What do you mean by "God," anyway?

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What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:38 pm

I use the above word freely, with conviction, and without apology. Some people think I'm nuts for doing so. I find it useful to have a word for the indescribable, incomprehensible, vast beyond any framework of labeling or orientation, which underlies the totality of everything in the universe. It's a nice, short, three-letter word. Neat.

In Pearls of Wisdom, I wrote a big more extensively. Here is a relevant passage:

In its three chapters, The Book of the Law speaks through the literary device of three characters – three gods – declaring its doc-trine with three distinctive voices.

Students of Thelema naturally have different ideas about these deities. Some think of them as actual gods in the sense of any ancient pagan pantheon. Others treat them more as abstract ideas or metaphors for cosmological truths.

Personally, I do not see a practical difference. Whether I speak of “the universe” or “the goddess Nuit,” it seems much the same to me: two names for one vast thing beyond human comprehension. Any preference I have for one or the other name says more about me than it does about the cosmos.

Whether we call the universe an astrophysical construct or a goddess, we are speaking of something inconceivably vast, mysterious, and wondrous that is conscious. Everything in the universe, and the universe itself, is conscious. This is no longer a matter of belief: It is only a matter of labels. Explorers of the physical universe and of the metaphysical universe have come to many identical conclusions, separated primarily by terminology.

With the experimental findings of quantum mechanics, modern physics leaves little to distinguish the universe’s physical substance from consciousness. Scientists who still hold the view that there is no demonstration that consciousness as such even exists could, as easily, view the same data as meaning that consciousness is the ONLY thing that exists.

Centuries before E=mc2, spiritual texts described solids, liquids, and gases as varied states of one thing, differing only by the velocity (“vibration rate”) of its fundamental particles; that gases could be accelerated further (“raising the vibration rate”) to sublimate as light; and that light, accelerated further, becomes “spirit.” Only the amount of energy at atomic levels differentiates between solids, liquids, gases, light, and consciousness, which are modern rationalist terms for what the ancients termed Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Spirit.

If the entire universe is conscious, and composed of consciousness (as seems true to me, and required by contemporary physics), then it is only a matter of convenience and preference whether we label it with terms from physics or terms from religion.

I prefer a mythic approach. Humanity loves stories: we live by stories, often being satisfied to live life as a soap opera or a Great Tragedy rather than have no story at all. Frankly, all that most people need in order to transform their lives is to write or find a better story to live. ...

Therefore, I happily accept the Thelemic pantheon as actual gods. Even in my conventionally religious youth, I never regarded God as separate from the infinite universe (all space, time, and dimensions). To me, there is no meaningful difference between using terms from the science of spirituality or the religion of physics.

In brief: In speaking of that which is beyond labels and bounds, it's silly to get caught up in labels. I see no practical difference between infinite-and-indescribable labeled in terms of physics or infinite-and-indescribable labeled in terms of deism. And, given that there is little or no difference, I pick the labeling that (a) best suits my own nature and (b) has the greatest promise for directing social vision, i.e., of telling a more compelling and productive story.

That's what I mean. Please feel free do discuss in terms of the subject line of the thread.
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What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Hermitas » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:21 pm

Well, personally, taking in mind all that Jim has laid out, I decided to call myself a Pantheist, in the sense that the-one-thing-that-is-consciousness, existing in many forms and levels, is Divine. Now, to me, that's a choice about meaning more than an absolute. One could also choose to relate to it All as not Divine. But I choose the former.

Now, with that Pantheism is the further qualifier "qabalistic." I separate the-one-consciousness-that-is into four categories to which I relate differently. If you will look to the Divine Names of the LBRP, you'll find my four divisions.

Only one of these necessarily places me "under Deity," as in the relationship of worshiper to worshiped. That one is "Thou art mighty forever, oh Lord!" (AGLA). The other three do not necessarily demand that kind of relationship to the Name.

So, in that sense, there is a frame of mind from which I say, "God," and by it I mean what must be described as the Earth of the other three states of consciousness derived from the Divine Names of the LBRP. But I also participate in more than that one form of relationship to the Divine.

So, when I say "God," I'm speaking about the whole shebang from the perspective of the relationship of part to whole. But from other perspectives, "there is no God where I am." But that's not exactly a posting-on-the-forum, normal frame of mind from which to speak.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby LD330 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:28 pm

My conception of God right now is the highest intensity possible, the highest thought possible, and my idea of the greatest thing that could possibly happen in my life. Of those three things, right now I can only conceive of the highest intensity and the idea of the greatest idea possible.

