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Is there such a thing as a deity?

Discussion in 'Culture & Religion' started by Jim, Sep 8, 2006.

?

Is there a God/Are there Gods?

  1. Yes, there is one God.

    9 vote(s)
    34.6%
  2. Yes, there are multiple gods.

    2 vote(s)
    7.7%
  3. No, deities do not exist.

    6 vote(s)
    23.1%
  4. I do not know.

    6 vote(s)
    23.1%
  5. I do not care.

    3 vote(s)
    11.5%
  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The religion forum lacked a thread asking the core question central to all religions and at the root of much religious debate, so I took it upon myself to post one. I know that the answer to this question is often complex, so I encourage everyone who responds the poll to also reply to the thread.

    My answer is no, but with a qualifier. If the existence of a deity were to be completely proven to me using solid, tangible evidence, I would have to believe it. As it stands, though, I see no proof and therefore cannot believe that deities are anything more than myths. The same goes for any kind of supernatural activity.
     
  2. dong

    dong New Member

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    What do you mean by a Deity? Should I presume a personal definition and attempt the poll, or is there a standard that you'd like us to assess?
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    For the purpose of the poll, consider deity to mean supreme being in the Judeo-Christian sense of the term, but also inclusive of multiple gods (which may or may not be "supreme beings"). This means everything from Baptist Christianity to Hinduism to ancient Greek mythology to your own personal mix of beliefs (provided that it includes a supreme being of some kind). The supreme being does not need to also be the creator, though it often is.

    Anything verifiably born on this planet doesn't qualify. No rock stars, TV people, philosophers, etc.
     
  4. dong

    dong New Member

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    Okay, in that case, since I am best described as non-theist universalist agnostic, I'm flipping up between I don't know and No (edit: I chose the latter). I also could have picked I don't care as that wouldn't have been inaccurate either. Here, I am not questioning the value of faith, but I refer to the metaphysical incongruity in defining a supreme being separate from the universe. My understanding of Christianity and religion in general directly contradicts the insistence on placing stock in faith as I believe that this gives rise to a series of necessary paradoxes. For that reason I am more amenable to the buddhist philosophy as I like to maintain awareness above all else.
     
  5. Martyr

    Martyr Member

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    I am an agnostic atheist. I do not know but I voted "I do not care." Both apply.
     
  6. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

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    Interesting topic. I believe in a creator.

    I believe my creator is not human hearted. I think we are a byproduct of something bigger. This doesn't lesson our role here but we do have a place in the grand scheme. I think our perceptions and brains our limited so we cant really grasp everything. We are psychologically limited. Unfortunitly we are left with a feeling of something more but are unable to find the answers we seek because our brains filter out so much.

    I also dont agree on the term of "supernatural" I dont think anything is "supernatural". Its just beyond our knowledge or brain power to understand it. :)
     
  7. LyricB

    LyricB New Member

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    The great thing about believing in God or a "deity" per se is that it's based in faith. You don't have concrete proof, but in your heart you know it's true.

    On a personal note, my thoughts that there is a God were solidified when I had my babies...I can't look in their eyes and not think that they're gifts to me from something higher than myself.
     
  8. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    My problem with faith is that it could be applied to anything. I can have faith in the existence of vampires, talking trees, mystical rocks, ad nauseam. Does it mean that these things exist in reality? Of course not. The thought process that results in faith is little more than an emotional reaction or an exercise in imagination.

    Take faith far enough and it becomes psychosis. Psychotic people also have beliefs that aren't grounded in reality, but are instead based on emotion and imagination. The main difference between psychotics and religious people is that the latter tend to form groups and establish their factually unsupported beliefs as "faith." The former get medicated, ostracized, and/or locked up in hospitals.

    So when does faith cross the line from religion to psychosis? There are surely many examples of people who exist somewhere on that line.
     
  9. dong

    dong New Member

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    I'm going to have to call you there on two counts. Most importantly, it's not psychosis, we term this delusion...and delusion may accompany psychosis.

    Also, you appear to make an arbitrary distinction between emotion and imagination and rationality. I wouldn't place much stock in the common perception that "emotionalism" and "intuition" necessarily invoke "irrationalism". I would thus suggest taking a close look at how our modes of analytical theorising and empirical inputs interact. Given this, it is in fact difficult also to pick up what defines a delusion medically (tangentially I'm writing a piece of fiction on this theme) but a common presentation from a logical/rational perspective is, say, an uncharacteristic belief which is insisted upon rigidly despite either being contradictory or unlikely, that rational modes of thought are unable to overcome. To go all Popperian, this may include presumptions of unfalsifiable statements, which is arguably what "faith" could be reduced to, and that's where it loses "grounding in reality".

