What Good Is A God?

I find it interesting that there are so many blogs out there that deal with spirituality and the need for a god.  Okay, I’m really oversimplifying here, but, these blogs talk about how there are human emotional or psychological needs that require us to invent a god to supposedly “make it” through life.  There are other sites that talk about god as a psychological invention, and still others who consider the human institution of religion as having an evolutionary cause.  All these blogs view God or a god or gods as the creation of some human design.  Now, I really don’t want to get into the logic, flawed or otherwise, of this kind of thinking.  And, I am for the purposes of this discussion, separating, God as diety from the complete human institution called religion. I would like to propose some vital questions to consider:

1.  What good is a god who is created or made up?  Stated differently, why worship something I, myself, or humanity itself, invented?  This is not God, this is imagination, or invention, but it is, by very definition, not God. 

2. If God doesn’t really exist, then none of this matters.  Why are we wasting our time and why do people on both sides of the argument waste their time getting so emotionally involved in this?

3.  If God does exist, doesn’t it by logical reasoning, make sense that He existed before we did, and that He, being God, is calling the shots and not asking our opinion about it, and that He, if He is who He says He is (ahhhh, there’s the catch now, isn’t it?), ought to at least be taken somewhat seriously on His or Her terms instead of our own? 

4.  We speak a great deal of intellect and reasoning, logic and proof in these discussions.  My question is where does faith come into play? Faith cannot be proved by anything other than personal experience which requires trust.

Like I said, if there is no God, then none of this matters, if there is God, then wouldn’t it make sense that nothing else matters or at very minimum all possibilities ought to be carefully examined and logically dismissed only after serious and thorough consideration of those possibilities for deity on the deity’s terms instead of our own preferences?

6 thoughts on “What Good Is A God?

  1. 1. No good at all.

    2. Think about it. The answer is not remotely difficult, it requires only the ability to empathize, to see things from the other person’s point of view. If you can’t figure it out, you haven’t even tried.

    3. You answer your own question (“there’s the catch.”) The claims made are not made by any gods, so far as I can tell, the claims are made, so we are told by people, by people, on behalf of god. All of this “information” comes from people, none from gods. Gods are either incapable (due to failure to exist) of making these claims on their own behalf, or unwilling. In either case, they are indistinguishable from non-existent gods. But you knew that.

    4. Faith is the con man’s trick to get you to feel good about yourself believing his con. (Granted, most of the “con men” today are not consciously conning people, they themselves are victims of a con, which their parents were victims of, etc. The original con men are long dead.)

    You’re told faith is a virtue, that it is intrinsically good to believe without evidence. Watch out for equivocation with this slippery word “faith.” People may try to tell you things like, “you have faith that that chair will hold you up.” No. You do not. You think that the chair will hold you up only to a degree of certainty which is warranted by the evidence. If you noticed the chair looked flimsy and shoddily constructed, you might sit down on it very cautiously. No faith. Faith is believing to a degree of certainty which exceeds what is warranted by the available evidence. Faith is inherently dishonest, because it involves lying to yourself about how certain you should be. Faith is not a virtue, it is the opposite of a virtue.

    So where is faith? Rejected, cast out, and stomped on until it is good and dead.

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  2. Hi Scaryreasoner,
    Thanks for joining the discussion at The Wild Mind.
    Your input is great, but I suspect you assume much about where I am coming from.
    It appears we agree on item number one.
    On item number two, I suspect it goes a bit deeper than just being able to empathize with another’s perspective or point of view. What if that person point of view is wrong? Yes, I used that politcally incorrect word. But, let’s use this for an example. What if you told me that the color green was really red. Am I to be tolerant of your point of view am I to be understanding? Or…am I to consider that possibly you are colorblind, in which case, you have a problem distinguishing colors but the color designated by all humanity as green still remains green. I can tolerate your inaccuracy, but it doesn’t change truth.

