God is imaginary?

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Speculum
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God is imaginary?

Postby Speculum » September 20th, 2008, 2:38 pm

ihavesayso sent us a link to a website called "God is imaginary". There, one finds fifty "simple proofs" that God is imaginary. Among them are "Try praying", which makes the argument that prayer doesn't work, and "Think about leprechauns", which argues that God has left no physical evidence of his existence, and "Ask Jesus to appear", which observes "we all know that Jesus has not appeared to anyone in 2,000 years" ... and forty-seven others.

Interesting ... and sometimes amusing ... stuff.

As I see it, the problem is that the site's underlying assumption is that God is a separate, unique entity which exists separately and uniquely from me and you and everyone and everything else. That is, I am Stefan, you are you, this is the earth, and God is God. If that is their perception, then I agree, that God is imaginary.

Some years ago, the "failed" prophet Rajneesh was asked "Does God exist?", and he replied simply, "No". Of course, everyone went ballistic. But, again, my guess is that he was, while perhaps being too clever for his own ultimate good, referring to the "traditional" concept of a separate "person" (God) who lives in "Heaven" while all of us live here "on earth", or the "I am me, and God is God" God.

One might suggest to the site that perhaps the point is less that God is imaginary, and more that we are imaginary ... and so of course the God that we imagine is imaginary. What else could such a God be?

Anyway, the site's worth a visit, if only just for fun.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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W4TVQ
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Re: God is imaginary?

Postby W4TVQ » September 26th, 2008, 12:26 am

One might suggest to the site that perhaps the point is less that God is imaginary, and more that we are imaginary ... and so of course the God that we imagine is imaginary. What else could such a God be?


Indeed. At times, I feel imaginary. Perhaps those times are related to the state of mind that ACIM calls "seeing." At other times, I am imagining God to be, as you say, over there, while I am over here, and what I am perceiving as "God" is indeed merely a product of my mental processes, whereas in the "I am imaginary" moments I am being imagined (=created) by him/her/it... and therefore "I am still as God created me."

Reminds me of the old question (can't remember who asked it first): "Am I myself dreaming I am a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming it is I?"

That sort of realization, the tat tvam asi moments of life, rather make applesauce of all the pretentious and basically silly questions that haunt religion today ... can gays marry? Is there evolution? Can a Muslim be saved? Admittedly, I enjoy (though less of late) playing with those questions over on the other boards, but I can only enjoy them because I know they are pointless and meaningless. Games for the idle brain.

Jai Ram
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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zoofence
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Re: God is imaginary?

Postby zoofence » October 2nd, 2008, 1:41 pm

Here are a few lines from Nisargadatta on the subject of what is imaginary:

The outer self and the inner both are imagined. The obsession of being an “I” needs another obsession with a “super-I” to get cured, as one needs another thorn to remove a thorn, or another poison to neutralize a poison. All assertion calls for a denial, but this is the first step only. The next is to go beyond both.

So, is God imagined? The answer is, yes, of course. There is no other way “Stefan” can know any “thing” in his “reality”.

But that raises two questions, neither of which I saw being addressed at the "God is imaginary" website:

1)Does the fact that “Stefan’s God” is imagined mean that God does not Exist?

2) Who created Stefan’s imagined God? Was it Stefan … or was it the same Person who created Stefan’s imagination?

Consider a theatrical play in which the characters talk about “the author”. Clearly, the play has an author, but equally clearly, the play’s author is not the same author about whom the characters speak. That author is imagined.

But imagined by whom? Where did that imaginary author come from? The play’s characters are incapable of imagining anything that has not been put into their imagination by … the play's author.

Ditto here, I think.

So, once again, before addressing questions like, “Is God imaginary?”, we need to consider another question: “Who’s asking?”

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Re: God is imaginary?

Postby W4TVQ » October 8th, 2008, 5:04 pm

So, is God imagined? The answer is, yes, of course. There is no other way “Stefan” can know any “thing” in his “reality”.


Quite so. The "God" Who can be known is imaginary. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao, said Lao-Tzu, stating the same truth.

There is hardly a more eloquent statement of this than this one, quoted from Thomas Merton's book New Seeds of Contemplation:

In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer know what God is. He may or may not mercifully realize that, after all, this is a great gain, because God is not a what, not a "thing." That is precisely one of the essential characteristics of contemplative experience. It sees that there is no "what" that can be called God. There is "no such thing" as God because God is neither a "what" nor a "thing" but a pure "Who." He is the "Thou" before whom our innermost "I" springs into awareness. He is the I Am before whom with our own most personal and inalienable voice we echo "I am."


I have come to understand, auditing and occasionally joining the debates on ChristianBoard.com with the atheists and pagans who post there, that the hope of either side communicating with the other is vain, because no one grasps the fundamental idea that God is not a "thing." To them, atheist and Christian alike, He is a "what" that can be subject to a "concept" which can be discussed and approved or disapproved. He is a proposition that can be confined/defined in a doctrine -- which must then be defended against other doctrines.

Perhaps Chesterton was right when he wrote, "The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid." I find myself increasingly retiring from the front lines in the philosophical, doctrinal and theological disputations around me. That way lies only a sign reading "Bridge Out." It is not true that all roads lead to God: most roads lead nowhere at all. At the meditation chapel in Unity Vilage is the single statement, placed at the front of the chapel as the focus of attention: "Peace, be still." Only in the silence after the noise did Elijah hear the "still, small voice." I find it to be so.

Namaste
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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zoofence
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Re: God is imaginary?

Postby zoofence » October 11th, 2008, 3:33 am

Nicely said.

Among my favorite Gospels passages is John 8.21: "Where I am going, you cannot come".

Why not? Because "where I am going" there is no "you"!


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