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Refuting God

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Refuting God
awareness emptiness self god creation creator inherent existence permanent neither one nor many sevenfold reasoning pure consciousness ultimate reality
Answer
3/11/17 12:36 PM
Hi!

I do find the concept of God an important one, because in it lie beliefs in inherency, permanence, etc. Sometimes, one may come to a point where one feels like pure consciousness or witnessing awareness may be one's true nature and those aspects connect, in some way, with the belief in some god-like principle that rests at the essence of the universe/experience.

In a way, one looks at oneself like being a permanent entity, as the god of our own subjective experience, the permanent center of one's reality. If the supreme entity - God - is seen as being an unrealistic claim, then seeing ourselves as empty may be easier.

By God I mean some kind of entity or principle which can be one or several of the following things: omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, ultimately benevolent, the ultimate reality, the source of things, the essence/substance of things, the creator of the universe, the judge of actions, etc.

I'm looking for arguments (logical, philosophical, scientific and otherwise) refuting the possibility of the existence of God. It may be a personal type of god (who has wants and needs concerning its creation) or a more impersonal, transcendent principle, like pure consciousness or some kind of void or intelligence.

I feel like emptiness has some powerful arguments: a permanent entity cannot create, change or interact with anything else, for that would imply a transformation in itself; the idea that an absolute thing cannot relate to other relative things, because it then becomes relative itself. One can even use the sevenfold reasoning or the "neither one nor many" techniques to inquire if God could be inherently the same or different from its creation.

Any insights are welcomed. I may, later, try to put my own ideas and reasonings here, to see if they make sense in the presence of more experienced enquirers and meditators.

Thank you.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/11/17 2:04 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
You need to stop thinking and practice more.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/12/17 7:19 AM as a reply to Edward Prunesquallor.
Edward, I humbly think you need to evaluate less people you know nothing about. Philosophical deconstruction is in itself a practice, one that feels quite right for me.

But thanks anyway.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/12/17 6:31 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
I agree that philosophy is a mental practice, and that it is interesting, fun and informative. It's just not meditation and as far as I know does not lead to the same results. Meditation also does not lead to the same results as philosophical inquiry. And they are not at all mutually exclusive. But the kinds of outcomes that people care to promote in the context of this forum, are those that are brought about by meditation.

And because philosophical inquiry is often confused with meditation (I am told especially among westerners), and because this can have a really negative effect on the practice of meditation itself, there is a culture in this forum of dissing the former in favor of the latter.

I would say that meditation, if well done, leads to permanent improvements in the quality of perception (clarity, concentration, vividness, wholeness, etc), whereas philosophy, if well done, leads to permanent improvements in the quality of conceptualization (ability to make conceptual distinctions, logical coherence of speech, ability to ask pertinent questions, etc).

Much as there were great philosophers who were completely oblivious to meditative attainments, there are also many meditators who are terrible at philosophizing.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/12/17 7:56 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Possibly relevant:
https://sujato.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/why-we-can-be-certain-that-god-doesnt-exist/

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 7:07 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Case in point ;-)

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 7:34 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Andre Pais:

By God I mean some kind of entity or principle which can be one or several of the following things: omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, ultimately benevolent, the ultimate reality, the source of things, the essence/substance of things, the creator of the universe, the judge of actions, etc.

I'm looking for arguments (logical, philosophical, scientific and otherwise) refuting the possibility of the existence of God. It may be a personal type of god (who has wants and needs concerning its creation) or a more impersonal, transcendent principle, like pure consciousness or some kind of void or intelligence.

LOL

So, according to your definition, God could be any of the following things:
1) Omnipresent, or present only somewhere.
2) Omniscient, or knowing only some things, or nothing at all.
3) Ultimately benevolent, or indifferent, or a sadistic psychopath, or a prankster.
4) An ultimate reality, or a relative reality, or not real at all.
5) The source of things, where things end up, or in some particular uninteresting place.
6) The essence of things, the substance of things, or something completely unrelated to it.
7) The creator of the universe, or not involved in the creation of the universe at all.
8) The judge of actions, or a judge of non-actions, or someone disinterested in actions.
9) Personal, or impersonal.
10 Having wants, or not having wants, concerning his creations, assuming he created anything, which he might not have.
11) Having needs, or not having needs of any kind.
12) Transcendent, or mundane, or mediocre.
13) Pure consciousness, or impure consciousness, or pure unconsciousness, or dirty unconsciousness.
14) Some kind of void, or some kind of thing that is not void.
15) Some kind of intelligence, or some kind of non-intelligence, or some kind of idiocy.
16) You even included etc, to make sure you did not leave anything out!

