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What if the Universe is the ultimate creator? Does that make it god?

By freddam4
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11 comments

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0

If nature is god, it is not one... it is many.

Its being is becoming, expanding, evolving and now with its creation of self-consciousness beings, it has become aware of itself whereby it gains its sentience.

cava Level 7 July 11, 2018
0

Are you planning on worshipping it? If yes, then you just made it a god. You must think that it creates with intent. I see no evidence of that. But have at ity. It's yours, after all.

Spinliesel Level 8 July 11, 2018
0

Maybe metaphorically. However, to “create” implies intent, and “god” implies supernatural abilities.

Max_d_cat Level 7 July 11, 2018
2

No, since it is not a conscious force. Nature is I suppose anything not man made? Funny that we think of ourselves as separate from nature. A birds nest is nature but your house isn’t. If we are part of nature and a product of the natural world than even the silicone chip is nature. It seems bizarre to me that anyone thinks God is a real thing... the universes is nature from all we can explore to all we can’t. I don’t need evidence to prove a ridiculous made up story isn’t real... but the universe is not god, it’s home.

1

Science is the great normalizer. What did people think about walking on the moon 200 years ago? If we find that the origin of the universe was from a natural cause then the concept of god as the creator is forever extinguished as a thought.

kensmile4u Level 8 July 11, 2018
1

So if the the universe is not sentient but contains the knowledge to create solar systems that creates life, it can't be god because it can't judge you?

freddam Level 4 July 11, 2018
0

Unless you're arguing that the universe is sentient, it can't be a creator, ultimate or otherwise.

"Universe" is a perfectly good word for it. "God", as usual, is not an improvement or clarification.

mordant Level 8 July 11, 2018

So even though ultimately it created solar systems which led to us, it can't be god because it doesn't meet the Judeo-Christian concept of god?

@freddam I'm not arguing for or against any particular concept of god, just the generic one. A god, by definition, has agency and is looked to for something ... to be worshipped or revered or respected or comforted by in some way. Evan absent that, if you're going to call something god then it must be in some way a necessary entity or concept that adds explanatory or descriptive power to life. Labeling something "god" that already has an adequately descriptive label, like the universe, existence, consciousness, eternity, or what have you, doesn't serve a purpose that I've seen you articulate, other than this: it fulfills some sort of desire to put the label somewhere. So you simply find something large, ancient, or mysterious and slap it on. This is what humanity has been doing since the dawn of man. We're better than this -- or I like to think we've become better than this.

@mordant
“A god, by definition, has agency and is looked to for something ... to be worshipped or revered or respected or comforted by in some way.”

Where may I find this definition?

@skado God (noun): 1: the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. 2: a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

@mordant
What’s the source of this definition?

@skado It's just the result of the Google search:

God definition

There are more definitions here: [dictionary.com]

The weakest / most general definitions there are "a supreme being according to some particular conception" (still a being though) and "any deified person or object" -- which, I contend, begs the question of why we'd use "god" as opposed to existing terms when the preponderance of popular usage contemplates an intelligent agent of considerable power (and yet, paradoxically, somehow influenceable or willing to be influenced on behalf of mere mortals).

God is not a necessary entity to render anything explicable or predictable as it is, without reducing the concept to "whatever I decide it means" or "whatever I assign supreme value to". Although there's some argument for that last one I suppose. Just not a very good one in my view.

@mordant

Most words have more than just one dictionary definition, and I suppose we get to choose. These are all from Dictionary.com

God

  1. the one Supreme Being

Supreme

  1. greatest, utmost, or extreme

Being

  1. that which has actuality either materially or in idea.

Universe

  1. the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm.

Pantheism

  1. any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

Pantheistic ideas have ancient roots and there is no single agreed-upon definition, but Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says, among other things:
"At its most general, pantheism may be understood positively as the view that God is identical with the cosmos, the view that there exists nothing which is outside of God, or else negatively as the rejection of any view that considers God as distinct from the universe."
[plato.stanford.edu]

I don't see how the idea of identifying god with the universe can be said to have no basis. At minimum, to me it seems like a potential path to peace to regard god as a metaphor for all that is. That way we can envision the human family as children of god even though those children understand god differently. The alternative is to divide into "us" and "them" and spend our energies on war. Any time I can find a path to peace, no matter how convoluted, I'll choose it over war. Peace. smile001.gif

@skado Very frequently in my experience, Abrahmic theists will dishonestly argue for a pantheistic or metaphorical or deist / noninterventionist god by saying basically god = the universe, the universe exits, therefore god exists, therefore MY god exists. So long as we aren't talking about that sort of Trojan horse I'm fine with whatever someone wants to promote ... although I still fail to see the point in it.

