Talk:God/Archive 4

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In what society is the word "god" applied to influential teachers?

Q. In what society is the word "god" applied to influential teachers? I have heard it applied to parents but never just teachers. - Tεxτurε 16:42, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I suppose that parents teach, right? I tried to find the source of your phrase "influential teacher" but couldn't find it in the article. At any rate, God as influencing the universe (from the quantum realm up, and since the beginning (big bang) of this "cosmic epoch") makes more sense than an omnipotent God that controls and is thus responsible for everything. God's omniscient viewpoint, if creatures can come into contact with it (traditionally called God?s will) is better conceived as a guiding/teaching force?creatures may reject it or follow it and thus exercise free and real action in the world. A traditional God is really the only force in the universe, and thus creatures are simply meaningless appendages. See, e.g., Charles Hartshorne's Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes. Aliman 23:57, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

A. In the same society in which we describe completely secular works as being "bibles" in their field. If I recall hearing a fellow undergraduate describe a mathematician as a topological god, if I ever notice the name come up on a catalogue search, I might be more likely to look for that book earlier than my other references - after all, I have some reason to believe I'll be impressed.

(I didn't find the original context in which 'god' was applied to influential teachers, so this might not be the fact that is most pertinent to your question. Then feel free to change back the format of this reply.)

"it is not logically possible for something to come from nothing"

' For example, it has been argued that, without postulating the existence of one, eternal God, the origin of the universe appears inexplicable, since it is not logically possible for "something" to come from "nothing". Non-believers argue that this argument is internally inconsistent as it fails to explain the origin of 'God'. '

Someone seems to feel this is less clearly objectionable than I. One glaring error is the assumption that "it is not logically posible for something to come from nothing". It is also generally unhelpful and unnecessary, and if needed at all can find its way to arguments for or against the existance of God. Sam [Spade] 02:33, 19 May 2004 (UTC)
The statement that "it is not logically possible for something to come from nothing" is a paraphrasing of part of the cosmological argument, one of the best-known arguments for the existence of God. Combined with the sentence that follows it, which points out that it does not explain the origin of God, it helps to nicely introduce the topic of the section. Further, there is no error in the particular statement you question. It is fully consistent with basic math (2 + 2 = 4) and science (the conservation of mass and energy). While you may find it "objectionable", "unhelpful" and "unnecessary", these do not provide a sufficient reason for removing material. Others might say the same regarding the remaining sentences in the section, or, for that matter, the entire article or encyclopedia.--Johnstone 01:46, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

I would have to agree that the section is flawed. Let’s consider the key statement: It is not logically possible for something to come from nothing. What sort of statement is it? The statement is not obviously a tautology; so it is not true, as Johnstone appears to claim, in the same sense as 2+2=4. If Johnstone wishes to claim that it is a tautology, then perhaps he should present a parsing of the statement into, say, first-order predicate calculus so that we all can see its truth.

If it is an observation, we run into another difficulty. For it is not by any means obvious what the 'nothing' is. If we take the nothing to be a simple vacuum, which is implied by the link to the article vacuum, then the statement is simply wrong, since we know that virtual particles do indeed spring into existence in a vacuum, forming the vacuum energy of quantum physics. And if the 'nothing' is the absence of space-time itself, then how could one make the observation? Certainly, it would be interesting to know of any observations Johnston has made outside of space and time.

Perhaps it is a definition of 'something' – something like, something is the stuff that does not come from nothing. But then the argument would be circular, and Johnston begs the question.

Perhaps it is a physical law, like the conservation laws. Such laws are aphorisms that parse scientific statements into English – so, for example, energy is neither created nor destroyed is the English version of . But since such laws inevitably involve time as a variable, they do not apply in cases where time does not exist – as may be the case before the origin of the universe.

Perhaps the statement is the expression of a personal preference – I would prefer that something cannot come from nothing. But if that is all it is, it has no place in this article.