And you want us to refute the possibility of the existence of... this thing you haven't really bothered to define? emoticon

Overcooked pizza with pineapple is a God according to your definition. Jogging on a Wednesdays on odd-numbered months is a God, according to you. Danny DeVito is God. Even the shit I took this morning is God, for all the details you have provided about what counts as a God by your parameters emoticon

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 8:46 AM as a reply to neko.
Overcooked pizza with pineapple is a God according to your definition. Jogging on a Wednesdays on odd-numbered months is a God, according to you. Danny DeVito is God. Even the shit I took this morning is God

Basically, yeah.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 9:32 AM as a reply to neko.
neko:

LOL

So, according to your definition, God could be any of the following things:
1) Omnipresent, or present only somewhere.
2) Omniscient, or knowing only some things, or nothing at all.
3) Ultimately benevolent, or indifferent, or a sadistic psychopath, or a prankster.
4) An ultimate reality, or a relative reality, or not real at all.
5) The source of things, where things end up, or in some particular uninteresting place.
6) The essence of things, the substance of things, or something completely unrelated to it.
7) The creator of the universe, or not involved in the creation of the universe at all.
8) The judge of actions, or a judge of non-actions, or someone disinterested in actions.
9) Personal, or impersonal.
10 Having wants, or not having wants, concerning his creations, assuming he created anything, which he might not have.
11) Having needs, or not having needs of any kind.
12) Transcendent, or mundane, or mediocre.
13) Pure consciousness, or impure consciousness, or pure unconsciousness, or dirty unconsciousness.
14) Some kind of void, or some kind of thing that is not void.
15) Some kind of intelligence, or some kind of non-intelligence, or some kind of idiocy.
16) You even included etc, to make sure you did not leave anything out!

And you want us to refute the possibility of the existence of... this thing you haven't really bothered to define? emoticon

Overcooked pizza with pineapple is a God according to your definition. Jogging on a Wednesdays on odd-numbered months is a God, according to you. Danny DeVito is God. Even the shit I took this morning is God, for all the details you have provided about what counts as a God by your parameters emoticon
Dear Neko, I take your reply as a bit of a joke. I didn't bother to define god because there isn't a single consistent definition of god. But there are two main camps, which I made clear: a personal god (more common in the west) and an impersonal god or principle (more common in the east). I would like to see refutations of any or both of these ideas.

Refutations can have as their objects ANY of the assumed characteristis of god, not necessarily all of them. You can refute omniscience, for instance, even if you don't agree with other characteristics.

And I don't see where you read in my description the possibility of god being totally unconscious, a psychopath, a judge of non-actions (what does that even mean?), pure unconsciousness or dirty consciousness (again wtf?).

And this definition of god ins't according to my parameters, because, for me, I see very little possibilities of there being a god. This is based on a VARIETY of ideas that usually revolve around the concept of god.

Neko, if you don't have anything helpful to say, please avoid polluting the forum.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 10:42 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Andre Pais:
Dear Neko, I take your reply as a bit of a joke. I didn't bother to define god because there isn't a single consistent definition of god. But there are two main camps, which I made clear: a personal god (more common in the west) and an impersonal god or principle (more common in the east). I would like to see refutations of any or both of these ideas.
Ok, since you do not provide a definition of "god", I will lay out some arguments which often apply in this context.

1) The burden of proof is on the believer.

2) That which can be asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof.

3) What does "God(s)" explain that cannot be explained without the "God(s) hypothesis"? If there is no such thing, then Ockham's razor.

4) Re 3, beware of "God of the gaps" arguments of the type: I cannot explain this phenomenon, therefore it must be a god in action. That explains nothing about the world (though it says something about the speaker).

5) Some definitions of God are so lax that even atheists will concede that then god exists. For example, if you say "god is nature", of course then god exists... but it is actually a case of poor use of language. You may as well say "god is banana".

6) Ultimately, the problem of the discussion is that most people have decided that "God exists" or "god does not exist" before knowing what they mean by that. It is a singularly foolish philosophical stance.

7) Re 6, the stance on whether it exists is an identity stance: by claiming a god exists or not, most people say nothing about god (since they have not defined it) but something about themselves. It is a form of posturing.

So unless you have an explicit definition of God, making statements about its existence is a form of identity view in disguise. The person you are trying to prop up as some kind of separate self who has identitarian views about religious sects does not exist.

