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Old 07-10-2017, 04:29 PM   #1
Zamadhi
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Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

(I'm an agnostic).

Atheists, when you say, "I don't believe in God", what is it that you don't believe in? For you to be able to say "I don't believe in that" it still means that you must have some mental concept of that.

For example: for me to be able to say, "I don't believe in Santa Claus", I need some mental concept of what a "true Santa Claus" is, which I then reject because I find no evidence of that in reality. But if I accept the Santa Claus at the mall as a true Santa Claus, Santa Claus really exists! (at least in my mind...)

So, atheists, what is your "highest concept" of God (which you then, through logic and the scientific method, reject)?
If God was a hypothesis, how would you formulate that hypothesis?

The Flying Spaghetti Monster?
A bearded man sitting on a throne in the seventh heaven?
"The Creator"?
Soul/Spirit?
Cosmic intelligence?
Love?
Life?
Death?
Art?
Your own conscious existence?

What, to you, would be proof that existence is divine?

Last edited by Zamadhi; 07-10-2017 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

"Concepts", not "concept". Like Santa Claus, there are many, many variations of deities.

For the most part I'm thinking of the deities of revealed religions, meaning the religions where God is fairly defined in terms of traits. Obviously this most often means the gods of mainstream religions, but I haven't seen very plausible variations of gods in small religions and I'd be surprised if I found one.

Non-revealed religion (deism and the like) I have no qualms about. I don't see anything wrong with believing in those. Some people's version of revealed religion is often very close to non-revealed religion (meaning they largely don't bother with the mythos, more a general belief that the religion is somehow inspired)... those are the beliefs most interesting to discuss in my book.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:45 PM   #3
Bill Haywood
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

A consciousness that chose to create matter/energy and takes a special interest/involvement in human affairs, or even our particular galaxy.
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:46 PM   #4
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
"Concepts", not "concept". Like Santa Claus, there are many, many variations of deities.

For the most part I'm thinking of the deities of revealed religions, meaning the religions where God is fairly defined in terms of traits. Obviously this most often means the gods of mainstream religions, but I haven't seen very plausible variations of gods in small religions and I'd be surprised if I found one.

Non-revealed religion (deism and the like) I have no qualms about. I don't see anything wrong with believing in those. Some people's version of revealed religion is often very close to non-revealed religion (meaning they largely don't bother with the mythos, more a general belief that the religion is somehow inspired)... those are the beliefs most interesting to discuss in my book.
Let me put it this way:
what, to you, would be evidence that existence is really divine?
Is such evidence possible?
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:50 PM   #5
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by Bill Haywood View Post
A consciousness that chose to create matter/energy and takes a special interest/involvement in human affairs, or even our particular galaxy.
Can't God be a consciousness that "created" matter/energy, but has no special interest in our galaxy, and "cares" only about the "balance of the whole of existence"?
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:49 PM   #6
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by Zamadhi View Post
Let me put it this way:
what, to you, would be evidence that existence is really divine?
Is such evidence possible?
Yes.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:50 PM   #7
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Can't God be a consciousness that "created" matter/energy, but has no special interest in our galaxy, and "cares" only about the "balance of the whole of existence"?
Yes, for the second part of your question.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Let me put it this way:
what, to you, would be evidence that existence is really divine?
Is such evidence possible?
Of course it is. Joe down the street saying "God is real man, I saw him yesterday" is evidence.

It's not necessarily good or useful evidence, but that's another ballgame entirely.