As it stands, that section does not do justice to the cosmological argument, simply because it is too brief. Far better to leave the example out, and link to the article about the argument itself. Banno 21:43, May 20, 2004 (UTC)

Why thank you banno, I couldn't have said it better myself. I was stuck trying to choose among a few of the various examples you choose to provide, and in the interim you have done me the service of articulating my thoughts for me, for which I am sincerely greatful. Cheers, Sam [Spade] 23:41, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

My pleasure. Banno

No paraphrasing ever fully captures what is being paraphrased, so Banno's making a detailed attack on my explanation of a portion of one half of a paraphrasing of an argument, as if it were the argument itself, is misdirected . The two sentences simply convey the general essence of the argument, not the argument itself. It's fairly typical of article sections that point to other articles to give a flavor of what is in those other articles, to give the reader a hint of what they will find there.
However, to address some of Banno's statements for the sake of further explanation:
1. I didn't claim that the statement is true in the "same sense" as 2 + 2 = 4. I simply said that the statement is "fully consistent with basic math". If one has 5 items, one could maintain that they were given 2 sets of 2 things, that 2 + 2 = 5. But this is illogical since, somehow, a fifth item appeared without explanation; it is equivalent to saying that something came from nothing.
This put me in mind of Natural_number#Formal_definitions, in which the natural numbers are created, literally ex nihilo, from the empty set.Banno 21:28, May 21, 2004 (UTC)
Why can?t one just say they were given 2 things plus 2 things, plus the one created ex nihilo, makes 5? Banno 21:44, May 25, 2004 (UTC)~
2. I simply said that the statement in question is "fully inconsistent with" the conservation of mass and energy. Even if the word "vacuum" is used, Banno's statements regarding it are misleading. While particles can spring into existence in a vacuum, they don't spring from nothingness; conservation of mass and energy is not violated.
It was you, not I, who equated nothing with vacuum. Banno 21:44, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
3. Note: The phrase "something is the stuff that does not come from nothing" is not circular. "Something is the stuff that is not nothing" is circular. Consider: "milk is stuff that does not come from chickens" vs. "milk is stuff that is not a chicken".
If you define something as the stuff that does not come from nothing then to say that it is not logically possible for something to come from nothing is redundant. Your argument would beg the question. Banno 21:44, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
4. Yes, I have made observations outside space and time. I found the source of Banno's contempt. ;-)
Familiarity, perhaps? Banno 21:44, May 25, 2004 (UTC)
5. I agree that material that is only an expression of personal preference has no place in the article. My argument in favor of the sentences has nothing to do with personal preference, nor could it. The two sentences taken together basically are neutral and inconclusive.--Johnstone 01:54, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

God must be found through personal revelation, and cannot be understood by those who have not experienced this - who maintains this? Certainly it is a protestant idea. Does it derive from Luther? Banno 22:00, May 21, 2004 (UTC)

In other words, those who believe in god, believe in god, and those who do not believe in god, do not believe in god - a tautology - with the additional and arbitrary judgement that those who do not believe in god are somehow lacking knowledge in comparison to those who do believe in god, and their opinion is thus inferior. Such a statement is clearly not objective, and is intended to persuade. As it is not objective and therefore not factual, it does not belong outside of quotes. Kevin Baas 19:32, 2004 Jun 15 (UTC)
To resolve the "something from nothing argument": the word "from" is logically problematic. It is logically possible for there to be nothing, and then be something. However, if there is a "from", there must be a mechanism of transition, which is something. For instance, if an object transforms from a dog to a cat, there is a set of identifiables which change their identity, as well as a mechanism by which they change their identity; by which they go "from" and "to", such that have this mechanism in common, making it possible to logically say that they are not merely two distinct and disparate objects/events, but rather they both occupy the same perceptual space, the content of which changes: going "from" and "to". Insofar as there is this perceptual space which enables identity, there must be, in any case 'something'. Even if the identity of 'nothing' goes to the identity of 'something', that 'going to' nonetheless 'comes from' this mechanism, which is something. i.e. the possibility of the identity 'something' is logically contingent on that mechanism, i.e. comes from that mechanism. So something cannot "come from" nothing (proper), though something and nothing can be juxtaposed temporally. Kevin Baas 19:32, 2004 Jun 15 (UTC)

