Does God exist?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Does God exist?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:30 am

And without God, is there any true hope?
what I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:53 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:And without God, is there any true hope?


Yes, many Dharmic paths do not believe in a creator-God and still have a rich spiritual tradition and practice. See:

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AlexMcLeod
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby AlexMcLeod » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:25 am

I suppose that depends on how you define "God". I have the inkling suspicion that the concept people refer to by the word "God" is probably some ill-defined amalgamation of concepts that don't make sense until you unpack and separate them.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.

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Nicholas
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Nicholas » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:28 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:And without God, is there any true hope?


There is more than 'hope,' there are ancient, well-trodden paths to Truth or Reality or That or God as some call It. But it would be helpful if you would describe or define what 'God' means to you.

The Platonic tradition, for example, believed in a Creator deity, Zeus, but there were two gods beyond him. And beyond them was the Principle also called the One or the Source.

So this impersonal One Principle is another godless goal, which happens to be our true nature also.
How grand indeed shines the light of truth upon the face of a man whose heart is enlightened by a sense of oneness with all; yet what pathos, when the sense of separateness drives him away from oneness with other men.

Purucker, Wind of the Spirit

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:02 am

Why does it have to be impersonal?

Are nirguna and saguna Brahman so antagonistic towards each other that the one is irredeemably ignorant, and the other is unreachable?

If I am human in the best sense, why can't the ultimate be an even better human, in the best sense?

If every single emotion is really suffering, why do I still have faith in other people, and their hopes and dreams?
what I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter

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Nicholas
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Nicholas » Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:34 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Why does it have to be impersonal?

Are nirguna and saguna Brahman so antagonistic towards each other that the one is irredeemably ignorant, and the other is unreachable?

If I am human in the best sense, why can't the ultimate be an even better human, in the best sense?

If every single emotion is really suffering, why do I still have faith in other people, and their hopes and dreams?


IT or THAT or SUCHNESS is impersonal, but the question of what to have faith in or worship is up to you. Millions have followed a theistic path and that provides solace and a reward that is appealing. So be it.

For arguments on the nature of humans and the universe, study Plotinus' Enneads, varied Jain, Theravada or Mahayana texts for good ones. But if you have settled on putting your faith and mind on a personal god - that is OK.
How grand indeed shines the light of truth upon the face of a man whose heart is enlightened by a sense of oneness with all; yet what pathos, when the sense of separateness drives him away from oneness with other men.

Purucker, Wind of the Spirit

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Veer-Zinda
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby Veer-Zinda » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:03 am

AlexMcLeod wrote:I suppose that depends on how you define "God". I have the inkling suspicion that the concept people refer to by the word "God" is probably some ill-defined amalgamation of concepts that don't make sense until you unpack and separate them.


Agreed. I would say I'm an atheist by most definitions of the word "God", but if we were to define "God" as Ultimate Reality or similar, then I suppose I could then say I was a theist, but it seems a bit of a stretch for me to say I do believe in God when asked, if I use a definition that isn't that similar to the one I suppose the asker is using.

Saying that, for all I know, some Buddhists may think of karma and Buddha in a more theistic way, and some Christians and Muslims may think of God more in the way I suggested :thinking: Who knows? Most of the time, definitions aren't clarified before getting embroiled in the debate, so I now prefer to go with non-theist because I don't think the question is important to any spiritual practice.

:namaste:

steveb1
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Re: Does God exist?

Postby steveb1 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:34 am

The semantics are sometimes obscure, since God is not usually, except in pantheism, considered part of existence. God is non-material and uncaused. So God, unlike everything else in the universe, does not arise out of pre-existing cause-and-effect causal chains. In that sense, God cannot exist, cannot have existence, because "to exist" means "to arise from"/"arise out of", and God, as self-substantial Being, does not arise out of any prior thing or process. That is, God is not a product of Nature or of Samsara. So it is probably preferable to say that God is real, rather than that God exists. Interestingly, God defined as the Godhead shares important essential points with Nirvana and the Dharmakaya, as the following citation explains.

… Two meanings [of the word “God”] must be distinguished for its place in Buddhism to be understood. One meaning of God is that of a personal being who created the universe by deliberate design and periodically intervenes in its natural causal processes. Defined in this sense, nirvana is not God. The Buddha did not consider it personal because personality requires definition, which nirvana excludes... If absence of a personal Creator-God is atheism, Buddhism is atheistic.

There is a second meaning of God, however, which (to distinguish it from the first) has been called the Godhead. The idea of personality is not part of this concept, which appears in mystical traditions throughout the world. When the Buddha declared, 'There is O monks, an Unborn, neither become nor created nor formed. Were there not, there would be no deliverance from the formed, the made, the compounded,' he seemed to be speaking in this tradition. Impressed by similarities between nirvana and the Godhead, Edward Conze has compiled from Buddhist texts a series of attributes that apply to both. We are told that

“Nirvana is permanent, stable, imperishable, immovable, ageless, deathless, unborn, and unbecome, that it is power, bliss and happiness, the secure refuge, the shelter, and the place of unassailable safety; that it is the real Truth and the supreme Reality; that it is the Good, the supreme goal and the one and only consummation of our life, the eternal, hidden and incomprehensible Peace.”

We may conclude with Conze that nirvana is not God defined as a personal creator, but that it stands sufficiently close to the concept of God as Godhead to warrant the linkage in that sense.


(Buddhism: a Concise Introduction. Huston Smith and Philip Novak. Harper, San Francisco: 2003, pp. 53-54)


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