as a saviour and light bringer, and view that "only God would know what is good" (So in that sense a prejudice against "non-believers" may be good), and that maybe "Gods utility is the only one which matters!". Just a few thoughts.

      With your last point, it would help me if you could define "Consciousness" and "existence" and "real". Because I don't think it is logical to assume that just because you are self- aware then you real (/exist). (You could be a computer program and ticked into believing you are self-aware, and yet not really be "real", in the sense most people use the word.) I could be very wrong on this though!
      While also how do you know :
      1. That the external world is real? (/exist?)
      2. That other people are real? (/exist?)
  • thumb
    Apr 2 2013: Tangible proof of The existence of God will never be found.A one-size-fits-all definition will ever be agreed upon.
    It is a highly personal conversation that plays in ones mind. On one single occasion, I shared my story of God talking to me while I was in a coma. The general consensus of the small group was essentially that it was me talking to me, my subconscious comforting me. I simply nodded for how in the world would I explain or prove my experience to truly be the voice of God? Would it matter to this group that I had fearlessly questioned this experience open to the possibility they were correct? No. I innately knew It was God. My personal definition of God is unconditional Love.
  • Mar 21 2013: Hello Bernard. I wrote an answer for you, but it was about 5 times bigger than I am allowed to post. I tried to edit it down, but it just got silly.

    I wish I could include all the philosophy and science that goes into my answer, but will go with just the summary:

    1. Science has shown (even if Dawkins and Hawkins act like they don't know this and many other intelligent people live in denial) that 98% of the universe is made of matter we don’t know the first thing about, there are multiple dimensions around us that we can’t see, and the rules of the universe act nothing like the rules we take for granted.
    2. Philosophy tells us to question what reality is, saying it is only what our senses tell us, and it is different for every person.
    3. I can’t better explain what God is to you, than I can explain calculus to a Cat. That cat’s understanding of Calculus will be about as accurate as our understanding of God. But in a world with so many unknowns, anything is possible, and there is logic in the system, and that is the shadow of God, and all we can know of him.
    4. Douglas Adams had it right when he pointed out that the answer was easy, it was the question we didn't understand.

    In my long explanation, I could not even hardly begin to illuminate how God can actually, really be so many things, even things that contradict. But it isn't a provable thing. It is a thing that can't even be completely understood. The first step in understanding God, in understanding your question, is to get comfortable with the idea that we are the cat, and he is the calculus.

    Ohh.. and the same answer applies to our existence. If you had an email, I can send you my philosophical ramblings. Maybe you will find some light in them. I am always looking for someone who "gets it" to share my ideas with. But when your idea that we have no idea, the water is very murky, but I forge on!!
    • Mar 21 2013: I use to think there were things beyond our ability to grasp but i dont believe that anymore. I feel that the ability to imagine, as corny as this may sound, is what will allow us to understand and comprehend anything and everything. But at that point we'll just wanna press reset because by then its like.....whats the point.
      • Mar 21 2013: Well, there is now and there is the future. There is no way to know what we will be able to understand in the future. But now? Everyday we learn new things that show what we DON'T understand. I don't mean things we don't know. I mean things we can't conceive. This is simple fact. We can find ways around it, I hope. THAT is the power of our imagination. But I believe that being more intouch with what we CANT understand will help us understand it. Like the black hole. We had to theorize it first. Then say "good theory, but too bad you can never prove it since it is invisible." Without that process we would not have understood it. But in reference to God, it is fair to say, we can't understand him now. And knowing everything is impossible since everything is infinite. But I think I get your idea.
        • Mar 21 2013: As far as the future goes there are some guys out there that would beg to differ. There are some people that believe time is a tangible thing. Its funny how people put limits on ourselves that is untill somebody breaks em. I say if theres anything that god would ever dam, it would have to be limits on what we think were capable of.
        • Mar 22 2013: I know.. I like messin around with the conversation but i am very genuine in that what i say is what i truly believe as silly as it may sound(no offense taken) i am silly. But i feel that humans have the capacity and ability to understand it all and i think and believe imagination makes that possible. Thats how powerful it is. On a side note the holy trinity is very interesting to me , though i could not agree with all of the bible because i have not read it like that there are some ideas in there that i definitely find interesting and add to my own beliefs.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: So god is something that can not be understood by humans in your view.

      Does it have a mind? Is it a person? Or is it a word you use to describe a human state of mind of wonder and seeking to make connections.

      Seems a lot of people through history have claimed to know a lot about gods.
      • Mar 21 2013: God is a collective.... of all things. Gods the biggest schizoid of us all. God made it all happen. Omg. God bless and godspeed goddamit. GOOOD GOD!!! you know if ou spell god backwards its......... ok,ok that was dumb..im finished now.
        • Mar 22 2013: Nathan.... Your silly...
          Obey, in my understanding of things (meaning we don't have much understanding) God is something we can only understand a little about. Absolutely everything around us points to this, even bibles and sacred texts of other faiths. If it is yours, or Bernard's goal to find some complete understanding, I think you are taking on an impossible task. Of course, that doesn't make it an unworthy one. As the journey is the destination (or however that goes).

          Does God have a mind? Well for us, in our language, Mind and brain are not the same, but they are connected. So no, he doesn't have a mind in our understanding. Of course that leaves an infinite number of possibilities -1. What I see as the problem, kind of built into the question, is limiting God to being one thing. The idea, he can't be this if he is that. As long as your thoughts on such a trail, you probably won't get much farther than a very long and possibly entertaining philosophical discussion. One that can go on for thousands of years actually.

          But I think I get the point about mind, past the semantics issues. I would say he does in that there is (many believe) reason in the universe. Not that is all he is. The "God as the order of the universe." But that would be one aspect of what he is.

          I would say very few people would say he is a person, or just a state of mind.
    • thumb
      Mar 22 2013: I must admit, the I have though of seven possible answers to the "Do you believe God exists?" question:
      I know "It" does...
      I think it is most probable
      I do not know whether it....
      I will never know whether it...
      I think it is most improbable that it....
      I know that it does not exist...
      I don't care.... (The indifferent answer)
      In my opinion these are the seven answers you can really give.
      So in that sense it isn't that simple.
      But defining existence(I mean 2 definitions i like are "has energy" and "has impact".) and God does seem to be problematic. I mean (as I have mentioned in an earlier reply to someone) if I defined God as the universe, we would all have to deists, unless you viewed the universe (external world) as being improbable, or you viewed that you would never know.
      While you are assuming that "God" (Whatever that is. :p) is logical, I mean why does it have to be logical, why can't it defy all reason and rationality and create the "square circle", or be a multi dimensional being.
      I mean the possibilities are endless when you go into the hypothetical realm of what it "could" be.
      I hope this helps.
      BtW if it helps, you can send me your answer at "Bernardjawhite@gmail.com" or you can just send me your answer in "parts" (E.G part 1, part 2) on this conversation. (Which I believe is probably the better option.... Because all can participate that way :)
  • W T 100+

    • +2
    Mar 20 2013: Anything that is worshiped can be termed a god, inasmuch as the worshiper attributes to it might greater than his own and venerates it.