Disambig

I think that Disambigs should go at the top of articles, so that it is immediately apparent without having to scrole through the article - is there some reason to put it at the bottom? Mark Richards 02:41, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

I think it looks terrible. The policy on this is pretty vague, BTW. I've seen it done both ways. Sam [Spade] 03:04, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm not going to revert it, but it seems reasonable to put alternative meanings where people don't have to rummage around for them - people may not assume that there are any. What about at least putting a tag at the top saying that there are alternative meanings, and to see the bottom of the article? Mark Richards 16:07, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Despite my earlier thoughts and personal view,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disambiguation#Types_of_disambiguation
Has been pointed out to me, which suggests it should be at the top as, indeed, you say Mark. -- EuroTom 17:16, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Moved it back re this discussion - please let me know if it still offends. Mark Richards 17:30, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

The God song thing is just silly, its not even an article, and in no way deserves disambiguation, much less at the top of this page. Sam [Spade] 02:38, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree - especially since other artists like Tori Amos also have songs called "God." This should either be a proper disambig, with references to all the songs, as well as the company "Guaranteed Overnight Delivery" or it should go - current form is not helpful. Snowspinner 02:42, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm not saying that it needs a disambig, lets delete it if it does not, but lets not have two classes of disambig. Either it needs one, at the top, where disambigs should go, or it doesn't, and it shouldn't be on the page at all. How about another page for God (songs) with a note at the top? Mark Richards 16:18, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

There is no need, unless you plan on writing a bunch of pages about these songs, which would be kinda weird. Sam [Spade] 19:05, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I'm not really saying that we need it, and am certainly not going to write the article. At most the disambig could point to the artist and album. What I am saying is that if we have a disambig, it should go a the top. If we don't need one, lets get rid of it, not put it at the bottom where no-one will ever see it, I am happy with either solution. Mark Richards 19:14, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

It just occurs to me that maybe these should be in the 'see also' along with 'God particle', which also has nothing to do with God in this sense. Can't be bothered to sort it out though, especially as I don't think any of these songs have actual articles. Mark Richards 19:32, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Hinduism

An anonymous user just added that Hinduism also spells god with a capital "G" in the second sentence, apparently citing Brahman as his source. I'm not sure if it should be taken out or not.

he is correct. Sam [Spade] 03:04, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I agree. [1] for those interested... -- EuroTom 03:14, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

moved from article

' Critics of this argument might contend it confuses the objective question of existence with arguments about the potential ethical impact of such belief. '

There is nothing wrong with this sentence, but I would want to give a response to it that may take as much as a paragraph, and I'd rather do that on the arguments for/against page. It ignores pragmatism, and variations of "appeal to consequence". There are many who say that which is moral is correct, and some of them see belief in God as moral. Obviously there is the theoretical consequence of eternal damnation, a clear appeal to the stick (seen as acceptable logic by pragmatists and others, but not by all). Sam [Spade] 03:16, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

' , or that one ought to live as if God exists '

I've no problem with discussing this issue, but at the moment this sentence is essentially confusing the two important areas of distinction. As it is quite a common error, (and common to many arguments) it's particularly important not to be propagate it.