    Next, you assume what I meant by “there’s the catch”. The problem is I know exactly what I meant and it isn’t exactly what you implied. The fact is, people define God or god or gods on their own terms as if He or She or It or They are something they can manipulate and control. Taking God at His word is an entirely different matter and that is where the debate lies. What and who is god/God? And what is truth as far as God is concerned? (Not as far as we’d like to define it)? Are there any religious documents that exist today that accurately and truthfully convey the heart of a spirtitual God’s love for his/her created humanity? This is the debate. Many say yes, many say no, many don’t know. Please don’t assume without knowing me that I fall into any particular camp.

    Faith is not a con man’s trick except for those who have been burned or duped by the religious right or who equate faith with stupidity. You enact faith when you vote for Obama based on what he’s said during the campaign (and, yes I am assuming to make a point but I fully recognize this might not at all be the case, forgive me if I am wrong here…the point is you don’t really know for certain how anyone will behave in office…do you?). I evoke faith when I believe that the tires sold to me by the tire guy down the street will last me a certain number of miles. And, yes, we evoke faith that a chair will hold us up based on prior knowledge, experience and what we know about chairs. The same is true with dieties, religions and spirituality if one seeks to study what evidence is availble. The problem is, no one wants to consider any other evidence than that which they agree with. And this is true across religious and spiritual boundaries. There isn’t a whole lot different when dealing with dieties, except that the folks who think they know alot, really dont’ because they haven’t given the “opposition” a fair shake, and they are the ones who are, most vocal so they are automatically equated with truth in this sound bit society we live in. They study only the dieties they “like” but feel confident they can accurately report against the ones they disapprove of. Sorry, but the best critic of an organization is someone who has been deeply involved in that very organization, not one who criticizes from afar.

    I’d like to ask you where you heard that I was told faith was a virtue. I don’t remember mentioning that particular perspective in my post or anywhere else. If you knew me, you would be hesitant to make that claim. Faith, as you stated, can be a deadly manipulative tool used by many just to get their way and I have been the victim of such strategies. Faith is, in my mind, most definitely not a virtue all the time. However, the fact that this world must run on a certain amount of trust and faith is an idea I will not readily let go of, no matter how badly burned I was by someone abusing the system. Do I throw the concept of faith in the toilet because there are those who would manipulate and gain from distorting the concept. That would be tantamount to saying I dismiss the idea of true love simply because I have not myself expereinced it. But, I know plenty of other really quality people who have and I’ve seen it at work in their lives therefore I cannot so easily dismiss the idea that somehow true love must exist somewhere, somehow, even though I myself at this time have not benefitted from it.

    Finally, there is nothing here I am encouraging anyone to consider without evidence…at least…experientially. All I am suggesting is that we cannot make up our own gods to do our bidding because that is simply silly and unintelligent and it is the “intelligencia” that is guilty of this most often. We cannot expect a real God who created this entire infinite universe to simply and completely do everything our way all the time. That simply sounds a bit like the child telling adults what to do.

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  3. The god of any “religion” is a combination of the various perspectives accumulated over a period of time. The original interpretation being made by some one “first hand” if you believe in scripture and then reinterpreted through successive generations. How could the “GOD” we are taught of in religion bear any resemblance to that first interpretation by the perspective of one person? Any religion that teaches “God” is teaching a concept that matches their interpretation of interpretations, and hence a made up “God”. A made up God is no God at all. The real question would have to be asked of “God”, Who are you!
    This is the point where faith, a belief in something unknown, comes into play. What is the reason for Mankind? If you do not believe and have faith in the “spirit of man” then what we do here really doesn’t matter. On the other hand, if you believe that you have a spirit, and that spirit doesn’t end with death, then the question of what are you doing here comes into play. What do you want to accomplish with your time here, what is important while here, and what can you take with you when you leave this plane. For myself, I know the answers I have. What is important here is the experience and knowledge we gain during this lifetime, the people we come into contact with, that gain understanding and benefit from contact with us. Money, prestige, stuff, are no where near as important as who we travel through this life with; living, loving and enjoying the journey, good and bad. What you get to take with you when you leave this plane is the cumulation of experiences, the love shared, and the knowledge gained. I choose to believe that the relationships we develop here carry past this plane, and that those relationships carry a vast responsibility to be guided in a responsible nurturing nature. The “God” I know would not count the number of times you were in church, but rather look at the nature of the relationships you have developed and maintained, the number of lives you have influenced for good or bad and whether you took the time to learn from the experiences life has to offer.
    Do I “know” that “GOD” exists? The only ones that know that God exists are the ones that have met him, I haven’t met anyone yet, that has actually met God. What is important is how our individual interpretation “faith” affects how we live life. The important things in life, are the intangible; love, friendship, experience and the knowledge gained from the experience of living.