If you start assuming you can be the arbiter of what is or is not evidence beyond assessing quality, then I say believing in God is a fairly huge step down in terms of required faith.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:02 PM   #9
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by Zamadhi View Post
Atheists, when you say, "I don't believe in God", what is it that you don't believe in? For you to be able to say "I don't believe in that" it still means that you must have some mental concept of that.
Anything with a will that can destroy or create a universe as rich as ours is a God.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:24 PM   #10
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by Zamadhi View Post
Let me put it this way:
what, to you, would be evidence that existence is really divine?
This is the second time you've used this curious phrasing. Asking about evidence for a god's existence is pretty straightforward, but what does "existence is divine" mean?
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:18 AM   #11
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

From BBCAmerica

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Old 07-11-2017, 01:19 AM   #12
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by DeuceKicker View Post
This is the second time you've used this curious phrasing. Asking about evidence for a god's existence is pretty straightforward, but what does "existence is divine" mean?
You're not up on the whole superior eastern religion thing, you know, where nobody says anything, but it's super profound...
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:23 AM   #13
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by DeuceKicker View Post
This is the second time you've used this curious phrasing. Asking about evidence for a god's existence is pretty straightforward, but what does "existence is divine" mean?
What would you (and scientists, for that matter) accept as evidence for a god's existence? Imagine if the bible came to life before you, right now,
and Jesus snapped with his fingers and turned water into wine and snapped with his fingers again and a person who had been dead for three days came back to life... would that be evidence for a god's existence?
(I don't believe in the literal interpretation of those "miracles", btw).

I could ask, "does God exist?".
But the problem for me with that phrasing is that "God" and "the Totality of Existence" are basically synonyms to me... so the question "does God exist?" make it sound like "God" and "Existence" are two separate and distinguishable "things".

I only use the word "God" to refer to an Existence that is really alive and conscious -- "ensouled" if you will.

So when I ask, "is existence divine?", I am asking, "Is life and consciousness really essential "parts" of Existence.. or are they just random illusions caused by a blind chemical process?

Please note that I take evolution and the big bang for granted...
But to me it is not a question of "either/or". As if, "EITHER evolution happened OR God created the world...". lol!
As if evolution and the big bang are evidence against "the divinity of existence".
If anything, they inspire even more wonder and mystery!
Of course, they are evidence that the world is not six thousand years old and all life was not created in a week...
but that concept of a "bearded creator" is a very low concept of "God".
When atheists target that "God" they are attacking a very low target, imo.

The real question, to me, is life and consciousness.
Is life and consciousness real? Then existence is divine.
Is life and consciousness basically nothing but a random illusion caused by a blind chemical process? Then existence is not divine.


Last edited by Zamadhi; 07-11-2017 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:40 AM   #14
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Is life and consciousness real? Then existence is divine.
Is life and consciousness basically nothing but a random illusion caused by a blind chemical process? Then existence is not divine.
This is a false dichotomy. Life is as "divine" whether or not it's "real" or merely a blind chemical process localized in space and time in this universe. You feel and experience and you are aware that you feel and experience. That is enough. The rest is just your mind abstracting beyond its limits.

If you don't instantly see why, you lack the sophistication to delve into philosophy, and are only going to **** yourself trying to grasp this stuff intellectually. Your answers will be wrong and those wrong answers will trap you, ironically into believing a delusion.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:03 AM   #15
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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This is a false dichotomy. Life is as "divine" whether or not it's "real" or merely a blind chemical process localized in space and time in this universe. You feel and experience and you are aware that you feel and experience. That is enough. The rest is just your mind abstracting beyond its limits.

If you don't instantly see why, you lack the sophistication to delve into philosophy, and are only going to **** yourself trying to grasp this stuff intellectually. Your answers will be wrong and those wrong answers will trap you, ironically into believing a delusion.
Life, love and consciousness can't be grasped intellectually, I completely agree. I have no philosophical ambitions whatsoever beyond enjoyable ramblings.
"Non-knowing is the ****", "there is neither a question, nor an answer", etc.

But about life and consciousness being divine regardless whether it is truly real or not, would the atheist agree?
Would Richard Dawkins say that life and consciousness is divine?

What I would like to "do" is to help atheists see that they have traded one delusion ("faith") for another ("knowledge").
Non-knowing, my friends, non-knowing!