Similar to this quote:

"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine."
"People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment."
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Takamba » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:23 pm

God is the highest intent ahead of me that I might attain to ever expand my increasing experience. God is ever ahead of me and always more than I have thus far been. God is the motive behind the forward movement ahead of me. There is no God but the future of me.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Fr Seraphis » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:38 pm

There is none else besides Her.
:)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"...I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me!
Liber AL I:61
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:14 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:In brief: In speaking of that which is beyond labels and bounds, it's silly to get caught up in labels. I see no practical difference between infinite-and-indescribable labeled in terms of physics or infinite-and-indescribable labeled in terms of deism. And, given that there is little or no difference, I pick the labeling that (a) best suits my own nature and (b) has the greatest promise for directing social vision, i.e., of telling a more compelling and productive story.

Fundamentally, I agree with you that it is silly to get caught up in labels. I wish we lived in a world where everybody (or at least an educated majority, working to guide the rest to our full potential as a species) shared that belief. Unfortunately, we don't. We live on a planet where labels have become a sort of shorthand which allow for easy compartmentalization and dismissal of whole swaths of people who don't fit with an individual's preferred label. We live on a planet where the ability to do this is epitomized as advanced thinking.

To some degree, this makes sense: there are over 7 billion domesticated primates running around on this piece of rock and there needs to be some way to filter out the ones with whom we each want to spend what precious little time we have orbiting the sun. On the other hand, it very quickly leads to a simplification of analysis; a dumbing down of thought that inevitably arrives at: Four legs good, two legs bad!

As you say, the labeling you choose best suits your own nature. As a counterpoint, it does not in any way suit mine. I would guess that a lot of this derives from our individual natures and nurtures, as well as your much more extensive experience in practically working on the consciousness frontier. At the end of the day, though, "god", for me, is nothing more than a distracting epithet: a word that never fails to evoke memories of Sunday mass and Jesus on a cross. I find much more inspiration and direction from contemplations of the vastness of Universe, the complexity of a single cell, and the utter uniformity of every proton in existence. At a more diversified level, the characteristics of any pantheon of mythic gods are ten times more evocative than some personified "Vast and Mighty ONE". Give me the Tao and call it a day.

But, between you and me and anyone else uninterested with "-isms", these symbol sets can work as co-equals. Whatever works, as they say. There are those, unfortunately, who get those same evocations of Jesus on a cross (or Muslim suicide bombers, or Hindu ascetics) and can't get past them. All they see are the failings of exoteric religion and it hangs them up. It blocks all further development. At root, this is a problem within them that they can either overcome or which will block them for life. The word "god" is the catalyst. It will invariably cause a reaction; the important question is what the result of that reaction ends up being.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:31 am

Yes, it took 10-20 years of my adulthood to get comfortable using the word casually. In my case, the issue was a persistent concern that others would attribute to me opinions and beliefs that in no way were mine.

There is enormous value in learning to disengage personal label-reactions and other barnacles from particular words. Words are very useful to our process, therefore, when they are barnacle-heavy.
Love is the law, love under will.
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Hermitas » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:31 pm

Is there Intelligence greater than my own that may be tapped through the use of the symbol "God"?

Yes.

Success is your proof.

But we could go on and on about whether that Intelligence is the natural sum of the human intelligence (embodied and speaking through the unconscious mind) or whether there becomes something larger, at least transpersonal, at play as well.
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What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Hermitas » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:40 pm

Ah, see, that's it. I get where I can't stand the denials of that experience.

For me, that's the bare minimum starting point for the discussion.

"Since an experience of such a greater Intelligence exists..."
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:09 pm

Me, too.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Vadox » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:35 am

Mostly i use this word in all kind of jokes, when am not taking things seriously. When seriously this word has meaning of predetermined fate of universe and of every conscious being, keeping in mind that everyone has his unique ultimate self. Or even something that has not yet manifested in spiritual realms. Or idea of eternity.
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What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Hermitas » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:44 pm

I thought of a less LBRP-shorthand way to say it.

Being
I am He.
I Am.
Thou

Four different ways of relating to G-d.

The atheist in me goes with the first. The theist in me goes with the last. And the pantheist in me stretches over all four to cover the other two in the middle.

Of course, I am playing with the words a bit. We'll call it hyperbole.
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Re: What do you mean by

Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:56 pm

Aion wrote:I thought of a less LBRP-shorthand way to say it.

Being
I am He.
I Am.
Thou

Four different ways of relating to G-d.

Thanks, though I'm not sure if it's all that "less LBRP" :) In a more LBRP sense, here are a few lines from one of my poems:

O ineffable GOD without Name,
I’ve invoked Thee, provoking thy flame.
In the sensuous Form of my Lord,
’Neath its veil, wailing gale, my soul roared.
I desire the sweet fire of thy Being —
Single spark, sail the dark sea of wonder!
Thrice almighty in all things Thou art,
Solar snake in the lake of my heart.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
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"Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!" - CCXX 3:42
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Hermes » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:47 pm

Jim Eshelman wrote:telling a more compelling and productive story.


