Login/Sign Up




Is god definable?
Religion

yoli
Oct 06, 2009
5 votes
7 debaters
3
1
1
1
1


+ Add Argument

3
yes


raafi
Oct 09, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
yes he is every one every thing and every time as in he is absolutely everything

 
akulakhan
Oct 06, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Well, naturally, I can't think of a word that isn't defineable either literally or inherently. Of course the definition would change depending on who you ask.

If it's a word, it obviously has a meaning to someone somewhere.

 
dkturner
Oct 06, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: teachme Show

"Could ever hope to define"? You're selling us way short here. If God exists, then he should be in principle comprehensible, just like any other physical phenomenon. I think you're getting dangerously close to the "God is beyond logic" position, here. That way madness lies.

 
dkturner
Oct 07, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thevenerablerob Show

You've just defined an impossible God. It's well known that any pair of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence are mutually contradictory; and omnipotence all by itself seems inherently contradictory.

My point is that if we stick to definitions that are logically coherent, then there's no reason why we couldn't in principle understand the being they describe. We might not be able to comprehend such a being in the sense that we're not able to comprehend the size of the universe (we can measure it, though - the numbers are just meaningless in terms of everyday experience). But the characteristics we attribute to the being should be recognizable and coherent.

 
frankiej4189
Oct 07, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: teachme Show

Good point teach me. Conv..Convin...CONVINCE for you! (I cant believe i'm actually giving YOU a convince! Me! Frankie, giving Teachme a convince. Whooda thunk?)

 
ryvius
Oct 07, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thevenerablerob Show

If there's an explanation that we, as mortals, can't understand, it may be an explanation for why the god that really exists sends to hell people who believe that their mere belief gives them a free pass to heaven, but sends to heaven everybody else. After all, you can't answer any questions about this god, just give what you believe are answers.

 
dkturner
Oct 07, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: teachme Show

Sorry, but that's a load of rubbish. Human understanding goes way beyond what we can sense with our "five senses". If God interacts with us in any way, then that interaction is by definition physical.

If you wish to have a rational debate about God, then you must define him in terms that are logically coherent (even if wildly speculative).

If you do not define God in logically coherent terms, then you're formally insane, and I can't debate with you.

 
dkturner
Oct 07, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: frankiej4189 Show

You must have heard the examples. God creating a rock he cannot lift. However much you try to dodge problems of this sort, absolute omnipotence is an impossible concept.

The same sort of thing works for the pairs: If he's omniscient then he can't be omnipotent because his free will is constrained, if he's omnipresent then he can't move.... I'm sure you can think of dozens more of your own.

So we return to my original point: you must put strict limits on your definition of God in order for the concept to be logically possible.

 
dkturner
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: teachme Show

PS - give me one example of where God's supposed interaction with mankind is "unphysical".

Water into wine - physical
Resurrection - physical
Lot's wife into salt - physical
The plagues - physical
Hell - physical
Staying Abraham's hand - physical

The whole thesis of religion is based on physical events that are interpreted to have supernatural causes. Except it turns out that every physical event has a natural cause. Furthermore positing a supernatural explanation never actually teaches us anything. It's the intellectual equivalent of saying "it's so because I say so".

This would be harmless speculation, EXCEPT that many people then claim to know moral truths and obligations on the basis of their supernatural speculation. This is equivalent to "I have to kill my daughter because the aliens told me to". You're free to believe that aliens abducted you (however deluded that may be). You're not free to turn this into an obligation to violence.

Turning supposed truths based on supernatural explanations for physical events into moral obligations is precisely what the Abrahamic religions do. If you take their explanations for the roots and causes of the universe seriously, then you're obliged to stone people who don't keep the sabbath, put neighboring towns to the sword if they harbor infidels, not worship idols and so forth. The fanatics have the word of God on their side.

 
dkturner
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: akulakhan Show

Excellent analysis. Convince.

By the way, here's my take on the ontological argument:

The ontological argument claims that perfection implies existence, Px implies Ex. In order for this claim to make sense, we must accept that existence is a predicate, i.e. exists(x) === Ex.

Now let's rewrite that implication. It's equivalent to: "for all x, either x is perfect and x exists, or else x is not perfect". Invert the qualifier and simplify: "there does not exist x which is perfect and does not exist". Since existence is a predicate, this is equivalent to ~Ex and Px and ~Ex, which is then simply ~Ex and Px. Conclusion: perfect things do not exist. And God vanishes in an unexpected puff of logic.

The real lesson we should take from this is that assuming existence is a predicate leads to logical inconsistencies. My argument is fallacious because it made that assumption; so is the ontological argument fallacious because it too makes the assumption.

Moral of the story: be very careful how you define God.

 
dkturner
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thevenerablerob Show

I'm glad that you agree that our definition of God has to make sense, even if we may never know every detail.

"Being all powerful" - now see I already said why that's problematic. There are clearly limits to how powerful you can be - such as not being able to lift such rocks as you are powerful enough to create.

The question now becomes: how all-powerful is powerful enough? Is the power to utterly destroy the planet enough? How about the power to create new suns? The power to create life? At what point does a being cease to be "normal" and become a god?

Clarke's third law: any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


 
dkturner
Oct 09, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: teachme Show

"you have already attempted to define and limit God as simply "physical," whereas, some people define God as so much more."

That's may be true, but it's still rubbish. Such definitions do not belong in the real world. They are, as I said, insane. The real world is the physical world.

When you talk to God, you're religious. When God talks to you, you're psychotic.