I would enjoy being enlightened on the issue, though I would suggest we leave both bits out if it is hard to find a definite agreement. Hopefully we'll be able to write something that convey both the pragmatic arguments and the concern over confusion of the issues. -- EuroTom 03:24, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The purpose I had in mind for this phrase was to point to the pragmatic considerations; they are not covered well at Argument from morality. Perhaps it would be better to leave it for an improved version of that article. Banno 12:04, Jun 6, 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps include in the Practical Benefits of Religion section? -- EuroTom 16:56, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I agree, and would point out that these sorts of discussions generally consist of a misuse of terms, false dicotomies, and a whole host of other difficulties and confusions. If the discussion of it were easy, we'd have a whole lot less atheists/believers, depending on which possesed/posseses the most valid argument. ;) Sam [Spade] 03:29, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I think you overestimate people's trust of rational argument over other human drivers. I do wish I could be as optimistic, but I think rational debate is unfortunately the last thing that motivates some people's positions on both sides. I agree, though, difference in interpretation of meanings can be more problematic than the underlying issues sometimes! -- EuroTom 03:56, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
There are many who say that which is moral is correct, and some of them see belief in God as moral.
Morality is a complex issue obviously, but they needs to be good justification for equating 'truth' and 'being moral' and I think many would strongly disagree. Independent of the potentially wonderful benefits of religious belief to society and the individual, it seems unlikely to me that their ethical views and behaviour directly affect the possibility of their very physical existence.
Obviously there is the theoretical consequence of eternal damnation, a clear appeal to the stick (seen as acceptable logic by pragmatists and others, but not by all).
Again, this argument may be a good one in terms of 'what should I convince myself and others to believe?' but doesn't demonstrate anything about the 'objective' existence of God or gods. This is one worry I had about shorterning the title of the section - it leaves a bit of abiguity over what is under debate: 'is it ethical to hold a belief in God' or 'does God exist, excluding impacts of such beliefs'.
The Argument from morality page shows the risks:
  1. To have stable standards of morality, we must believe that God exists.
  2. We obviously have or need stable standards of morality, therefore, God exists.
The latter is the suspect stage, as it talks about a pragmatic, human need for generally stable systems of morality (eg: for a nice society), as if it were a fundamental logical necessity (eg: human beings cannot exist without a absolutely stable morality), which, given the successful continuation of other forms of life on this planet, seems improbable. -- EuroTom 03:47, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

' Morality is a complex issue obviously, but they needs to be good justification for equating 'truth' and 'being moral' and I think many would strongly disagree. '

Many do disagree. I suspect the two of us do ;) Pragmatism states something similar to "that which is efficient is correct" Utilitarian says something like "that which does the most good (for the most people) is correct". Machiavelli says something like "that which is expediant is necessary". I happen to agree w all of these, and see them all as supporting the existence of God. I also happen to generally see everything as evidence of God, esp. my own existence (I am a pantheist, so proof is easy for me) but thats another subject. Anyways there is prob not room for discussion of this in the article, and I think its best discussed at length elsewhere. Sam [Spade] 05:46, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I agree, Naturalistic_Pantheism for example, leads directly to meaning and purpose directly from the existence universe around and within us. Machiavelli interestingly managed to combine religious ethics with his proto-Utilitarian views. (But then he was quite cunning...) -- EuroTom 16:56, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Quotes barrage

An anon added a lot of quotes, mainly aimed at the Christian understanding of God and Christianity as a religion. All were pejorative without fail, and IMO they contribute nothing to the article. Revert. JFW | T@lk 09:12, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)


Removal of atheist perspectives and lack of objectivity

Hi,

I am new to editing on wikipedia (infact I'm not currently registered, although I'll change that soon), and recently added a few changes to the 'god' article here. With such an obviously contentious issue it is probably best to be very open and honest from the outset. I am an atheist, and having looked at the page, I was a little dissapointed with the lack of any real references to atheism or alternatives to belief in some form of deity. As you are aware, I added a small amount about atheism (I thought not written in an aggressive style and fully within line with the rest of the article), and added a few qualifications to other areas and changed small amounts of grammar. I think what I did promoted the objectivity of the article rather than forced my particular viewpoint, or 'vandalised' the article in any way. I was therefore very dissapointed to see that the user with the name 'texture' decided to withdraw all the changes I made on the article. I am being completely honest and open about my atheism, and I would appeal to yourself and anybody else within the wikipedia community to have a look at the changes I made. I honestly do not think they appeared in any way dogmatic, and were simply an attempt to redress the balance a little and to present another alternative viewpoint.