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  4. Hi Greg,
    Welcome to the discussion and thanks for commenting. You stated that “The only ones that know that God exists are the ones that have met him….” How would you respond to the many people of many religious perspectives who claim they have met God? Do you think they really have?
    Cat

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  5. I am one of those who believe in GOD and his word. However I do not consider myself religious, I consider myself to be spiritual. Being a christian is not religion to me…it is a lifestyle, it means simply to follow the teachings of Jesus and his philosophy. I am not one of those who see the need to convert other people or try to be preachy. Leading by example is much better and if someone were to ask me why when I converse i never use curse words, or why I always seem to be positive…then i will tell them my reasons.
    Yes I do believe in “faith” When i pray, start a new business or make an investment I have faith that I am doing the right thing or else I wouldn’t do it. Whether it be love, business, GOD or anything else I only do what i have “faith” or believe is the right thing. I will not allow myself to become involved in anything that I see as pointless.
    I cannot prove to anyone here that GOD exists or that the bible is his word but I accept it by faith, all i have to do is look around me and i see evidence of a creator all around me… i “believe” this by my “faith”. Just as people who believe in evolution believe it by “faith” since none of us lived millions of years ago to actually witness the big bang we have to accept it by faith simply because there is no way to prove it beyond a doubt. The Jews have a very strict oral tradition as a way of preserving their history, such as Adam and eve, the great flood, or Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
    There were no videos, tv or photos of Caesar, but we know of his life and times because of an oral tradition known as history. The only reason we know of his life is because of the written word. This is only one of the many reasons I believe in GOD…because people who actually knew him and communicated with him kept record of it through the ages with the written word and through very strict oral traditions.
    However I have a deep respect for everyone’s beliefs and views, these are just simply some of my thoughts.
    The most powerful thing in the world to me is love, nothing..and i mean nothing….has the effect on me that love and forgiveness has. When i see someone react in any situation out of love it has a very deep and profound affect on me somewhere deep inside and i can’t explain it…i have given up trying and just decided to accept it…that it just is. I don’t see how something like that can come about unless there is a creator greater than we are with a very deep love that we are not able to comprehend. Love is more powerful than anger, jealousy or any other emotion. True love will drive a man to do and accomplish more in his life than he ever thought possible, ( especially when he has the true love of a woman)the same man with no love or very little love will wither away and just become old and miserable. If there is no GOD then I doubt we would be capable of the one emotion that is taught to us in the Bible as the most important of all. It is also the one thing we need and seek our entire life whether anyone wants to admit it or not.
    Greg said how many times we are in church should not matter..and he is right…that’s not what it is about. It’s about love and helping others along the way.
    These things that I get from my bible drive me to stay lean and muscular because of respect for my body…my temple, they make me want to be a better man everyday than i was the day before, this means, spiritually, mentally, physically, financially and socially. If other men or women can do this without GOD then thats fantasic, but it helps me to accomplish these things because of my “faith”. Some people say christianity is for weak people..if thats true then I’m cool with being weak.
    Anyway… I’m getting off topic, it’s starting to sound as though i’m defending myself, which i’m not…so I guess I’ll stop blabbering.

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  6. Hi Jeff,
    Welcome to the discussion and thanks for commenting! You brought up some great points that I might bring up in a future blog or two, namely the idea of being spirtual but not tied to a particular organized religion per se. I do agree with you about Christianity as a lifestyle rather than a religion. I’d go even further than that probably and say that Christianity is relationship: man with God and man with fellow man and it does determine our lifestyle.

    Anyway, great points. You’ve given me more to think about and ideas for future blogs. Thanks!

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