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Mental Images Of One God


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#1 Ludwik

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 12:11 PM

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland. 
 
Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal--omnipotent and omniscient--ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree?
 
An interesting article about Spinoza appeared in The New York Times, written by a professor of philosophy, Steven Nadler:
http://opinionator.b...judging-spinoza
It generated many interesting online comments. A reader, RMC, wrote: "I know many Christians and Jews who practice their religious traditions although their own beliefs are secular. They make no secret of their sentiments. Spinoza was excommunicated during a time of religious orthodoxy and in that respect his experience is much like Galileo's. When the Catholic Church repudiated its treatment of Galileo, it was not merely saying that the earth revolves around the sun. It was saying that punishing the members of its congregation for thinking for themselves, including about church dogma, was parochial and destructive."  With regard to independent thinking, several readers emphasized that traditional religious ceremonies, and respect for legends, do help to keep social groups together, even when people know that biblical legends do not represent historical truth.
 
Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

Edited by CraigD, 28 October 2014 - 07:41 AM.
Fixed bad link


#2 sanctus

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 04:08 AM

I think your question is not well formulated, since "sin" is defined by God's laws. So if you equate those laws to nature's laws then sin is defined by nature's laws too and so it cannot be a sin (unless there is a law stating that "to refer to nature's laws as being nature's law is a sin"). Also I wonder how can there be any kind of sin, defined by the laws of Nature? I mean if someone kills someone else, then it follows the laws of Nature, eg. life taken away by stopping the heart (Nature's law stating that if the heart does not beat then the person is dead).



#3 HydrogenBond

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 09:37 AM

In terms of polytheism and monotheism, the brain has the conscious and unconscious minds, with the conscious mind using about 2-10% of the brain. The unconscious is the main frame and uses the rest of the brain. The ego is the center of the conscious mind. The ego, in turn, decorates itself with persona, which are the masks of the ego. We may use one mask to look cool for our friends, another mask may be used to be respectful to our parents and elders, another to be sexy for our mate, another to be professional for our job, another to be appear intellectual during discussions, etc. These are the persona of the ego or the masks that other people see. Each is not all of us, but part of us.  

 

The unconscious mind works the same way (as the model for the ego) with the inner self the center of the unconscious mind, analogous to the unconscious ego. The personality firmware ,that control human nature, are analogous to the masks of the inner self, which uses 90-98% of the brain. 

 

Polytheism was connected to consciousness of the masks of the inner self (personality firmware) while monotheism was connected to consciousness of the inner self. The gods of polytheism represented the range of human nature from desire (Venus) to war, (Mars), etc. Monotheism saw the inner self is being more than one centering themselves on one of these  dissociated masks (worship Mars). Rather they looked at the source of these masks, whom generates all the masks for various situations. 

 

The advantage of this new POV, was whereas the polytheism had a center God like Zeus, who was also a symbol of the inner self, he and the other gods were fixed masks connected to nature modified by culture, which why mythology is often set up in the same basic way, in all cultures, but with the expression culturally defined. A purely inner self POV, of monotheism allowed the firmware to become reinvented ; clean slate,in ways that transcended the natural. Even atheism agrees that many modern religions are disconnected from the nature. 

 

As an analogy, say the ego has all its masks for various situations, like described above. This works when you are younger, but becomes a source of discontent since it is fake. One does some soul searching and comes to the conclusion, why should they need to put on a different act for each situation. It is not your job to appease irrational people playing a role for each. This is the start of individualization, where the masks are disrupted, so the pure ego can find itself. The inner self went through its own type of soul searching as "God", figures out what to do with those humans allowing the human brain to integrated choice and will, which is not natural to natural human nature and firmware. 

 

In Christianity, the God of Hebrew becomes a trinity, implicit of new firmware having evolved as the inner self set point increased to accommodate will and choice on top of the natural firmware. These three are masks of the inner self, and therefore of the same substance as the inner self. The transition from ancient to modern history reflected the inner self set point increase. 

 

I like religion because the ancients mapped out the natural human psyche and help to show how the firmware and then the inners self evolved from the start of civilization until now. The symbolism of God being spirit does not erase the natural firmware, but rather three new firmware evolved. This isolates the natural back to paradise before will and choice. Based on my own exploration of the unconscious the ancients were ahead of their time. 


Edited by HydrogenBond, 09 October 2014 - 09:54 AM.


#4 JMJones0424

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 05:41 AM

As with all arguments on this topic, your assertions are entirely unfounded.

 

In terms of polytheism and monotheism, the brain has the conscious and unconscious minds, with the conscious mind using about 2-10% of the brain.

Please provide evidence that the conscious mind, whatever you choose to believe that is, only uses 2-10% of one's brain.  Please also provide evidence of the duality of the mind that can be separated between the conscious and the unconscious mind.  When you've bothered to provide evidence for the basis for your assertions, then do be so kind as to provide evidence for the rest.  Otherwise, I must conclude that you are stating your beliefs.  Beliefs are what they are.  You may be right, you may be wrong, but if you provide nothing in the way of evidence for your claims, why should I take you to be nothing but a crank?



#5 AnssiH

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 08:06 AM

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland.


Your position is called pantheism, and that basically arises from having an atheistic ideology, but theistic terminology. If you think God is anything you want it to be, then you must also think God is a figment of your imagination; you just point at anything at all and call it "God". If you can assign any or all properties of nature to God, then nothing identifies God. You are basically just substituting the word "Nature" with "God". It's okay to call yourself an atheist.

See;

 

Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal--omnipotent and omniscient--ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree?


