Sunday, April 17, 2016

I Don't Understand What You Think God Is. And Neither do You

What is God?

This is definitely not God.
Ask google, and you'll be flooded with thousands of sites which exude confidence. But dig a little deeper and you'll see that they're peddling platitudes.
God is the creator of mankind and He loves you.
You were created by Him and He knows everything about you.
Note: Some of them seem to have identical content: and haha.
The site contains claims about the things we ought to credit god with, but not a single observable property of this god.
  • “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
  • “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
  • “You have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15-16).
  • “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
  • “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27).

These are presented by one of the more credible articles as "very logical answers to what is God, and what is He doing." Yet even the most cursory review and it's clear that they're empty dogmatic claims, not observable properties of a anything.

You don't know either

So here's the hard point. Not only are Christian apologetics and ministries unable to articulate any tangible properties of their god, but neither are you. Most Christians think of god as a personality they can interact with and a place-holder for the unanswerable questions of the universe.  But can you identify any tangible properties? Before you get angry, consider some practical questions:
  • If a person introduced themselves as god, how would you know if they're lying or honest? 
  • When a fortunate event occurs to you or a loved one, how can you tell if it's an action  of a god or just good fortune?
  • Suppose find yourself in a place devoid of features. There's a person-like entity there which knows your name and speaks to you. The implication is that you've died and are in some sort of afterlife. The usual cues are missing.   No puffy clouds and halos, no firey pits and horns.  How do you determine if the entity is a god or a demon?
  • That voice in your mind seems to always know what you need to hear. How can you tell if it's a god or just your own imagination?
In short, there's no good way to tell whether these characters are gods or someone else. I don't understand what you think god is, and neither do you.


In researching this post, I came across this post, which starts out surprisingly well. It's not the usual hateful misrepresentation of atheists. But it makes the usual mistakes regarding their own beliefs. Once they start describing the Bible, the claims quickly go from "the authors said" to "it's true."  Here's the paragraph where it happens:
There is a book that has existed longer than the philosophies of materialism and humanism. Those who wrote this book claimed that they were personally in contact with the one, true Creator God. They say, in fact, that this God actually inspired what they wrote, and they claimed to know Him personally. Furthermore, they wrote that God has a plan—a purpose—for each human life. They claimed that what they wrote in this book called the Bible is truth—from the God of truth. They staked their lives on it! 
Another way to understand God is to be willing to take a close look at what He reveals about Himself in the only book that can be seen as a legitimate source of information about Him. Most people own a Bible, but most people—even Christians—have never really honestly or thoroughly examined the Bible to see what it reveals about God. You will likely be very surprised to see what God says about Himself!
Oh well.  It's  a train-wreck from there.

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