If you would like to contact me in person please do so at: aaarrrggh_uk_1999@yahoo.com I will be happy to talk to you about this. Also, I will make an appeal myself in the community portal when I have more time. I hope this is ok. I honestly think the changes I made were in the better interests of objectivity and were for the benefit of the article.

Ps - I would also like to point out that I also noticed a number of anti-christian quotes go up not long after texture removed my additions to the article. I would just like to make it clear for the record that I was not involved in this.

Paul :)

(I just answered this same query on my talk page - here is the response I gave.) Welcome, Paul. What I saw last night appeared to be vandalism and advertisement for a website. The first few words were replaced with "follooun", which set my thoughts to vandalism. The changes made seems so anti-god and anti-religion that it appeared to be a vandalism of the article or an attempt to be so out there as to get people to visit your web site. Other anon edits before and after the one's I reversed also seemed to be anti-god vandalism. I may be wrong on what you are attempting to do with the article. If I am, I apologize. However, before you create a large addition of atheist/anti-god/anti-religious text in the article on god, may I suggest you discuss it on the Talk:God discussion page? In addition, you may want to add your information to the Arguments against the existence of God article instead. - Tεxτurε 15:00, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Paul - 28/6/04 Thanks for replying texture. I don't know what the "folloun" quote is a reference to, but it was certainly not something I added (certainly not intentionally anyway?!). I can understand the changes seemed anti-religious, but I do think I was adding them to create an alternative voice (not I hope didactic or forceful) to the page which I thought considerably improved the articles objectivity. I can give you one specific example: The subtitle 'The Nature of God' to me needs to be qualified in that it seems to presume implicitly that the existence of god is an objective fact, and therefore rules out alternative viewpoints, or at least places these viewpoints lower down in terms of the heirarchy of relevance or truth. I changed the title to 'The Nature of God for those who believe' and added a paragraph at the start of this section that pointed out that arguments on the 'nature of god' do of course require first that the individual believes in the existence of god(s). I think the way I wrote this however was not argumentative or forceful, but served only to qualify the section and to acknowledge alterantive perspectives and viewpoints.

All the other changes I added were along these kind of lines (for example, I changed the subtitle 'the existence of God' to 'debates regarding the existence of God').

I know this is an issue that creates huge divisions of opinion (and which is never likely to be settled easily), but I think the addition of these kinds of qualifications, and the section I added (which was still very small - consisting of (I think) only two or three small paragraphs) regarding atheism and agnosticism help promote the objectivity of the article and present a wider collection of viewpoints. I think it is very important to not privilige one particular viewpoint as more important or as closer to the 'truth' than any other within the context of a wikipedia type article.

Hope some of this helps. I would be happy to debate this issue in here first and maybe agree some changes to the language/content of the article in advance before doing it for real. Also I'll sign up with this thing soon so I actually have a username, lol ;)

- Paul

As regards a change I made: The New Testament cannot contain ideas which are a radical departure from idea found in the Quran. The NT came first; the Quran was written a number of centuries later. RK


Minor stuff

"The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints is an exception; it teaches that God the Father also has a perfect body of flesh and bones, while agreeing that the Holy Spirit is bodiless.)"

Saying "incarnation aside" is impossible. It is the single largest issue in regards to the gender of God. That is like saying "Laws of thermodynamics aside, a random mixture of salt and pepper will separate into two separate groups by random shaking." RK

NPOV violations rife in this article

In my opinion, this article should be revisited seriously and soon; it is POV in a number of aspects not least in the cultural ethnocentricity it displays. I do not want to break out an edit war here, however, the modern day Judaeo-Christian stuff which largely presages this arrant nonsense does not even begin to create a context in which this subject can seriously be broached. Sjc 06:47, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

As an example of this we have 48 mentions and supersets of the word Christ and 3 of the word Allah. Christ isn't even a God lol. Sjc 07:01, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Tell that to a Christian. Not that I disagree with your point. Yath 08:18, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
hehe nice work on starting to get this seething mess cleared up btw :) I don't particularly have it in for Christians, btw, they just seem so ubiquitously attention seeking Sjc 08:22, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Speaking of POV-related violations, I have just removed the following from the very end of the article (below the links section):

"There is no proof of a god or of gods. The theory of conservation states that matter and energy can not be distroyed and so this means that if god is the creator, that he may not exist unless he was a figure that did not create and is only refered to as god as we can see it. It does not mean to say that there is not a being that is watching over us. It is often the case that people happen to follow one particullar religion or belief in heards (they believe in it because everyone else does). However this does not mean the belief that they hold is correct. This is because of the fact that there is other religions that are also followed in heards and they have just as much chance of being correct, then again they may all be wrong."

