Consider that many of these Gods are related in history of civilization. As civilization developed in the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia we see the birth of organized religions. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Iran and India seem to originate much of the worlds religions and Gods. These religions may have a common source such as the Mesopotamians Apkallu and the Sons of God of the Bible. These religions have some related concepts such as the afterlife in some form. You can geographically track the expansion of these influences of their concepts. Greece and Rome were influenced by the Mesopotamians , Egypt and Zoroaster. Indian Hinduism and eventually Buddhism are influenced by the Aryan Vedic beliefs. The Druids of Europe are likely influenced by Central Asia migrants with their Aryan derived Gods and beliefs.
Jesus Christ was sent to bring people back to their God. So my question then is not why Yahweh is God? The question is Yahweh your God?
Matthew 22:14. For many are invited, but few are chosen.
You make some good points. The Hebrew God is different because although we all reject God in some way, God is in search of man more than man is in search of God. For instance, God first approaches Abraham to reveal himself and initiate a covenant witn him and his descendants. Furthermore, there is a sense that God actively pursues people, even those who want nothing to do with him. e.g. Adam hides from God but God calls out to him; Jonah flees from God but God sics a fish on him, and so on. In the end, God always gets his man.
St. Augustine mentioned that our hearts are restless for God until we find rest in Him. See also the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson.
Well, it has been two days since the author of the post last shown here, so I don’t know if he will actually come back to discuss my points, but here is a quick summary:
I believe that the existence of God is more likely than not for philosophical arguments, mainly the cosmological ones that @pevaquark already discussed (although I reject Kalam’s since it is dependent on the A theory of time, and I favor the B theory), but that only puts me in a deistic position.
The deistic position however, is often associated with a distant God that does not care about his creation, a cosmic clockwork tinkerer. I reject that hypothesis because I think a God which only wanted to see “atoms combining in interesting ways” could just have made a universe without consciousness, with all living beings being philosophical zombies (see the hard problem of consciousness by David Chalmers for that). But we do have the possibility of consciousness as one of the contingent properties of our universe, followed by the possibilities of morality, love, wonder, and all sorts of things (even if they happen to be completely molded an atributable to evolution, they are still possible within our universe, and they needed not to be). That makes me think that this “deistic God”, if he exists, is personal, like the God of christianity (and some other religions as well).
If that God exists and cares about us, he would have made us in some way in which we would be able to notice and go after him (which could have been a tendency molded by evolution, of course). Justin Barret has already been mentioned by some people in that thread, you can look at his talks for some more in depth discussion about that. That is basically what makes me think that the human aprehension of God and special revelations are reliable to some degree, and not purely imaginary. Maybe it is that same tendency, followed by a incomplete understanding of God that has made people to have that tendency to see agency in nature and come up with gods like the greek gods, although I do think that they are very different in nature to the christian God, since they are contingent beings like @EvanFlick discussed. Of course, maybe we still have the incomplete picture and christianity is not the “final form” of that pursuit of the understanding of God’s nature, but I think is the best we have so far.
The teachings of Jesus seem to contain very deep moral/spiritual truths which never ceases to amaze me (just compare that to the teachings of modern self-help gurus and see the abismal difference). I’m a moral realist (which is also a faith-based belief), so I believe in moral truths, and the fact that Jesus seems to have gotten so much of them right makes me believe that there is something more about christianity. The evidences for his resurrection (check N.T. Wright for that, although obviously none of them are conclusive), alongside everything else I discussed also puzzle me. I’m agnostic about that point of the divine nature of Jesus, but I don’t dismiss it as well.
