God

God is an exquisitely difficult word to define. It is somewhat unique in that the more one attempts to define it, the more dangerous it becomes.

The most elaborate definitions of god are those that accompany established religions. These rule-book style portraits of deities are particularly potent examples of the dangers of defining gods because, as they narrow their scope with detail, they increase rapidly in volatility. The more narrow the definition, the more room there is for disagreement with another interpretation. When we take into account the fact that some people live their lives and validate their existence according to their particular definition of god, it is very easy to see where the danger comes from.

The principles to which this site holds state that any attempt to actually define god would be, at worst, completely wrong and, at best, incomplete. With this in mind, we shall strive to define several ways of thinking about god rather than claiming to have any real knowledge about god itself.

Because there are so very many definitions, it should be stated that we do not wish to be reductive by only publishing a few. We will define the word “god” as we use it on the site.

God¹:

God is Tao is undefinable.

By the rationale above, this is perhaps the least dangerous definition as it is broad enough to hold all other definitions within it. For some people, it will also be the least satisfying, for to understand god on this level takes a little work.

God²:

This definition of God is a broad one that is meant to encompass many different religious views. It is characterized by the belief that god can be understood, that god’s motivations can be characterized in human language, that god has a “plan”.

Typical of religions that can be referred to with this definition are such things as: lists of rules, rewards for following these rules, punishments for failing to follow them and, most problematically, the belief that all other definitions of god are wrong.

God³:

As with the gods of Hinduism, this third definition refers to gods and mythological beings who are acknowledged as being imperfect approximations of some unknowable ultimate reality. In terms of danger, this definition lies somewhere between the first two. Used in a thoughtful way, this view of god or gods can surely be a useful tool for exploring the mysteries of life. There is, however, always a danger of mistaking these useful fictions for reality and falling into the traps of God².


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