TED Conversations

Bernard White


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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!

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  • Mar 20 2013: God/gods were invented by man to control man.
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      Mar 20 2013: I am afraid you still haven't answered the question : "What is God".
      I mean (and correct me if I am wrong) you have just said to me "X or variations of X (Y and Z) were created to control man". I apologize in advance if this seems patronizing.
      While I would disagree that was even their purpose (to control people) if they were invented. I reckon if they were "invented" they were not invented (they were invented by our "Theory of Mind") to control people. (And probably were invented to gain a better understanding of the world.)
      I mean if I suggested I knew "God" it wouldn't be to control people, it would be to share the message of God so we could better prepare. Not to control people.
      • Mar 21 2013: I disagree.
        Your question was: "Can God be defined? Or in other words : What is God?

        Answer: God is an invention of man to control man (just like I said the first time). That is an answer, whether it is the answer you wanted or not it is still a valid answer that satisfies the question and just like the converse view, it can neither be proven nor disproved. There is tons of historic evidence to support this view in that almost all conflict is as a result of god differences (different sides trying to control others in the name of their gods and by the rules their god represents).

        If you are looking for a religious definition you won't get one from me, I stopped believing in imaginary creatures before I learned to walk.

        There is plenty of proof that gods are a means of controlling people. Every religion (god doctrine) I have ever been exposed to has a set of "rules" to which you must adhere, because if I don't ... "I am a very bad boy and I will be punished". If it was not "man's" purpose to control through gods, then there would not be rules. It is entirely possible to create a deity that does not impose laws or rules, but I have never heard of one.

        I don't care to hear your preaching, I am only answering a question and not interested in how some fictitious thing can save me. There are no "messages of gods" they are words of man to deceive and control ... Do you believe in God? Then you have fallen pray to the controlling doctrines of a hand full of writers and generations of misinterpretation!

        This is my opinion, no gods involved and no rules .... You are free to have your own opinions.
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          Mar 21 2013: I couldn't disagree more. (Out of interest how am I preaching? :s )
          Many religions in the world don't "control" people. Are these religions exceptions to your rule?
          While as far as I'm aware Buddhism doesn't really "control" people, and yet is still religion.
          Yet I suppose you will argue that encouraging any behaviour is a form of control? (Which must mean that we are being controlled by almost everything) Yet then this raises the question of "is control bad?". Not really, if your encouraging positive behaviours then this isn't "bad".
          While I accept God could be an invention to encourage certain behaviours, now unless I am just misunderstanding something here, you still haven't told me what "God" is.
          But I suppose you will just answer : Something which controls people!
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        Mar 21 2013: I think Louis did answer your question. God is a human invention - a figment of man's imagination. That scientifically unsustainable idea is used to control and manipulate those humans who have chosen those humans who manipulate and control them as their personal gods.

        Remember, Jesus said, where your love is, there is your god. If you love money more than God, then your god is money no matter what you do on Sunday. If you trust another to decide morality for you, then that person is your god. If you trust your conscience to inform you as you make your moment-by-moment choices, then you will reconnect with your consciousness and you will make wiser choices which will lead you to a happier and more rewarding life.
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        Mar 21 2013: Buddhism is not a religion. It's a philosophy that is often characterized as a religion because it is convenient to do so. The Buddhist monk does not try to overpower you - control your thoughts that determine your behaviors that determine your outcomes. That is the pervue of religion and why the Abrahamic religions are so cruel.
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        Mar 21 2013: You said: "unless I am just misunderstanding something here, you still haven't told me what "God" is.
        But I suppose you will just answer : Something which controls people! "

        How can that which doesn't even exist control anyone? Can't. Do you understand what "doesn't exist" means? You can control your own behaviors though. If you want to believe in God, that will determine many of your choices as you go throughout your day. And as choices create consequences, you create your own consequences, and thus your own reality.
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          Mar 21 2013: Interesting.
          So would you view that in certain religion everybody is just following something out of their own choice. Because many argue that "Belief isn't a choice". While if you believed in a deist God or a pantheistic God (as I kind of do) then I can't see how that would impact your day to day life much.
          Yet to argue about a God's existence you would still need to define it.
          Regardless of whether it is a man made construct or not. I mean I think a nice definition would be the abramic God is meant to be "an all loving all powerful all knowing" entity which governs the universe and is the ultimate creator. Now then you could say this idea, was used to control people. (if you view it doesn't exist)I hope you now see what I mean.
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        Mar 21 2013: No, Bernard. I do not believe that in certain religions, everybody is just following something out of their own choice. I believe that everybody is following something that is someone else's choice - which is where the dangerous kind of slavery I spoke of elsewhere comes in.

        That's why your asking questions is such a good thing. Once you see the prison that you feel so safe and comfortable in, you can let go of the bars that you cling to and walk freely with safety.

        If you understood the teachings of Jesus better (as opposed to those of Paul and Christianity), you would understand what I am saying, because IMO, I am saying what Jesus said.

        Yes, atheists like me believe that Jesus was telling the truth but Christianity calls him a liar, and Christians around the world have bought into the lie.

        As to defining God. God doesn't exist so if you want to believe in "Him", define it any way you like. No one will agree with you anyhow. There is no common definition.

        As to the Abrahamic God. If such a God were the god that the Abrahamic religions refer to, then it couldn't be used to manipulate people. It takes teaching people to be afraid and then to fear their fears that makes it possible to manipulate the sheeple - who have lost the ability to think rationally because of indoctrination and brainwashing using fear.

        And this is exactly what the God of ABraham does. "He" is far from loving and if you have read the Bible, you might see that. "He" is clearly a sadistic, misogynistic, tyranical terrorist who is jealous and quick to anger - even willing to throw people into an eternal Hell (another invention). That's not love. He is weak and powerless ("And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.")

        If God is frightening and impotent AND real, then there is much to fear, so you are easily manipulated.

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