    A person can even let his belly be a god.

    The Bible makes mention of many gods, but it shows that the gods of the nations are valueless gods.

    The Bible also states that there is one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and gives us His personal name.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: So all God is then, is something which can be worshipped?
      So then everything has the potential to be a "God"? (Hope I have understood your comment correctly!)
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Mar 21 2013: Yes, everything has the potential to be a god.
  • Mar 13 2013: The idea of God,
    with attributes of power, knowledge, presence and love, is not something that exists.
    It just is.
    And this 'just is' can never be shown, proven, found and perhaps understood.
    Understanding one, two, three or four of these attributes is simply something that 'just happens" and one is either present and experiences it, or is not present and misses it, whatever it is. It, just is.
    Religion and science are both wrong about their explanations of who we are, what this all is, and how it really came to be and why. Neither can really prove anything they say, so they both must be wrong in some very fundamental way and neither can see this because of certain tenets they dearly hold onto for fear of losing their bearing or importance.
    Both tell we humans that there is more than the material, and that appears to be true, but neither can truly prove, show and then name their claims.
    For instance, one gets a scratch, looks at it, sees it's minor and goes back to what they were doing, simply trusting that whatever "it is", it will heal the scratch. And it does. Science can look at the cells involved in this healing, looking deeper and deeper, smaller and smaller until there is absolutely nothing left to look at, nothing left to see and they will never be able to say, "there, that is knowledge, that is how "it" knows how to heal. There, that is power, that is how it is able to heal. There, that is love. That is why it heals." But both science and religion can point to that nothingness and say, "It works. It really does," yet there is nothing there at all. Nothingness that just is.
    Everyone who has ever lived, all those now living, and quite possibly everyone who will ever live, has had, is having and will have, the experience of the "scratch". Each one is the Empirical evidence for such a thing.

    All this is just writing. Just thoughts, and that is what god is; a thought. Nothing more. A thought is consciousness, awareness, and that is life itself.
    • thumb
      Mar 13 2013: I'm interested by your opinion : So God isn't anything physical? Like energy? (Unless you think of a thought as being energy....) And assuming that energy is something physical.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts BTW :)
      • Mar 14 2013: Hi Bernard.
        I don't know.
        It seems to me that this thing we call life, being alive, is simply a state of awareness of being aware, I guess. That is consciousness. Being aware of being aware.
        I think it really is that simple.
        This awareness or this consciousness is simply a thought.
        That's what reveals that one is conscious, i.e. alive, as we color it with a word.
        So, this is so huge, that we can & do manifest what it is we think, is akin, to my mind to what this idea of a God or God would be. I have to keep things very simple in order for me to understand anything in life. I am not very smart, nor am I very intelligent.
        When you use the word God, you are using a thought, speaking it, thinking it and what is it humans turn to when they need to, for whatever reason?

        Usually they are looking for the right thought, so if God is that simple, it is also easy and simple to turn to it when doubtful, in need, troubled, stressed, overwhelmed or in the midst of other types of emotions and situations where and when a human doesn't know what to do. Seems to be out of ideas.

        The right answer will come and it is only up to the person to see whether or not they truly understand what it is they believe in, trust it, and also then, do not worry about it.
        At this point I feel most don't either know what it is they say they believe in, or they don't really trust it with complete abandon, meaning, they don't really believe it. If they worry, then they don't trust it which also means they don't really believe it.
        The idea of the scratch was first delivered to me many years ago by Deepak Chopra. I have internalized it into my own understanding (my own use) and added a couple of thoughts but the idea of the knowledge, love, power, is solely from his brilliance, not mine. But now, I own it for me.

        I don't practice positive thinking. I am good at negative thinking but it is no good for me.
        So, I practice "pausative thinking". Pause when agitated and ask for the right thought or action.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 12 2013: Many would accuse you of playing semantics for going against their pre-convieced (definition they are anchored to)of God! :P (By defining God as "Love")
      I wonder how you would respond.
  • Apr 11 2013: The definition is the word "God" : God is what you believe, yet you cannot define. You cannot define everything with words. It is something like happiness. Words are not enough to define it.
  • thumb
    Apr 10 2013: Hi Bernard,
    My personal opinion about God is that you can't see Him with your eyes or prove scientifically. You just believe, and if you believe, because your heart tells you to do this. Your heart just needs something bigger to believe, something beyond reason. I really don't know what God is, and I think nobody knows. But, for me, God can be everything and He can be everywhere.
  • Apr 6 2013: I think that each and every one of us has our personal definition of "God". Some of us might be able to put it eloquently into words, some of us may have to explain in gestures, there are others who might just fall into silence realizing that they have never thought of God as having to be defined before, and some opts to define God stereotypically, and the list goes on forever. If you're asking for an exact definition, I honestly do not think there is one. And in truth, those who believe in God(or gods) do not necessarily need one. but if your question is 'can God be defined?' my answer would have to be yes. personally, the existence of God coincides with my faith. God is the sum of my experiences, perspectives and faith. It is easier to say that who I am gives me the answer to what is God, and how I define Him.
    Additionally, I feel like after a certain point in life you just realize that it is not important if you can define God, and you no longer questions his existence because something inexplicable has grown within yourself. and that we look into ourselves to find the answers rather than elsewhere. I hope that makes sense, and I apologize if my response is a bit off-topic somehow. Thanks for bringing this argument up.
    • Apr 6 2013: Hi There!
      I understand what you mean. We and It become 'entangled'. It becomes difficult (and unimportant) to try to figure out where It ends and we begin. And that is what It and we really want!
  • Apr 6 2013: Can a quark define a human being? No, it does not have the ability on any level. The problem in trying to define God is found in the limitations of man. To me, any attempt to define God is at root an attempt to elevate the station of man on their own terms. It's been done innumerable times and destined to fall short.
    • thumb
      Apr 6 2013: So basically your answer is "no" due to the human cognitive ability, and even if we attempt to we will fail.
      And that we can not imagine anything too "powerful" (ect..).
      Playing Devil's Advocate what would you say to "Christian" or "Muslims" who define God as the "eternal all powerful creator, who governs our universe". They have come up with a pretty good definition of their God.
      • Apr 6 2013: I would say that "eternal all powerful creator, who governs our universe" is descriptive rather than defining and the description is only in part. Essentially, I submit that God can not be defined because to define is to limit. Given the example of "all powerful" is One who can not be limited and therefore can not be defined. This is where man's wrestlng with the concept of God continually falls short. In trying to nail Him down within their understanding, they begin weighing someone or something far, far less than He is.
        • thumb
          Apr 6 2013: Good answer (I liked it!) :D
          Playing Devil Advocate (again :P), you could say God's power was limited, and that "why does God have to be "all powerful". For I feel that you may be going along the same lines of the ontological argument, which I would probably disagree with. (But I won't go into reason why, until you say whether you believe the ontological argument or not!)
      • Apr 8 2013: Many do say that God's power is limited, but I would not be among them. Neither do I rely solely on ontological argument as positive proof of His existence because, as is written in Romans 1, His attributes (and, perhaps to the root of your inquiry, existence) are observable from what He created (though the list of observable attributes is far from all inclusive). At bottom it really does hinge on Faith; not a blind illogical or unreasoned Faith, but a Faith of submission. For like a parent can not do much with a disobedient child, so too are we unworkable in disobedience. In Faith of obedience and submission, He is confirmed; both in reason and logic as well as revealed. This probably does not do much to clarify, but given the space and my limitations it is all I can offer now. Shalom aleichem.
    • thumb
      Apr 7 2013: I understand what you mean, although a quark has no mind we know of and humans are the most intelligent beings we know in the universe.