Telling... and being told. If who writes who be a part of that story :lol:

So in "mine", Nuit is the ultimate God. Then me, Hermes. Then, The Law.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby EB of Light » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:51 pm

Frater INRI wrote:There is none else besides Her.
:)


Yes! Your avatar is great by the way. After all, "I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night sky." I. v64. Even though I'm very new to my studies, that quote immediately struck me and continues to do so every time I read it.

I like what some people have said about "God" being many different things, whether it's a personal relationship with a deity, or incorporating the symbols and values of a particular god or goddess into your daily life and practice, or just simply the all-encompassing word for everything that is. It's a personal decision.

I saw a video recently of a man who reveres the goddess Isis and all that she has taught him throughout his life. I suppose, though obviously it goes without saying, that every person chooses their own path.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Uni_Verse » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:28 am

I use the word "God" as a placeholder.
A type of variable for the highest notion a person might conceive.

LBRP short hand:
THAT,
which stands in the Center
Surrounds the Self
with:
Being,
The Lord,
I am,
MIGHTY FOREVER!
There is only one verse,
sung in infinite ways.
-
"Here!"
I come or came?
I sung!
To seeD the Way
-
God sings,
WE experience:
THE UNIVERSE!
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Re: What do you mean by

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:35 pm

dr. ski wampas wrote:You post a thread like this, inviting others to comment but you don't want any real discussion.

You aren't engaging in a discussion, you are engaging in a rant-styled attack utilizing broad assumptions, sweeping generalizations, limited cognitive ability, and very little evidence. If you actually want to engage in a discussion, why don't you begin by addressing the question of the thread: What do you mean by God anyway?
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Takamba » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:05 pm

[Response to a contentious, off-topic post. Retained in the thread for its intrinsic value. - Admin]

This is where you and your ilk get things wrong. Yes, you can look at the factual side of life all you want (and it is encouraged), and yes "words have meanings." In fact, that's part of the key to it all because MEANING HAS POWER.

Here's a fact: everyone (including you) attaches meaning to everything. Your meaning may be purely mathematical, or it may be the ultra fruitcake factory fantastical. What is the specific meaning TO YOU is what really matters in your life. And the thing is, I remind you, MEANING HAS POWER.

To the magician, meaning is in his or her tool kit. It is (or should be anyway) used like all other tools, according to Will. Now, as Crowley is often uselessly quoted from his introduction to The Goetia, and I will paraphrase, it doesn't matter if the meaning we use is factual based or not; what matters is that it works for the magician. It doesn't matter if there is a real "God" or not, it doesn't matter if it means something unique (which it invariably must) to every individual, what matters is ... (drum roll) ... does the belief in this *thing* and the method of utilizing this belief actually work to benefit the magician. If it does, then YOU STFU and let the magician be. IF it doesn't, then let the magician discover what next to do about it.

You come in here only wanting to rabble rouse and discourage genuine students of magical life toward whatever it is you believe - and the thing is, since you feel this neurotic compulsion to go around correcting everyone's minds for them, I'm convinced that what you are using as your tools isn't working for you.

Now go back to the sand box with the other little boys and girls and let the grownups continue to have their conversation.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:28 pm

dr. ski wampas wrote:And I hate to break it to you (actually no, I love to) but grown ups don't believe in ghosts or magic mspells. At least not the sane ones.

That's the problem with being an adult.

But, of course, we're in the Aeon of the Child!
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:14 pm

That's it? After all that sturm und drang, all you have to contribute is a badly proofread assertion that you don't think gods exist?

Waste of my evening. Let me know when you actually have something of substance to contribute. Something that demonstrates a modicum of independent thought.
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What do you mean by

Postby Hermitas » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:51 pm

[Response to a contentious, off-topic post. Retained in the thread for its intrinsic value. - Admin]

An appeal to the limitations of dictionary definition in a discussion of this nature not only begs the question but inherently attempts to prevent the worn out paradigm from changing. It biases itself to the status quo rather than the transforming edge.

It's the logic of the previous conclusion forced on a new line of questioning.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:21 pm

dr. ski wampas wrote:I did not assert anything, I stated a fact. There is no evidence.

Well, at least that's an improvement from the previous "I can't say there is much evidence any gods exist." This at least gives us something to work with. You believe in this fact. You are no longer hemming and hawing about "can't say" and "much evidence". You've finally taken a for real stand on the matter. Good work.

But the question remains, "What do you mean by 'God', anyway?" When you attack others over this word "God", what is it that you are attacking?

