Recovery Board  : RfM
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 01:53AM

In Chapter 3 of his work, “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees,” Marshal Brain, a noted atheist and purveyor of, constructs a Standard Model of God.

"1. People believe that God is the almighty ruler of the universe. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, timeless, omnipresent and perfect.

2. People believe that God is the creator of everything. He created the universe and the earth.

3. People believe that God is the creator of life and human beings. Many people believe that God created the first man (Adam) and woman (Eve) in his own image, and we are all Adam and Eve's descendents. Others are not that literal, and believe that God played a central role in the creation of the human species and our consciousness

4. People believe that God instills in each of us a unique and everlasting soul.

5. People believe that we have eternal life after death. When we die, people believe that our souls return to God in Heaven for eternity if we have accepted Jesus as our savior.

6. People believe that God wrote or inspired the Bible. The Bible is God's word. There is a sentence that summarizes the Bible for many people: The Bible is infallible, inspired and inerrant. Others are not that literal, but do believe that God played a central role in the Bible's creation.

7. People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God.

8. People believe that God is a benevolent and loving ruler. God is good and God is love.

9. People believe that God is a living being who knows and loves each one of us. Each of us can speak to God and have a personal relationship with him. The way that we speak to God is through prayer.

10. People believe that God has a plan for each of us. We each have a distinct and unique purpose in God's universe."

- Marshal Brain, “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Chap. 3

Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, also provides a model of God (albeit inadvertent) in the following excerpt.

“The Nobel Prize winning physicist (and atheist) Steven Weinberg made the point as well as anybody, in Dreams of a Final Theory:

Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that ‘God is the Ultimate’ or ‘God is our better nature’ or ‘God is the universe.’ Of course, like any other word, the word ‘God’ can be given any meaning we like. If you want to say that ‘God is Energy,’ then you can find God in a lump of coal.

Weinberg is surely right that, if the word God is not to become completely useless, it should be used in the way people have generally understood it: to denote a supernatural creator that is ‘appropriate for us to worship’.” – Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion, Chap. 1

Marshal Brain’s model of God is quite long, and Richard Dawkins’ is very succinct.

These are models of God prepared by two very accomplished and intelligent men, but I see a very distinct pattern and I want to know if holds true for all atheists.

If I am not violating any protocol of this RfM forum, I would like to ask those of you who consider yourselves to be hard-line atheists if you would provide me with your own working definition of God. I’m not asking you to tell me who other people think He is, I already know that, I’m asking you to provide me with a definition of who YOU think He should be; I want YOUR OPINION.

If God existed, what should YOU see? Or, what would He/She/It/They be like?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

P.S. Please do not respond if you’re a Theist – this is for Atheists to express themselves freely.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: archaeologymatters ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 02:06AM

Don't have much time, but before I go to bed I'll just reference a quote:

"I don't know what God is, but I sure know what he isn't."

Mormons, Christianity in general, Islam, and other religions have not given me any reason to believe in them from a moral, scientific, or historical perspective.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: serena ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 02:24AM

Gnomes, trolls, sure, but not gods or fairies.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 02:45AM

Thank You for your response serena. I’m sorry you don’t feel this is worth it, too. There is one thing, however – I can tell by the fact that you say “Reality indicates no god/s” that you definitely expect to see “something.” That “something” you expect to see is what I’m looking for. Hopefully, others will tell me what it is.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: serena ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 03:00AM

I don't agree with any of that. I have found no evidence of any kind of Creator, benevolent being, parent figure, whatever - none of it. No Force, like in Star Wars, nothing. Nada. It makes no sense to me that there would be either.

I don't expect to see anything - I don't know what you're talking about. Death? I will cease to exist. Lights out. Perhaps "me" will join some cosmic dust realm - don't know, have no way of ever knowing, so why bother? No one knows.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 06:29AM

But you still believe in the underpants gnomes right? I am not the only one am I?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: untarded ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 03:01AM

To me, God is just an idea.