Tip: Look harder at that "person" desperately trying to attribute itself (a)theistic properties until you see directly that even that is just a thought that arises due to causes and conditions. Empty, impermanent, without a doer, and ultimately a dukkhish waste of time emoticon


Edit: 

Sorry I pissed you off with my post before. Can you see what I meant by it now? I do claim responsibility, but I think it may be useful for you to have a look at why my jokingly ridiculing your question pissed you off. Aren't you taking this god thought too seriously? Even agnostics make that mistake sometimes, btw

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 10:48 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
Stick Man:
Overcooked pizza with pineapple is a God according to your definition. Jogging on a Wednesdays on odd-numbered months is a God, according to you. Danny DeVito is God. Even the shit I took this morning is God

Basically, yeah.


Spotted the pantheist! emoticon

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 10:55 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Paweł K:
God is not to be 'philosophically deconstructed' but directly experienced.

This is in my opinion a good definition of "god" as a specific experience or a relatively well-defined aspect of experience. It is an operative definition. I can look, see what you are pointing at, and recognise it. The process of looking for this "god" is a useful and worthy practice.

Calling this thing "god" could be a skilful or unskilful thing to do, depending on the goals and the audience. It is certainly not the most common definition of "god" in contemporary western usage.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 5:39 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Here is an unusual idea that I don't often see expressed.

Under most definitions of God, there is no measurable difference that will distinguish a God-inhabited universe from a Godless universe. Mystical experiences can be explained away as hallucinations, coincidences, or even just natural law happening without any God getting involved.

The notion of God is unprovable — unless He manifests in very obvious, consistent, "consensually-obviously there" ways, which He doesn't so much, it seems. It is also irrefutable.

And so my own conclusion is that it matters very little if "there really is" a God or "there really isn't" a God. Because both beliefs are consistent with the observable universe.

Instead, I am more interested in the question: "What are the practical consequences of believing or not believing in God?" and therefore "In what situations is it a good idea to believe in God, and in which situations is it a good idea not to believe in God?"

Nowadays I am able to believe in God for a while, if I find it to be appropriate at the time (e.g. when having a mystical experience as an outcome of meditation, or when interacting with people who usually believe in God), and then later I am able to believe that God does not exist, if that is appropriate at that later time (e.g. when thinking about natural sciences).

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/13/17 11:36 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Just remember that the worshipping function in the brain doesn't quite stop when you don't believe in God. People will often worship experts, or people with status who are fallable and disappointing.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/14/17 6:34 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Andre Pais:
Hi!

I do find the concept of God an important one, because in it lie beliefs in inherency, permanence, etc. Sometimes, one may come to a point where one feels like pure consciousness or witnessing awareness may be one's true nature and those aspects connect, in some way, with the belief in some god-like principle that rests at the essence of the universe/experience.

In a way, one looks at oneself like being a permanent entity, as the god of our own subjective experience, the permanent center of one's reality. If the supreme entity - God - is seen as being an unrealistic claim, then seeing ourselves as empty may be easier.

By God I mean some kind of entity or principle which can be one or several of the following things: omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, ultimately benevolent, the ultimate reality, the source of things, the essence/substance of things, the creator of the universe, the judge of actions, etc.

I'm looking for arguments (logical, philosophical, scientific and otherwise) refuting the possibility of the existence of God. It may be a personal type of god (who has wants and needs concerning its creation) or a more impersonal, transcendent principle, like pure consciousness or some kind of void or intelligence.

I feel like emptiness has some powerful arguments: a permanent entity cannot create, change or interact with anything else, for that would imply a transformation in itself; the idea that an absolute thing cannot relate to other relative things, because it then becomes relative itself. One can even use the sevenfold reasoning or the "neither one nor many" techniques to inquire if God could be inherently the same or different from its creation.

Any insights are welcomed. I may, later, try to put my own ideas and reasonings here, to see if they make sense in the presence of more experienced enquirers and meditators.

Thank you.
What would a truly satisfying answer look like? If you were capable of recognizing it, wouldn't you already know it? What exactly is this desire to know?


"“It is as if a man had been wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and kinsmen were to get a surgeon to heal him, and he were to say, I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know by what man I was wounded, whether he is of the warrior caste, or a brahmin, or of the agricultural, or the lowest caste.  Or if he were to say, ‘I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know of what name of family the man is;–or whether he is tall, or short, or of middle height; or whether he is black, or dark, or yellowish; or whether he comes from such and such a village, or town, or city; or until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a chapa or a kodanda, or until I know whether the bow-string was of swallow-wort, or bamboo fiber, or sinew, or hemp, or of milk-sap tree, or it was feathered from a vulture’s wing or a heron’s or a hawk’s, or a peacock’s; or of a ruru-deer, or of a monkey; or until I know whether it was an ordinary arrow, or a razo-arrow, or an iron arrow, or a calf-tooth arrow.’Before knowing all this, that man would die”