      Are you suggesting we imagine something beyond our ability to define, or define it as something limited by definition. That's kind of a definition.

      Could this just be our brains labelling aspects of life and the universe we find it hard to comprehend god, and personifying it?
      • Apr 8 2013: While a quark does not have a mind that we know of, what holds it in place and, more pointedly, why? And to claim that humans are the most intelligent beings we know in the universe purposely refuses to recognize the claims of God and at eh least presumptuous considering that we know so little.

        I would say that the view that essentially holds God as a catchall for things we do not understand is the product of placing none higher than man himself and predicated on the denial of events of [benevolent] Divine revelation. To the former I would say that simply because man is far and away on a higher intellectual plane than what we know is a narrow view, far narrower than the earthcentric view of those opposed to Galileo. To the latter, I would ask how it is that the Faith has endured for so long?
        • thumb
          Apr 9 2013: What holds us on the surface of the planet? Gravity.
          What binds electrons to atoms? Electromagnetic force.
          Quarks, well I don't know enough about them, but why not natural forces?

          Im not assuming gods or more intelligent aliens dont exist. I'm just saying we don't have compelling evidence for their existence.

          Do you think the existence of a god or goddesses are proven reasonably?
      • Apr 9 2013: I hold that belief in God is more reasonable than disbelief. Science can not explain how anything comes from nothing. But even if hope is held out that it one day will, science can not explain the purpose---the big why? Science can only explain the how. The very concept of existence falls without answering the big why. I say that science is merely the discovery of what God has known from the beginning.

        As to compelling evidence of the existence of God, I believe that the foregoing and my preceding cover that. Perhaps not to your satisfacion, but it is good start. I think the more burdensome proposition is in disbelief.

        To believe in the big bang / evolutionary theory with no underlying purpose for any life at all is hard put to justify itself; and aliens still will not answer pupose nor the any-matter-coming-from-nothing shortcoming (where did aliens come from?). Believe or disbelieve---that is the question put to every one of us. From what I know and have experienced, belief in (and more importantly, submission to) God is the far more reasonable conclusion.
        • thumb
          Apr 11 2013: Saying a god made the universe doesn't explain who it happened either.

          How did this god do that.


          Where did this god come from?

          You just move the questions about the physical universe back to questions about practically non existent god.

          I don't really get it nunya, how answering a mystery with an even greater mystery actually helps explain anything. How does saying god did it plug a gap in our knowledge when you don't know anything concrete about this god, how it came to exist, and how it made the universe?
      • Apr 11 2013: Do you think the existence of a god or goddesses aren't proven reasonably?
  • Mar 29 2013: Hi There!
    I've popped over here from the food fight over the censorship of talks by Sheldrake and Hancock (whom I respect as valid, important researchers). Let's see how this goes... As I understand it, the question is "Can God be defined or What is it?
    In my personal experience, something has to be observed or experienced - long before it can be defined. The larger or more complex it is, the more time, effort, critical evaluation and patience it will require to even begin to define It.
    For the last twenty or so years, I've become uncomfortable with the word God. First, because of the temptation to anthropormorphize It. Second, well ... look at world history. "God" has been a convenient excuse for countless atrocities commited by us 'talking monkeys'. Definitions are guesses or rationalizations if they are not discriptions of experiences. So, it is reasonalbe to expect any definition of It to expand, as experience with It grows.
    I decided to set aside my religious beliefs (model of 'Reality') over twenty years ago because of inconsistancies between it and what I had begun to observe and experience in my life.
    I've set up tools for myself, to critique my interpretation of experiences, ideas and research findings. It's very important to have tools to root-out wishful thinking, self-deception and unconscious motivations - otherwise ...we can go down the 'rabbit hole', not to return (see: George Price, Mathematician/Geneticist)!
    Here is one; Imagine a bar graph. One end has folks who choose ideas for their model of reality based on what makes them 'feel' safe, secure or gives them feelings of status. At the other end of our graph are those folks who really, really want to know what is what - regardless of where it leads. Most of us are somewhere on this graph I call "the Spectrum of Belief". It is a tough slogg to set aside cherished beliefs and build a new model based on critiqued, experiencial evidence. I know this.
    • Mar 30 2013: Jordan, I love what you are saying. In relation to the question, very good answer. I do look at it a tiny bit different. I imagine that we can't understand God, and try to understand the idea of a God making that my first premise. I would say it is very much like putting together a puzzle, where you don't know the picture, you know for a fact you are missing many peices, but you are driven to try to do your best. It is still very doable and you can achieve a much better picture of things as you work forward.

      So many people can't easily step into the "I am not and will never be sure" position. For trying to define God, I see it as the first step. So many people very quickly and very loudly get on the wrong path just because of this issue.

      Also, I read in your comments an inherent respect for others opinions. You don't instantly trash other beliefs. Very refreshing.

      One thing I would comment on though is that, while your goals and motivations work for you, it doesn't have to apply to all other people. I see very different ideas in these posts. That is great. But so many take the vain of " if you are religious you are deluded". Not everyone is up to deep philosophical existential challenges. I don't see the problem letting others chose their path.
      • Mar 30 2013: Hi Daniel!
        Whew, this conversation area appeared to be pretty dead. I was beginning to wonder if 'god' was as dead here as Schrodinger's cat! I agree with you. Someone could well use the same tools that I use and come to different conclusions, A different model, etc. And is just fine! That is why I believe the early existentialists - ('existence precedes essence'), had a good starting point. 'Here I am, so what the hell does it all mean?' For me, the important thing is to take personal responsibility for what information (or "puzzle pieces", as you nicely put it), that I choose to to include in my 'present' model, by using enough introspection to critique those descisions, as to my real motives (feelings of security or pieces that really fit?). This is of course,always easier than it sounds. It can be a tough slogg, involving well - a life time of work.
        Speaking of a life time, perhaps this is a large part of why we are here - it certainly isn't my idea of a great vacation spot! It's like a boot camp!
        I do believe that any effort at a 'definition' or model of what I will call 'The Great Center of All Being' should be organic and grow as we do. My wife had the inspired good sense to actually ask It what or how It would like to be addressed. I wish that I had had the smarts to do this! The powerful and affirmative answer she got - immediately was "The One". Seems It can define Itself, thankyou very much :)!
        As this little example shows, I am clearly 'not the sharpest knife in the draw'! But, that just has to be o:k. If It really likes me as much as It tells me It does, I guess that should really be enough for my self-esteem. Now, to try to live this out!
        This leads me to my last thought for today. I do quite alot of reading in the areas of psi functoning, conscious research, NDEs, etc. by emminent physicists, clinical psychologist and explorers who have degrees coming out of their ears. Still, as is often said; 'experience is the best teacher'.
  • Mar 22 2013: I know.. I like messin around with the conversation but i am very genuine in that what i say is what i truly believe as silly as it may sound(no offense taken) i am silly. But i feel that humans have the capacity and ability to understand it all and i think and believe imagination makes that possible. Thats how powerful it is. On a side note the holy trinity is very interesting to me , though i could not agree with all of the bible because i have not read it like that there are some ideas in there that i definitely find interesting and add to my own beliefs.
  • Mar 21 2013: I am new to TED and am amazed by its material and its members. Such decorum and respect on such an explosive subject is quite amazing. You can read in many of these comments a level of sophistication and wonderful intelligence.