@mordant
Yeah, when people start taking metaphor as literal fact they've left rationality and entered into fantasyland. I'm just not willing to concede metaphorical expression to the literalists because a language without metaphor is a language that is impoverished to the point of being crippled. I couldn't live in a world where art wasn't allowed. For me, "god" is art-talk for universe.

@skado I will confess to being a rather literal-minded person who is more interested in accuracy about these things than in artistic license. I was, I suppose, attracted to fundamentalism for a reason. I had a role to play. It took me the better part of two decades after my deconversion to experience some level of appreciation ... something besides bafflement ... for liberal religious belief and practice. For the longest time, I simply didn't see the friggin' point of it. That's one of the reasons I did not pass go, did not collect $50, but immediately became an atheist rather than just a more liberal Christian. This is actually a fairly common (and I think admirable) mindset among fundies. Say what you want about them, they at least are all-in concerning their personal beliefs and convictions.

So when people talked about some vague and relatively impersonal and non-interventionist god-concept ... my natural response to that is, wait .. whut? What is even the point of that?

It wasn't until, a few years ago, I began to humor my wife's desire to explore UU and Episcopalian churches for some connection / community that it started to dawn on me that liberal Christians are just play-acting a part for the good feels ... for the community ... cherry picking the love and inclusiveness narratives in the Bible and willfully ignoring the other, grody stuff. And on some not very deep level knowing they are doing it. But doing it because it helps them transcend their existential issues ... or feel like they are. Because, as you suggest, they like the "terms of art" for god ... the elevated concepts, the rich traditions, the rituals, the music, the shared experience both in the present and back through history ... for their own sake. You can't really participate in, say, an Episcopalian eucharist service or an Anglican evensong service and not feel at least some faint stirrings of solidarity with countless generations of believers. I understand, at least a little, the potential power of that, how people can draw comfort and a sense of groundedness from it. Even while knowing in their forebrain that it's basically bullshit. Even while not having any particular expectations for outcomes in their experience based on these practices.

Fortunately for me, my wife likes to talk about making those connections more than she likes actually making them happen on a weekly basis, so the whole thing has been stillborn. But ... at least I can kind of glimpse what liberal believers are going on about, and that it's at least relatively benign compared to authoritarian, fundamentalist styles of thinking about god.

I suppose taking it to an even more abstract level where god isn't even a metaphorical deity but the universe or consciousness or even, I suppose, a Buddha shrine or some other innocuous thing can stand in as a metaphor FOR a deity ... could work too. Though not really for moi.

@mordant
I see what you’re saying, and I can well understand your responses to it all, given those assumptions, but I don’t think those are the only two ways to approach religion.

While I agree that the liberal approach is as you say, “...at least relatively benign compared to authoritarian, fundamentalist styles of thinking about god” I tend to think that they both more or less equally miss the mark; one by way of its literal interpretations, and the other by its focus on “feels”. I can’t blame you at all for thinking the latter is somewhat toothless, because it is, at least relative to the other side’s view of serious consequences for given behaviors.

I would argue that serious consequences are indeed at stake, and that there is a way to engage a practice that meets that challenge without either succumbing to superstition or having to be satisfied with feelgood rituals.

I don’t think religion is bullshit. I think religions the world over are trying to express in metaphorical language a human potential that has historically been difficult or impossible to express in any other language, especially in light of the fact that those religions were formed many hundreds, or thousands, of years before anybody could think in scientific terms as we do today. Art was the only language people knew how to use to apprehend the mysteries of the human brain.

Today we can speak of those phenomena in psychological terms as matters of cognitive development, and we can call god ‘the universe’, but the same forces are at work. The universe is still more powerful than any one of us, or all of us put together. It still created us, and will still be around after we are all dead. We still must obey its laws or suffer the consequences.

And there is still a path to psychological redemption (that is to say, a means of resolving the cognitive dissonance that was thrown into high gear by the agricultural revolution) encoded in the ancient scriptures that were written to counter those forces in a time when scientific language was not yet available.

