Is there a God?

Such a lofty question for me to even attempt to answer.  I guess no blog related to Philosophy would be complete without a post like this.  In truth, though, I never planned to write on this subject, and in this instance I doubt I will even draw many conclusions.  The idea was brought to me by being posted as the question of the month on Philosophy Now, an online magazine I recently found.

Creation of Man, Sistine Chapel
Creation of Man, Sistine Chapel

So to start, I suppose in order to discuss if there is a God, we need to define exactly what a God is, and discuss the implications of each definition.

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. (John 4:8)

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. (John 4:16)

Okay, well this seems really arbitrary, especially coming from the bible.  It is a very nice concept though.  If you believe that God is Love, and you assert that love exists then, God must exist.  This is not a terrible concept as, if taken out of the context of Christianity, it can set a nice utopian set of guidelines for us to all live by.  The problem lies in the inherent imperfections that lie within our very nature.  We do not love everyone, and if we do not love everyone then we do not love God.  Are humans even capable of Love in its truest sense?  Love being another impossible to define word, I am not sure we are.  Within everyone who loves someone else is there an utter lack of selfish desire and carnal instinct at play?

Next, lets take the most commonly perceived ideals of what God is.  I am going to totally ignore the above quotes from the bible because most people do not think of God as being love.  He is an all powerful being. An overlord who demands you live within a set of rules or be doomed to eternal damnation.  This pretty much takes care of the three major religions.  Christianity (Catholicism), Judaism, Islamic (Muslim).  These all believe in, and worship, the same almighty God (Abrahamic Religions).  They just disagree on who the voice of God, his prophet, is.

So to not discriminate on the small details about each of the three major religions, they all essentially worship God as an almighty being.  I think this is what most people think of when asked “Is there a God?” and if that was indeed the question, my answer would simply be No.

So how else can we define God?  I like how Richard Dawkins put it in his book The God Delusion.  Some good quotes from the book can be found here.  Basically he outlines 4 types of God:

One is a loving God – the Gentle Jesus of the hymns on Sunday; the second a personal God who answers our prayers and intervenes in our lives; the third an all-knowing, all-powerful God capable of great miracles; and finally the God of the deists – one who detonated the “hot big bang, retired, and was never heard from again.”
(Peter Bowden)

In all of these cases I must again admit that I do not believe in this type of God.  Being a man of science I tend to not believe in an all powerful designer or creator, period.  I can definitely admit that there are many wonders in our universe that cannot be explained, yet.  I also admit that many mysterious things happen in our world that are not easy to grasp.  I am a moral person, and I might even be slightly spiritual.  I believe in the Golden Rule, and I consider myself loving.  When I say spiritual however, I am more recognizing that there are ways of life one can follow to lead a better life, which are not affiliated to a religion and do not recognize the existence of one omnipotent God.

So is there any other way we can define God?

Maybe, in fact, you could probably get a thousand different answers from a thousand different people about what God is, and if he exists.

My personal view is that there is not one.  I am not basing this belief on lack of proof, or being some sort of emo self-loathing bastard.  I simply do not feel in my heart, or my mind, that a supreme being exists.  If someone offered me more insight as to why there is a God, or isn’t, I am open-minded enough to take all things into consideration.

As of today though, things like the big-bang sounds pretty good.  What was before the big-bang?  Nothing I guess.

To ask what is before time is to ask what is three miles north of the north pole. There is no north of the north pole, and there is no before the Big Bang. A prerequisite to being a creator is existing before something.
(Stephen Hawking

4 thoughts on “Is there a God?

  1. Two things on this one. Firstly, If you’re going to go with “God is love” You have to then take into account “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
    It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (I Corinthians 13:5-6) and I don’t think any version of the Abrahamic god can live up to that. That’s probably a more Buddhist trait, if anything. God was always kind of a vengeful dude.

    That said, I’ve always been a bit of a seeker, despite being perpetually surrounded by atheists, and am now a regular churchgoer… sort of. I attend Quaker meeting; and though that is tentatively a “Christian” faith, the premise is that God is part of everyone, if you will shut up long enough to listen. (sort of) I feel like it reconciles my belief that most religions have gotten it WRONG, without denying the fact that there is more order than nothingness; or in anyway disputing or interfering with science.

  2. You go where? What!? When did this happen? Quakers?

    Anyhow, I agree with your first point entirely, the God is Love debate is highly flawed and sounds like something out of the flower power era. I would also call myself a “seeker” but I do not seek solace in religion, but science.

  3. I like the idea of the old pagan gods. They were anything but all powerful/all knowing/all wise. They were more like arrogant super villains. Constantly feuding with each other and totally indifferent to the plight of lowly mortals.

    And then there’s the whole prospect of being elevated to Godhood. Can’t do that these days, best you can get is like sainthood and usually only after you die.

    So I like to think that God is like the most eeeeevil, most powerful super villain, and that he spends his time maniacally laughing in his throne room (with say Emperor Palpatine’s theme music being played in the background) while watching us puny humons scurry about the earth like displaced ants as he reigns death and destruction on us.

  4. I’ve attended meeting for a few months, after having the intention to for quite some time.(It’s a long story. ask me to fill you in some time.)

    My problem with finding answers in science is that there’s still no deeper *purpose* in that. I believe science explains most things, if not all things, but I need meaning, too.

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