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What Is God?
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Fathom
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:02 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:
Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:


If you can put a name to anything, it exists, even if it's just a concept.


Except, in the case pf "nothing". That's the only exception, because it refers to a state of non existence, and therefore does not exist.


Cogito, ergo sum.

Are the thoughts and images in our minds not real?


Wow. Great question. I'm getting interested. Actually, your thoughts and images is all that can ever be real for you, (or in fact, me too, for myself). For YOU, there can't be a world outside of your perception of that world, or more plainly put, your idea for that world. Because, ultimately, the stimulus means little until one interprets it, and so therefore, along those lines, one is creating their own reality via their reaction to the stimulus and therefore reality is created by the individual. But in my opinion, some eastern thought goes too far when it suggests that your own consciousness creates "ultimate", "objective" reality, because what they are saying is that not only do you create the reaction to the stimulus, which is what our lives come down to, IMHO, but they go further to say that you create the stimulus itself. And that's where I bail.

I do believe the tree made a sound whether anybody heard it or not, because I distance reality from my perception of it. And there's a very important reason why. Because if one wants to see reality, one has to remove themselves (self interest) from the perception, which means that one can not take past perceptions and drag them in to the current observation. Therefore, one no longer considers good and bad in terms of good for me or bad for me, but instead, leaves their own personal issues out of the equation. Is a snake good or bad? Well, I suppose it's good when it helps with a rat infestation, and bad when it bites your leg. But is it ever really either? Of course not. It's a snake. It does what it does. It can't be imperfect in it's actions because it can only do what it does. It's actually perfect. It's completely in line with what it should be doing. This is why animals can't sin. They can't be imperfect, in terms of conduct judgment.

It's kind of like the interesting concept that says that sin was created when Adam and Eve understood what it was. The understanding of the concept itself, suddenly created the sin. That's why animals can't sin, because they don't understand the concept. So maybe paradise was before they understood "self judgment" and judgment of their situation (embarrassment about nudity, for example), which seems to be described in Genesis


I understand.

Hence, ones personal perception can be "real" to that person, while being not real to another person. This would mean that the only reality to exist is that which is perceived. If there is no perception, then reality ceases to exist. For example, the dead lose the ability to perceive, and therefore have no reality.

But to take this a step further, if life did not exist, would there be any reality? Can reality exist without life? I say yes it does exist, despite there be nothing to perceive it. It's not unlike the tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear the sound; it still makes a sound, although no one perceives it.

Therefore, reality is not solely dependent on our individual perception. This would mean reality is multi-dimensional. It would not be unlike the difference between personal truth and universal truth. One is a perception of truth prone to dynamics (ie; belief in God), while the other is a constant truth which is static (ie; 1 + 1 = 2).

In the case of belief of God, the perception of truth is a personal reality. The believer has created a concept in their minds and accept it as a reality because it is a personal truth.

However, personal truths and personal realities are not as great as universal truths and realities because they are dynamic; subject to change. Anything that is susceptible to change cannot be regarded as being truthful or a reality because the supposed truthfulness and reality of the thing in question ceases to exist when a greater truth or reality becomes acknowledged.

Hence, "belief" is not the truth, nor is it a reality. Only the manifestation of concepts can then be considered a universal reality. For example, if we have a concept in our minds of a unique chair, the concept exists, but the chair does not exist until it is constructed. Then, the chair becomes a universal reality; it can be observed by everyone. But while it only exists in the mind of the beholder, the chair is only a personal reality subject to change or destruction due to the human condition.

The logical conclusion, therefore, must be that universal reality is greater than personal reality, but that by no means diminishes the fact that both are forms of reality.

Humankind has desperately tried to manifest the concept of the existence of God through the creative construction of books, temples, and other religious articles. These things are a mere "symbol" of their perception of God, but do not display God himself. I find it interesting how we can create the symbols to represent the perception of God, but cannot actually produce God himself.

Unlike anything else.

Mind you, other religions have created idols of worship, but even those are still but symbols. But again, this begs another very big question:

What if the created unique chair was but a symbol of our perception of a unique chair? If that were the case, then which is truly the greater reality; the symbol, or the concept?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Faithfreedom,

Are you familiar with the so called "Problem of Universals?"

Here is a Wikipedia description of it, but there are many others available on the net.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_universals

It might be relevant to your current discussion.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
[quote="Fathom"]
Do you say this because the animals never wrote it down on a term paper or something? I assure you animals know and understand basic gravity just as surely as we do, for if they did not then why would the mountain lion, for example, hesitate and re-consider jumping the 38 feet from the boulder to the ground below?