Last edited by Zamadhi; 07-11-2017 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:40 AM   #16
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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But about life and consciousness being divine regardless whether it is truly real or not, would the atheist agree?
What does it mean for something to be "truly real", let alone "real"?

What you feel, think and experience means less if there's no grandpops living in the sky? What you feel, think, and experience means less if your consciousness doesn't last for eternity?

Those are weird and unsupportable notions if you really think about them.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:00 AM   #17
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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What does it mean for something to be "truly real", let alone "real"?

What you feel, think and experience means less if there's no grandpops living in the sky? What you feel, think, and experience means less if your consciousness doesn't last for eternity?

Those are weird and unsupportable notions if you really think about them.
Grandpops in the sky?
Your innermost center of consciousness is "God"!
Before "you" were born and after "you" have died I Am (lose yourself to find yourself).

Yes, I consider only that which is Eternally Here-Now (beyond time, cause and effect) to be the "truly real"; everything else is "apparently real" (like a dream or a movie).
Formless Consciousness, the "Timeless and Universal Self" (beyond my ego-identity and thought-constructs) is, as I see it, the essence of everything that exists -- it is Eternal Existence.

That does not mean I renounce "the world" (nothing wrong with dreams and movies... unless you are hypnotized by them and start to believe that you dream-self is your true self); it simply means that I don't try to grasp my own shadow, nor do I try to avoid it (at least in theory! I still have to pass through the Fire to truly realize It.. Clinging, clinging, clinging... )

Last edited by Zamadhi; 07-11-2017 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:05 AM   #18
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

At what point do you doubt your senses and go crazy?
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:09 AM   #19
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by Zamadhi View Post
Grandpops in the sky?
Your innermost center of consciousness is "God"!
Why call the innermost center of consciousness "God" and not "the innermost center of consciousness"? What difference are you proposing?

Quote:
Yes, I consider only that which is Eternally Here-Now (beyond time, cause and effect) to be the "truly real"; everything else is "apparently real" (like a dream or a movie).
Formless Consciousness, the "Timeless and Universal Self" (beyond my ego-identity and thought-constructs) is, as I see it, the essence of everything that exists -- it is Eternal Existence.
Eternal in what sense? Do you believe you go on existing after you're dead? That you remain consciously aware of your self, after your body is gone?

If you believe you are plugged into a "soup" of consciousness, why do you believe this? To me such a thing seems petty. It appeals to a need for belonging and purpose and self-preservation, kind of like Santa appeals to a need for a benevolent present-giver.
Quote:
That does not mean I renounce "the world" (nothing wrong with dreams and movies), it simply means that I don't try to grasp my own shadow, nor do I try to avoid it (at least in theory! I still have to pass through the Fire to truly realize It.. Clinging, clinging, clinging... )
To me this seems life-denying. We are here in this reality, seeing and feeling the earthly feelings we are, for a reason. And that reason is probably to experience this world as richly as possible. If God wanted us floating in God-nirvana, contemplating the oneness of all, we would be, no? What is the point of trapping souls in this physical plane if not to experience the physical plane?

Why should we do what you suggest and not what the above suggests?
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:13 AM   #20
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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At what point do you doubt your senses and go crazy?
You don't already consider me crazy? That's kind of disappointing..
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:34 AM   #21
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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Originally Posted by ToothSayer View Post
Why call the innermost center of consciousness "God" and not "the innermost center of consciousness"? What difference are you proposing?
By "God" I mean that it is Universal. It is not "your" center of consciousness, but the center of consciousness of the whole of existence. I mean that we are not really separate and divided in the way we usually think and feel.


Quote:
Eternal in what sense? Do you believe you go on existing after you're dead? That you remain consciously aware of your self, after your body is gone?
There is no "before" or "after" in Eternity. Eternity is Eternal Here-Now -- it is timeless (most people think of "eternity" as just a really, really long time).
There is no "birth", there is no "death" -- there is just Eternal Being.

There is no "my self", there is no "my body" -- there is only consciousness.