Taking that all together, that is why I ultimately believe in the judeo-christian God and not in the other gods, and also why I think it is more rational to do so than to believe in Zeus or Odin. All that being said, it is ultimately a matter of faith, although a rationally justified one rather than just “I want to believe in that even if it is complete nonsense!” like some atheists try to paint, I like to describe my faith as a “informed opinion”, but I don’t claim by any means that it is “proven by science”, science does not conclude anything about metaphysics after all. Sure, maybe I’m wrong and the explanation to all these things is just “that is just the way things are, there are no deeper reasons or meaning behind that”, but I’m more inclined to the God hypothesis, even though I recognize that I don’t have the absolute truth and I could totally be wrong. @jonnobody
Since it is obvious and common sense that the earth is flat, you should be very careful in arriving at absolute flat statement on the basis of common sense on ANYTHING. One does not or should not reject something because of common sense and not for reason.
If you knew that other gods such as Jupiter were rejected for good reason, and not because of common sense, then you could answer your own question. YHWH is the God of Judaism. YHWH is accepted as God by many because they build their lives around the Mosaic covenant, which has little to do with science and much to do with ethics. Do you build your ethics on science?
The God of Christianity is the Trinity, God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Spirit. YHWH can be understood as God or God the Father. Christianity met the Greeks who invented philosophy, rejected their native gods because Christianity has the morality of Judaism and the rationality of philosophy. It also set the stage for science
Science does determine how the universe works, although science does not understand the meaning and purpose of the universe and humans. Since the universe4 does not think it does not have meaning or purpose of its own, therefore it must have the meaning and purpose of its Creator or none at all.
It the universe has no meaning and purpose, then life is irrational because we have no actual or real reason and meaning for living. A life without purpose is a irrational life. A life with has no meaning is not a worthwile life.
It is not irrational to say that God created the universe as a suitable home for humanity and created evolution to create us as thinking aware beings in God’s Image to live in this meaningful, purposeful good world unless you have decided the question is advance. God is the rational God of the Facts, not the no God of the gaps in the facts.
Maybe that is the case. It is not what I believe, but I can’t prove otherwise. I get the feeling you are mixing the “rational” in the sense of “it is a good idea to do so” with the rational in the sense of “it follows the principles of logic”, it would still be rational to believe 2 + 2 = 4 or that pigs can’t fly in a meaningless universe, even if might not be “rational” to say that living is better than not living (or that is rational to live) or anything that has to do with purpose. “Life would suck without God” doesn’t even come close to make any argument for its existence, and that is basically what your argument seems to boil down too from my perspective.
Thank you for your response. I am afraid that you misunderstand my point.
The point is that one needs to be able to think to make decisions. Other animals co not make decisions like we do. They can react to a given situation, but are unable to act according to a plan. Humans can shape and reshape their lives by making all sorts of decisions, by moving, changing friends, jobs, etc. This is very much a part of the rational life.
The situation however is that if like has no purpose or meaning, there is no way to make moral and value decisions because that requires making a rational choice concerning coming closer to an ideal that does not exist. Yes, it would still be rational to believe that 2 + 2 = 4, but if 4 and 2 have no meaning then what difference does it make.
What happens when one stops caring? Why should anyone care? Life is not good when it has no meaning and we cannot act rationally when we cannot make rational choices. Who is to say that love is better than hate? Who is to say that that truth is important even if we never find it?
All that is “objective” is basically meaningless. Science is a means to an end, not an end. All that is “subjective” is meaningful. Faith is not a means, but a way to relate to and help others and ourselves.
Yeah, but that only proves at best that it is a good idea to believe in God, not that God actually exists, that is my point. It is rational in the sense of “being a good choice”, not of being formal logic.
Logic is easy and simple. God is the Creator of the universe. The universe exists. Therefore God exists.
On the other hand the way that we “prove” something exists in science is to show that something exists that cannot be explained in any other reasonable manner. That is how we show that evolution and gravity exists, yet for some reason we do not want to apply this to God. Yes, we know this indirectly, but that is true of almost all knowledge.
The problem is that we expect existence to be absolute, but it is not. God is relational, that is God is Love. Only when we understand this can we begin to solve these issues.
What is “scientific” about “archaeology, anthropology, or paleontology?” History hasn’t shown anything about the existence of gods.
