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Definition of God
How do you define God? 'Define' means place limits on, so maybe it's blasphemous even to try to define God, if this implies that the creature is attempting to place limits on its Creator.
But this certainly hasn't stopped people from trying to define God in the past. In fact, disagreements about the definition of the Indefinable have been one of the major causes of wars, persecution and terrorism during the past two millenia.
To quote Revel and Ricard:
'Intolerance is something that arose with monotheism. As soon as human beings allowed themselves to say, 'There's only one true God, and that's mine, so I have the right to annihilate anyone who doesn't believe in him', the cycle of intolerance and religious wars began.
God the Creator
God is usually held to be the creator of the universe. Pantheists hold that God is still present within and throughout His creation. Deists believe that God is totally separate from His creation - a watchmaker who constructed the mechanism, wound it up, and then let it run down according to the laws of thermodynamics, with no further intervention.
A Personal God
God is anthropomorphic, at least to the extent of being sexually differentiated as male rather than female (why?).
God the Judge
In all religions (apart from Buddhism & perhaps a few others) God is the Judge of the Dead. Good people and/or true believers go up to heaven. Bad people and/or atheists and heretics (who disbelieve in God or believe in the wrong definition of God) go to hell, where they are subjected to sadistic tortures for all eternity. The actual criteria for sorting out who goes to which destination is a matter of debate within the the various denominations. Some favor salvation by works, others salvation by faith, and yet others salvation by a bit of both.
Salvation by Works
Salvation by works consists of collecting Brownie points. Good deeds earn positive points, bad deeds negative ones. When you die your points are counted, and if you've got more positive than negative you go to heaven, if more negative than positive it's eternity in hell. If you've got exactly the same number of each, they flip a coin.
Salvation by Faith
Salvation by faith places more emphasis on what you believe than what you actually do. So if your religion has, say, 39 Articles of Faith and you believe 20 and disbelieve 19, then up you go. But if you only believe 19 then you go down. The coin-flipping situation can be completely avoided by having an odd number of articles of faith.
BUDDHISM AND GOD
Buddhism is sometimes said to be an agnostic religion. Certainly there is no concept of God as the vindictive, judgmental, time-subservient warlord of the Old Testament.
Buddhism has ethical objections to the idea of a God who throws infidels and sinners into everlasting torment. The Buddhist ideal is that of the Enlightened Being, who has vowed to save all sentient beings from their suffering.
What also causes problems is that Buddhism is as much a philosophy as it is a religion, and does not adopt logically inconsistent doctrines. To quote Alfred North Whitehead - 'Christianity ... has always been a religion seeking a metaphysic, in contrast to Buddhism which is a metaphysic generating a religion.' The concept of an 'inherently-existent' God is fraught with difficulties:
Buddhist philosophy regards all phenomena as being 'dependently-related' , that is existing contingently upon three relationships.
(1) In relation to their causes
(2) In relation to their parts.
(3) In relation to the mind of the observer.
(see Sunyata for further information)
Originally posted by Satariel
"God made the world with enough evidence to make faith reasonable, but he left enough out so that we cant make it on reason alone."
Originally posted by TrueLies
Ok, this is pretty interesting stuff. This man, Hatcher has attempted to wed modern mathematics and ancient philosophy in a proof of God's existence, drawing on Avicenna's concept of relational logic.
It's a pretty good read, even if you aren't good at mathematics, or logic....... he explains things in an easy to read format...
The proof itself rests on four principles, the first of which is the assertion that something exists. Even if the world is an illusion, he pointed out, an illusory self, contemplating an illusory universe, is still something that exists.Further, he said, everything that exists does so because of some cause, and the "principle of sufficient reason" states that every phenomenon is either caused by something external or caused by itself, but never both. "Everything that exists has to have a reason for existing," he said.
Working from these principles, Hatcher first defined what he called "the minimum criteria for Godhood," and then set about trying to prove the existence of a phenomenon to fit those criteria. God, he said, must exist and be unique, and must be self-caused as well as being the cause of everything else. "Every existing phenomenon is the end effect of a causal chain of possibly infinite length, starting with God," he said.
He then delved into Avicenna's discussion of the part-whole relationship. "All known physical phenomena are composites, except possibly the elementary particles of quantum mechanics," he stated. Thus, if A is a component of B, then B is composite, and furthermore a composite cannot be a cause of one of its components, because it could not exist without all its components in place.
From these definitions, he said, one can infer that the universe is a composite of all phenomena. He inferred that the universe itself, then, cannot bring any of its own components into being, as it could not have existed before the existence of the components.
Then, the universe could similarly not be self-caused, since it is caused by the aggregation of its components, and so there must be some object, G, that causes the universe but is not the universe itself. G must then be universal because it is a cause, directly or indirectly, of every component in the universe. He concluded that G is the unique uncaused phenomenon, because, as the cause of everything, it can't be caused by something else.
Hatcher said that the strength of the proof is that each assumption it rests on is empirically grounded and is "far more reasonable than its negation."
Originally posted by mpeake
You definitely understand the question I was asking, but like you said, you or anyone ever in existence has not provided the answere. It is the idea of "first" that is the most puzzeling to me. I myself believe in God and I believe in his creation of everything. Perhaps it is God who put the elements, or energy into place to create the "Big Bang", or perhaps it was he that just spoke the words and the world came into existence, that too will go unanswered till I die. But the fact that the origin of "first" is an unknown entity makes it easier for someone like me to place my faith in God the creator. Again, thanks for you time and concise response!