The philosophical God
Yes, I thought I’d pick an easy one for the next meeting...
We know that the idea of “God” has been an important subject for philosophers for thousands of years. I wonder for how long it’s been an important subject for humans generally? Did we, I wonder, create God with our first iota of consciousness? If so, did God exist before we were conscious?
What about other intelligent species that share the planet; do we see any evidence that they might believe in a God? Elephants and dolphins, for example, exhibit complex social structures and, in the latter case, a language. Could there be an elephantine or cetacean understanding of God?
Aside from such general musings (I always like to get other animals in there somewhere!), my suggestion is for us – as rational philosophers - to consider questions around God. For example, exploring:
· What do we understand by the term “God”?
· How can we converse rationally about the nature and existence of God? What questions can we ask?
· If there needs to be a consciousness to observe reality; does this imply a “God”?
I would like to add the caveat that everyone that attends the meeting respects everyone else’s views – as this could be a sensitive area. I’m interested in us exploring the concept as philosophers, rather than as theologians – ie we should seek to be logical and consistent.However, it’s also important to acknowledge that faith and belief is a personal matter – the intention certainly isn’t to ascertain who is “right” and who is “wrong”.
For anyone that wants to do some reading beforehand, here are some links:
Essay “Philosophical Views of God” by Dr Jan Garrett – a good overview of philosophical concepts: http://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/philvws.htm
A widely researched and fascinating article about God and Time by Gregory E. Ganssle of Yale University: http://www.iep.utm.edu/god-time/
And for a test of your ability to approach the subject with consistent rationality, try this test from TMP (The Philosophers’ Magazine) online: http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/god.php
(NB: TMP is worthy of a peruse – it’s a great resource and will also lead you to some good philosophy blogs!)
If anyone has any suggestions about associated reading – please share!
Please RSVP as to whether or not you can attend. Also; if you have favourite days for meetings - please tell me. I'll try to book meetings for various days to suit people who are keen to take part.