    Only a few "YouTube" comments))) My hat is off to the Ted community!
    • thumb
      Mar 22 2013: Well I am sure you much to contribute :)
      To be honest I am still quite new to the TED community.
  • Mar 21 2013: I experience Pleasure as having to do with Gratification of some sort. I can Actively seek things or experiences that result in pleasure. Joy, for me, is something that I often seem to be "Swept into" like a spontaneous flow. Gratification, if there is any to be sensed, is more a Byproduct than the End-product of the experience. Just curious. Thanks for your take. Great day to you.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: Oh yes. By your definitions they are different. One is a sort of "flow" feeling. (Watch : Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness, http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html)
      While the other is more momentarily gratification which you can sort of become "addicted" to. If you could say that.
      Anyway Good day to you as well! :)
    • Mar 21 2013: Joy would be more spiritual which in turn makes your body feel good . Pleasure is more carnal not always good for the soul, but not necessarily. .. maybe...i guess.....well that's my best guess anyway.
    • Mar 21 2013: Its more like a side effect than a bi-product. The cause and effect are happening simultaneously.
  • thumb
    Mar 21 2013: Truth is GOD.Truth remains the same in any condition , at any time, amongst different people. And we need a reference which does not change.A person who follows the Truth follows HIM.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: I would recommend the debate I started : "Which "should" (or would) you take : - The Red pill (reality and the truth) / sadness or - The blue pill (illusion and lies) / happiness"
      (Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17218/which_should_or_would_you.html)
      While I know I may be mistaken in this debate :).
      Also I can see your logic perfectly. So then "God" does exist? :)
      So science in a way is a search for "God" then? (Correct me if I am wrong, also I trust this truth is objective truth?)
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: We must have different definitions of truth.
      Truth is not a person.
      Just like love is not a person, for those who say god is love.
      Truth and love are human concepts. So we agree in part that gods are human concepts, perhaps.
      • Mar 21 2013: Love is key...god is all, truth is best whether it be ugly, pretty or hurt like an mother effer. Love is a word associated with an emotion. The word itself was concieved somewhere down the line but the feeling one gets is very real.
  • Mar 21 2013: My God paradox is: Something created the elements and Natural Laws but, who created the Creator?
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: Well there are 2 possible explanations I can think of:
      1. The Creator could have created itself (through time travel if it was all powerful)
      2. The Creator is eternal.
    • Mar 21 2013: The creator is eternal. Who knows how many times this shit has gone down. Heres my belief .....there was an eternal light,a single oconscience. The one desired to be many and take on a physical form . So the one then coalesced which brought about the big bang enabling everything there is ,was and will be. I look at the invention of the telegram , phone and internet the same way i see a kid who mimics there parents. Were just trying to be like our parent becoming as one through technological means , whether we realize it or not.
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Mar 21 2013: The God of Abraham does not exist. What exists is consciousness.

    I think of the god-concept this way:

    Let's say that an hour is what you call God. That hour can be broken up into any number of segments. Let's also say that you are a minute within the framework of the hour. How you use your minute determines the nature of the hour. God is not the omnipotent creature that he is said to be. Omniscient - yes because it is the sum total of its parts. Omnipotent? No, because it only exists in the moment of NOW.

    The hour is powerless, but the minutes are powerful. And all the minutes in an hour use the power that is the hour as they fill their lives with experience, thus forming the hour in each and every moment of NOW.

    What is existence? Consciousness.
    • thumb
      Mar 21 2013: So through your own definition, then you can never know whether other things exist.
      And rocks don't exist, because they don't have consciousness. (Hope I have understood this well enough)
      While a few other definitions you could consider of existence are : "has energy" "has impact".
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: What makes you think that rocks don't have consciousness. I believe that they do. Consciousness is energy. Matter is energy. Rocks are matter. Plants have been proven to have consciousness. Why not galaxies, asteroids, planets, dogs, cells, atoms, etc.?

        Did you know that an atom is more than 99% non-physical? Look at an atom with its electron that is detected. It is somewhere around where Jupiter is relative to the sun. What if all that space is consciousness?
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: "Plants have been proven to have consciousness"
          Sorry, please send me a link or something proving this to me.
          Also even if this was the case, I think it is quite a big assumption to claim that everything is now conciseness.
          Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel your logic goes a bit like this : War is Hell, Hell is evil, therefore war must be evil. Which isn't necessarily true.
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: The book is called "The Secret Life of Plants".

        My logic is not at all what your assumption is. Evil is no more real than God. It's a myth.

        Because I live in a consciousness-based reality (rather than a fear-based reality) I will never willingly participate in war.
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: Actually one thing which would be helpful is : Define Consciousness.
          Also please define a "fear based reality" and a "consciousness-based reality"
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: "I will never willingly participate in war."
          I think you would. Maybe not willingly at first.
          But I think you would. (If there were "certain" psychological mechanisms in place, such as Dehumanization of the enemy, obedience to authority, conformity to the group for normative needs, and a conflict of interest. I somehow think you would....) Sorry to pick out small details.
          But an admirable thought nonetheless :)
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Consciousness = self-awareness
        Fear - that which one experiences when one isn't self-aware.
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: I still think you can experience fear and sadness when self-aware. Can't you?
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Fear-based reality: Based in the belief that you are something that you are not, so you react to fears rather than act proactively in the security of knowing who and what you are, and that you are always safe, as is the case when one is self-aware.
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Can I experience fear and sadness? yes, but when I do, I choose differently than I once did.

        Fear is something that I walk towards. I do not fear fear. I remember who and what I am, so that fear is like looking in the mirror and making faces at myself - scaring myself.

        It has been so long since I have experienced more than a few minutes of sadness that I barely think about it. When I do experience a moment of sadness, I choose differently the minute that I recognize it - which is where self-awareness comes in. I am generally aware of what I am thinking, and thoughts PRECEDE emotions, so I am generally aware of what I am emoting. That's what I mean by self-awareness. Most people don't have a clue as to what they are thinking about most of the time.

