Let Us Suppose There is a God…

Let’s suppose, for the sake of discussion, that there is a god.  Let us further suppose, that god is genuinely beyond understanding.

In other words, we are not merely paying lip service to the notion that god is beyond understanding — while we all the while ascribe one trait after another to that god.  No, in this case, let us suppose this god is genuinely beyond understanding.

Given those two conditions, would it make sense to conduct our lives in any way differently than we would conduct them if there were no god?

23 thoughts on “Let Us Suppose There is a God…

  1. Given those limits, I would have to answer “no.”

    But we really know what people mean when they say that. They are suggesting they shouldn’t have to explain themselves fully when they speak about God.

    People who know so little tend to talk so much.

    • I’d have to agree. People who say such things often, with no sign of understanding they’re doing it, will tell you what they think their god is or is not, or does or doesn’t want. If it’s not possible to understand the workings of a god, then discussing that god is pretty pointless. Yet there you will be, having this conversation that you both agree is ultimately pointless.

  2. If it’s genuinely beyond understanding, what meaning attaches to the statement that it exists? And how would any two people know, when talking about it, that they are talking about the same thing?

  3. Of course one should live one’s life the same way regardless, but your proposition is without merit, since “how would we know that God was unknowable?” You posit and scenerio that cannot be the case. If we know that God is unknowable, then we would “know” something about God wouldn’t we?

      • I think that objection is very unsound. Because if he wasn’t unknowable we wouldn’t be faced with this question, we would all just know him. And to suppose you can understand a creator and guardian of the universe is just another sign that we have constructed god in our own image, and just a bit vain in my opinion.

  4. Only if one would prefer speculating about what the god who cannot be understood thinks about his/her personal choices, to making choices that make sense. And, of course, caring about the opinion of the god who cannot be understood makes no sense.

  5. Westernized Buddhism puts man’s focus on his own conduct. Your supposition is the only rational one, I think. Schools of theism fracture and schism and split again over the nature of God, leaving anyone who pays attention to conclude that there must either be a multitude of essentially inscrutable gods or no god at all.

  6. It completely depends on one’s notion of God. It would make sense to act differently with a very personal God you can talk to. A distant deity is another story: one could get lost in the crowd.If a person is acting phony nice just to please God, I would expect that a deity with super-powers would see right through the person so that we may as well act as we feel is right, aetheist or theist. “Gaming” God, I suspect, would be an insult to a deity.

  7. I like this version of Pascal’s Wager from the de-conversion blog: http://agnosticatheism.wordpress.com

    “Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.”

    • That is my view as well. It makes no difference to me God or no god. I will live my life as best possible to do least harm if not most good I can.
      Love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance are good words to live by.

  8. A religion that states God is beyond understanding is describing Him/Her as existing and knowing all things in a way that is beyond imagination. This is like a single point understanding the existence of a line and this line not understanding a sphere. Think in relation to mathematics to illustrate the truth that exists or doesn’t exist. Enjoy your time off.

  9. What if “knowable” is not a nominal variable (all or nothing), but a ratio-level one, where “unknowable” constitutes anything less than the possibility of complete understanding. It could still indicate the potential for some understanding, and even the possibility of growth toward full knowledge, just not the possibility of attaining it. Seems like a question of operational definitions to me.

  10. You know what?
    I’m fed up with the Damned Conceit of God. The God-damned Conceit of a pitiful, despicable god made in our own image, well, let us say in the image of the Almighty White Male.
    I’m fed up with our nation’s worship of the the Almighty Gun and the God Almighty National Rifle Association which supports these pitiful White Males who would be God but whose pitiful little articles of manhood have shriveled up and they need to carry loaded heat to make up for their deficiencies.
    I’m fed up with it being unsafe to go to a Safeway in Arizona because the pitiful White Male majority of its state legislature is afraid of Mexicans and Blacks and have caused them to tremulously enact the most self-righteous gun ownership laws in this nation. Their posterboy is that puling, drooling savage Jared Loughner, the epitome of what it means to be an angst-ridden White Male who is scared to death of Mexicans and Blacks.
    And, just yesterday, parents, kids, coaches, teachers, student players were forced to cower frightened under the bleachers at a football game in Issaquah, Washington because a 51-year-old White Male standin for Jared Loughner was ranging around carrying two loaded rifles and scaring the bejesus out of people.
    I’m tired of our nation being at continuous warfare because our nation’s God-damned legislators are scared out of their pants of Muslims.
    Why the hell can’t I be safe going to my local Safeway?
    Why the hell can’t I be safe going to a God-damned high school football game in my home town.
    Why the hell must the infrastructure and liberties of my nation be continuously debased because of our nation’s foreign policy of endless warfare and endless occupation of lands overseas.
    And I’m tired of our overstressed soldiers who have been subjected to endless redeployments who are killing themselves in a maddening frenzy because they can’t take the crap anymore.
    I’m totally pissed.
    I’m totally fed up and you can take your God-damned pitiful god made in the image of a bearded patriarch Old White Man and shove it up your ass.

  11. People do change their behavior when they think or sense that they are being watched. While I may not consciously change my behavior based on my belief or lack of belief in an unknowable god, just living with the sense that I am being observed, whether true or not, will change my behavior. I could try ignoring the sensation if i disbelieved. I could try accepting the sensation if i did believe. Still, I would be changed.

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