We too knew it the same way, for we too are animals! I am not talking about understanding and conceiving the truth only, but the ability to master and manipulate events and physical rules.

Quote:

It's because he knows and understands the result. It's a basic understanding to all living things. They may not vocalize or illustrate an understanding of gravity, but for a certainty they are fully aware it exists.


Mastering and manipulating nature is a step above its conception.

Quote:
The thing that does indeed make mankind unique over other living creatures is our ability to be creative through imagination. With this understanding, a case could be made that any god is a created construct of human imagination, since we find little or no evidence of any other living creature demonstrating a belief in any god.


While some primates and other animals share with us some of the imagination and improvisation required to get around problems, I agree you with you that Humans imagination is by far more superior and richer...

I also tend to agree with you that the rich imagination of ours combined with ego are directly responsible for the creation of God.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fathom wrote:
Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:
Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:


If you can put a name to anything, it exists, even if it's just a concept.


Except, in the case pf "nothing". That's the only exception, because it refers to a state of non existence, and therefore does not exist.


Cogito, ergo sum.

Are the thoughts and images in our minds not real?


Wow. Great question. I'm getting interested. Actually, your thoughts and images is all that can ever be real for you, (or in fact, me too, for myself). For YOU, there can't be a world outside of your perception of that world, or more plainly put, your idea for that world. Because, ultimately, the stimulus means little until one interprets it, and so therefore, along those lines, one is creating their own reality via their reaction to the stimulus and therefore reality is created by the individual. But in my opinion, some eastern thought goes too far when it suggests that your own consciousness creates "ultimate", "objective" reality, because what they are saying is that not only do you create the reaction to the stimulus, which is what our lives come down to, IMHO, but they go further to say that you create the stimulus itself. And that's where I bail.

I do believe the tree made a sound whether anybody heard it or not, because I distance reality from my perception of it. And there's a very important reason why. Because if one wants to see reality, one has to remove themselves (self interest) from the perception, which means that one can not take past perceptions and drag them in to the current observation. Therefore, one no longer considers good and bad in terms of good for me or bad for me, but instead, leaves their own personal issues out of the equation. Is a snake good or bad? Well, I suppose it's good when it helps with a rat infestation, and bad when it bites your leg. But is it ever really either? Of course not. It's a snake. It does what it does. It can't be imperfect in it's actions because it can only do what it does. It's actually perfect. It's completely in line with what it should be doing. This is why animals can't sin. They can't be imperfect, in terms of conduct judgment.

It's kind of like the interesting concept that says that sin was created when Adam and Eve understood what it was. The understanding of the concept itself, suddenly created the sin. That's why animals can't sin, because they don't understand the concept. So maybe paradise was before they understood "self judgment" and judgment of their situation (embarrassment about nudity, for example), which seems to be described in Genesis


I understand.

Hence, ones personal perception can be "real" to that person, while being not real to another person. This would mean that the only reality to exist is that which is perceived. If there is no perception, then reality ceases to exist. For example, the dead lose the ability to perceive, and therefore have no reality.

But to take this a step further, if life did not exist, would there be any reality? Can reality exist without life? I say yes it does exist, despite there be nothing to perceive it. It's not unlike the tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear the sound; it still makes a sound, although no one perceives it.

Therefore, reality is not solely dependent on our individual perception. This would mean reality is multi-dimensional. It would not be unlike the difference between personal truth and universal truth. One is a perception of truth prone to dynamics (ie; belief in God), while the other is a constant truth which is static (ie; 1 + 1 = 2).

In the case of belief of God, the perception of truth is a personal reality. The believer has created a concept in their minds and accept it as a reality because it is a personal truth.

However, personal truths and personal realities are not as great as universal truths and realities because they are dynamic; subject to change. Anything that is susceptible to change cannot be regarded as being truthful or a reality because the supposed truthfulness and reality of the thing in question ceases to exist when a greater truth or reality becomes acknowledged.

Hence, "belief" is not the truth, nor is it a reality. Only the manifestation of concepts can then be considered a universal reality. For example, if we have a concept in our minds of a unique chair, the concept exists, but the chair does not exist until it is constructed. Then, the chair becomes a universal reality; it can be observed by everyone. But while it only exists in the mind of the beholder, the chair is only a personal reality subject to change or destruction due to the human condition.

The logical conclusion, therefore, must be that universal reality is greater than personal reality, but that by no means diminishes the fact that both are forms of reality.

Humankind has desperately tried to manifest the concept of the existence of God through the creative construction of books, temples, and other religious articles. These things are a mere "symbol" of their perception of God, but do not display God himself. I find it interesting how we can create the symbols to represent the perception of God, but cannot actually produce God himself.