        I have learned that what I think about and emote about becomes (part of my reality). It's kind of like Jesus teaching that ALL that you ask for is given/answered. I just add "so if you don't like what you have, then look at what you have been asking for".
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: Do you mind if I try and outline all of what you have said to me today. Because we have covered so much ground, it is becoming hard to remember. :)
          - So you believe that everything is conscience, because plants are conscience, and matter is somehow conscience? (Which I still don't really understand, and if you don't mind me saying, view you are probably wrong. But will try and read that book you recommended.)
          - Happiness is a choice? (Which I disagree with, but view it should probably be encouraged even though it doesn't guarantee happiness!)
          - Conscience = Existence. Can only achieve happiness once you achieve full conscience.
          - And almost all religions are "evil" for they make people slaves whether they know they are? (Which again I must disagree with, for I view that religion doesn't "force" people to do certain things at all. At least not all. And to make that statement you probably need more data on every single religion out there!)
          If I have missed anything out there, just tell me. Thanks.
          (Just to say you have made a big contribution to this debate, even though as you know I kind of disagree with you on "some" things.) :)
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: The reason why I would never willingly participate in war is because I will not be manipulated by those who would use emotions against me - as the German people were manipulated before WWII. Because I own my emotions, they cannot be used against me.

        I also know that I am a powerful creature and I will be safe. If millions of people do not believe that they are equally powerful creatures who could be safe if they could awaken, that is not my fault and it is not my job to help them in their pro-war agenda.

        Have you ever read Mark Twain's Prayer?

        O Lord our Father,

        Our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

        O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
        • W T 100+

          • 0
          Mar 21 2013: I had never read Mark Twain's prayer......was he trying to show the hipocracy in Christiandom? Or was he himself the hypocrite?

          Are there any individuals out there who believe in God and refuse to bear arms?

          A while back I ran across this work by Patchen, I found it moving:

      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Disagreement is fine. I think that you have somewhat summed up much of my position.
      • Mar 21 2013: Or has someone there to observe it.
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2013: @Mary:

        Mark Twain was showing truth to those of the Abrahamic traditions who sing songs like "Praise God and Pass the Ammunition". He saw the God delusion as a form of insanity.

        There are SOME Christians who are conscientious objectors (JWs and some Quakers, for instance), but in the USA, the Supreme court has said that though they are not required to kill others directly, they can be required to do so indirectly - by being ambulance drivers, medics, cooks, clerks, etc.

        In the days of the Viet Nam war, it was not the christians who were fleeing the draft by going to another country - at great personal expense - rather than participate in the killing. It was those who are spiritual.

        It is so bizarre that the Abrahamic churches, temples, and synagogues around the world all talk of peace, but they are the ones most willing to keep the wars going. What if war was declared and no one showed up to fight?

        How sad that Christianity doesn't believe Jesus, so they don't know that PEACE is a power, and it can be used in war or in self-defense. I've tested the concept and discovered that it works. I do not have to raise my hand in self-defense to create personal safety. Hence, I'm a pacifist, and obviously not a believer in God.
    • Mar 21 2013: If you are awake, you are conscious. If you are Conscious, you are thinking. You cannot doubt thinking. I am Conscious, therefor I am.
    • thumb
      Apr 2 2013: Will be spamming this message to all those who I think may be interested. (I want to raise awareness) I hope nobody minds "too much" :D : (To all those on these links such as : Can we define God)
      Strongly recommend you join my debate on this ( Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?) on this link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html
      Many thanks.
      Think you would find this debate interesting Gail. :)
  • Mar 20 2013: God has been defined, not fully, but its a start. I always felt that science is GOD's unfinished bible. I could go into many own personal spiritual beliefs but i don't believe that was the question.
  • thumb
    Mar 18 2013: In my opinion:
    1. Religion is a man made concept. Religion is one's own personal interpretation of their relationship to 'God';
    2. Mankind are co-creators, an outlet of an infinite intelligence seeking perfect expression;
    3. God and the Devil are two extremes of the same principle. There is no such thing as good or bad, there can only be the truth. It's your personal perception which creates your reality.
    4. Oh yeah, and whoever control's the minds of the masses either through religion, aspirations or social conditioning, controls the world!
    • thumb
      Mar 19 2013: Interesting you said "religion is a man made concept" and not God. :) I would probably agree with this!
      "There is no such thing as good or bad, there can only be the truth" However if there can be objective truth, why can't there be "objective morality" (in the way there is a "right option to maximize utility or minimize pain for the most amount of people".)
      While with your fourth point : Even though religion may have a lot of "power", it doesn't stop religious high officials stop believing in God, in a odd sense (and am willing to be corrected) this is just a slight correlation of belief.
      However the major point here is : "what is God, or can you define God?". Not whether or not it exists, or is a man made concept. :)
      I hope I did not come off as being too patronizing! (For this was not my intent!) :)
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: "Why can't there be "objective morality" "I assumed that morality was by nature objective.
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Many would disagree with you, and view that morality is completely subjective.
          In the way there is no way to measure "morality" (if you don't believe in utilitarianism)
          And the fact that "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist", while (and I might be wrong) objective morality would dictate whether the man was a freedom fighter or terrorist. (or whether he was "good" or "evil". Hope this helps. Feel that I have explained this quite badly.
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: No Bernard, of course you don't come off as being patronizing. You raise a good point. It's strange, objectively, I would reason that belief in a God, I cannot identify, or have physical proof exists should be accepted by me as real. However, subjectively, I have a faith in something that some would call God. So I do feel, again in my opinion, that whatever you believe in can only be seen subjectively and there can only be subjective truth. When you really start to delve in to this subject and the metaphysical questions it arouses, it's a fascinating aspect. My noggin hurts just thinking it through:)
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Out of interest :
          What do you mean by "subjective truth", I can see how this term would work.
          I would be interested to see how you would define it! :)
          In an odd sense, I could see how there "could" (though this may be a direct contradiction of what I have just said) be objective truth and subjective morality. (Though I believe it i smoe likely that if there is objective truth, then their should be objective morality).
          Gotta admit will have to spend more time on this subject. :)
        • thumb
          Apr 2 2013: Will be spamming this message to all those who I think may be interested. (I want to raise awareness) I hope nobody minds "too much" :D : (To all those on these links such as : Can we define God)
          Strongly recommend you join my debate on this ( Can we ever design an experiment which can determine whether God exist or not?) on this link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/17451/can_we_ever_design_an_experime.html
          Many thanks.
          Am always interested in your opinion. M.J. Penny, hopefully you will join this debate.
  • Mar 15 2013: When it comes to God, life, and meanings, I like to reflect back upon the irony from "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy." We cannot obtain an answer if we do not know the question. Regarding your topic "does God exist," the problem with answering is, as you say, "what is God." My point here is that there is no answer, for God is and always has been represented as a metaphysical entity, and as much as common religions have tried to define God in a single shape, one's relationship to God is and will always be entirely within himself (or herself.) To many in the catholic church, for instance, God has been depicted as a solution to the unknown, a factor important in resting peace and preventing an exhaustive life of searching. I cannot say I have this same relation to "God." Although I was 'sort of' raised within Christianity (as in surrounded, but never overwhelmed by it), I have made a very different definition for my God. As I hear two voices, one striving for righteousness, progress and goodness; the other for self fueled interests. To me, God is this struggle between the forces in everyone, for it is the spiritual (as we do not understand how brain chemistry works) guide.

