Friday, April 29, 2011

Atheists Have Problems With God Beyond Our Understanding


Poster on CARM Mary Jane argues that the mystical tradition and it's claim that God is beyond our understanding is contradictory. I said something about her assumptions...

CARM Ath/agnostic board
no.9 ...4/28/11

Originally Posted by MaryJane View Post
What meaning did I give it? What did I assume? I said it seemed contradictory to me.
saying that God is beyond our understanding has a long hsitory going back to the roots of the Bible. It indulges all the major mystics and philosophers. Instead of reaching about that you just assume it means total absolutely any single thing. we cant' one single thing about God in any way.

then you assert If you claim to know anything at all then you are contradicting yourself. But no,it's not a contradiction it's just part of the tradition.

And then I asked questions. Feel free to answer them. Explain to me what the non-literal understanding is. Explain how 'God is beyond our understading' can be understood in any other way than it was presented.
Understanding doesn't mean to have a reasonable hypothesis it means to control, to know completely and exhaustively. So to say "God is beyond our understanding" means we can't deconstruct God, we can't reduce the concept of God to something else, we can't explain the physics of God, we can't know what he's made of or if he snores, but most of all it means we can't know his reasons for what he does.

It means we can't control God, we can't know him the way we seek to know physics and nature.

it does NOT mean we can't know anything about god and doesn't mean we can't formulate reasonable ideas about God.

of you are also ignoring the whole of point of the tradition, which is that we cant' understanding anything about God exhaustively, but also we can't know it in a rational or discursive way--in words. It DOES NOT MEAN that we can't know God through experience.

The whole idea is to have experiential knowledge of God. We can't pass that kind of knowledge on in words to others without giving them the experience. So we speak in metaphors and try to draw people into seeking the expediences themselves.

Mary Jane
I'll adjust it to your interpretation: How can you say God is beyond our understanding and then claim to know that he is 'ground of being'? How can you possibly know this if he's beyond your understanding?

Again, if you are taking the phrase in a litterateur fashion, you can make a metaphorical connection based upon correlations because experience and theory. In this case I'm including doctrine as "theory."

We know about the ground of being through logic and through our own participation in being. The link from Ground to God is through our experience of the ground of being in relation to the divine.

That's what the argument I had up there was about.

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