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9) God is knowable
men and women can experience him directly
OR: God is unknowable - he cannot be experienced directly.
10) God is theistic
he is interested in and participates in his creation
OR: God is not theistic - he has no interest in his creation.
The last characteristic is similar to
11) God is compassionate
he is deeply aware of human suffering and sympathetic to those who suffer
OR: God is not compassionate - he is aware of human suffering but he has no
sympathy for those who suffer.
12) God is the source or essence of good or
OR: God is not the source or essence of good - good exists independently of God.
13) God is the ultimate judge and jury
he decides our fate in the afterlife or
OR: God is not the ultimate judge and jury - our fate in the afterlife (if we have an
afterlife) is determined by our actions independent of God.
1.2c Which God?
1.2d God and religion
How do these descriptions relate to specific religions? Here is a very broad view:
A. is the Christian God. He encompasses all thirteen characteristics listed above.
B. is the Jewish and Muslim God. He encompasses all the characteristics except 9: he is not knowable.
C. is the Deist God. He encompasses the first eight qualities but not the last five. Deists believe that people cannot experience God directly, he is not interested in or sympathetic to his creation and he does not decide our fate in the universe.
Hindus agree with Christians - although their view is of a many-personalitied God and people interact with specific aspects of God, such as Ganesh and Shiva, rather than with God as a single entity.
Theoretically, Buddhists do not believe in the concept of God and argue that our fate in each incarnation depends not on God's judgement but the natural laws of the universe. Many individual Buddhists, however, consider the Buddha and Buddhist saints to have supernatural powers that are similar to the characteristics above.
1.2f Moving on
We have made progress. We have seen that if God exists, he is the transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe. There is disagreement over other characteristics that he may have. Now it is time to move on, to remind ourselves that we think we see isn't necessarily what we get.
Chapter One: Section 3: Reality and Perception
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If God existed, he would...
admire the beauty of a universe that he did not create
recognize that eternity is meaningless
deny both heaven and hell
disown all men and women who speak in his name
denounce the harm caused by religious "morality"
help the human race to thrive without him
If God existed, he would be an atheist.
What is the difference between science and faith?
science is certain of nothing and requires proof of everything
faith is certain of everything and requires proof of nothing
Which do you trust?
"I know there is no God"
"I believe there is no God"
Check the answer