Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.
God is the goodness and the beauty behind everything that is good and beautiful.
This essential and necessary exception for badness, pain, and suffering proves there is no God. A limited God is not God. A God who collides with reality is not God.
English has no pronoun for a conscious agent without reference to gender, so I use he/she.
If there is a God, he/she is not like the God of the revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths of the world but is, rather, like this:
There is a personal kind of God who created everything (but not evil, pain, and suffering). He/she is all good, holy, loving; full of beauty, truth, light; and etc.
God created all creatures intending them to ultimately become united with him/her.
God is the creator of everything good and beautiful. As such, he/she embodies the essence of goodness and beauty.
God pervades the good and beautiful aspects of both the universe (the physical realm) and the spiritual realm. He/she knows nothing about the bad and ugly aspects to it all and, in fact, had nothing to do with its creation. This implies there are spiritual entities given sufficient power to create a universe having badness and ugliness, with its ongoing badness and ugliness.
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We live in a world of pain, suffering, and death; therefore, God did not create this aspect of the world because it is not in harmony with his/her nature.
Note: I generally prefer to mention suffering instead of evil or pain because suffering seems to be the essential "bad" thing. If no conscious creatures suffered, evil would not exist. Evil is bad because it causes conscious suffering.
God does not consciously experience our pain and suffering; but he/she hears us call out to him/her. (But why does God not answer our prayers and relieve our suffering?)
Why do I think God exists when this can't be proved via science? Because there seems to be purpose and design in the universe, and because the subjective experience of consciousness is not physical, but spiritual.
Does the existence of purpose and design and consciousness require a God? Can the spiritual realm be the home of these without a God? In other words, the existence of purpose and design and consciousness merely shows there is purpose and design and consciousness — residing somewhere, maybe a spiritual realm, maybe within programs running in the brain. Or, is it the fact of the existence of intangible things such as purpose and design and consciousness that requires there to be a God? But don't tangible things also require a God in order to exist? But if God created everything, then he/she created evil, and therefore, God is evil. What good is a God who is evil?
There are good philosophical arguments for God's existence.
Or so I thought.
Not everything is science; for example, the world of ideas, of thinking, and of reason.
I often hear atheists claim there can't be a God who resides outside the universe because there is no way for him/her as a spiritual entity to interact with physical matter. But there is a way. They don't discover it, I think, probably because they aren't genuinely looking for it.
God is good. He/she created and continues to create everything good and beautiful.
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God is the process of applying goodness and beauty instant by instant to every situation (in the physical realm and the spiritual realm).
Not every possible event is acted upon by God in this way; some "slip through the cracks" and we have residual pain and suffering.
Whenever goodness and beauty reside within in a situation or object (beautiful music or art), God is in that (and that is the thing that God applied his/her goodness and beauty to).
This is a different metaphor than that God created it (the good or beautiful situation or object). He/she didn't create it, rather, he/she applied his goodness and beauty to it, altering it, making it divine.
But there has to be preexisting stuff, presumably not having goodness and beauty. (Kind of like the philosophical idea that evil is the absence of good).
Pondering a Sean Carroll (a Harvard Ph.D.) YouTube lecture that God is not a good scientific theory. Yes, I agree completely.
This means that God cannot be used to explain anything about the universe.
A false assumption in his lecture: If the purpose of God was to create conscious beings such as humans, only one galaxy is needed for this (to create the heavy elements necessary for life). The existence of trillions of galaxies therefore proves there is no God. A terrible argument. God may have had his/her own secret reasons for the many galaxies.
God is not provable (by "proof" I mean very likely probabilistically). God is outside of scientific methodology. And likewise, you can't prove God doesn't exist. (Many well-known atheists agree: (1) the existence of God is not provable, but (2) certain claims about God's nature and activities are provably false.)
Similar to materialistic atheism, in that everything exists as a single reality. Only that pantheism calls it all divine but doesn't claim there is a mind or intelligent designer or God behind it all. Even atheists are in awe of the universe and its marvelous and unexpected features (and even that it exists at all).
Seems to me that pantheism doesn't add much of interest. As with materialistic atheism, it doesn't explain anything. Only when you postulate a personal creator God (monotheism), only then can you consider why the universe came to be and what the purpose for it might be. Why are there conscious moral agents, creatures? But this God must be a good God. Who wants a bad God? Or a God who is sometimes good and sometimes bad?
If you have a God who is both good and bad, you may as well accept pantheism; there is no reason to be monotheist. Monotheism doesn't add anything.
But if God is good, why is there bad?
God is above and beyond everything that is, beyond all of reality. Therefore, God is not merely the God of pantheism.
So therefore, us created creatures are "higher" than God (in that we create conscious content with our minds). But nothing is higher than God. And so, there is an aspect of God that transcends our interaction with the universe (the physical realm) and consciousness (the spiritual realm).
If God is pantheistic, then therefore, his nature is (1) this clay (the universe, the physical realm) as well as (2) raw consciousness (spirit); nothing more. But since the intelligent designer and conscious creatures manipulate both, we are therefore higher than God, as super-gods, meaning that we manipulate God. But we are clearly not God.
If there is such a thing as this Super-God, then therefore, we are God. But pantheism says there is no distinct personal God because all is God. God is a super-super-us, as super-super-god.
Some scientists (even Ph.D.s) seriously accept as a valid idea that this universe is a virtual reality created by advanced super intelligent creatures.
Why not just call it God? Admit that we do exist in a virtual reality (the physical universe with its corresponding spiritual realm); all this created by God.
If we are living in a virtual reality, what is the nature of the real universe within which our virtual reality universe resides? Is there a God in that universe?
Christians are offended if you claim God is limited. The only view in which God is truly not limited is pantheism, in which everything that is, is God. But the existence of an independent free-will conscious creature implies that God is limited (since he/she is not that creature). So in creating creatures and universes, God has limited himself/herself. And since God is the creator only of everything good and beautiful, therefore, badness and ugliness do not originate with God.
So who did create evil?
Even in the Christian view of God, God is limited. God allowed for free will, and is, therefore, limited, as I note above. The most God can do with obstinate sinners is to send them to hell, but he/she can't force them to choose to love and obey God.
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In my view, God is limited. I don't know the details of how the universe with its suffering conscious creatures sprang into existence, but the fact of suffering proves God is limited. If God were in total control, there would be no suffering, only utopia.
If God is limited like this, there is no need for God at all.
God can't be omnipotent if something happens outside of his/her will. And since he/she created free-will creatures, their free-will choices are outside of God's will and outside of his/her control. Especially since they do things outside God's will. Even if you think God is both good and bad (which he/she isn't), he/she is still not omnipotent.
If you think God is omnipotent, then you have to claim that God is good when he/she commits genocide. And Christians even believe it is OK to commit genocide when God commands you to do so, as he/she did (supposedly) with the destruction of Jericho.
So my view of God is morally superior to the Christian view because it maintains God's goodness and beauty; in fact, it assumes these. I assume God is good and beautiful because it just seems right. I can't worship a God who murders people and can get away with it just because he/she is God. This is a barbaric idea.
But even my view of God fails miserably (as all views of God do) because: God should be supremely good and beautiful, and thus, there should be no suffering. Really, the reality of suffering proves there is no God.