Sunday, September 02, 2007

Spero: Question 4, the bare bones

The bit below is what I have in my old not-so-very-analytical Spero document. I will expand the points into sentences, and paragraphs, but this is the plan of what I mean to say:

point 4 : God - what do we mean by God?

1. Reason
In the absence of evidence outside our own experience of God, we have a duty to hope for the Best God Possible
* Omnibenevolent - only thing that is required
* Omniscient - required for true omnibenevolence * Personal - a thing cannot be benevolent - “2D slice through 3D Superperson”
We must rigourously cut away from our idea of God anything that is unworthy of a human, since how much more would it be unworthy in God? reductio ad malum

2. Faith
Our ideas of God must not conflict with our personal experience of God. If they do, either our hypotheses or our experience are lacking. The cup and the ocean. Authority is of use in that we can see -
i) where our experience of God overlaps with others
ii) more exact/challenging ways to express the God we have experienced


Marco said...

Don't be pressured into thinking that you have to justify axioms against observable phenomena. My impression of God is that moral absolute good and a determistic Universe is most simply modelled by a God. The requirement of a God is the need for morals to be universal. If you take the Spinozan axioms to task, my feeling is that an Omniscient God/Universe can only be a close approximation to reality under that system. God cannot predict its own actions in advance:- thus some of the happenings of the Universe are outside of the scope of its knowledge - thus it is not truly omniscient. However, as the fictional Earth in H2G2 was controlled by mice deterministically, so might God/Universe (control Earth) and thus the assumption of omniscience would be close enough.

Jenny said...

"In advance"?
This presumes that Time is external to God, or, God is inside Time. If time is a dimension created by God for his universe - like length and depth, then he should not have a requirement exist in a time-linear fashion.

Unless you are defining a God of the Universe as limited by the structure of the universe (eg inside it)? I don't.

Marco said...

Indeed. I define a different God to the esteemed Dr Clam. Thus our belief systems part ways right about here.

Dave said...

Clam, can you clarify what you mean by your use of "Authority" in that last para? I think I'm missing something (which would be history's least surprising revelation, perhaps, but I am attempting to grok here, and the sounds of the mental gears creaking is distracting me)

Dr. Clam said...

Gosh, hello everyone! I see the trick is to make very fragmentary unedited posts if I want to hear from you all :D

Yes, I am talking about the God who created time and is outside it. If you are talking about a God who is inside time, Marco, then our belief systems parted company a little while ago... ;) I'm not sure what you mean by 'take the Spinozan axioms to task': I think I am basically accepting them, as I understand them. I may also be slightly confused by capitalisation- are you using universe/Universe in the way I have defined them, Jenny/Marco?

By 'Authority' I mean the method of gaining knowledge about the Universe which consists of trusting what other people tell us about it. In this context, 'Authority' consists of the entire collection of stuff that Dawkins disapproves of- everything that anyone has ever taught someone else about a self-existent, omnibenevolent being.

Marco said...

With the Spinozan axioms, there is little discrimination between God, Nature & the Universe as concepts. This is not the same as saying they are one and the same, as I interpret, but that question seems to remain open. You argue fairly convincingly that a God that was not separate and bigger than the universe, would not be worthy of our worship, but I am not convinced.

Anonymous said...

re u/U : Probably not. I think all I was thinking about was using capitals instead of emphasis..and I'm too tired to try to remember how you defined universe. I could look it up, but I'm two weeks behind in marking..and about to get worse.


Dave said...

Clam: okay I get where you're coming from, I think. In fact I see nothing in your statements with which I would necessarily disagree. If I had any faith whatsoever - and increasingly it becomes clear to me that I have no relationship with any kind of God beyond having a sense of place in the universe - I think that I would probably have a similar view. Although there might be some overlap with Marco's sense of God as being part of the universe rather than external to it. The nature of God as goodness seems a robust and serviceable definition for my money.

I appreciate your definition of Authority too, and I agree with your uses for it. As you probably know, my concerns with the whole schmeer stem from the assumption and grant of a broader variety of Authority. Personal relationships with God are one (good, empowering) thing and religions of the masses are another.