God and religion.

The word “God” is such a loaded term these days, because there is so little agreement on what “God” is. Does religion even need a “God” ?

Today’s conversation will start with this episode of “Closer to the Truth”

Is there a god, or is there not a god. Is that the most important question ?

In my opinion, no. That is not the most important question. While the conception of “God” is common in many religions, there are also many religions where “god” serves as more of a backdrop, a stage on which all life emerges. That conceptualization is more common to nature based religions, which is different from pantheistic religions, which simply have many gods, gods for everything really. Shinto has 7 different gods, just for luck. Here is a list of pantheistic gods from japan alone:

So this argument starts to become interesting when constraints are added, for those who need religion specifically for the purpose of having a god, which is clearly not even most people, but still a large enough of a group that they merit being addressed. At 4:31 the question is posed, so “The need for a god that is going to provide a kind of religious role, that we want god to play” which doesn’t really tell us anything. Thanks guy. But he then throws in some examples which are helpful, at least for this conversation such as “god should be all pervasive, ‘around us’, to be the ground of existence in a way that a person can not be” well that still leaves a lot of leeway actually.

His monologue from 5:24 – 6:15 has an appriciable set of questions. Though “would and improved god, be improved enough ?“ Seems to be asking a bit much. 🙂

The description of panantheist at 7:48 – 8:30 is fairly interesting, it sounds a lot like neo-Buddhism, except that in neo-Buddhism, what panantheists call “beyond the universe” would just be called “information” which is integrated into the fabric of the universe, and not beyond it.

As he said, some people need to be more specific about the terms instead of using the traditional terminology.

Then we get into “Developmental Theism” at 11:57 Which karen likes, because it sounds to her like “The god of choice” so of the “will to power as a god” without all the nietzschian baggage.

“Taking on limitations required to being loving” is a nice sentiment either way.

Karen wonders if “emptying” and “mirroring” can be parts of the same process. can sarcasm simply the mirror image of hard assertions?

But I think the topic of this conversastion is covered very nicely at 22:35 – 23:21

Existential or Philosophical checklist

Is the “God” whom you are most likely to believe in because:

  • The evidence seems the most convincing.
  • The notion that is logically compelling.
  • The notion that is the most coherent, that takes into account the widest dimensions of your life.
  • The notion that is aesthetically attractive and pleasing.
  • The type that strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies.
  • Your people are dumb and can only be motivated by fear.

While as he says, there are many reasons to try and approach this topic as dispassionately as possible.

As she notes at 23:40, that is not only ultimately impossible, but also pointless, because this is a choice that can only ever really be made on a personal basis. Why, you say, I can just join whatever group is the most popular and powerful locally! You might say, but that again, fails to understand what the point of religion even is. Because of the integration of life commitments that you yourself must make, individually, and using reasoned and rational philosophical considerations to guide those choices. Which cannot be generalized across the entire population. That is why there are so many different belief systems in the first place.