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Is God luck and nature?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Ruryse, May 9, 2017.

  1. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    I've been reading a couple things regarding God that @fschmidt has posted about his Mikraite religion. He wrote " God is not necessarily viewed as a sentient being, but is viewed as the sum of all forces in the world."

    He also has a nice article on the way they interpret God in Mikraite: http://www.mikraite.org/God-for-Atheists-td18.html

    I remember how in many ancient religions, God or deities are sort of impersonations of nature. That makes me raise the question, is God basically everything that the individual isn't, and has no control over? Regardless of whether they imagine an actual being there, or just the sum of all natural forces?

    softboober likes this.
  2. softboober

    softboober Active Member

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  3. fschmidt

    fschmidt Active Member

    The idea that God is nature itself is pantheism. I am against pantheism because for morality to work, God has to be considered cause, not effect. Without the concept of cause and effect, people start saying that bad things are God too, and then good versus bad disappears. But if God is only cause, is the forces of nature, then God can be thought of as the rules of the game that we call life. We play this game, and if we play it well, then the result is good, and if we play poorly, then the result is bad. So God is cause and our actions determine how this cause plays out. This produces responsibility and morality.

    One other benefit of viewing God as cause is that this encourages scientific thinking. The idea that God is One, God is a universal force, is fundamental behind Newton's insight into gravity. It was this universal thinking that allowed Newton to see that the same force that pulls an apple to earth also controls the orbits of the planets. Such an idea would not have occurred to a polytheist or to a pantheist.
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  4. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    Thank you!

    Isn't it still reasonable, that God sometimes acts badly as a punishment? For example the hail destroys the crops, and the farmer reasons that God punished him for drinking too much.

    Or there's the story of Job.

    "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." - Job 1:21

    Isn't it practically the same if I replace "God" with "nature"? Force of nature pulls the apple to earth, force of nature controls the planets.
  5. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    I can see that, as part of the violence-control we discussed above.
  6. ListenNighGlint

    ListenNighGlint Active Member

    Do religious people acknowledge luck at all? I would think that they contribute those kind of events to God's will.
  7. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    They sometimes do, but if you ask them, they'll blame it all on God.
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  8. fschmidt

    fschmidt Active Member

    There is a huge difference between "nature" and "force of nature". Nature itself is composed of innumerable unique objects. If you don't factor out a force as cause, then you don't believe in any consistency or any rules. This is hard for the modern West to imagine, but in fact this is how modern Islam (Ash'arite Islam) thinks. For them, just because the sun has risen in the east since recorded history doesn't make it any more likely that it will rise in the east tomorrow instead of rising in the west. This is the product of rejecting cause and effect, and of refusing to recognize forces of nature. For Ash'arites this comes from only considering God as cause and refusing to describe that cause as a set of forces. But Pantheism produces the same result in the end by failing to distinguish between nature and abstract forces.
    Ruryse likes this.
  9. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    I see what you're getting at. There's always that psychological aspect of the abstract part, that people really believe they experience the presence of beings.

    At first as I read it, I imagined it as kind of an exaggerated pessimism, or a theoretical thing, like solipsism. It makes sense in a way.
  10. Daniel Delion

    Daniel Delion Member

    It can be read that way, but occasionalism is not at all like the mathematical logic you're hinting at, @Ruryse . It takes the cause out of Nature's hands fully, so to say.
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  11. softboober

    softboober Active Member

    Is God really just an allegory for the infinite universe? For example, Gregory of Nyssa said things like:

    "...every concept that comes from some comprehensible image, by an approximate understanding and by guessing at the Divine nature, constitutes a idol of God and does not proclaim God."

    "The man who thinks that God can be known does not really have life; for he has been diverted from true being, to something devised by his own imagination."

    To me it means something like "God is the world itself. Since you're part of that world, you will never be able to comprehend it in it's entirety".
    Ruryse likes this.
  12. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    Why would I need to name all these things God, instead of just calling them what they are?
  13. fschmidt

    fschmidt Active Member

    God is the aggregate of all forces of nature, known and unknown. The implication is that the world is governed by consistent forces even if we can't identify them individually. This justifies inductive reasoning as the best form of reasoning, superior to deductive reasoning which is more prone to errors.
    Ruryse likes this.
  14. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    What I'm trying to say is, with acknowledging that, I put the "God-layer" on top of the "all forces of nature". It doesn't come naturally to me, cause it's an additional step that I consider unnecessary. But maybe God was more of a word for all the forces of nature originally, one that summed it all up, and only later has it become some kind of a spiritual being. I would be interested to know what God meant to the (majority of) people throughout the times.

    I find it interesting, cause it's a very practical train of thought, and it works. Even though people who take the time to observe things in a more in depth way notice the general "almost, but not quite the same" nature of things. For example the famous line by Heraclitus, "You could not step twice into the same river". It seems like deductive reasoning can only ruin all that with its rigid, perfectionistic nature. When a single part of the whole tries to comprehend the whole, it can never succeed. It will only end up creating illusion of knowledge that builds upon itself, i.e. on previously created illusory knowledge. But paradoxically, all that is still part of the whole, so it's all good.
  15. fschmidt

    fschmidt Active Member

    I think the key is that the ancient idea of TRUTH was completely different from the modern idea. An idea was true if it worked reliably over time. So if personifying an aspect of nature resulted in a description that reasonably described how that aspect of nature behaved, then this was considered true. And this is the basis of the personified gods. The next step was to realize that there is a universal set of forces that acts consistently across time and space. This doesn't change the idea of personifying nature, but it implies one god who is a force behind all of nature.

    I am not sure what you mean by "illusion". If you mean not corresponding to some "real" truth, then you are assuming absolute truth of the Plato variety. But if you mean truth that doesn't really describe reality (experience), then this truth is not good, it is bad.

    The Ancient Greeks struggled with truth but were generally relativists. Protagoras is the best example. But the main criteria of Athens was "arete" meaning excellence, so they tested truth with philosophy. In contrast, the ancient Israelite truth "emet" meant reliability over time, so philosophy was useless to them. I agree with the Israelites.
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  16. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    I think this one describes more of what I meant. When there's a measurement of a real, physical item or phenomenon, the accuracy depends on the devices, the perception, all kinds of different variables that rule out objectivity. There are always simplifications, abstractions, things that make sure that the recorded human knowledge of a thing strays further and further from reality. For example, certain aspects of planetary motion was thought to be constant, even as the knowledge kept evolving (first the speed of the objects, then the area-speed, and so on). The illusory knowledge (or more like the kind of human nature that accumulates such knowledge) is something that keeps clutching at straws of perfect consistency and regularity, instead off accepting the discreteness of things. If anything, only this discreteness is absolute.
  17. crypticletter

    crypticletter Member

    What you're babbling about is exactly what relativism is.
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  18. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member

    Awesome. I hope you have applauded my bullseye.
  19. ListenNighGlint

    ListenNighGlint Active Member

    Haha! At least they have someone to blame... unlike God. :)

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