I thought this was quite the interesting thought. I was gonna write this
as a response to one of a other discussions, but thought that I'd like
to get a bigger audience in on this one.
Many, if not all, good atheist believe that God simply does not exist. But I beg to ask the question: "If he doesn't exist and nothing in creation lends to the existence of God, why do we have so many thoughts about God? Are not our thoughts shaped by our environment? If our environment does not support the existence of a God, why do so many of us rule him into the equation? Is it that we are inclined to desire a god. Are we naturally inclined to think about one irrespective of our environment?"
The light bulb was created based on something that already existed, light! So I imagine Ben Franklin was inspired by the sun. Even the delusional has inspiration of thoughts based on things that exist. So why do we think about God if he doesn't even exist?
Bah! Such imagination and theory. And we'll probably never know the entire story, because we can't go back there to measure the big bang. Arrogant scientists and their dogma!
Oh no, wait. It's not actually written in stone, is it? These scientific ideas are NOT dogma? It's open to discussion and correction and refinement, and it's not all to be taken literally? So how does one really know the truth when it's all just theory? How can we build rocket ships to go to the moon, or cure diseases caused by invisible microbes, or design circuits based on invisible electrons? What contradictions! Is NOTHING in infallible black and white, pure, absolute terms any more? Help!
@Trevauhn: After reading through some of your recent replies to this thread I think you are under some illusion that the abrahamic god is the only one that people have worshipped.
Religion begins with early man ascribing human qualities to various elements of the natural world - animals, fire, lightning, etc. These would not have been thought of as gods and certainly not the work of a singular deity. However, due to a lack of understanding of natural laws these things take on mystical, unknown qualities in an attempt to explain them.
It is a leap, but not an unimaginable one, for these "spirits" to take on more and more meaning in the lives of primitive tribes until they become the aspects of the earliest gods. Once again, note the pluralistic nature of it - there is no evidence to suggest that early man conceived of a singular supernatural explanation for this.
In fact monotheism is a relatively recent invention and, given the nature of the various montheistic faiths that developed around the same time, it can easily be viewed as an attempt to consolidate power or control by certain individuals.
Nothing in this brief history requires divine revelation. It nothing more than the evolution of man as a communal animal, first trying to explain the world in which he lives, and later exerting control over his fellows.
@Matt...sir I am not so naive as to think that. When God called Abram out of his father's house; one reason was to separate Abram from the idolatry his father practiced. So no I don't think that Abram's God was the first to be worshiped. What I do believe is God inspired other humans to redefine the culture. There was already animal sacrifice to the sun god, moon god, etc. So instead of throwing out their entire system and sacrificing his son, God redefined what they already knew and added faith. So instead of sacrificing any old animal, it was required that they sacrifice their first and their best. And as a result of doing so he would grant forgiveness of sins. Which would allow them blessings...of course there is more history to be added, but i'll stop for now.
None of that mythology comes any closer to providing an answer to your original question. You have asked, essentially, whether it is possible for mankind to conceive of god without any kind of divine revelation. We have answered your question, several times over, with numerous examples of how it could happen.
Citing supernatural explanations for something that has a perfectly natural origin will not win you any discussions or debates.
I will not be participating in this discussion any further.
The inspiration for god is obviously mommy and daddy. Every human has a primal experience with a being greater than ourselves who appears to us as supernatural during our first experience of consciousness, our mothers. During infancy moms provide everything that religious adults attribute to gods. As we grow, our mothers diminish in stature and become mere mortals. For some of us, dads may eclipse mom and acquire a supernatural aura. Dad may provide a model for god for a time, after mom's turn is done. Then dad too diminishes and becomes mortal. We may elevate a few more people to godlike status as we continue to develop as a person, but mostly they all get smaller with time and leave a hole. This natural development of consciousness is traumatic for most humans, and leaves a void in their psyches, a void ready to be filled with a cleverly evolved belief system that soothes their troubled emotions.
This is why we think about gods. We really just want our mommies.
Well sir, if we elevated mommy and daddy to God like status, would we ever seek to become better than them. Wouldn't we slip further and further back in our understanding. If mommy and daddy is the ultimate level to reach, we would never seek to reach beyond them. My first reason why: reaching beyond would require more effort and impede on our comfort. On the other hand, I believe God builds us with a conviction to reach beyond our parents.
Unless you make the argue for evolution's natural selection. Where we actually seek to out do our parents so that we might survive. But then our models for god wouldn't be parents, it would be our own ambitions.
Why are you looking for a better reason to "conjure up God" than to conjure up Zeus, or other mythical being? Ask why not. Why not conjure up/invent a being that seems much like Man?
Wow, have to read a lot of comments here before trying to add something constructive. Thanks to Ava, James, Matt, and others for mentioning that deities were invented over time, and evolved throughout human history. I think it's not appreciated enough how many thousands of years it took to define God, and even today there are different versions. It did NOT just happen "out of the blue". Gods of nature and spirits of ancestors probably existed long before these concepts could even be written down or spread by word of mouth. They too are great examples of Man's ability to conjure up spirits and gods that didn't ever exist in reality.
it would seem to me that you are arguing absolute objectivity. That we can separate ourselves from our experiences and come up with something totally original. And I doubt that very much. We believe we have limited objectivity but not full.
This makes no sense to me. What do you think is so special about your concept of God that (say) a brilliant writer couldn't make up?
I'd also like to submit that we can be incredibly imaginative and gullible at the same time. I remember having dreams of surreal but real-feeling quality. It's not unusual for self-proclaimed prophets to eloquently explain their "profound" dream, and people just eat it up as something magical or profound. Under the right coincident circumstances, it's not always a big leap to invent a totally irrational explanations for these "mystical" experiences.
My not god...why not make humans to be the ultimate being to ever live. Why didn't the past humans take destiny into their own hands, instead of passing to a deity. Was it simply an inferiority complex? Or is there a possibility that we are built with the ability to recognize Sovereignty to some extent. Not to over use the Eskimo example but, humans usually produce after their experiences. So why have humans produced God after seeing creation. I propose that there is something within creation that actually does speak about God. And we have the ability to recognize that. An Eskimo isn't built to recognize a tree without prior knowledge, but he would recognize God in an ice storm. Simply because he lives in the created order which speaks of God and he is a human who is built to recognize. So that is my point in this whole thing.