 
+ Add Argument

2
no


teachme
Oct 06, 2009
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: akulakhan Show

Interesting approach, Akulakhan...but, I tend to feel that, if there is a God...God would be way beyond what we could ever hope to define, using our limited capabilities and limited modes of expression.

 
thevenerablerob
Oct 07, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

I think it really depends on how you wish to define a god (or God). One could most likely name the many natural and moral characteristics, but can one surely comprehend or define the greatness?

For example, the Christian God is to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Okay, so i defined three of His natural characteristics, but can they be fully comprehended? I doubt, that though one fully realizes what those words mean, it actually is fully comprehended in the raw meaning of those words.

I agree that there is a reason behind everything God does, and I also agree that in many cases we may be able to see the logic, but in other cases, we obviously do not. For example, a question often asked is, "Why does God let people die, wars happen etc etc.?" How do we, as mortals, answer that question. We obviously can't, but maybe one day we can see why they occurred or see something tie together because of it. It surely has a logical explanation (other than Sin having entered the world and causing pain), but we cannot see it.



 
teachme
Oct 07, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

DkTurner posted: "If God exists, then he should be in principle comprehensible, just like any other physical phenomenon."

I disagree, and for that matter, you have already attempted to define and limit God as simply "physical," whereas, some people define God as so much more.

We are still trying to define our universe, and scientists suspect there are universes beyond that we haven't even begun to tap the knowledge of. If the cosmos is conceivably beyond the comprehension of the five senses and the mind, how can we hope to reach an understanding of the supposed creator?

 
frankiej4189
Oct 07, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

"It's well known that any pair of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence are mutually contradictory; and omnipotence all by itself seems inherently contradictory."

Care to delve into that a bit further? I guess i'm not intellectual enough to have heard this newfound bit of knowledge.


 
akulakhan
Oct 08, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Well, one could say that a definition is finite, and that a god is infinite, and that the two do not correlate thereby. That's just picky wordplay afterall, so nevermind.

Here's a real theory. Provided god is contradictory, and not possibly physical, and subsequently nonexistent, where does that leave us? That which doesn't exist can't be defined.

Well, I suppose that too is cheating. but think about this, what determines existence? Is it that which is bound by time and space? If that is the case, Gods nature is to not exist. God is nonexistence. Kinda makes sence, but then again Santa Clause is also nonexistent. I suppose that there be a system for classifying the unreal. Maybe like this:

Reality: That which is bound by space-time.

Nonexistence: That which is NOT bound by space-time.

Surreality: That which is indeterminable or intermittent relative to space-time.

Maybe, God is outside of these classifications as well, kind of a proprieter or maintainer of realms, semi-unreal glue. OR the manifester of these realms.

Take what you will...


 
thevenerablerob
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

But Only in principle, as you (and I) have stated. We could not begin to physically define god. We don't have a physical description. We can only interpret by moral and natural characteristics.

To put my point across, lets suppose you wished to describe me (or any other debater on this site). Since you odn't personally know us, you can only describe us on what we have offered in our arguments. You'll know a lot of our belief and moral stands and perhaps a few of our debating styles. But other than that you could not physically define us. You'd probably be extremely wrong in physical description, hobbies, family etc.
This would be like God. We can tell his moral characteristics (love, mercy, compassion, grace etc,) by what he has done for us and from the Bible (admitted, many acts aren't loving, but that is beside the point at this time and would only sidetrack the current argument). and his natural characteristics (some of which are defined in my last post).

Thus, in theory and in principle we can define God, but we cannot definitively define Him (or a god) as human interaction with God was broken in the New testament.

How is being all powerful, all present and the knowledge of everything that ever will be contradictory? tell me that. Each is a different characteristic that would define the ultimate, Awesome God.

If God is omnipresent, does he really have to move? No. While He resides on the throne of Heaven, He is and can be everywhere at the same time. This is definitely impossible for a human, even for us to fully comprehend.

i agree, all characteristics should be recognizeable in a degree of measurement. We perfectly understand love, omniscience, mercy, grace, forgiveness, omnipotence etc. Thanks for the clarification.

 
thevenerablerob
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: ryvius Show

Supposing the god doesn't choose that beings go to hell. Suppose that being all righteous this god couldn't accept sin (hence sinners). Now suppose that since a god exists, so must Satan. The devil would then be most anxious to add to his minions of those who refused to have their sins forgiven, no?

Your run-on sentence is hard to interpret. are you saying that those that would believe in a god and act as he says would not go to Heaven if he existed, but those who didn't do anything at all would? what a peculiar notion...

 
teachme
Oct 08, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

DkTurner...you mustn't have read my post all too carefully...because you have misinterpreted and twisted my words.

Listen...I could easily call this whole debate "rubbish," and you "insane" for even attempting to take it seriously.

"Debating," as you say, your definition of God...with your predisposition that God even exists...is presumptious, at best. I'm afraid that what has been written in the Bible about "God" is purely speculative...and if this is what you are all basing your arguments on...good luck!

 


Use these tags to find similiar debates

atheism christianity debate god islam religion Abortion atheism atheist athiesm athiest BBC belief Beliefs bible buddhism catholic catholicism Christ christian christianity christians Christmas church Creation creationism death debate enlightenment ethics evil Evolution faith god heaven Hell hinduism Islam islamic jesus jewish judaism logic love morality mosque muslim opression peace philosophy politics Pope religion Religon Salvation satan Science scientology sex sin society supernatural terrorism Theology Truth VanCam violence war world