As mentioned in a previous post, discussions about deities are pointless unless we have a rigorous definition of what is meant by the word, 'god'. Theists often propose that their concept of god is based on faith. So now instead of having one unknown concept, we have two. Faith is blithely waved about like a weapon without any attempt to bore us with its calibre. But this post is not about faith and I mustn't become distracted, but remain fixed of purpose and pursue my quarry straight, like a ferret down a particularly straight, rabbit hole.
As we stand, unless convinced otherwise, 'god', as a concept, is cognitively empty and before we can embark on a quest to prove the existence of 'god' a formal description of the concept, 'god', is required. Otherwise, the word 'god' remains as meaningless as the word, 'mugumbo' and we remain, as usual, pissing in the wind and intellectually adrift in an insentient, uncaring universe. Until a solid definition is proposed, the statement, 'god exists' is logically absurd. I can feel a slight digression coming on: Anon. commentator: "But surely Flaxen, 'mugumbo' is real to you and is redolent in imagery and allegory. Surely mugumbo inhabits a very magical neuronal network deep within your cortex. Only when you challenge and excise this very real daemon will you find solace and peace. Only then will you be free from this inner turmoil". FS: "I can't do it today, I've laundry to do and hounds to walk and ferrets to tame. You don't think those undergarments peel themselves off the ceiling by themselves, do ya?" Mugumbo acknowledges my point and retreats back to his lair, deep in my psyche, to await a more propitious time.
The search for a sound definition of 'god' has a long historical pedigree, but you will find none of it in the Old Testament. The 'Old Storm Warrior God' insinuates with barbaric intensity. Ask him for a definition and you will invite a plague of boils/piles. Or worse, the Tiptonites will violate the first born until the 7th generation.
The question: provide a definition of 'god’ is deceptively simple. But there has been much ink and blood spilt over this most vexed of concepts. And of course, the notion of god varies according to believer and to the degree of philosophical sophistication, of the believer. For example, the modern Christian concept of god owes only a ‘nod’ to the ‘Old Testament’ deity and how many committed Christians have read the Old Testament? For the scholars, the concept is replete with dogmatic scholastic philosophy picked up during late antiquity and early middle ages. And as such, is heavily doused in ancient Greek metaphysical constructs. But what about the Baptists in the deep south of the States, or the 'Happy Clappy' brigade in the comfortable suburbs? And don't get me going about the Jehovah's Witnesses; where is the philosophy in that?
Some cultures believe in a plurality of deities. There can be no one single concept. Some gods are omniscient, some are not. Some gods are interested in the fate of humans and interact, accordingly; others set things in motion and then are indifferent to the fate of humankind and so on. The point: The extent of ‘The god concept’ is only limited by the human imagination. This propels us neatly to the minimum attributes that a god must have from a metaphysical and epistemological aspect, to qualify as a 'god'. The only attribute necessary for a god is that it must ‘exist’ (or have existed) and that its existence is somehow ‘outside’ the natural universe. God demands to be a supernatural being. For if a god is within the known universe it is a creature explicable to man and subject to universal causality. It may be superior to man, but it is not a god in any serious sense. Otherwise, a man would be a god to a dog and a dog, a god/agog to a slime mold- if only they could know it. It follows, that ‘god’ is not a human, writ large, although anthropomorphic religious fundamentalists would disagree.
All this follows from logic. So what sport can we have?
This is but an introduction to more sophistically orientated japes. In the next post, in this series, I will delve further into the dark concept which most folk simply accept as 'true', through cultural conditioning and lack of cognition.
|Seems a fair question|