I'm not removing based on dis/agreement with the sentiment, but because it is fairly POV and already covered in the section on the existence of God and the various pages concerning arguments pro and con. Whooper 22:53, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Suggestion: divide the article into "God (capitalized)" and "god (lowercase)"

It seems that the ambiguity of the article's title continually causes friction between "pro-God" and "anti-God" wikipedians. (Although the title appears capitalized, all article titles appear capitalized.) I suggest that the article be divided into two separate articles: God (capitalized) and god (lowercase), with a God (disambiguation) page to steer readers to the right usage. Most of the present article would go into "God (capitalized)."

For example, Yath recently overhauIed the introduction in a way that would be more appropriate for an article "god (lowercase)," wheras the majority of links to the present article refer to "God (capitalized)".--Johnstone 15:09, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Actually, implementing my above suggestion would entail a massive amount of minor edits of all the articles that point to this one, in order to avoid double redirects. Instead, I have added the following line to the beginning of the article:
This article is about "God" (with a capitalized "G"). For the generic usage, see gods.--Johnstone 16:59, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
There are gods, and then there are Gods. Granted these three letters may refer to a specific entity or not. But mentioning both of these usages in the same article does not make one anti- either of them. An article named "gods" is just silly. Also, since polytheism predates monotheism, it makes sense to start out with what a god is rather than who God is. I realize that the majority of modern readers are more likely to believe in a single god, but writing the article in reverse order is just awkward, confusing, and bad form. Yath 18:39, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The usage is quite simple: God is capitalised because it's a proper noun, and god is not, because it's not. Notice that one person's God may be another person's god, and vice versa. -- Anon.
Umm, yeah. Your point? Yath 22:47, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The fact that I put "pro-God" and "anti-God" in quotes was meant to communicate that it was not to be taken literally. It was meant as a short-hand way of saying "for the article to be about God with a capital 'G'" vs. "for the article to be about god with lowercase 'g'". The concept of God as the one supreme being, variously described as creator of everything, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, etc., is quite beyond the descriptions of most polytheistic deities, and the two topics deserve separate articles. For an article about the gods, your intro is fine. But for an article about God, it would be unusual and confusing. For example, look at the article "Moon". Why shouldn't there be an article about the Moon, as well as an article for the generic "moon"? Also, for the article about the Moon to start by launching into a basic description of what a moon is would be wrong.
However, I agree that there shouldn't be an article "gods," but for a different reason: the standard practice of having articles named in the singular. Therefore, I'm moving the article "gods" to "deity."--Johnstone 19:36, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)
This strikes me as a POV hijacking of a definition. If you wish to have a separate "Christian God" or a "Monotheistic God", that'd be one thing, but unilaterally deciding that the page should only address one particular aspect of the definition smacks of agenda-pushing.
Since I'm sure that your intent was not to push a personal agenda, but to improve the objectively neutral Wikipedia, rather than revert, I invite you (Johnstone) to correct this yourself; please do so as soon as you reasonably can. -- orthogonal 09:59, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It is not "POV hijacking" any more than having an article titled "Moon" be about one particular planet's natural satellite, or an article titled "evolution" be about only biological evolution, are "POV hijacking." All are simply instances of article titles corresponding to the most frequent usage of a term, as suggested in Wikipedia:naming conventions, which states,
"Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature."
Besides, there is (now) a separate article, deity, for the common noun.--Johnstone 23:02, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I would just like to throw in a "me too" on the God/deity articles. I know that in the USA, when someone says "God", 98% of the time it's capitalized and it's Jesus/his dad/holy spirit. Yahweh. If the rest of the English-speaking world is very different, it might not be right to have the articles named like this, but I don't know about that. This setup is just as sensible as Moon/natural_satellite. --Yath 02:42, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for following my "argument."--Johnstone 01:33, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