If you asserting that god(s) do exist then I would wonder just what evidence you think you've got? If it were really convincing you wild be trying to prove it to people. You claim that you don't care about convincing anyone (but yourself) that god exists or doesn't exist, and I will bet it's because you are aware of how weak or ridiculous your position would appear to sane people. That suggests to me that it barely convinces you. So just how can you be surely aren't totally fooling yourself?

You haven't actually read my reply to the OP, have you? None of what you are assuming here makes any sense whatsoever. Go read my reply back on page 1 of this thread and, if you still feel the need to attack whatever it is that you assume me to be, try again with a little more focus and specificity. I can assure you, nothing in this sentence (even the correctly spelled parts) applies.

Also, this constant appeal to the authority of "sane people" is really starting to beg the question... :roll:
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby zeph » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:50 pm

dr. ski wampas wrote:There is no evidence. If you asserting that god(s) do exist then I would wonder just what evidence you think you've got? If it were really convincing you wild be trying to prove it to people. You claim that you don't care about convincing anyone (but yourself) that god exists or doesn't exist, and I will bet it's because you are aware of how weak or ridiculous your position would appear to sane people. That suggests to me that it barely convinces you. So just how can you be surely aren't totally fooling yourself?

Nobody proves God to you, but you can prove it to yourself if you're willing to undertake the necessary training and practices to make it so. Scientific illuminism, in a nutshell.

(As a rule, people understand this about the physical sciences – one wouldn't expect a shoe maker to comprehend stellar dynamics, nor expect a physicist to explain quantum theory without the necessary use of specialized language – but when it comes to metaphysics people expect all the answers to everything right now in terms they understand. Blame the exoteric religions, perhaps, for discouraging independent consideration of the Divine.)

You want proof that there are seeds within an orange, but unless you're willing to peel the thing and dig through the pulp you're just going to see an orange ball, and apparently in your case rail against those who have gotten their fingers sticky.

You seem to be an astonishingly angry man. I'm sorry.
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby dr. ski wampas » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:44 pm

zeph wrote:Nobody proves God to you, but you can prove it to yourself if you're willing to undertake the necessary training and practices to make it so. Scientific illuminism, in a nutshell.

You can sure convince yourself, but this is not proof of anything. Plenty of people the world over have already convinced themselves a god exists, without scientific illuminism.

one wouldn't expect a shoe maker to comprehend stellar dynamics

Just like I don't expect a lawyer to be able to comprehend physics. Nor to be able to expound upon that particular topic to lay people.

without the necessary use of specialized language –

I find it to be convoluted language. If it's just a matter of words, then we can easily understand that what people in the past once understood as god, is not actually a magical and capricious being who lives in the sky somewhere. If we are not actually referring to a deity then I don't really see a need to keep using the word as people once did, to refer to things we are as yet ignorant of (like what happened before the big bang, what is consciousness, etc.), or in the way that pantheists use it (i.e. everything is god).

but when it comes to metaphysics people expect all the answers to everything right now in terms they understand. Blame the exoteric religions, perhaps, for discouraging independent consideration of the Divine.)

Metaphysics has had thousands of years to bear fruit. Religions don't build rockets, and computers. Medical science has it beat when it comes to health care.

Some exoteric religions do promote a consideration of the divine. Buddhism for example. But I'm not sure what that had to do with the conversation.

You want proof that there are seeds within an orange, but unless you're willing to peel the thing and dig through the pulp you're just going to see an orange ball, and apparently in your case rail against those who have gotten their fingers sticky.

Do you really think that skeptical people, and people with an atheistic leaning, don't ever expose themselves to a variety of strange experiences? You would be exceedingly narrow minded to assume that atheists don't do yoga, or meditate. Just because somebody doesn't share the same conclusion that you do about an experience, does not mean that it does not work for them, or that they have never had a strange experience.

The difference between us is that we draw different conclusions. At one time I might have drawn other conclusions, but eventually I started to wonder if maybe it was even possible to see a ghost, or to cast a spell. Not according to the latest findings in physical sciences, no.

You seem to be an astonishingly angry man. I'm sorry.

You seem to think you can judge the character of a person based on a few paragraphs typed in haste. Or is this an attempt at remote viewing? :lol:
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Re: What do you mean by "God," anyway?

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:59 pm

You appear to be trying to convince or convert somebody to your opinion. The original invitation in tis thread was for people to share that they mean by the word - with a goal of getting a diversity of language and point of view - not for anybody to convince anybody else of anything on the matter.

If I understand you correctly (paraphrasing), what "God" means to you is bullshit, hoax, error, etc. Is this correct? If so, thanks for sharing.
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