Mental images of God

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland.
Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal–omnipotent and omniscient–ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God’s laws, while praying. Do you agree?
An interesting article about Spinoza appeared in The New York Times, written by a professor of philosophy, Steven Nadler:
http://opinionator blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/judging-spinoza/
It generated many interesting online comments. A reader, RMC, wrote: “I know many Christians and Jews who practice their religious traditions although their own beliefs are secular. They make no secret of their sentiments. Spinoza was excommunicated during a time of religious orthodoxy and in that respect his experience is much like Galileo’s. When the Catholic Church repudiated its treatment of Galileo, it was not merely saying that the earth revolves around the sun. It was saying that punishing the members of its congregation for thinking for themselves, including about church dogma, was parochial and destructive.” With regard to independent thinking, several readers emphasized that traditional religious ceremonies, and respect for legends, do help to keep social groups together, even when people know that biblical legends do not represent historical truth.
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

What you’re describing sound a lot like Pantheism to me. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism
I’ve heard Richard Dawkins say that Pantheism uses God metaphorically, at least when scientists like Einstein and Hawkings invoke His name. I think they way you describe it more accurate.
At far as religions go, I can get behind this one even if I don’t believe even in this very benign form of God. Like you mentioned, the lack of dogma is refreshing for a religion. I can’t imagine a scenario where a Pantheist is trying to push something on the public like misogyny or homophobia.
But to answer the question: I think Family Guy’s image of God performing miracles at a bar to try to pick a women is a good one! :slight_smile:

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland. Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal--omnipotent and omniscient--ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree? An interesting article about Spinoza appeared in The New York Times, written by a professor of philosophy, Steven Nadler: http://opinionator blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/judging-spinoza/ It generated many interesting online comments. A reader, RMC, wrote: "I know many Christians and Jews who practice their religious traditions although their own beliefs are secular. They make no secret of their sentiments. Spinoza was excommunicated during a time of religious orthodoxy and in that respect his experience is much like Galileo's. When the Catholic Church repudiated its treatment of Galileo, it was not merely saying that the earth revolves around the sun. It was saying that punishing the members of its congregation for thinking for themselves, including about church dogma, was parochial and destructive." With regard to independent thinking, several readers emphasized that traditional religious ceremonies, and respect for legends, do help to keep social groups together, even when people know that biblical legends do not represent historical truth. Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
Mental images of god??? I know some people who droped acid said they saw god so I was wondering if there is a god and it droped acid would it see people.

The problem with any discussion of god is that, to quote that evil bastard Rumsfeld, there are unknown unknowns. Take a fish in the sea. He might swim in the Atlantic only and not know what’s in the Pacific, for example what kinds of seaweed. But he could probably guess, in his own fish-like way. So that’s a known unknown. But what about String Theory? Could that fish make a guess about some theory of the universe like that? No, to him that’s a completely unknown and unknowable unknown. His thinking about the world around him is completely limited to concepts available to him, even the stuff he doesn’t know but might guess at. And we’re no different. Our concepts are more advanced, sure, but we have no way of knowing if we are any different from that fish when it comes to the limitedness of our concepts. In a nutshell, god to us might very well be like String Theory to the fish. So while it’s fun to speculate about it, let’s never forget that as far as we know, we’re not much different from that poor slob fish.

What happened? Ludwick, you post this obtuse stuff. How about a response. I’m basically saying any god talk you post, and you post a lot, is meaningless other than as fun speculation, no matter how high falutin and academic you make it sound.

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland. Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal--omnipotent and omniscient--ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree? An interesting article about Spinoza appeared in The New York Times, written by a professor of philosophy, Steven Nadler: http://opinionator blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/judging-spinoza/ It generated many interesting online comments. A reader, RMC, wrote: "I know many Christians and Jews who practice their religious traditions although their own beliefs are secular. They make no secret of their sentiments. Spinoza was excommunicated during a time of religious orthodoxy and in that respect his experience is much like Galileo's. When the Catholic Church repudiated its treatment of Galileo, it was not merely saying that the earth revolves around the sun. It was saying that punishing the members of its congregation for thinking for themselves, including about church dogma, was parochial and destructive." With regard to independent thinking, several readers emphasized that traditional religious ceremonies, and respect for legends, do help to keep social groups together, even when people know that biblical legends do not represent historical truth. Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
It's true that religion keeps social groups together--and stupid. The intelligent ones leave. Misery loves company and religion. Lois

Interesting that religion is supposed to instill morals, yet in the name of God, any atrocity is negotiable. History is filled with examples.
Commited by all religions, except perhaps deism which tries to allegoricaly represent a common denominator and function of the universe.
Encouragingly, Catholicism has now recognized Evolution as a function of the universe. A small step, but an important one, IMO.

There is a current story in the news about a minister who, with full knowledge that he had AIDS, had (unprotected) affairs with various members of his congregation, and embezzled a sizable amount of church funds. He resigned as pastor, but the church has no plans to press charges…because church, and they want to ‘protect’ the identity of the women involved. One wonders the amount of pressure placed on these women. Stunningly, he has not been asked to step down from other church leadership roles. The church sign posted under the piece on The Friendly Atheist says it all; Love Is Deafness When Scandal Flows.
http://freethinker.co.uk/2014/10/09/baptist-ministers-shocking-admission/

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it.
This is your first mistake. Many cultures recorded their concept of "god" in a book- the Egyptians, Assyrians, Hindus, Asians, etc all have/had their own books. The idea of a god is a human concept.
My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland.
There you go. You created your human concept of a deity.
It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree?
Only if you're a Pantheist, with a concept that ALL of nature is God.