God vs. deity

I also like the "God vs. deity" split. It's much better than using the case of the "G" as the distinction. Now we need to refactor the articles. For example, some polytheist religions like Hinduism also believe in a supreme God of which (as I understand it) all their other deities are aspects. From the article: "Within Sanatana Dharma, or Hinduism (as it is commonly called) a variety of lesser gods are seen as aspects of the one God, Brahman (not Brahma). Brahman is the ultimate, both transcendent and immanent the absolute infinite existence, the sum total of all that ever is, was, or ever shall be." -- The Anome 14:22, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, also. The God of Hinduism that you mention can be accommodated in the present article with one tweak: changing the description of the article to be "about God, the supreme being" (which is the capitalized usage—I'm not the one who changed the definition of the article to be about "the God of the major monotheistic religions" —although I've since realized that distinguishing an article by capitalization would be poor practice.) As evidenced by the links in Wikipedia, when an English-speaker uses the three-letter word "GOD," they are almost always referring to a supreme being, regardless of what religion's (if any), just as when an English-speaker says "evolution," they are typically referring to biological evolution, regardless of which sub-theory (if any). They are only rarely referring to the generic senses of either word. In my opinion, the "supreme being" definition most fully meets the requirements of Wikipedia:naming conventions, quoted above, though I am very interested in what others have to say. P.S. The article deity also needs a lot of work.--Johnstone 01:33, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"inclusivistic religions"...really?

I fully agree with the article that Islam and Christianity are "exclusivist" religions. However, is Hinduism really an "inclusivist" religion? What is meant by "inclusivist"? When there is a contradiction between the major, central, core teachings of each religion, do they then become exclusive to each other? Obviously Hindus believe that their faith is the best way--otherwise they would have a different faith. (right?) According to Hindus, do the deep, important teachings of their religion cease to be true merely because someone chooses not to be a Hindu? Any insight is appreciated. --Locarno 19:41, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

While I'm no expert on Hinduism, I think that Hindus believe that there's is the best path, but not the only path, whereas Christianity and Islam would say that there's is the only path. A Hindu would probably believe that a non-Hindu who lived a good life might still stand a good chance of being reincarnated in a better condition, whether or not they actually believed in reincarnation. If they didn't, they would be reincarnated in a worse station in life, perhaps even as some sort of animal. Also in Hinduism, I believe that in the end, everything gets swallowed up in Brahman, including things like light and darkness, good and evil, and so on. No doubt I'ver oversimplified some points and got others plain wrong; I hope that someone will better clarify these points. I also suspect that Reform Judaism may qualify as inclusivistic since they believe that the Jews have a particular covenant with God, but other people may have other covenants with God that are different. Not sure whether Orthodox Jews would go along with that. Wesley 17:06, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I see, makes sense. The more I think about it, the more it seems that the analysis of exclusivistic and inclusivistic religions does not belong in this article, as the text here really focuses on religions rather than the understanding of the person, nature, or essence of God. Additionally, this article has a header saying that it is about "major monothestic religions"; Hinduism and Buddhism are major, but not monotheistic; with transcendentalism, it is hard to pin down whether it is major, monothesitic, or even a religion. I say we remove the discussion of inclusive/exclusive religions as non-germane and perhaps biased POV; it can be replaced as desired with discussions of how each major monotheistic religion understands God. Analysis of exclusivistic/inclusivistic religions belongs on the page of each religion or perhaps in their own articles, Exclusivistic religions and Inclusivistic religions. Comments, all? --Locarno 19:42, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Hearing no objections, I will make the change. --Locarno 13:10, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)
See Talk:God#Re:Talk:God.23.22inclusivistic_religions.22...really.3F Sam [Spade]

The trinity and Unitarians

"Many Trinitarian Christians hold that belief in the Trinity is so essential to Christianity that Unitarian Christians are pseudo-Christians, in need of being baptized with the Trinitarian formula before they can be considered genuine Christians."