More to the point, how do you define the word, “god?” What is an objective procedure for falsifying the possibility of the existence of such a thing in this universe? Or maybe this universe only exists in a hard drive in a more real or more physical universe . . . or only in the mind of God?
Your argument does not seem to have basis in fact. I am not aware of any historian that has proven the Greek, Egyptian Babylonian, etc, do not exist. You also are making the assumption that modern man is more enlightened than any point in the past, and this also is unfounded.
The fathers of modern science, logic and philosophy all had a viviid belief in the gods. The most famous work of Plato, the symposium, is a tri-cultural discussion about the god Eros and they all could describe Eros’ character precisely.
Erwin Schrödinger suggests that this is key ingredient missing in modern academia.
To put it dramatically, one can imagine a scholar of the young School of Athens paying a holiday visit to Abdera (with due caution to keep it secret from his Master), and on being received by the wise, far-travelled and world-famous old gentleman Democritus, asking him questions on the atoms, the shape of the earth, on moral conduct, God and the immortality of the soul – without being repudiated on any of these points. Can you easily imagine such a motley conversation between a teacher and his student in our days? (Schrödinger, Erwin. “Return to Antiquity.” Nature and the Greeks, by Erwin Schrödinger, …Cambridge: U, 1954. N. pag. Print.)
It is precisely a Socratic approach to studying the gods that is missing in our materialistic world. I am hopeful that BioLogos can help change this.
If I understand you correctly you re pointing at the fact that within Christianity there is a good deal of disagreement regarding the nature and disposition of God. That would also seem to be the case within the Muslim world. In the case of Eros, being one in a pantheon of gods within a polytheistic religion, it would seemingly be easier to make distinctions between the roles and domains of the gods. That makes me wonder if the indistinct understanding of what one’s God is exactly is especially a problem for monotheistic religions.
Of course you know that the divine is not a material thing. Your question seems to assume that to be real something must be material, which is false because knowledge is not material and knowledge is real.
If you really think that the universe may be an illusion, then you need to revise your understanding of what is reality.
I think it’s in Hadith about Muhammad being asked if God sins because He directs everything–I can’t recall his answer. It was certainly a disputed one. Interesting. Theodicy is a problem for monotheism, for sure; but isn’t there also a problem for finding a given justice system in a pantheon that relies on a single supreme god, too?
German philosopher Max Weber (1864–1920) saw theodicy as a social problem, based on the human need to explain puzzling aspects of the world.
Of course the real problem isn’t that there is strife and suffering but that we would like to think the world was divinely created and rationally ordered. That is something I’ve often heard from atheists as the reason that pushed them away from religion. But that isn’t my reason.
For me the world is the world and strife is basically just the messy process of determining best fit. However, given our endowments, we can identify room for improvement and hold one another to account for evil we do. It isn’t a problem for my world view because I don’t see God as any kind of omni-trump card, capable of erasing problems with a blink of the divine eye. A natural God, like ourselves, can only do what is possible. It is therefore necessary that we each do our part, since we can expect no rescue. A natural God needs man every bit as much as man needs his natural God.
God does not need human beings, but God definitely wants human to need others and God. God is willing to help us solve our problems, but God will not beg us to do so, not solve them for us.
Still I have faith that our problems will be solved, whether we cooperate with God or resist God’s goodness. It is up to us and not up to God. It would be ironic and sad if those who claim most loudly to be God’s people, like the Pharisees did, turn out to be those left out of God’s Kingdom by their own pride and actions.
Of course you are referring to the biblical God while I refer to the natural God I’ve been describing. A God who is the co-inhabitant of your psyche can’t be expected to solve all ones problems, though He might grant you the insight to do so yourself and the patience to endure until then.
I wonder what the consensus would be among Christians regarding the question of whether the biblical God needs man. Can you yourself think of any sense in which He does?
This may be the closest I’ve seen you come to expressing the least bit of doubt in your own understanding. I like it as it makes me feel we have something in common after all.