He is not real except in the minds of humans.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: The Motrix ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 03:14AM

I'm not sure that I understand your question, but I want to play.

What I think you're asking is what our definition of god is, but also what we think he should be like.

For a dyed in the wool athiest, this doesn't make sense, because wanting something that you know doesn't exist to be something is insanity--it's not something I think about.

This is like wanting Tom Sawyer to come to my birthday party. The term god is on par with other types of fictional, supernaturally attributed beings like Ghost Rider, Spectre, and Count Dracula.

I like Dawkins, but if that quote is really from him, and not taken out of context, then I disagree with him. There is no need for the idea of god in the future anymore than there is a need for alchemy.

I think if a person is really an atheist, then this question doesn't work. Of course, there are plenty of people claiming to be atheist who are not, so it might make sense to them.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 03:24AM

Let me put it this way. I do not believe in Bigfoot. But if Bigfoot did exist, I would expect to see some sort of physical evidence. I would want to see a captured animal. If that’s not possible, I would like to see verified skeletal remains, hair samples, teeth, DNA, etc… etc… I would expect Bigfoot to be a physical animal. My model of Bigfoot is a physical animal.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 06:33AM

I don't believe in Big Foot either, but I am willing to grant that the possibility of Big Foot existing is much more probable then God existing. Of course, that is not really saying all that much, just that Big Foot would be a biological being, and those do exist, but God is a magical being, and they do not exist.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 03:44AM

I can model something else I don’t believe in. I don’t believe in Ghosts. But if Ghosts did exist, I would expect there to be some kind of demonstrable energy field to indicate where they were. I would expect that they would be invisible. I would expect they wouldn’t be physical. I would expect that they would be pure energy or similar to a magnetic field or something. My model of a Ghost would be a “conscious” energy field.

A person CAN model something that they don’t believe in.

Now another person comes along and tells me that he doesn’t believe Ghosts are conscious energy fields. He has a different model for what a Ghost is.

If I can model something I don’t believe in, I firmly believe that an Atheist should be able to model who he thinks God is.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: bc ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 08:54AM

OK fine I'll give you a model:

God is something so obscure that you can't disprove his is there, but so real that he wants you to give me your money.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: serena ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 04:04AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2012 04:05AM by serena.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 09:09AM

I see a very distinct pattern and I want to know if holds true for all atheists. So far, anecdotally, it does.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: saviorself ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 05:02AM

You asked:
"If God existed, what should YOU see?"

Let's simplify this discussion.

If bullfrogs had wings, what would those wings look like?

We know that bullfrogs do not have wings. So therefore I don't know what bullfrog's wings look like.

But I do know this much: if bullfrogs had wings they wouldn't bump their asses on the rocks.

From the American Atheists website ( )

"Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity, which implies that nothing exists but natural phenomena (matter), that thought is a property or function of matter, and that death irreversibly and totally terminates individual organic units. This definition means that there are no forces, phenomena, or entities which exist outside of or apart from physical nature, or which transcend nature, or are “super” natural, nor can there be. Humankind is on its own."

So Quoththeraven, I will ask you a question that is equivalent to your question.

If you don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then what do you think the FSM looks like?

That makes absolutely no sense, just like your question makes no sense.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2012 05:29AM by saviorself.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 09:08AM

Simplify this discussion? What's so complicated about it in the first place?

I do not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but if the Flying Spaghetti Monster existed he would be made of Spaghetti and have the capability to fly. My model of the Flying Spaghetti Monster would be a Flying Ball of Spaghetti with one big eye in the middle.

What's so hard about that?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: exmorphmon ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 05:26AM

Quoth, Brain and Dawkins are assembling data on what believers say. Notice the "People believe that.." and "Some people have views.." They are building a composit of believers' god.They are not stating their own definitions of what god is. Since they are athiest I imagine they live with no working definition of god.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: No Mo ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 05:34AM

What the fuck?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 06:45AM

Asking us to discuss attributes god might have is the same as arguing over whether to put blue or pink tassels on the tip of unicorn horns.