Two things:

  • This seems to be more a question of "who counts as a Christian", which belongs on the Christianity page; or a question of baptismal regeneration, which belongs in the Baptism article. It is not immediately germane to someone's understanding of the person, essence, or nature of God.
  • I don't think this is true at all. Most Christians who know what Unitarians believe would not consider them Christians of any sort; most Protestants assert that baptism isn't necessary for salvation, and niether does baptism make one a Christian.

Comments? --Locarno 19:43, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It is sort of a question of "who counts as a Christian", but a brief mention of it here serves to highlight the significance many people attach to this aspect of understanding God. It seems relevant to mention not only the persons, essence and nature of God, but also briefly mention who thinks these things are important and why. Any lengthier discussion should be kept on the pages you suggested.
Secondly, I know the statement is true for the Orthodox, and strongly suspect it is also true for the Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and other like minded Protestants. Even those Protestants who don't believe baptism is "necessary" for salvation mostly still practice it, and of these, I think many would be inclined to baptize someone who was transferring from one of the nontrinitarian denominations. Perhaps Unitarian should be replaced by nontrinitarian though. Wesley 17:07, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, I see what you are saying. I was thinking more that baptism alone is insufficient to make a Unitarian into a Christian. I'm going to make some changes; let me know what you think.

God and energy are different

I deleted the word "energy" at the beginning of the article, just above the "contents." There is an underlying energy that pervades the universe that makes the existence of the universe possible. Quantum field theory (Actually, Quantum electrodynamics), says that everything interacts with everything (the word “everything” is being used loosely here because “everything” even applies to vacuuous space where no matter is present). This interaction takes place on the quantum level via a continuuous exchange of energy in the form of photons. It is thus erroneous to claim that God is an underlying energy that pervades the universe, whose existence makes the universe possible. This is not God, it is simply energy. (The word “consciousness” should remain, of course, because although everything in the universe is based on the electromagnetic (photonic) exchange of energy, the highly complex things contained within that energy field such as consciousness, atoms, and desks, are different from that energy). In addition, the phrase “that which is beyond all understanding or definition” should equally be deleted, because this phrase is unintelligible. However, we’ll leave it intact for now. Aliman 11:16, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"It is thus erroneous to claim that God is an underlying energy that pervades the universe, whose existence makes the universe possible" - This is a false conclusion, in no way supported by its premises.
God is the universe, the "exchange of energy", the "Quantum field", God is everything that ever is, was, and ever shall be (even that only imagined), the sum total of all existence, the alpha and omega, absolute infinite. "God is energy" is one way of attempting to explain this. God is not anthropomorphic, rather we are "theopomorphic", Godlike (God becoming, really) in our essence, our spirit, our energy, our soul. Look into Ātman.
Sam [Spade] 03:45, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
In addition, the phrase “that which is beyond all understanding or definition” should equally be deleted, because this phrase is unintelligible. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't mean it should be deleted. This is in fact a very important point in at least some theologies and theological approaches; see apophatic theology for example. Also, Sam makes a good point saying that "God is the universe" etc. Christianity (and I think Judaism?) draws a sharp distinction between God the Creator and Creation, that is everything that is created. With this distinction in place, it follows that anything physics instruments can detect and measure must be part of the Creation, and cannot be the Creator. But many religions do not have this sharp distinction, so to say something is material or explainable by physics would not to them necessarily prove that it was not God. The two are not mutually exclusive as they are in Christianity and like religions. And even within Christianity, the lines can be blurred, for instance when Gregory Palamas says that God can not be known in his essence, but can be known in his energies. (Palamas of course knew nothing of the Quantum field etc.) Wesley 16:38, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Good points. Pantheism and panentheism are both useful reading in these regards. Sam [Spade] 19:28, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)