Unlike anything else.

Mind you, other religions have created idols of worship, but even those are still but symbols. But again, this begs another very big question:

What if the created unique chair was but a symbol of our perception of a unique chair? If that were the case, then which is truly the greater reality; the symbol, or the concept?


I meant the exact opposite of what you said. A tree has an existence regardless of whether we perceive it and and slap a label on it. It has an existence in it's own right, regardless of whether it is being perceived or not. Although our perception of life is all that life can ever be for US, that most certainly doesn't mean that's all that life can be. It only means that it's all that it can be for US. But that tree doesn't give a damn what you perceive it as, and does not owe it's existence, nor it's truth to you or anyone else. There is a reality that is independent of our perception of it, or the way we categorize it and cut it up, and that is true reality. True reality is never sufficiently conceptualized and categorized. There is no universal concept that can sufficiently represent reality. Reality has to be experienced. There is no universal concept that could ever truly represent you as a person. It will always be missing some detail about you. To know you, one has to experience and intuit you for themselves, because concepts that describe you can never be completely sufficient as every living thing is completely unique, despite their similarities.

But, getting back to what you were proposing, I've heard this theory before. It's the "consciousness creates reality" theory. The big  problem with it is that this means that you didn't exist until I perceived you, and vice versa. So how can I exist in order to create you through my perception unless you first created me by perceiving me? And then, the same question can be asked vice versa. So this semi popular theory has a big logical flaw in it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:
Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:
Mutley wrote:
Fathom wrote:


If you can put a name to anything, it exists, even if it's just a concept.


Except, in the case pf "nothing". That's the only exception, because it refers to a state of non existence, and therefore does not exist.


Cogito, ergo sum.

Are the thoughts and images in our minds not real?


Wow. Great question. I'm getting interested. Actually, your thoughts and images is all that can ever be real for you, (or in fact, me too, for myself). For YOU, there can't be a world outside of your perception of that world, or more plainly put, your idea for that world. Because, ultimately, the stimulus means little until one interprets it, and so therefore, along those lines, one is creating their own reality via their reaction to the stimulus and therefore reality is created by the individual. But in my opinion, some eastern thought goes too far when it suggests that your own consciousness creates "ultimate", "objective" reality, because what they are saying is that not only do you create the reaction to the stimulus, which is what our lives come down to, IMHO, but they go further to say that you create the stimulus itself. And that's where I bail.

I do believe the tree made a sound whether anybody heard it or not, because I distance reality from my perception of it. And there's a very important reason why. Because if one wants to see reality, one has to remove themselves (self interest) from the perception, which means that one can not take past perceptions and drag them in to the current observation. Therefore, one no longer considers good and bad in terms of good for me or bad for me, but instead, leaves their own personal issues out of the equation. Is a snake good or bad? Well, I suppose it's good when it helps with a rat infestation, and bad when it bites your leg. But is it ever really either? Of course not. It's a snake. It does what it does. It can't be imperfect in it's actions because it can only do what it does. It's actually perfect. It's completely in line with what it should be doing. This is why animals can't sin. They can't be imperfect, in terms of conduct judgment.

It's kind of like the interesting concept that says that sin was created when Adam and Eve understood what it was. The understanding of the concept itself, suddenly created the sin. That's why animals can't sin, because they don't understand the concept. So maybe paradise was before they understood "self judgment" and judgment of their situation (embarrassment about nudity, for example), which seems to be described in Genesis


I understand.

Hence, ones personal perception can be "real" to that person, while being not real to another person. This would mean that the only reality to exist is that which is perceived. If there is no perception, then reality ceases to exist. For example, the dead lose the ability to perceive, and therefore have no reality.

But to take this a step further, if life did not exist, would there be any reality? Can reality exist without life? I say yes it does exist, despite there be nothing to perceive it. It's not unlike the tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear the sound; it still makes a sound, although no one perceives it.

Therefore, reality is not solely dependent on our individual perception. This would mean reality is multi-dimensional. It would not be unlike the difference between personal truth and universal truth. One is a perception of truth prone to dynamics (ie; belief in God), while the other is a constant truth which is static (ie; 1 + 1 = 2).

In the case of belief of God, the perception of truth is a personal reality. The believer has created a concept in their minds and accept it as a reality because it is a personal truth.

However, personal truths and personal realities are not as great as universal truths and realities because they are dynamic; subject to change. Anything that is susceptible to change cannot be regarded as being truthful or a reality because the supposed truthfulness and reality of the thing in question ceases to exist when a greater truth or reality becomes acknowledged.