I prefer blue. Does that help?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: bc ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 08:49AM

So you want me to give you my definition of what something is that I don't believe exists???

God is whatever people in a given culture, time, religion etc. make up. It varies widely and wildly. Are you talking about the Greek gods, the Egyptian gods, the Christian gods (which version), aboriginal gods, etc.?

Let the theist's define god - I don't have a lot of need to go around defining imaginary things. The only definition an atheist can give you is a description of how other people define god which is what those authors are doing.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 09:10AM

"The only definition an atheist can give you is a description of how other people define god which is what those authors are doing." This is my working hypothesis.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:30AM

So, you're stating that someone who doesn't believe in something can only define that something in terms by those who do believe in it. I wouldn't call that profound in any way.

Take it another way. I say I believe in a Garflephlop. Notice that in this case, like the term "God" it does not imply any description. The problem with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is that the name implies a description. The Big Foot idea doesn't work either because it's pretty much accepted to be a physical being of some sort with big feet, as per the name. "God" does not have any built in descriptions. Depending on the believer, it can literally be anything.

Now, I ask you, a "Garflephlop non-believer" to describe a Garflephlop... Can you do it in your own terms? How 'bout I add that there are several other groups that believe in a Garflephlop, but each group has significant different beliefs than the one that I believe in... Does it make it easier or more difficult?

You can't describe a Garflephlop in your own terms without making up nonsense because you don't believe in it. Either you make up something silly, because that's what you think of it, or you describe it in the only way that makes sense, in the terms of those who do believe in it.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:53AM

After I thought about it a bit more, the only way your question can make sense is if you are asking for a definition of the term "God" from an outside observer...

I think, if that's the case, the only thing I could say is that "God" is a religious entity.

I think any other definition would be too limiting, since every religion has defined "God" so differently, some say "God" is physical, some say non-corporal, some worship it, others don't... it's intelligent, it's a blind force of nature... It's in heaven, it's everywhere... it's a he, it's a she, it's neither...

As an outside observer that does not believe in any of those things, I don't subscribe to any of those definitions. How can I go further in my definition as a non-believer than to say "it's a religious entity".

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 09:54AM

..."What evidence would I need in order to believe there is some sort of sentient entity controlling the cosmos, and that the entity gives a sh!t about us and what we do or think or believe?"

You see, it's wrong to go into the question expecting to validate a preconceived idea, a certain type of god. After all, there might be a god totally unlike anything we've previously imagined. Failure to find the old bearded man in the clouds doesn't mean there isn't a a god. On the other hand, there could be a sentient entity capable of creating and controlling the universe, but which doesn't care one way or another about us humans, because we're just a byproduct of a greater plan. If we're irrelevant to that deity, then that deity is irrelevant to us, and we can stop worrying.

But we humans want a god that really really cares about us. Otherwise, what's the point, right? What use is a god that has no use for us? In fact, humans would be way more likely to accept a deity that *didn't* create the universe, that *doesn't* control it, as long as the deity can do magical things to make us happy. Because religion is, at its core, self-centered. It's about what happens -- good or bad -- to *us*. That's a big clue that it is all manmade.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:14AM

Okay, what evidence would you need in order to believe?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:24AM

How can I know what evidence I'd need if we don't have a clear idea of what we're trying to find? However, I can look at all the data we have and decide if it's evidence of any type of supernatural sentient entity. Until there *is* evidence that some godlike something-or-other exists, and that it gives a sh!t about us, I will happily go about acting as if no such thing exists.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: bc ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:27AM

Well pretty much all I need is to have someone else postulate that there must be a god because we don't completely understand how it works yet, so there MUST be a god running it all.