    You could claim this is absolute bull**** (forgive the expression), and there I agree with you. We know that it is electrical impulses that control our actions and thoughts, hence the notion of a spiritual guide is ludicrous. But this knowledge doesn't change the initial dilemma that brought about my definition of God, a definition which makes the struggle a symbol, and one I can tackle from within. (I believe this is the origin of mythical monsters and heroes. We cannot in good faith claim they provide less insight than a news report or biography.) It is all about the questions we can make to ourselves, and our attitude towards them.

    I would love to add on your topic of existence, but I have not yet come to terms with my own definition, so it shall have to wait for another day.

    • thumb
      Mar 15 2013: Thank you for your opinion :)
      I'm interested though, if you find the time : What are your thoughts on the topic of existence?
      If i had to give God a definition it would probably be : "a faceless force in the universe that is directly responsible for the organisation of cosmic structure-arranging matter in an orderly fashion". But some would accuse me of playing semantics (for it just could be called "science" in an odd sense) or this being a very odd form of "pantheism".
      But I'v found that definitions are extremely important as you have said.
      But likewise, I haven't really come up with a proper definition of what "God" is! :)
      • Mar 16 2013: Thank you for your reply.
        Existence seems a tricky one to me... Do dragons exist? As we picture them flying and spitting fire, most probably no, for they do not, or have not to the best of our knowledge, roamed around, living. But they exist in our minds, for we can picture them. If you then say demons exist (for they exist in the mind), then I most definitely have to say yes! Because similarly to your definition of God, they exist as faceless forces that can drive people to extraordinary ends.

        When it comes to my own existence, however, I am still somewhat intrigued. I cannot envision not existing (the consequences, maybe, but from a perspective? Like thinking of nothingness after death... it can't be fully envisioned). The closest similarity I can think of to death is sleep. There are two ways to sleep, dreamless, and dreaming. Often it is a mix of the two, but if you think of those nights where you do not dream, you cannot even understand how you went to sleep. All you know is that your eyes open and you are still alive. But recently I have been much more conscious in my dreams, and have managed to keep track of what happens, even a notion of time within the dream. I have dreamt through what felt like a week, in a mere 8 hours sleep. In death, I can imagine the brain going into such an ecstatic state where you dream for an eternity in a few minutes.. and then fall to dreamless sleep without ever knowing it.

        From this, I define two kinds of existence... the physical and the metaphysical. The physical we could call the Earth, the sun, stars, the people we come across. We can see, touch, hear.. we KNOW they are there. For ourselves, God, even the illusion of currency and the problems we come across on a daily basis, I would have to say that they exist only because of our ability to imagine them. I exist because I can see myself (imagine myself living). But death does not, for when it comes I will fall to sleep and remain unknowing of it. (By natural means).
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Actually I think a more accurate question of "Do Dragons exist" would be "Did dragons exist" (And if they didn't why did we feel a need to create such a concept, or was it just distorted).
          I mean they (like you said) probably didn't, and if they did, they were a sort of distorted concept.
          I do agree with you however that there are probably more than one definitions of existence! :)
          I mean personally I'v always wondered whether "God" (going by the Christian definition) could die, and whether in "heaven" we could kill him and then overthrow him, and democratically elect a new "God". :) (Just an odd thought...)
  • thumb
    Mar 15 2013: There are probably as many ideas of what a god, or gods an goddesses are as there are people.

    Not helped by the fact there is no evidence to help us define or understand the attributes, it is close to pure subjective speculation. Although some concepts may be more compatible with our scientific understanding than others.

    For me gods are most likely concepts humans construct.

    If invisible beings do exist we don't seem to have a reliable way of knowing anything about them. Not much point in worrying about the possibility of their existence II guess.
    • thumb
      Mar 15 2013: But then if we can't define "God" (due to there being so many definitions) then I would probably have to agree with you :
      There may be no point worrying about its existence. :)
      But if there is a "God" it will probably impact dramatically how I would behave! So that is why I like asking people in that sense!
      • thumb
        Mar 18 2013: Even if you assume gods exist, and we know nothing about them why would that change your behaviour?

        Personally I try and live a good life, because I love other people, I respect myself and would rather make a small positive impact with the short time I have. I wouldn't do anything different if I thought a god or spirits of the dead were watching me.

        If there are gods they seem impotent or unknowable or non interventionist

        Why would you assume an interventionist god? Why would you assume anyone would know what it wants?

        As to your original question, you can define god as anything you want because there is no reliable information that defines its nature, character, desires, or even its existence. We can speculate to our hearts content, because there is nothing we can humanly examine, other than our own brain states.

        Perhaps there are themes in gods, given we have the same sort of overactive agency detection and other cognitive weaknesses that god beliefs commonly leverage. Perhaps some obvious assumptions i.e. it needs to be invisible etc because we can not see it or measure it. But most contradictory details are highly speculative.

        If a god wanted us to know it existed and it wanted something from us it would help if it were a bit more obvious and clear.

        When it comes to communication, and ability to interact in a meaningful way with humans, humans can and any gods seem pretty impotent. In this way people are more powerful than gods be cause we seem to be real and can interact with the world and other humans.

        Gods if they exist seem to be pretty remote or ineffective if they are trying to communicate with us.
        • thumb
          Mar 18 2013: Very simply because it if there was a God it would affect what the meaning of life was, and what our "purpose" was as a race, and would influence how we "should" act.
          I would be inclined agree with the fact of "Gods if they exist seem to be pretty remote or ineffective if they are trying to communicate with us". (While you could argue it is a "test", but this is quite unlikely but still possible in my opinion!)
          Whether this is true or not has no impact on whether or not it "exists". But if this is true, it raises the question of "Are God(s) worthy of worship?" question.
          Will expand on these points later. :)
      • thumb
        Mar 18 2013: I guess if a god created the universe, humans might not be be the prime focus.

        Do You then need to assume the universe was created for humans?

        Perhaps it got things started and humans are one of billions of animals that evolved to question the meaning of life.

        I agree with your question, are they worthy of worship. What sort of narcisitic super being creates other beings to worship it?

        If this god orders us to kill homosexuals, endorses slavery, is sexist and racist having a chosen people - then perhaps its divine commands are not worth following unless it threatens us with eternal punishment.
        Being created by a god seems just as arbitrary as evolving by chance.
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Considering Stephan Hawkins prediction that we are the only intelligent species in a 270 light year radius, I would be inclined to say yes.
          But I am not sure.
          When I ask many religious people why they worship the God they believe in they usually say something like : "to honour it, because it is the lord and creator."
          Which I personally would disagree with it.
          Just because a God may be a "narcisitic super being" that does nothing to disprove it's existence. (Not saying that you have said this!) :)

          Separate reply! :)
          "invisible beings do exist we don't seem to have a reliable way of knowing anything about them."
          I have thought about this comment for quite a while. And though on instinct I would initially agree. I would be interested to know how you would respond to the comment, that we are even having a conversation about "God", and the fact that everybody has some concept of what "God" is!
          I mean if this is true (which I believe it is) then that means these "invisible" being are quite good at raising awareness of their (hypothetical)existence. But not very good at telling us about specific details, giving us evidence for their existence, telling us their will ect... :)
      • thumb
        Mar 21 2013: Hi Bernard,

        I see multiple concepts of gods and goddesses and afterlifes and demons and angels and nature spirits and fairies and ghosts. I can imagine or invent many more. I don't subscribe to any personally.

