The Concept of God

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
A dissertation on the concept of God and why it exists.

Submitted: October 26, 2016

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Submitted: October 26, 2016

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The Concept Of God

 

 by Thomas A. Roll

 

 

The concept of God exists in order to eliminate the ambiguity of one's existence.Many people will say this is a ridiculous statement because they will claim there are multitudinous reasons for the concept of God.  However, if one delves into all these reasons - be they religious or philosophical or logical or emotional in basis - one would easily come to the conclusion that resolving the ambiguity of our existence is, indeed, the key, underlying factor.

As an example, the logical and philosophical reason for denial of the thesis would be that determinism (that is, all effects are the result of a cause) necessitates a primary cause.  The primary cause, of course, would have to be God.  This argument will be dealt with in the section on the Theory of Knowledge, which effectively deals with determinism and its limitations.

Religious reasons for denying this thesis essentially involve a philosophical and logical basis which has evolved into eternal "truths" as professed by that individual religion.Hence, the basis for religious disagreement with the stated thesis is as explained in the philosophical and logical arguments.

Emotional reasons for denial of the thesis are an addition to the religious reasons for denial, but actually have the most support for its denial.  This will be dealt with when referring to the "reality situation" in the presentation of the Theory of Knowledge.

It would be appropriate to elaborate on what exactly ambiguity entails, as it is at the very heart of this discussion.

According to the Random House College Dictionary, ambiguity is defined as the "doubtfulness or uncertainty in meaning or intention".Wanting to know the "why" of things has plagued humans from the beginning of cognition: from Richard's exasperation at wanting to know what caused things in the 1980 movie, "The Blue Lagoon", to Werner Heisenberg's mathematical leap with the "Uncertainty Prinicple" - from simplistic to complex - we wonder about things.

There has to be an explanation for everything.  Why is the sky blue?  Why does the sun rise every morning in the east and set every evening in the west?  Why are we here in the first place?  These are questions which beg answers - we must know the answers. It was written long ago "...man does not live on bread alone..." (Dt 8:3).  Resolution of ambiguity may be the strongest driving point in our lives after the big three: breathing, drinking, and eating.

Given that we now have an understanding of the definition of ambiguity, let's now deal with the definition of God.  Now here is a real problem, for the definition of God is that God is, by definition, indefinable.Without definition, the existence of something cannot be proved or disproved.  Hence, at this point, most people invoke the "faith" card.  Yes, God does exist - or - no, God doesn't exist.  However, we certainly must accept that the "concept" of God exists - even the atheist must agree to this.

There happens to be something else that is indefinable: the concept of universe.  We can say that the universe contains all that is, but, with the exception of unverifiable theories, we really don't understand how it came to exist or why it's here (if, indeed, why is a valid question).  If this sounds a little too familiar - it should.  For, from a resolution of ambiguity view, what is the difference between an indefinable universe, and assigning its existence to an indefinable entity (i.e. God)? 

This ambiguity is why the concept of God exists. 

One can take the arrogant road and say that God exists because humans are too intellectually lazy to accept the facts laid out to us in the universal scheme of things, OR, one can take the tried and tested road and say the God exists because God is the primary cause, OR, one could take the ambiguous road and say that God is a misunderstood concept waiting for further illumination.

Ambiguity is a facet of human psychology.  Some have a high tolerance for it, some have a low tolerance for it, and there is every level in between. The staunch religious believer and the atheist would have a low tolerance (consider the atheist as a believer - just a negative believer).  This kind of thinking is epitomized by the statement: "Make a decision, right or wrong, but make a decision." 

On the other hand, those highly tolerant of ambiguity sometimes have difficulty  making any kind of decision, wandering aimlessly in a world requiring decision-making.  For some of them it is a difficult task grappling with one's position in this big universe.

 

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For further clarification, I now submit a concise discussion of knowledge which has survived decades of intense self-critique:

 

 

Roll's Theory of Knowledge

 

Everything interacts with its environment  –  from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest galaxy.  The human being is no different.

Interaction insinuates dynamic inter-relationship.  Knowledge can be defined as “post-active” comprehension.  The dynamic inter-relationship involved in the comprehension necessary to achieve knowledge is the tension between opposites, or what may be called reciprocal reciprocation (RR).

A RR consists of two diametrically opposing concepts which cannot  be inferred without the other.  They are mutually exclusive in concept and definition, yet mutually inclusive in the operation of comprehension.

The opposition of the positive and the negative is the most readily recognized RR (i.e. yes and no).  The simplest example is left and right.  If something is left (yes), then it is not right (no) – and vice-versa.  A technological analogy of this would be the digital computer, where a circuit is either on (yes) or off (no).

Two important facets of RR need to be understood.  First, one must remember that RR allows comprehension so that definition may be determined – at which time we acquire what is defined as knowledge.  Thus, even the slightest differentiation of objects or ideas is done through the use of RR: something just left of center will still be realized to be to the right of something – or, something we perceive as blue-green will be neither blue nor green, but something else.

