This has probably been mentioned before but it just suddenly crossed my mind. That God could be in theory the Sun.
Think about it, the sun is in the sky and apparently God is too. God is meant to be associated with white, the sun is a very pale yellow ie: close to white, although I've not stared directly into the sun for a closer look as of yet. :P And without the sun we would be inexistent, God created us. Take all that and coupled with the intelligence of people thousands of years ago and you could easily mistake the sun for a "God". Now obviously this if this was proven then it would just show God is just a scientific fact that religion has kindly sugar coated for most people. I do have some theoretical evidence to back me up, the Mayans or Aztecs or both I can't remember which, used to worship the sun. Maybe modern religion is just an evolution of this.
I like what your getting at here. However, I like to consider it the evolution of social thought rather than the physical evolution. You do look really young, its awesome your thinking about this kind of thing already =).
Ok, even if Ra and all other sorts of sun gods have been worshiped before, Alex still forms a pretty good point about how people could have started believing god was the sun and then how the idea of god evolves with man.
* During and after an ice age, people probably understood how important the warmth of the sun was
* Crops die without sunlight
* The sun provided the only light source
* They didn't know anything about it except that it was very important and that without it they'd die quickly
* And someone thought "We better start treating this flaming ball of stuff in the air pretty nice, in case it gets bored and decides to leave"
pamelot: Love the bullet points! Especially the last one, haha. That sounds like reasonable originating influence for a god belief (at least in the culture of primitive man) & probably is how many pre biblical religions began. Even George Carlin joked about worshiping the sun (About 4 minutes in).
But here's the problem I have with arguments like "Could God be the Sun?". I'm not an expert on semantics by any stretch of the imagination, but from my understanding, the word God historically has referred to a fairly specific concept. Some form of supernatural creator/overseer/entity, typically possessing at least some human traits [did god make us in his image or have we arrogantly imagined him in ours?]. These arguments bend over backwards to twist and change the generally accepted meaning of the word God, as created, defined & insisted upon by the institution & practice of religion, into something that no one will refute. Lending credibility to the use of the word and to religion by association. Credibility it does not deserve I think. Similar arguments include, "the universe is god" "god is nature" "god is the common bond between all humans" etc.
The sun exists, we can & have studdied it, we know at least something of it's chemical makeup, the principles of physics that drive it & created it. To primitive people searching for answers but at a loss for a sufficient means of discovering them, they naturally made up something to satisfy the void.
The fact that modern Abrahamic theism most certainly has its roots in the religions that predated it & the customs repurposed or stolen from them isn't news to most atheists. Unfortunately though, this is something that practically all followers of derivative faiths are blissfully & willingly ignorant of. To dare research the topic would jeopardize their blind faith or surely cast them to the pits of hell... Yeah, right.
God is NOT the sun...or the "son" -- don't give me that trinity crap.
Perhaps the sun inspired rather imaginative people to develop the god concept, but the sun is just a star, and "God" as the word is commonly understood is just another myth. Let's not redefine it just so we're more comfortable in keeping it around.
You have a good point Alex, bus it has been proven that some of, if not the earliest belief systems revolved around the sun, water, wind, fire, storms, stars, etc. Understandable as they had no understanding of these things. As religions 'evolved' they got more elaborate and more fitted to OUR culture. If you look at former religions, you can easily see where much of the mythology from the bible is borrowed. And when you examine these ancient stories you see the obvious astronomical symbolism. Just about all of the Christ myth (which is wholly borrowed with the names changed to protect the innocent, lol) was completely based on astronomy and astrology.
But this premise opens another question. Good & bad, day & night, God & Devil... With the likelihood of the sun being the inspiration of god worship. Wouldn't the opposite of god (sun, day, light) be the night, or darkness, of the evening. When you look at the stereotype of of different pagan beliefs and night time and moon light 'rituals'. Perhaps that's part of why Christianity has always seemed to have such a bone to pick with pagans (well, and the fact that they were around before the Christians too).