God = NoGod
Being an atheist seems to me to be a curious thing, because presumably one has to assert not just that a particular understanding or experience of G/god/s is erroneous, but that every single actual and possible understanding or experience of G/god/s is erroneous.
I’ve heard people say things like: being an atheist merely means that I don’t believe there are any gods. I haven’t seen any evidence that there are gods, so I have no good reason to believe there are. Absense of belief, not belief in an absense. Etc.
But all of that of course merely begs all the myriad of questions:
What could or would or should count as evidence? What do you mean by “god” anyway that you are expecting to be provided with evidence for? What particular understanding of G/god/s is it that you’re saying there is no evidence for?
So you say: “I don’t believe there is a big man in the sky with a white beard — there’s no evidence for it” — no ok. So there’s no evidence for one specific and particular infantile conception of god. That does not take us very far.
So in atheism we provide a trite, dogmatic and simplistic answer to a complex, mysterious, sophisticated, possibly unknowable or entirely transparent question.
Lets try out a few slightly more interesting conceptions of G/god/s
- Ludwig Wittgenstein: “God is the meaning of the world.”
- Jordan Peterson: “God is the pinacle of your hierarchy of values.” Also see: https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/8wxhlo/the_definition_of_god_that_jordan_peterson/
- Hubert Dreyfus: “God is the unrepresentable, according to Pascal.”
- John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”
- “God is [the] unknowable.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2013/jan/08/god-unknowable-faith
Groundless ground (in gratitude to Lee Braver)
Clearly God does not exist like a thing or a process, (except perhaps all things or all processes but that’s not really…
Roughly speaking I think that:
God = NoGod
and so atheists and theists are both right, but usually for the wrong reasons. Meaning that most people misconceptualise their intuitions, despite their intuitions being for the most part correct.
This picture of the cylinder is a nice analogy. It nicely represents what I think about the the atheist / theist debate. Atheists look from a perspective wherefrom they can only see the square (no god). Theists look from the perspective wherefrom they can only see the circle (God). But the truth is that god IS no god. You can’t see that unless you look from both perspectives simultaneously… both viewpoints are true but partial.