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Doing some thinking.

  1. Aug 31, 2009 #1
    Ok lately, well for the past few months, I've been thinking about things like God and existence. I'm atheist if anyone is wondering, just to get that out there.

    I'm thinking about writing an essay and here are somethings that have been on my mind and I was just wondering if anyone here has some further reading I could do or maybe throw in some input on them. I'm not going to give my opinion on them just yet just pose the questions:

    Why does God exist? As in why did we even bother to create the concept or the idea. I would like some further reading on this though, if you have an opinion it would be nice for you to give something to substantiate it instead of just saying stuff like 'people are insecure'.

    What compels us as a species to search out and attempt to answer questions surrounding existence, intelligence, or consciousness etc.

    Why must God(s) be a certain way in particular religions?
    -It's always confused me, whenever I read philosophical writings on God it's always elaborate explainations of why God necessarily exists. People then just apply 'oh and God is all powerful, all caring etc.

    What does religion have to do as far as God is concerned. Can God survive without religion?

    These questions might seem juvenile but they have certainly caused some intrigue for me.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2009 #2
    You can find more illumination in subjects like psychology which is the study of the mind, sociology which attempts to explain human behavior, and evolutionary biology which explains how we have evolved.
  4. Aug 31, 2009 #3

    This 13.7 billion year chain of deterministic events cannot end just like that. Everything needs an explanation.

    Not all people are insecure, but some people are skeptical that everything can poof out in existence in a highly ordered fashion, for absolutely no reason.

    Our great intelligence.

    Humans are masters at building conceptual models out of insufficient information. This is what has given us the edge over all animals. We can predict, from incomplete information, and we are near perfect at that. More often than not, we are mistaken, but it's when we are not, that immense progress is made. The situation can be extrapolated to god, we don't have complete information about reality, but what we do know, makes a lot of us skeptics question if anything at all in the whole universe can be called "Natural".
  5. Aug 31, 2009 #4
    what is God?
    that is a far more fundamental question than "does God exist?", for obvious reasons.

    you're going around asking people "does God exist?" but you didn't even define God... so how can anyone answer?

  6. Aug 31, 2009 #5
    Where did I say 'does God exist'? (you go and read my post for the FIRST time since you clearly haven't read it yet.) Ah yes, it's not there. The question was why does God exist in the sense as why have we created this concept or when was it even created?

    Talking about social constructs like this you don't need a definition anyways. I.e. If I ask why money exist I don't need to give a direct definition of money today all you need is a general definition, whatever bits and pieces you decide to throw into your personal definition is all you I could care less about it. It annoys me when people try to play this semantics game just because its philosophy. Especially when it just goes back to not semantics but lack of understanding in the first place.

    @waht: I know a psychology/sociology forum would be probably the best place to post this but I already frequently post here and I know 90% of the people here are quite intellingent and this sub forum is probably the only place I can post it without having it moved around or locked/deleted. etc. :P Do you have any papers/books in mind though about this subject?
  7. Aug 31, 2009 #6
    A fitting forum name you have indeed. -_-

    Perhaps you should find another place to vent your angst and anger, don't you agree?
    It also annoys me (not really...I'm just throwing a point across) when people don't notice the irony in accusing someone of playing the "semantics game" when what they're asking is also a matter quite tangent with semantics (an inquiry about the concept of God).
    Okay, I misread your OP. Politely pointing that out would've worked much better... even more so since you poor wording contributed to it.

    And no, you need a clear definition, at least one that attempts to clear the fog a little, especially since we're talking about social constructs. Money, "money" is quite an unambiguous term... "God", not so much so.
  8. Aug 31, 2009 #7

    Math Is Hard

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    This is really an anthropology/psychology question. Moved to social sciences.
  9. Aug 31, 2009 #8
    No I'm not sorry for what I said to you and I would really rather that you didn't post on this thread again unless you're going to answer my OP instead of attempting to derail it with definitions of concepts. God in CONCEPT is NOT unambiguous it has a SET CONCEPTUAL definition. Personal Gods DO vary which is why I compared it to money.

    Eg. Credit could still be a form of 'money' but that's getting specific if I wanted to talk about the concept of money in general then credit doesn't matter at all.

    I don't understand how this isn't clear. As well if you don't have a concept of God in your head then don't bother posting rediculous remarks about DEFINE THIS THEN.
    EDIT: Oh hey we have a sociology forums here. Thank Math. :D
  10. Aug 31, 2009 #9
    Oh, so you're talking about the concept of a personal God. Like Zeus, Shiva, Allah etc.
    Now that we have that out of the way:

    One explanation to that might be that this conceptualisation of deities is a by-product of biological agent detection, of the inclination for many intelligent animals and particularly humans to presume the intervention of an intelligent agent in situations that may or may not involve an intelligent agent: like many kids think there are "monsters" in the shadows at night, or like many people get scared of branches moved by the wind (assuming there's something out there that wants to get them). This behaviour makes perfect evolutionary sense: it is benefic to be cautious in order to survive.
  11. Sep 1, 2009 #10


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    You may find this book interesting:

