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God "God" is the name religions - especially those of the Judeo-Christian mould or those influenced by them - give to the supreme deity of the monotheitsic worldview.  A distinction can be made however between the God of Religion, the God of Philosophy, and the God of Mysticism

"God of Religion"
"God of Philosophy"
"God of Mysticism"
Based on numinous experience
Based on intellectual speculation allied with belief
Based on mystical or yogic experience
Personal and anthropomorphic
Transpersonal and ineffable

The God of Religion

God Most religions explain the meaning of existence and the origin of the universe in terms of a supernatural being which they call called "God".  "God" is usually thought of as a sort of person up in "heaven", who creates the entire universe and all beings in it out of nothing, and then reveals Himself to humankind through a sort of cosmic rule-book, a Bible or whatever.  Whoever follows the dictates of this rule-book is rewarded with heaven or Eternal Life, but whoever doesn't goes to hell or eternal damnation.

Of course, since there are many religions, each with its own sacred scripture, it follows that each believer will assert that only their religion is true, and all of the others are either inferior truths or completely false.  From this attitude there come about all sorts of holy wars, crusades, inquisitions, persecutions, and proslytising, that go hand in hand with religion.

Nowadays the big enemy of religion is the secular society and the findings of science.  The discoveries of science concerning the universe are so vast and amazing that they threaten the little box that believers of fundamentalistic religions keep their minds in.  These believers then feel compelled to create a science of their own; i.e. they construct their own paradigm.  This is what's called Creation Science which is actually a  pseudo-science in that it rejects the methodology of falsification (the key element of scientific method) in favour of Biblical literalism.  (Materialist reductionists are also "fundamentalists" as regards their Reductionism, but they're not anti-falsification).


The God of Philosophy

The God of Philosophers is a much more abstract principle: e.g. an abstract First Cause, or original spirit, or whatever.  It developed from medieval Christian theologians who were seeking to supplement faith with reason.  A lot of the arguments are pretty irrelevant - e.g. God is that next to which nothing higher can be postulated.  So the God of Philosophers is often so abstract as to be meaningless, just as the God of religion is so petty as to be ridiculous.

The God of Mysticism

Many forms of mysticism, especially theistic mysticism (e.g. Sufism, Christian mysticism, etc) retain a conceptionof God, but see that entity as something ultimately non-different from themselves.  The ultimate goal of the mystic path therefore is "union with God".  These mystical teachings have, in addition to, or as another aaspect of, the personal God, animpersonal "abstract" Ultimate Reality. Unlike the "God of philosophy", this is not an unknowable principle, but rather one's own innermost Self (or "not-Self" as the case may be).  This conception has been more clearly and prominently articulated in the great religio-spiritual traditions of India, but  is also to be found in the "Western" and "Middle Eastern" esoteric teachings of Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Christian mysticism, and Sufism as well.  Confusion comes about when this Absolute Reality is translated into English under the term "God"; the various Gurus are particularily prone to this.

External links

Principia Cybernetica WebGod - a good philosophical definition

Wikipedia link Wikipedia

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page by M.Alan Kazlev 1998-2003
page uploaded 27 May 1998; last modified 23 March 2003