Quote:
If you believe you are plugged into a "soup" of consciousness, why do you believe this? To me such a thing seems petty. It appeals to a need for belonging and purpose and self-preservation, kind of like Santa appeals to a need for a benevolent present-giver
.

Yes, the greatest fear of the ego is death/extinction, and it will believe all sorts of things to avoid having to face its inevitable demise.
But consciously passing through Ego-Death in meditation is the very key to Life Divine (hence the message of all the enlightened ones: "lose yourself to find yourself").

"The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings...

Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see."
- Lao Tzu

Quote:
To me this seems life-denying. We are here in this reality, seeing and feeling the earthly feelings we are, for a reason. And that reason is probably to experience this world as richly as possible. If God wanted us floating in God-nirvana, contemplating the oneness of all, we would be, no? What is the point of trapping souls in this physical plane if not to experience the physical plane?
Why should we do what you suggest and not what the above suggests?
It seems life-denying to you because, like most people, you are caught in thoughts of duality ("either/or").
Floating in Nirvana is not against analsex.
Contemplating the oneness of all is not against sitting down at the poker table and try to take each other's money.
We are here, as I see it, to experience the Earth and the Soul at the same time (beyond time, of course!).
The problem is that most people cling so tightly to the body that they miss the soul (the true self), and without experiencing the Soul/True Self there can never be any complete fulfillment.

"The world is illusory;
God alone is real;
God is the world."
- Shankara

Last edited by Zamadhi; 07-11-2017 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:17 AM   #22
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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You don't already consider me crazy? That's kind of disappointing..
No, not crazy. I think the Buddhism/Hinduism umbrella is a lot of cobwebs, so like "divine" we can describe what we mean "divine" and other jarhon related, but it's not saying anything. It's just explaining where cobwebs touch each other.

Regardells if aliens came to conquer or what have you, I'd have no trouble adjusting my thinking to this new framework. It's called realism, which hinges on what's really going on.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:35 AM   #23
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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It's called realism, which hinges on what's really going on.
What is really going on? What is the hallmark of "reality"?
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:52 PM   #24
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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What would you (and scientists, for that matter) accept as evidence for a god's existence?...
As tame_deuces said, many, many things would count as evidence. I assume you mean to ask what would be sufficient evidence? Most non-believers don't have some obscenely high hurdle to clear. I used to be a believer, and I think the evidence needed to change my mind from belief to unbelief was higher than would be needed to go back to belief.

Quote:
But the problem for me with that phrasing is that "God" and "the Totality of Existence" are basically synonyms to me...
OK, but then you're not an agnostic. I assume you believe there is some totality of existence, even if you don't believe you have access to it, so you believe in God.

But you're using such non-standard definitions of "God," "existence," and "divine," that it the question becomes pointless.

"Do you believe a divine God exists?"
"No, I'm an atheist."
"To me, 'divine' means 'barks'."
"Nope, still don't believe in that."
"And, 'exists' is simply to say 'is brown'."
"So you're asking if I believe in a brown barking God? Nope, still an atheist."
"Well, 'God' is synonymous with 'a four-legged furry animal'."
"Oh, you're asking me if I think brown barking dogs exist? OK, then yes."
"Cool."

I've read some intro eastern philosophy aimed at westerners, and this is its biggest turn-off, imo.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:11 PM   #25
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Re: Atheists: What is your mental concept of God?

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What is really going on? What is the hallmark of "reality"?
You figure that out as you start to remove all kinds of unnecessary complications such as "divine", "God", etc. It's more efficient to describe your surroundings by breaking things down into parts. It's more or less a different approach to describing your surroundings that you find to be real through your cognitive powers.

Your elusive use of language almost seems to refuse to break-down concepts such as "divine", and "God" into anything concrete. If it cannot be made concrete when you need it to be, then why incorporate it into your thinking?

cliffs: I am weary of any doctrine that thrives on jargon that is this great impostor of knowledge.
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