• >Don't be ludicrous, of course there is no god. God is a figment of the imagination, religion is divisive and delusional while it also corrupts absolutely. Never has evil been proliferated with such fervor as when it is done under the name of religion.

  • >I agree that the religious ideas of what God is are almost certainly wrong. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it now but there was a great text written about twenty years ago, that rather comically explained our arrogant and misguided belief in a personified God with our image and feelings. Two people were stood in a garden, and the dialogue went something like this:Chris: "There's a pixy at the bottom of my garden who looks over me."Tom: "Really? I can't see anything"Chris: "That's because it's invisible"Tom walks down the garden and waves his hands around: "I can't feel anything"Chris: "That's because it can pass through you like a ghost"Tom: "I can't see any other eivdence of a pixy either."Chris: "No it covers up all of its evidence"In other words Chris, in the above dialogue, has absolutely no proof of his belief. Yet in the realm of the supernatural nothing can be disproved, and so he keeps on believing no matter what, without a shred of evidence.Yet to say there is absolutely no God and never could be assumes we know what God is. Is the Hindu conception of God correct? The Christian one? The Muslim one? I'm guessing you'd say they're all incorrect. Yet if you take a few basic principles about what God is supposed to be e.g. omnipotent, omnipresent, and the creator of our world, then why do we jump to the religious conclusions of what God is?Based on these basic principles it's far more likely that God is energy, or a force. Some scientists are currently arguing that all the forces e.g. gravity, the strong force, the electromagnetic force and the weak force, are all actually part of one force (the theory of everything). If all the fundamental forces are in fact part of one force then surely that is the more likely candidate to be called God than a personified force for which we have absolutely no evidence.If we take the above definition of a God then it goes from being almost unprovable, to being a certainty.

  • >Yes, but in that case nature itself is god but hang on a minute, nature is nature isn't it? No need to explain it as a god, for a god would indicate something more complex and divine than nature which is, naturally, contradictory and paradoxical as there is nothing other than nature. Forces are present in the universe due to natural causes, cause and effect. In the words of Prof. Steven Hawking, there is absolutely no need to invent a god to light the blue touch paper of the universe.

  • >Yet this comes back to our definition of God. The oldest religions are divided into two: shamanistic religions, and naturalistic ones. Indeed what Jacques Cauvin and Michael Balter argue as the first true god (the Great Goddess and the Bull), was in fact an amalgamation of things about life and nature that were valued e.g. fertility. Throughout the past 12,000 years humanity has persistently personified aspects of nature and deified them. Take Ra for example, the Egyptian Sun God, who was at one time declared to be the only God (this declaration was believed to be what led to the evolution of Judaism and other monotheistic beliefs). There were solar deities throughout many historic and even present day religions: in Hinduism, Chinese mythology, Buddhism, African religions, Aztec mythology, Indonesian mythology etc.Should we treat nature as something that is just there, in a materialistic fashion? Or should we treat it as something special and somehow Godly? To be perfectly honest we can't escape treating nature as somehow special. Einstein frequently said that the only way in which he was religious was in his fascination with nature. Whether or not you believe in the spirit we are all connected to nature; we are all a part of it. And if nature is everything then of course it is special, for there is nothing else.Do we need to "invent a God to light the blue touch paper of the universe"? Well first of all if God is nature then no such invention takes place, and the apostles of this natural religion are in fact scientists. But secondly yes we do have need for something spiritual. To view everything in materialistic terms can be somewhat harmful to some people in psychological terms. Statistically speaking those of us who are religious are happier. I believe this kind of happiness can be found through Einstein's child like fascination of the world, and realisation that we're all connected, without feeling any need for worship or personification of that which should not be personified.So in other words whether there is or isn't a God is for me simply a matter of defining aspects of nature. To depart from what has been scientifically proven is just wishful thinking (or perhaps the reverse, for I believe the existence of a Humanoid God would not be better). Yet many people do feel a need to connect with something in a spiritual sense, and for them parts of nature can be called Godly.

  • >I really like what you're saying here Rob, but… the very use of the word "god" surely implies something which has its own consciousness, a plan for its creation &, above all, is seperate from it's creation.I would argue that it's less about looking to change our understanding of what god is, than it is about finding less loaded words to use for the undying energy of the universe.I think it's brilliant to want to appreciate the wonder of the universe, the life-giving properties of the sun, the "miracle" of reproduction, etc, but to deify them is to seperate ourselves & them.I'd rather view things from the Gaia Hypothesis point of view, whereby everything is interlinked & interdependant.

  • >The thing is though that we have this idea of what God is because of our own culture and history. The Collins dictionary tries to get over this difficulty by distinguishing between 'god' with a small g, and 'God', with a capital G. It defines god as "a supernatural being, worshipped as the controller of the universe or some aspect of life or as the personification of some force". It defines God as "the sole Supreme being, Creator and ruler of all, in religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam". Yet there are people within even these religions that would disagree with such definitions, even as ambiguous as they are. James, I suspect you picked up that I was playing devil's advocate a little, however I merely extrapolated based on this fact: people disagree on what God is. If people disagree in any fundamental way then surely God can be pretty much anything.I do actually agree with both of you in that I am an athiest, and I do think that although everything is interlinked and interdendent, religious vocabulary does not accurately describe this interaction.Could you explain a bit more about the Gaia Hypothesis? I think I may have read something about it in the past but I can't remember. Also, what would you say to the critics? This is quoted from wiki: In 1981, W. Ford Doolittle, in the CoEvolution Quarterly article "Is Nature Motherly" argued that nothing in the genome of individual organisms could provide the feedback mechanisms Gaia theory proposed, and therefore the Gaia hypothesis was an unscientific theory of a maternal type without any explanatory mechanism. In Richard Dawkins' 1982 book, The Extended Phenotype, he argued that organisms could not act in concert as this would require foresight and planning from them. Like Doolittle he rejected the possibility that feedback loops could stabilize the system. Dawkins claimed "there was no way for evolution by natural selection to lead to altruism on a Global scale".

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