-Wing

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/17/17 2:55 AM as a reply to neko.
Paweł K:
I can look, see what you are pointing at, and recognise it.
no offense but I see no indication of it being true from the way you write


No offense taken emoticon

This "god topic" pushes buttons even in otherwise very advanced practitioners, it seems. Talk about multiple axes of development... ;) 

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/17/17 4:11 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
BRUNO LOFF said:

<<<<<<<I would say that meditation, if well done, leads to permanent improvements in the quality of perception (clarity, concentration, vividness, wholeness, etc), whereas philosophy, if well done, leads to permanent improvements in the quality of conceptualization (ability to make conceptual distinctions, logical coherence of speech, ability to ask pertinent questions, etc).>>>>>>

I think philosophy - or better, contemplative inquiry - can change one's perception too, providing deep paradigms shifts. Sometimes, meditative experiences, without right view, can be misinterpreted and mishandled.


<<<<<< Much as there were great philosophers who were completely oblivious to meditative attainments, there are also many meditators who are terrible at philosophizing.>>>>>

And sometimes a practicioner can be both, like many mahayana masters - like Nagarjuna and Tsong-kha-pa.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/17/17 4:13 PM as a reply to Andre Pais.
Paweł K:
God is not to be 'philosophically deconstructed' but directly experienced.

From grander perspective from any moment in space/time (they are totally still by the way) time goes in many directions at once and in some of them you realize God near instantaneously so overall you never really miss it for long, even if from your perspective it isn't so. In other directions of time everything about you or parts of you just fade away. But it is only in some time directions and each point of these is 'saved' too so however pleasure there was can be used to multiply it indefinitely if necessary. This is in big shortcut how God make everything both permanent and impermanent. This picture might be better understood if you move your own frame of experience to one that is exactly at speed of causality in which case as Einstein predicted time stops existing entirely and this is your window into God's experience.

Ofcourse changing frames of experience to 'massless' is a meditative skill. You can also say karma-less or something like that if you wish.

PAWEL K said:

<<<<<<God is not to be 'philosophically deconstructed' but directly experienced.>>>>>>

But to experience something, it must exist, and God's existence is what is being investigated here.

Can you rephrase the whole thing you said after that? It seemed interesting, but I didn't understand a thing. ;)

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/17/17 4:14 PM as a reply to neko.
NEKO

Very good points all over. Thanks! emoticon We're back at being friends! Aha!

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/17/17 4:26 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
BRUNO LOFF said:

<<<<<<<The notion of God is unprovable — unless He manifests in very obvious, consistent, "consensually-obviously there" ways, which He doesn't so much, it seems. It is also irrefutable.>>>>>>

I'm not sure God is unrefutable. Unicorns are not experienced, but can well really exist somewhere - outside of imagination or fiction. However, square circles or married bachelors are logical fallacies or existential impossibilities and can therefore be refuted.

I think God falls into this last camp. God can't be absolute and relate to things simultaneously, be eternal/imutable but then morphing itself to create a world, be omnipresent and then ask his creation (himself) for things.

Some things are just categorical incongruencies and are therefore refutable.


<<<<<And so my own conclusion is that it matters very little if "there really is" a God or "there really isn't" a God. Because both beliefs are consistent with the observable universe.>>>>>

The observable universe doesn't seem to do much for the possibility of a God, I'd say.


<<<<<Nowadays I am able to believe in God for a while (...) and then later I am able to believe that God does not exist>>>>>>>

These perceptual gymnastics can be valuable, but if at one moment something does not exist, it can't somehow exist in the next - in an ultimate, inherent way, like god is believed to exist.

RE: Refuting God
Answer
3/18/17 5:40 AM as a reply to Andre Pais.
People have experiences where they characterize what they are perceiving as having various qualities, and some people call some of these experiences "God". Partly because that's what was traditionally done, partly because these qualities fit what they have come to expect from their idea of what experiencing "God" would be like, and partly because framing things in this way is itself the source of further pleasurable experiences (one has "found God").

Some people have the same experiences, recognize the same qualities in them, and do not call them "God".

I tend to go for a mixed approach: if calling this experience "God", and believing it to be "God", is helping me maintain an attitude of curiosity, alertness, and well-being, then I may choose to frame the experience that way. This can be very useful as a motivator, for example. But I do not commit myself to that particular viewpoint: maybe I have the same experience another time, or maybe I discuss the experience with someone who isn't religious, and choose not to call it or believe it to be "God" on that later occasion. Likewise, I would have no problem in framing a certain experience as "God" when discussing it with someone religious, even if originally that connotation wasn't there.