Now, in that talk Daniel Dennet touches one very very important subject. How are you supposed to tell what someone believes? How could a child know what their parents believe, based on what they are saying? I remember Daniel Everett made a comment about his interactions with Piraha tribe. That no matter how hard he tried to figure it out, he could never become certain if they believed in some kind of God. People may refer to something like God, but you cannot really figure out how seriously they mean it. The point is, any new generation may take the idea of God as much more seriously, than the people who invented the idea just as a whimsical way to say "I don't know how world works". Think about the impact that has on the formation of religions in different cultures.

And all across the history of mankind, "God" has been a reference to anything that ever tickled our mind. Typically it would be a reference to "primary mover", i.e. anything unexplained or unexplainable. Every tribe would invent their own ideas about gods, responsible for good and bad things. The power struggles between the tribes would be politically driven by ideas of "our Gods are on our side".

What bible records is this power struggle, and the destruction of "false gods" and "false prophets", meaning the opposing tribes and cultures. Bible - also - has been written by the victors. Monotheism has most probably risen as a political tool, when time was ripe for it. It's a great way to unify tribes.

But, if you move from polytheism to monotheism, you are still using "God" to explain all the disasters and other unexplained negative things. This becomes quite uncomfortable because then you must define God also as a blood hungry monster. You can see this all across the old testament. The concept of "Satan" as a supernatural opponent of God arose much later, so all the negative things could be assigned to him. You can see this transformation of detaching negative things off from God through the new testament.

As Daniel Dennet alludes in the video, I also do think that in the educated world, most people who say they believe in God, just mean they believe into some sort of vague undefinable thing that doesn't really mean anything. That is a symptom of the fact that God has become useless concept in their lives, but they have been immersed in culture that is using theistic terminology so much, that they still fuzzily mix paradigms. There's a linear correlation between atheism and education, and basically when God stops having political power, it ceases to exist even as a concept within a culture.

And to get back to the importance of "how should a child know what you mean", I think this terminology where "God" actually means is "Nature" should stop. It's nothing but a very effective way of confusing children into thinking you mean God in itself exists.

#6 Rade

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 11:22 PM

'God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.'

Joseph Campbell

===

God as a concept must be defined to have any utility. The above definition of what God 'is' by Dr. Campbell places the concept within the set of language metaphors. Campbell places God outside of what can be known or believed (e.g., intellectual thought) at any level of uncertanty by humans. God is not a 'thing' that exists but a 'that which transcends', which can only be communicated via use of a word metaphor (e.g., God).

In relation to the OP title, God for Campbell would be a type of mental image, within the set of image metaphors, and a type of metaphor that is presented as a word. A metaphor can be defined as a figure of speech in which a word (such as God) is applied to an action to which it is not literally applicable (such as to transcend thought).

If we accept this definition of God by Campbell, it helps explain why the God concept is so important for humans. Human thought as a process is a powerful literal phenomenon, it can build bridges, move mountains and create that which did not previously exist out of raw materials. God as metaphor can be imagined to be a process more powerful than any (cause-effect) action that is literally applicable to human thought.

Because metaphors are themselves causes of humans thought, God for Campbell is an intellectual thought as a single 'word' metaphor for that which transcends human thought. As presented in the Christain Gospel of John...'and in the beginning was the word, and the word was one', we see how the definition of God as metaphor by Campbell equates with a mental image of one God for the Christian religion (e.g., one word).

#7 Racoon

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 01:04 AM

Just follow the 10 Commandments.

 

everything else will take care of itself..  religiously or not


Edited by Racoon, 22 October 2014 - 01:05 AM.


#8 Racoon

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 02:53 AM

I think your question is not well formulated, since "sin" is defined by God's laws. So if you equate those laws to nature's laws then sin is defined by nature's laws too and so it cannot be a sin (unless there is a law stating that "to refer to nature's laws as being nature's law is a sin"). Also I wonder how can there be any kind of sin, defined by the laws of Nature? I mean if someone kills someone else, then it follows the laws of Nature, eg. life taken away by stopping the heart (Nature's law stating that if the heart does not beat then the person is dead).

 

 

So If I'm hungry, Its OK to Kill you and eat your flesh to sustain me??

Law of the Jungle you might say.

 

Nothing wrong or psychotic with that scenario?

 

Maybe I lure you into a trap and shoot you in the head, like an animal..

You obviously wouldn't have anything to say after that ....


Edited by Racoon, 22 October 2014 - 02:58 AM.


#9 sanctus

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:00 AM

Rac, laws of Nature are just application of physics, in my point of view. So yes, in the laws of Nature there is no such thing as wrong, it is either possible or not. Judgement requires some form of moral law.



#10 Racoon

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:29 AM

Rac, laws of Nature are just application of physics, in my point of view. So yes, in the laws of Nature there is no such thing as wrong, it is either possible or not. Judgement requires some form of moral law.

 Until you're the one being killed and eaten...

 

Or you just volunteer yourself to be consumed for a group of humans who are starving??

(Hypothetical situation)

 

I doubt it.. Your survival instincts will kick in and you will have a sense of "right or wrong''. 

You are not a robot. You are Human. You are fallible, imperfect, eager for survival.

You have No idea of the crimes you might be willing to commit if you are starving.

 

What you say is very easy on a full stomach...

You attacking and killing for food would not require some judgement and some form of moral law??


Edited by Racoon, 22 October 2014 - 04:34 AM.


#11 sanctus

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 12:44 AM

Rac, it is not that I disagree with you. All we need to agree on though is the definition of laws of nature, if you put instinct inside them then you are right, if you say it is just applied physics then I am.