Plus add in a few warm fuzzy feelings and some coincidences that I attribute to this god doing and I'm totally convinced.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Timothy ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:25AM

And here's why:

Write an essay or a simple thought. Post it on someone's Facebook page along with a picture of Morgan Freeman and that person will read what you wrote in Morgan Freeman's voice.


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: quoththeraven ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:48AM

Ha Ha. I just imagined that you were speaking in Morgan Freeman's voice.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2012 11:48AM by quoththeraven.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:26AM

I would want God to have a blue dress, grey hair in a bun , a little crown, and a wand because deep down, I think everybody just wants a fairy godmother no matter what attributes you give it.

They want magic. I used to, but I have become disillusioned with magic. I like the feeling of having struggled and made it. Magic would be nice for those without the means to win, but only enough magic to put them on a level playing field. Mankind is slowly doing a better job of creating a level playing field--very slowly.

But as an atheist, if God should suddenly appear, that would be my choice, mainly because it is completely non-denominational.

Any more wishes?

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:37AM

An anecdote about the philosopher Bertrand Russell (I think it was him) when he gave a lecture in Ireland. Afterwards an old woman came up to him and said, "I understand you don't believe in God!"

"That's right," said Russell.

"But," said the woman, "WHICH God don't you believe in, the Catholic God or the Protestant God?"

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Dances with Cureloms ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 10:47AM

Atheists don't believe because there is no evidence to support any of the god concepts presented to date.

Atheists aren't making claims about god(s). However your question is asking an atheist to make a claim about god(s).

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:05AM

Dances with Cureloms Wrote:
> Atheists aren't making claims about god(s).

True. The theists are making the claims and we atheists are only saying that we don't buy it. Disbelief is the default setting.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Misfit ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:14AM

God is that part of each one of us that strives to be a better person, to reach outside of ourselves and make the world a better place. Its that part of us that realizes that human beings need to work together in order to survive and be happy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:18AM

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: smorg ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:28AM

... I'm an atheist because I don't believe in the 'god' that any of the religions describe.

If you wanted a description of a 'god' that atheist me maybe can believe in, it would be something like 'nature itself' or 'the most fundamental law or principle that makes nature and everything in it works the way it does'. Since I am a part of nature, I wouldn't worship this 'god'... but it'd be the same to me as there is no god at all since this 'god' isn't something with a conscience that thinks and feels and purposefully interfere with human lives. It's something similar to the Deists' god (though I definitely don't believe in any 'after life' other than that the atoms that I'm made of will then be reused by other things. That doesn't bother me since the conscious me won't be around to object to anything).

I went and hung with the Hare Krishna at their temple nearby a couple of weeks ago, and those guys have their own notion of god that isn't anything like the Christian or the Muslim or the Mormon god either.

I suppose... if you want to know what a Christian/Mormon god can do to convince me of its existence, it can do something like restoring one language to humankind at a snap of the finger the way it supposedly scattered the language at Babel. Or it can tell the Mormon prophet to announce to the world that at 1200 GMT tomorrow it will temporarily suspend the earth's gravitation for precisely 10 seconds... and does it... something of that nature (it'd be hard for any fake 'god' to do any of that). Though even if that happens I still won't worship the 'god' because that god that is described in the Christian & Mormon scripture is a major league a-sh-l- ... I may acknowledge its existence but I'll never bow to such an immoral bully. :o)

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Teddy ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 11:58AM

Which god? The one indicated by the Tetragrammaton? Zeus? Forsite? Krsna? Mars? Ares? Horus? Anubis? Odin? Vingithor? Perun?

I have a different model for each of those, most of them include a BIG smoking hole in Salt Lake City.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: judyblue ( )
Date: May 04, 2012 12:14PM

God is something people use to explain things they don't understand.

Options: ReplyQuote
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In

Sorry, you can't reply to this topic. It has been closed. Please start another thread and continue the conversation.