    Abusing Science by Kitcher, Phillip. 1982 (multiple reprints). MIT Press. ISBN# 026261037X

  12. Sep 4, 2009 #11

    I understand the necessity you have to think about such things. I myself think alot about human behavior and creeds, and mostly I end up in not-aesthetic conclusions about it. I conclude that we all want to be diferent, perfect, fair and beautifull (inside and outside), but we are all very predicted and annoyingly equal (with both good and bad characteristics).
    I've noticed you said you're atheist but still you want answers about God, so you're not truly disconnected of religion and you will never be, because you're human. I think that all of us are have "faith" (or what you want to call it) in something...and each gives it the name he/she wants.
    I personally have faith in children and their innocence but I respect the objects of faith of everyone else, even if I don't agree with them. (I don't agree with "faiths" that preach the salvation or any other thing that serves as a cane - if you know what I mean)
    I also think it would be good for you to read books like "the nausea" (Jean-Paul Sartre), "beyond bad and evil" (Nietzche) or "Crime and punishment" (Fiodor Dostoievski).
    I hope we can talk more sometime and I am sorry if I am judging wrong your thoughts and needs.

  13. Sep 4, 2009 #12


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    "I personally have faith in children and their innocence "

    Then, I heartily recommend to you William Golding's classic "The Lord of the flies"
  14. Sep 4, 2009 #13

    Actually I've already read it :-) and I got your point of view.
    When I say innocence, maybe I expressed myself wrong...I wanted to pass the message about how children are genuine, they don't fake...but they still are composed by good and bad things of course. And when I say I have "faith" I want to pass the message that I feel confortable among them as someone that believe in God feels confortable in the church. That's "faith" for me. I intend to say I don't need mournings, mantras, life after death explanations, prayers or all the other things that are like canes to give strenght "support" life...it wouldn't have fun if life wasn't dificult :-)
    Thanks for replying.

  15. Sep 4, 2009 #14


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    Welcome to PF, by the way! :smile:
  16. Sep 4, 2009 #15

    Thank you sir/madam.
    I am looking forward for "hearing" all the member's points of view about things.

  17. Sep 14, 2009 #16
    Thanks stewart. I forgot I had even posted this thread until GeorginaS just sent me a PM about it :D.

    I will go look for this book at my library hopefully they have a copy.
  18. Sep 14, 2009 #17


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    Man likes to create order and needs order to exist. The tenets of different religions- Gods have common threads that are something of a 'users manual' in what is appropriate behavior and what is not. That breaks down in more primitive cultures however without 'written scriptures' and the taboos of more sophisticated religions can exist.

    It is a complex topic that undoubtedly will produce a lot of different opinions. H.H. the Dali Lama teachings are also interesting as Buddhism teaches 'impermanence' and the perils of 'attachments' while western religions are more dogmatic, linear, secure, with greater emphasis on cause and effect and highly structured approach.

    Good Luck! Its an age old question you ask.
  19. Sep 18, 2009 #18


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    For the sun and stars our ancestors had no explanation. Nature’s mysteries caused them much consternation. Primitive men craved answers to explain creation. Even their worship of fire was an open admission. To resolve the mysteries a spirit god was our ancestors’ invention. Afterlife follows death was their assumption, even though a mental abstraction and a figment of their collective imagination, belief in the spirit god gave them great satisfaction.

    Those who shared the faith began organization, complete with rituals and symbolic induction, often including water as a formal registration. Prayers to the spirit god required intense concentration. Chanting and singing amounted to meditation, all guaranteed to produce physical and mental relaxation. Performing the rites brought emotional satisfaction. Beliefs strengthened through brotherhood in the congregation. The spirit god became the object of their glorification.

    Our forefathers believed they needed salvation, despite the obvious rational limitation. Afterlife in imaginary heaven with the spirit god was the revelation. Their body would rise on the day of resurrection, long after its putrification. What they feared most was eternal condemnation. Avoiding hellfire’s punishment was justification and sufficient reason to have the motivation for primitive man to control his each and every action.

    Now we see the results of our conduct by observation: that our every willful act affects others needs no substantiation. It is not necessary to threaten our children with eternal damnation and foist upon them an all-loving god who tortures contradiction. Reality in this life is distinct from fantastic spiritual abstraction. Right behavior on this earth logically follows careful consideration. To act with love toward all brothers and sisters is the realization. To know love and kindness on our planet is sufficient gratification. Simply promise evil thoughts, words, and deeds you will always shun.
  20. Sep 27, 2009 #19
    Why did the original religions create this idea? I dunno! Why do i think there's something else out there? (I don't want to say god, because why should some supreme power be personified or inidivialized), well. Quantum Zeno Effect (conscious observation stops/hinders radioactive decay of unstable particles), undeniable consistency in NDEs, this universe possessing the precise physical properties that allow formation of planets and thus life (although this thought could be wrong if the megaverse theory is proven true by m-theory), Past-Life regression research. And of course, the infinite chain of questions you can ask until you reach a dead end. (What caused the big bang, etc...)

    This doesn't mean I think religions are right, I think they're all wrong.

    Religions are stupid. Creations of man.
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