Hence, "belief" is not the truth, nor is it a reality. Only the manifestation of concepts can then be considered a universal reality. For example, if we have a concept in our minds of a unique chair, the concept exists, but the chair does not exist until it is constructed. Then, the chair becomes a universal reality; it can be observed by everyone. But while it only exists in the mind of the beholder, the chair is only a personal reality subject to change or destruction due to the human condition.

The logical conclusion, therefore, must be that universal reality is greater than personal reality, but that by no means diminishes the fact that both are forms of reality.

Humankind has desperately tried to manifest the concept of the existence of God through the creative construction of books, temples, and other religious articles. These things are a mere "symbol" of their perception of God, but do not display God himself. I find it interesting how we can create the symbols to represent the perception of God, but cannot actually produce God himself.

Unlike anything else.

Mind you, other religions have created idols of worship, but even those are still but symbols. But again, this begs another very big question:

What if the created unique chair was but a symbol of our perception of a unique chair? If that were the case, then which is truly the greater reality; the symbol, or the concept?


I meant the exact opposite of what you said. A tree has an existence regardless of whether we perceive it and and slap a label on it. It has an existence in it's own right, regardless of whether it is being perceived or not. Although our perception of life is all that life can ever be for US, that most certainly doesn't mean that's all that life can be. It only means that it's all that it can be for US. But that tree doesn't give a damn what you perceive it as, and does not owe it's existence, nor it's truth to you or anyone else. There is a reality that is independent of our perception of it, or the way we categorize it and cut it up, and that is true reality. True reality is never sufficiently conceptualized and categorized. There is no universal concept that can sufficiently represent reality. Reality has to be experienced. There is no universal concept that could ever truly represent you as a person. It will always be missing some detail about you. To know you, one has to experience and intuit you for themselves, because concepts that describe you can never be completely sufficient as every living thing is completely unique, despite their similarities.

But, getting back to what you were proposing, I've heard this theory before. It's the "consciousness creates reality" theory. The big  problem with it is that this means that you didn't exist until I perceived you, and vice versa. So how can I exist in order to create you through my perception unless you first created me by perceiving me? And then, the same question can be asked vice versa. So this semi popular theory has a big logical flaw in it.


Yet the crux of my point is like a Chinese box, except it's a question within a question.

If we as a species cannot even agree on what reality actually is, then who among us has the audacity to state that God is not a reality?

I mean ... since we don't even know what's real, then ...

What is God?

Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd probably like Krishnamurti a lot. He's hard to understand, but you seem like you might. It's the kind of abstractions you're looking for. The Cloud of Unknowing is a good book. I'd recommend DeMello and his book "Awareness" even more, but people don't take to him because he's a Jesuit priest, despite being Indian like Krishnamurti. Either way. Ultimately, many mystics are all pointing to the same thing, and it's always beyond religion.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fathom wrote:

I mean ... since we don't even know what's real, then ...

What is God?

Wink


Well, here is but one explanation. God is the unexplainable, may the unknowable.  Aquinas said that the highest form of knowing God was to know God as the unknown. Instead, we create a mental image of God, and we categorize it and give it qualities that the faithful treat as a true description.  So when you mention God, they get an idea in their mind, no matter what they believe, and that idea is used to judge whether they can see God or not.

Let me delicately offer the following: It's hard to describe, so I'll try an analogy of sorts. If I told you that God was the tree outside of your house, you would probably think that wasn't true, and I would probably agree because of my prior knowledge. But understand one thing. The true reason why neither of us accept that the tree outside of our house is God, is because it doesn't match a description for God that we have in our minds. Therefore, the description, the pre conceived notion, is actually what prevents us from seeing God. And when one arrives at this realization, suddenly it is possible for God to be everything that surrounds you and is in you, not because it is necessarily that way, but because there no longer is any reason to say it's not that way. Or at least, we might say that everything that surrounds you is a physical manifestation of God. That's where these people get this idea of God surrounding them from. It's the table reversal that the mystic often does. Kind of like what's called "asking the question backwards". Kind of like instead of asking where God is, they ask why you don't see God right in front of you? And then, of course, one would answer with a list of attributes that God is supposed to be, and that would be their reason for not seeing God in front of them. The whole general point of view is that searching is not necessary, one must identify and remove the blocks to what is already there.. It's very unique and counter intuitive because we've also generally been taught the same basic thinking methods as each other, and therefore it never occurs to us to reverse the question. And our self identity is also a block of sorts, although maybe that's a good, necessary one.


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