The question seems to be this, "Should we label a concept that we know very little about, or whether the concept can even exist?"Danmark wrote: I'm thinking in print now, I don't have this thought out, but do we really have to insist on putting a label on everything? I would rather let some things be nameless in preference to giving them the wrong name, or a misleading name. This is the problem with words and other symbols. The symbol is always a mere approximation for what it tries to describe. The symbols mislead us into thinking we have captured some exact truth when in fact we have only found some rough approximation we agree upon.
The following are my thoughts on this matter. Unlike what Danmark had posted suggesting that he hasn't yet thought this out in depth, I feel that I have indeed thought about this question in depth for many decades. And so with this in mind I would like to offer my views on what the concept labeled "God" should mean to us.
When it comes to religious views many theists proclaim that only "Their God" is real. And therefore they claim "Patent Rights" to the very concept of God. Because of this they are likely to totally renounce my abstract definitions of the concept of "God".
I personally do not recognize the authority of their arrogance to claim patent rights on this term. I will define the term "God" below, and the definition I give will cover ALL concepts of God, not matter how arrogantly narrow they might be.
Yes, the following definition for the concept of God is my own. I have tailored this definition after years of contemplating many different claims of what "God" might be. I offer the following definition solely as food for thought, for those who would like to have an understandable abstract meaning of the concept that can apply to all religions, theologies, and even atheism.
My definition defines the "Concept" of God. It does not define what "God" is in any specific details other than as an abstract concept.
The Foundational Dichotomy of Reality:
After many decades of studying the "God Concept" I have come to the following conclusion. There are only two fundamental premises that can be true:
Our reality was not intentionally created by a thinking planning consciousness.
(some may also label this as "Atheism" or "Secularism" etc.) If this is reality, then there is no "God" (by my definition which will be given later)
Our reality was intentionally created by a thinking conscious entity (this is the entity we label as "God").
(we tend to label this line of thinking as "Theism" or "Mysticism")
This concept can be understood whether a God exists or not. Thus making both the concept, and the label, valid in terms of describing a comprehensible idea.
The Second Possible Dichotomy of Reality:
If, and only if, the Foundational Dichotomy of Reality is that a God exists (i.e. there is a conscious awareness behind reality, then we have a Second Possible Dichotomy of Realiy:
This Second Possible Dichotomy of Reality:
If a consciousness exists that has intentionally created our reality there are only two possibilities:
1. This creator consciousness is somehow entirely separate and distinct from us. It has an individuality of its own. A personality, an ego, a well-defined self.
2. This creator consciousness has somehow become manifest as this reality including being us. It is not separate from us at all, but rather we and the creator are one. We are the consciousness that creates the universe or at least we are each individually a part of this greater conscious whole that we call "God".
The first of these is the view taken by many religions like Greek Mythology that imagined a human male character as being the Father God. They named this "God" Zeus. Obviously there are many religions along these lines not the least of which are the Abrahamic religions with their personified Fatherly God who issues commandment, rules, demands, and consequences for disobeying his commands.
The second of these is the view taken by many Eastern Mysticism religions especially like Taoism and many forms of Buddhism. In this view there is no separation between the consciousness that creates reality and us. At least not in the sense of it being a separate entity. There are differences between the consciousness of an individual human and the whole of the consciousness of the cosmos. So this is not to say that each and every individual human is "God" in its entirety, but rather it's just saying that the consciousness that brings reality into existence is fundamental the same consciousness that constitutes our very nature.
And now for my definition of "God" as a meaningful concept
God - the conscious entity behind reality that gives rise to reality.
If there is no conscious entity behind reality that gives rise to reality, then there is no God. Yet it's still a concept that we can understand as an idea and therefore discuss in meaningful ways. God does not need to exist to be a meaningful concept.
This definition also applies to all religions. The only dispute individual religions may have with one another is whether or not God (the conscious foundation of reality) can be separate from us or not. Or rather, it bring up the problem of explaining how our consciousness could be separate from God's consciousness? If that's possible, then perhaps The Foundational Dichotomy of Reality may actually be that there is no need for any consciousness above ours.
In any case, we now have a meaningful abstract definition of the term "God" that is totally independent of any religion or theology, and also retains a comprehensible meaning even if the concept itself has no reality.
There is no need for "God" to exist for this concept to be well-defined and meaningful.
And even though we can define it in a meaningful and comprehensible way it does not automatically follow that we should be able to prove or disprove that this concept exists or not.
We know that we have consciousness, but the questions still remain:
1. Did our consciousness arise from an otherwise secular (i.e. Godless) reality?
2. Did some "Big Daddy Consciousness" create reality including our totally separate and individual consciousnesses?
3. Are we this Creator Consciousness simply having become manifest as a physical world for the purpose of having this conscious experience?
These appear to be unanswerable questions at this time.
Secularists are hoping that science may someday prove #1 to be true.
Theists are hoping that their apologists can prove #2 to be true.
Mystics simply accept that #3 is probably true and just carry on with their lives.