        I also note multiple supernatural beliefs to explain illness, disease, earthquakes, floods etc. Is the fact people often invent incorrect supernatural explanations evidence of something supernatural?

        Could be, but I personally think it most likely that the fact humans, invent explanations and attribute agency to things around us is just how we evolved. I would not be surprised if this helped survival in the past. Animals do the same thing - dogs barking at a falling branch or the wind.

        I think hyperactive agency detection, and other biological and cultural considerations most likely explain most supernatural beliefs.

        If there are gods and all this confusion about their existence and nature is the best they can do then they are pretty lame, or not serious about it or whatever you want to imagine explains the landscape of deist and theist and other god type beliefs.

        If you think evolution occurred without divine intervention then this is what we got, even if no gods or invisible beings exist.
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2013: Sorry I didn't reply to this one very quickly. :)
          I would have to say that you are on the right lines, in terms of "how" God(s) were created in our minds (and maybe the "why".) I would strongly recommend you the book "The belief instinct ; Psychology of souls, destiny, and the meaning of life by Jesse Bering. (link : http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Belief-Instinct-Psychology-Destiny/dp/0393341267)
          It explains how Gods were created by our "theory of mind". Actually I'll just post a bit of an article (with quotes from the book) I wrote :

          ***Piaget, a famous psychologist said: “A semi-educated man may very well dismiss as “contrary to science” a theological explanation of the universe, and yet find no difficulty in accepting the notion that the sun is there to give us light”.
          Piaget said this after doing an experiment that found out that children are compelled to reason in terms of inherent purpose when deliberating about origins. For instance when the question: “Why are there trees” some children will respond “so bears can scratch their backs on them”. This psychological mechanism is called: “artificialism” (as a seen in Piaget’s “theory of cognitive development”) or otherwise known as “telo-functional reasoning” (which is simply put : people think that something exists for a preconceived purpose rather than simply came to be as a functionless outgrowth of physical otherwise natural processes. For example: A tree) yet without a basic science education, promiscuous teleology remains a fixture of adult thought. *** (Will continue give you the rest of the article in a reply I will label "Part 2 Article".)
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2013: :
          ***While this then means that “Evolutionists will probably never outnumber creationists, because the latter have a paradoxical ally in the way natural selection has lent itself to our species’ untutored penchant for reasoning about its own origins” (Jesse Bering) Theory of the mind, a psychological mechanism which means we realize that other humans aren’t just moving bits of flesh but have their own subject world and can think. But Jesse Bering suggests this “Theory of Mind” we have acquired is slightly “Over developed”. Due to a fact we extend this psychological phenomena towards various objects and events in our lives (for instance if you have ever swore and cursed with hatred towards an animate object then you know what I am talking about.)When you look at God fundamentally, pass all the amazing religious scriptures, and then you realize that he is just another being with “feeling” and “intentions”, which could have been produced from our theory of the mind. ***
          There is quite a bit more to this article, I talk about how the autistic have a lesser theory of mind, which enables them to view God more as an impersonal faceless mathmatical equation.
          And then I go onto to explain the "theory of cognitive dissonance" and apply it to religion.
          While I feel with all of this, that it still doesn't prove or disprove the "existence" of a God(s).
          I hope this helps!!!
  • thumb
    Mar 13 2013: God can be defined, if we acknowledge that we are the creators of Gods and not the creations of Gods. Anything that we create can be defined..we are the one's who detach ourselves from such a possibility because if we didn't we would not feel as though we do not have a purpose.
    • thumb
      Mar 14 2013: So are you saying that a "God" couldn't be defined if we are it's creations, and not the other way around?
      Because it still remains a possibility that we are a "Gods" (depending on your definition :) ) creation, and that we didn't create "God". (However unlikely it may seem to you or to me or anyone)
      I mean for instance take the world, we did not create the world as far as I am aware, and yet we still need to define it.
      If I have misunderstood your comment please just tell me. :)
      • thumb
        Mar 14 2013: HI Bernard,

        Not quite, your sort of on the right track.

        What I'm essentially saying is that this conception of God is man made. We are the one's who looked up to the stars and came to the conclusion that there something greater than ourselves. It is indeed true that there is something greater than ourselves, (just look to the universe). For, perhaps human history< we attributed this sense of something greater than ourselves to god(s).

        So in essence we are the creator of God or God(s) because we are the only organism (at least that I know of) that is looking for a sense of purpose and meaning. so what we have done is create a deity(s) and then totally detach ourselves from our own creation, giving it the attribute of being beyond the scope of human experience, so we can give our lives meaning and purpose.

        Instead of admitting that not only did we create God but that if such a being existed we could possibly not know anything about its nature, we instead create books, pray and perform rituals. Even more we kill one another over this age old mystery and once bad things happen in the name of this creator(s) or we question its legitimacy we then decide to invoke that this being is mysterious...

        Do you see anything wrong here?
        • thumb
          Mar 14 2013: There is still the "slight" possibility that there was God (as you suggested) and all these mythologies were just different interpretations of the same "being" or "God".
          Also a book I would recommend to you would be : The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life by Jesse Bering. (It is a very good book, which talks about the psychology of religion, and how we do create "meaning" and "purpose". Also talks about what makes the concept of "God" (the theist type that is) possible to the human mind) :) But it doesn't really comment much on whether such a "God" is possible, even though the author himself is an atheist/agnostic.
        • thumb
          Mar 15 2013: I'm of a like mind Orlando.

          Bernard if there is a goddess, god or a whole bunch of them it is also possible the various mythologies and religions developed completely independent of the gods. No intervention. No god given revelations etc. Any similarities with reality may be completely coincidental. They may all be wrong on all the critical details. The nature of these things may be so different so outside any human speculation.

          In which case perhaps they are not really interpretations of anything, just human speculations with no basis other than our hyperactive agency detection etc.
        • Mar 15 2013: "So what we have done is create a deity(s) and then totally detach ourselves from our own creation".

          I love that you brought this up! In the (most) modern religions, this is certainly the case. But what I find interesting is that we have also LITERALLY done so to ourselves, by distancing ourselves from the world we live in. When you compare with those who went from this world we have engineered to live from the soil, from travel, you find that they look inside when they seek their deity. They put themselves in nature, and look into themselves to find solutions to problems, when most of us (city-dwellers) place God outside of ourselves, and look outwards. It seems to me a rather interesting juxtaposition of God and the path we chose to live...

          Also, do you think the notion of placing God high up on some altar, therefore apart from us, makes it easier for us to disregard "creation" as you mention (what-ever you choose to define as creation, of course)?

  • Mar 13 2013: Question of the existence of God, will only lead to what 'inside' you tells you. Yup.. that 'inside' thing might be as good as a thought, or an idea, or a concept, or emotions.. etc.

    Other than that, God is undefinable. Period. Physically, if God can be defined, then that being is not a God. God is supposed to be above all that. Physical things (atoms, higgs bossom etc..) is creations, not the Creator.