    Tangential: I've said it before, but that faith fundamentally differs from science in this nature does not place them at odds as they pertain to different domains of thinking about existence.

    But, as I think Jim points out, the problem is that they tend to be used antagonistically. Faith isn't supposed to be, but ends up being the "filler of the gaps." The charge that could be laid against many scientists of old, on the flip side, is that they tended to overstep their boundaries...but technically this issue has changed since philosophy and science are now generally regarded as separate fields.
     
  10. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

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    I believe if you have faith in something no matter what it is..it can become that. :p For example if i were to call a rock my god and preyed to it each day, then other people started praying to that rock. It would in fact become real.
     
  11. dong

    dong New Member

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    Well, when it comes to faith in non-falsifiable things as deities, then, yeah, I believe that it would become a real phenomenon (but nothing to do with noumena!) A god to whom nobody prays is not a god at all.

    Of course, having complete faith in, say, being able to jump off a building and not die will not necessarily save you from dying, if your faith is not well founded. The universe is best seen as existing independently of us (we have greatest analytical power in presuming so) and as such we do have parameters to which we are all restricted. To try denying any of this is where the whole "delusion" conversation comes in...of course as to what is delusion and what is reality can be controversial. Power of the mind really is something but it isn't everything, methinks.
     
  12. Plumley

    Plumley New Member

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    I believe there's something because our world seems too complex to be coincidental. I have no idea what that something is. What I do know is that I'm not brave enough to be an atheist.
     
  13. dong

    dong New Member

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    I would remind you that atheism too is a faith :p

    An atheist (or a pair of them rather) once told me that agnostic was a coward's way out. A philosopher then told me that it was more than ballsy to not only face that one did not know, but also could not know of the existence of a god. To me, it's simply the most accurate way of looking at things in that I can do most (analytically) with that model.

    Of course, people generally (I'm no exception) like to find the something "more" than our empirical experience, because we're just limited beings ourselves. I try to straddle the middle ground between thinking humans are the center of the universe, acknowledging our weakness and requiring a dependence on the notion of a greater being. It's not easy, especially the way we have come to think of things. And that's also why I respect faith (and to a degree, religion).
     
  14. Agaric

    Agaric New Member

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    This is a question that's been asked countless times and there's no answer that will satisfy either camp. The simple truth is you're not going to get proof of the existence of a deity. What are you going to say? We detected a large body moving through a magnetic field around Earth, or something to that nature? Science would just kick in an explain it logically. Deities exist because people will them to. Even if something exists as a thought, that thing still exists, do you agree?

    I don't often think about finding proof and all that because it's a waste of time. People believe in certain things, other people don't believe in certain things.
     
  15. dong

    dong New Member

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    Aiyaiyaiyaiyai...uh, let's be reeeeal careful about how one goes about making ontological commitments shall we? :p

    In one sense, I would completely agree with you. Being a certain strand of agnostic, when drawing analogues between religious doctrines and metaphysical analyses, I tend to think of deities specifically as constructs of thoughts, and to a certain degree collective consciousness. But care must be taken in distinguishing between that which is phenomenal (processed and tied to our consciousness) and that which is purportedly noumenal (i.e. "things within themselves" independent of our consciousness...that which is "empirically real"). As such, I would actually go so far to say that "a god that nobody acknowledges is not a god at all", but I would not apply the converse reasoning to it, for I contend there is a difference between a thought itself being real (if this notion is even valid), and the object of the thought being real.

    I suspect that those who are more religiously inclined/inclined to faith would much rather argue for the real existence of a deity as independent from our consciousness, or even the limits of our perception including the universe itself. How this manifests also depends on the ontological perception of the person, I suppose. As far as I'm aware, in the Judeo-Christian religion, only a few unorthodox Anglican subdenominations hold the central doctrine of the real existence of a deity as being one dependent upon that of the perception of the worshippers. This in itself entails further difficulty regarding consistency and applicability of religious doctrine and then it becomes a rather large mess.

    Well, I would agree with you here IMO. I think most people here, if not all, are past the stage of "proving" and have acknowledge that despite purported (and misapplied) antagonism, faith is really a matter of...faith.
     
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