The second, and more subtle facet, is that of prioritization of comprehensions.  The standard concept of space, for instance, is meaningless unless one first comprehends the concepts of left and right, up and down, and near and far.  The concept of space, therefore, is a result of a cascading of basic RRs into a more abstract concept of a higher intellectual level (i.e. space).  These higher level concepts then can be internalized (using RR) for use in the resolution of other ambiguities required for humans to expand knowledge.

Knowledge has been referred to as the comprehension of the realities of the universe.  Defining reality has been argued throughout history, but there appears to be two legitimate states of existence.

First, there is the objective existence proposed by the ancient Greeks.  They proposed that something either exists or it does not exist.  [Notice the reciprocal nature of the argument.]  Since it would be incomprehensible to hold that nothing exists, then something must exist.  This is objective existence.

Second, there is the subjective existence so eloquently stated by Descartes in the phrase: “I think, therefore I am”.  This phrase resulted from the realization that no matter how much one can deny the reality of anything, one cannot deny the fact that one is denying because one would still be denying.  [Notice again the requirement of RR in the argument of denial].  Our cognitive process, then, would be an integral part of this subjective existence.

These two states of existence (or reality) are a RR: one cannot be put into operation without the other.  Our subjective existence allows comprehension of our objective existence, which allows our subjective existence comprehension of our objective existence, which allows…

The resulting scenario may be called the “reality situation”.  This dynamic inter-relationship between object and subjective existence is not a classical attempt at an explanation of reality, but rather, an undeniable situation in which the rational mind finds itself.  It is impossible to separate our subjective observations from the objective universe because one is meaningless (in operation) without the other.  Consequently, as we cannot employ one without the other, all of our comprehensions required for knowledge come to us via this primary reciprocal reciprocation of subjective and objective existence.

 

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The author realizes that the above Theory of Knowledge may be difficult to grasp and may need to be referred to on numerous occasions.It does, however, lead to a number of discussions.

You will note that all knowledge is obtained through comprehension using  reciprocal reciprocations (RR).  If this is true, then it stands to reason that knowledge is finite, since RR is inherently finite.  If  RR is necessary to know something, then singularities or infinities cannot be comprehended - only their existence may be comprehended.This presents a major stumbling block to those who insist that knowledge is infinite.  If knowledge is infinite, one will have to come up with a different definition of  knowledge - one (like that presented above) which would stand in all occasions.

This automatically opens the door to the ambiguity of one's existence.  If knowledge is, indeed, finite, how does one resolve the ambiguity of one's existence?  One could do it by imposing a super natural power over the universe (i.e. God), but that would involve an ambiguous entity.  Along these same lines, it seems that determinism (cause and effect) breaks down at a certain point.  Within the "reality situation", determinism operates in a functionally logical manner.Outside the "reality situation", however, determinism is functionally inert.

Some would argue that there cannot be anything outside the "reality situation", but that would be a fallacious argument.  The fact that things exist outside the "reality situation" is demonstrated by the RR of logic and faith.  You can't have one without the other.  Logic must be used in order to demonstrate faith, and faith must be used in supporting logic [in a phrase: "Faith in logic is logical to believe".]  Faith is that in which someone believes, but cannot logically be proven.  Faith, in a similarity to emotions, can be experienced, but experience does not necessarily equate to knowledge (recall that knowledge is post-active comprehension).  One may have knowledge of having an experience, but not of the experience itself.  There is no logic in faith alone, and hence, it lies outside of the "reality situation" even though faith remains at the root of all logic.

It is at this juncture that the emotional denial of the thesis is encountered, for it has the most support for denial of the originally stated thesis.  While it is true that one cannot deny that which lies within the "reality situation", one must also allow that the universe consists of more than the "reality situation". Since this is true, then the emotion-related concept of faith could demonstrably be used to resolve the ambiguity of one's existence, but not in a knowledgable way.  One must be very careful not to attempt to bring that experience which is outside the "reality situation" within, because it would not be knowledge.

If the above paragraph seems a bit convoluted, it is because of the difficulty involved in discerning the differences between that which could be purported as fact (that which falls within the "reality situation") and that which could not (that which falls outside the "reality situation").  This is where resolution of ambiguity wreaks havoc with the mind.  The human mind is geared to logically resolve ambiguity within the "reality situation",  yet the only way to resolve all ambiguity is to dispense with logic and go outside the "reality situation", where it would then become something other than knowledge.

For those intolerant of the conundrum of one's ambiguous existence,  the concept of God exists to soothe the limitations of cognition.  This is where the atheist's beliefs falls apart: there can be no resolution of the ambiguity of one's existence within the "reality situation", which is limited by the finiteness of knowledge.  The theists, on the other hand, are deluding themselves into an illogical contentment that knowledge of God as an existent entity is real, when , in fact, it is not knowledge at all because it belongs in the realm outside the undeniable "reality situation".

Bottom line:  no one will ever knowingly resolve the ambiguity of their existence.  The best anyone could ever hope for is to experience a resolution to that ambiguity - and that will not be concrete, because one would understand that they experienced something which cannot be comprehended; and that, by definition, cannot be done within an undeniable  "reality situation". 

This is not simple semantics, this is devastatingly dialectic.


© Copyright 2017 Thomas A. Roll. All rights reserved.

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