Heaven is still a real place, but not a physical one; rather a psychological place. And not merely a place of lofty feelings of connection, but a “place” of structural cognitive change that permanently immunizes the practitioner from depression, resentment, anger, jealousy, etc., collectively envisioned, aptly I think, as “hell” in the pre-science mind.

The “god” that cannot be escaped, no matter what we call him or it, is reality itself. And neither taking metaphor for literal fact, nor settling for ritual-induced euphoria, nor, for that matter, denying that this god exists, will deliver us from evolutionary mismatch. Only a familiarity with, and a submission to this god’s laws can do that, and in the 21st century that study is called science.

My claim is that a properly directed investigation of it can produce the very real consequence the ancients referred to as spiritual liberation, and we now call cognitive consonance.

@skado So if I understand you correctly ... one can experience the desired transcendence / consonance from science that was once promised by religion.

I would agree with that.

I just don't think it's helpful to conflate that with religious terminology.

Can one ever be "permanently immunized" from depression, resentment, anger, jealousy, or -- if you will hell or suffering? I'm not so sure. I think you can be progressively and imperfectly immunized as your abstractions and self-management practices keep improving.

I think that any framing for how one attempts to effectively deal with the human condition tends to want to at least in some ultimate sense promise some kind of "enlightenment"-style "ah ha!" moment that will settle your existential concerns and issues once and for all. I think that is probably going to over-promise and under-deliver. But it does give you something to shoot for, I suppose.

@mordant
Yes, I think the products of science contain adequate building blocks for transcending the suffering inherent in our conflicted brains, and I can certainly understand the distaste engendered by centuries of corruption in the church, but an examination of the situation at the most foundational philosophical levels will reveal, I think, that a pile of scientific facts, no matter how accurate, will not assemble themselves into spiritual liberation for anyone without some guided discipline, and that “practice” is rightly the purview of religion. If we just can’t stand the taint we can invent a new set of words but what we will be practicing is essentially what the church was evolved to dispense, before it became so thoroughly degraded by power and fraud. My thought is that it’s better to chase the money lenders from the temple than to burn it to the ground for having been soiled.

And... for as right as science is... it still doesn’t offer this kind of training itself, only the ingredients.

There is no good reason, that I am aware of, that any thoughtful, well educated person should expect to find any irreversible immunization against our existential hell, and my seasoned atheistic heart certainly would not have expected such had I not stumbled across it in my fevered wanderings. It’s there though. It’s what the ancients were mumbling about in their superstition-riddled proclamations of “good news”. It has nothing to do with magic though. It’s just a level of cognitive development that can be reached through practice and the terrifying surrender to what is. Our advantage now is that our science can help us more quickly see the nature of ‘what is.’ Only personal courage, however, can help us confront the terror that guards the gate. And only after we pass through it can we really understand what we have lost and gained. I’m guessing that is why they called it faith.

0

Yes. I feel as if those who view the universe as a sentient being are those who can't shake the need to believe in something more than reality, are turned off from the concept of gods due to the negative aspect of religion. Same turd, just polished more.

It doesn't have to be sentient to be the creator, it has given the building blocks of life to more than us. Who knows how many planets contain semi-intelligent life like our planet. My point being, it contains the knowledge to create life.

@freddam If it is creating or storing that knowledge then it must be able to perceive and experience, which would make it a sentient something or other. Other wise it'd never learn from what didn't work to learn what does work. If it didn't learn the knowledge and just magically has it, then it would have to be omnipotent as well as naturally being omnipresent. It's just way too similar to the belief in gods. I mean, believe what you want to believe.. but coming from someone with few belief built on faith, it's a bunch of woo. Not really different from believing in gods.

To me, the laws of physics that you see as knowledge, I see a natural order born from raw chaos. The universe is a chaotic place, and from that chaos, an order appears and the laws of physics are basically just detailing that order.

Did the universe create us?

1

Yes.

skado Level 8 July 11, 2018
0

Not until you can prove the universe has consciousness and self awareness, I don't think so.

1

It does in my book smile001.gif

gater Level 7 July 11, 2018

Would that be the Book of Gater?

@freddam That's just an expression. I am a atheist, but if I had to define God it would be the energy of the Universe, which did create us.

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