    In the end, we're only left to deal with 2 things (regarding to God) : 1) Don't care, just live the life 2) Find proofs if God does exist.

    Where to find proofs? A man in the dessert, 14 centuries ago, claimed that he is the final messenger of God. The greatest proof he could offer is the 'words of God' itself, the audio-wave of Quran (Koran) in arabic, delivered orally and passed through generations of memorizer untill now.

    I like you guys to have a read at these 2 books, theyre in english. Uploaded them at mediafire and I'm not making money out of this upload/download okay. It's simply sharing. :)


    or you can simply search - 1) The Amazing Quran by Gary Miller 2) Quran : The Linguistic Miracle

    All i can say is, the proof of God existence is the existence of this Koran. But don't take my word for it. Good read.
  • Mar 13 2013: CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM
    Say: He is Allah,
    The One and Only.
    "Allah, the Eternal, Absolute.
    "He begets not, nor is He begotten.
    And there is none like unto Him

    I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me."

    "He is One only without a second."
    "Of Him there are neither parents nor lord."
    "There is no likeness of Him."
    "His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye."

    He is without an origin or end.
    He has no father or mother, wife or son.
    He is without a body or form.
    Nothing resembles Him.
    Neither the eye can behold Him, nor the power of thinking can conceive him.
    He is above all that you can imagine.
    He is nearer to you than your own self

    All-praise to the unity of God, and all-honor to Him, the sovereign Lord, the incomparable and all-glorious Ruler of the universe, Who, out of utter nothingness, hath created the reality of all things, Who, from naught, hath brought into being the most refined and subtle elements of His creation, and Who, rescuing His creatures from the abasement of remoteness and the perils of ultimate extinction, hath received them into His kingdom of incorruptible glory. Nothing short of His all-encompassing grace, His all-pervading mercy, could have possibly achieved it
    • thumb
      Mar 13 2013: So with all these definitions is God sort of an eternal timeless being? (Which can't really be interpreted by logic very well!)
      • Mar 15 2013: Thanks for replying. There are a couple of lines from a famous poem that come to mind that touches upon an Eternal God......

        When nothing was, then God was there; had nothing been, God would have been,
        My being has defeated me, had I not been what would have been?
  • thumb
    Apr 10 2013: Hi Bernard,
    You have to be specific when you speak of God. A new car can be a God, a new baby can be a God, in this generation, money is certainly a God. Your God is whatever you devote your time & resources to. Many follow the Hebrew God of the bible; myself included, but mR. Dawkins et al would presumably elevate Mr. Darwin to a higher plane.

    I guess what you are really after is a definition of the biblical God of the Old & New Testaments, but you can't be bothered to study them for yourself. I can admire your honesty, many people get their idea of God from Athiest websites & naturally go a bit off course.

    I can only give you my personal understanding of God; it will be hopelessly flawed as human beings are hopelessly flawed. But since you ask.....
    God is an infinite spiritual being. He is infinite in presence, power, understanding, &, thankfully for us, in love. He created the universe in order to have children. He came to earth in human form to show his love for us, & was raised up as a superhuman in order to give us a glimpse of our potential, if we just trust him. True to form, we killed him & told him to go away. It doesn't have to be like that. He loves us, we are his children.

    That's what my God is like, how about yours ?

    • thumb
      Apr 10 2013: Hello Peter Law, nice to meet you! :)
      I prefer listening to people's opinions ( and perspectives rather than just looking it up on the Internet, and then anchor myself to one perception! :D).
      What would my definition of God be, it would probably be a sight pantheistic / deist God, (I'll give it a try) :
      "A faceless impersonal face that is directly responsible of the organisation of cosmic matter, and governs the universe (through simplicity and maths?)"
      Yet many accuse me of semantics when I tell them this I my definition of God, if I had to make one.
      Wile you make some very good + interesting points!
      Does this suffice for you? :D
      And I suppose all Gods have immense power, just a thought! :P so Darwin was powerful, because he created the theory of evolution.
      • thumb
        Apr 11 2013: I think peter is using two meanings of the word god.

        One as a supernatural being, creator etc.

        Secondly as a metaphor for what you focus your life on is you don't focus on the god above. So my god is loving and caring for family and friends, and broader humanity to a lesser extent, and learning, hopefully improving, to have a full and happy contributing life.

        I'm not sure why he assumes the discussion refers to an envangelical christian god.

        The next question might be to definer what a spirit being or spirit or spirit realm is. Is it made of spiritual atoms. Its just an extension of the speculative realm we really have no idea about, with nothing testable, and consequently many contradictory positions.
      • thumb
        Apr 11 2013: Hi Bernard.
        Your view of God is reasonable if you look at the wonders of nature & deduce the need for an intelligent creator.
        My perspective is based on yours plus a trust in the person of Jesus Christ as encapsulated in the bible. We all have to follow where the evidence leads.

        Hi Obey.
        We can only speculate on spiritual atoms. My view is that there are no atoms, or at least no mass, involved. This would remove the effects of time as my understanding is that time needs mass to operate. So eternity would make some sort of sense. This needs faith, but no more than Dark Matter etc. which we have to infer to fit our understanding.

    • thumb
      Apr 12 2013: Re: "You have to be specific when you speak of God. A new car can be a God, a new baby can be a God, in this generation, money is certainly a God."

      I think, when one speaks of God as something specific, especially, material, it's idolatry. Atheists are quite correct when they point out that God can't be found in nature - whatever we look at is not God. That's the whole idea. Religions also prohibit idolatry - making gods out of material things. There is no contradiction here.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 12 2013: Some things can be true and false at the same time :-) I will not argue with you.
        • thumb
          Apr 12 2013: "Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father..." John 20:17. This seams to mean that Jesus in his physical body is not God and is not to be worshiped. He is only God in a spiritual sense which has little to do with his material form. I guess, we are talking about the same thing.
  • thumb
    Apr 10 2013: I am not sure but God is abundant in TED conversations. I don't feel interested about God questions anymore.
    • thumb
      Apr 10 2013: I still am! :D
      Yet I must admit, all this discussion doesn't have much piratical purpose. (If that is why you don't like the 'God' question anymore.)
      Also if you don't mind me asking, why post this comment (without explanation as to why you don't feel interested in the 'God' conversation!) on a TED conversation about 'God'? :P Seems rather odd to me, no offence intended ofcouse. :)
      • thumb
        Apr 12 2013: I think I didn't read the later part of your comment before. That's why I am delayed to leave a reply. Without meaning anything bad or disrespectful, I do not stand to benefit with God questions honestly. Sure the question reveals many nuanced references, points of view and philosophical stands but as to the point of the question itself, I seem to find myself exactly where I was before the question as after.
        If it looks odd to you, I am undone. No offense taken. :)
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Apr 11 2013: Some god or gods may exist.

      I'm not sure we have sufficient evidence to say any does exist.

      Science is a process that keeps improving our knowledge. The edges are speculative as and any part may be replaced if a better explanation is found.

      Just like we have replaced gods of thunder, the sun, disease and famine causing gods with natural explanations.

      The conversation is optional. I think we can discuss these ideas and still find time to make a positive impact.