Hello Bob, I wonder would you mind elucidating these points a little further which you made here:

Similarly, for me, God is a useful idea.  There are communities of people who study and talk about God.  Just like with energy, there's a whole, vast literature about God, some of it pretty firm, some of it more speculative, a lot of it hard for outsiders to understand without extensive study.

We had recently mentioned opening a separate discussion on what your understanding of God is. I am an ex-Catholic and having grown up in Ireland and lived here for over 40 years I thought I knew all about what a Catholic believed. However I have no understanding of what your definition of God is. I have no problem understanding what you mean when discussing Physics but I am lost when it comes to figuring out what you mean by “God”. Anytime we have asked you to explain you appear to avoid the question by the use of analogies as to how Science works. That might not be as you see it but it does appear that way to me.

 “God is a useful idea” is the same (to my ears) as saying “God is a concept”. An idea is abstract and subjective. The idea of God is an idea. The concept of God is a concept. To me, it does not seem that you belief in a “real” God but rather in the idea of one. This also seems strange to me as you have a very clear understanding of scientific concepts and I cannot “get” how you can and also maintain that “God” is still useful to answer the bigger questions.

I understand all the ontological arguments from Anselm to WL Craig on one hand and Big Bang Cosmology to Quantum Mechanics (which nobody understands :-)) on the other but I don’t want to go down the road of Science vs. Religion until we get to grips with what your actual beliefs are, if that's ok with you.

So would you mind defining what (or who) God is to you and what your basic beliefs are?

Note: anyone can join this discussion but let’s aim to stay focused on the nature of belief.

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I believe "something" exists and we can give "it" a name and if we can make predictions about "it's" behavior. We measure energy by the work it does over time and have predicted the results to incredible accuracy innumerable times in innumerable ways. Yes, we know very much about many forms of energy and what it does and we are learning more every day.

No, of course something does not has to be directly "physically visible" (as is the case with energy or god) to exist or be understood.

Give us one example of a testable prediction related to your god and watch atheism and every other religion crumble. 

No, of course something does not has to be directly "physically visible" (as is the case with energy or god) to exist or be understood.

Then we agree.  As long as by not "physically visible" you mean unable to be observed or measured by any means, and for which there is no evidence.   I like that you used "believe" to describe energy, the same way we use "believe" to describe God.

Apropos of some current issues in modern America, my faith's social teachings which are rooted in the Old Testament prophets are quite clear about what will happen to people and societies which "deprive the needy of judgment, robbing my people's poor of justice."  Similarly, in discussions of the minimum wage, "woe to him who works his neighbors without pay, and gives them no just wage."

Isaiah I think did better than some modern business schools.

No. Again...as Reg pointed out earlier with his example in explaining gravity...you are confusing historical belief in an unfalsifiable concept (the woo-concept of energy) with our modern understanding of energy (theory of energy) in which we try to improve the reliability of our accuracy of our understanding of it. They could not possibly be any more different and are hardly related at all...and you know that.

Hi @Davis,

Can you explain what you think our "modern understanding of energy" is?

Yeah. I could type out a five page summary. But then you yourself know what our modern understanding of energy is so what would be the point. Maybe we can skip that and you can get to your point?

I also find it pretty rich that you're asking for a modern understanding of energy when you practically refuse to tell us anything about your ridiculous superstitious beliefs.

I'm actually interested in what you think our modern understanding of energy is, because I don't think it comports with what I would say as a physicist.

I agree with you that energy is a complex and very subtle concept, and should not be dismissed simply because grade school and high school texts and most humans portray it simplistically. 

But then I would also say the same thing about God.

Tell you what...why don't we start up a discussion about energy. As a physicist I'm sure your understanding about it is far more sophisticated than most of ours. We'll probably learn a lot. And if it turns out that energy isn't an implicit concept then I suppose we will have enough intellectual integrity to agree with you...in which case...as rational skeptics we will totally and utterly admit that any conversation about it will be highly speculative and without much meaning (just like God).

In the mean time...how about you give us a single reason why we should bother listening about what you have to say about a God that you refuse to describe or define...on an atheist website?

In the mean time...how about you give us a single reason why we should bother listening about what you have to say about a God that you refuse to describe or define...on an atheist website?

@Davis, I'm not here to evangelize or otherwise try to convince anyone to become theists.  Personally, I think that would be inappropriate because this is an atheist community and I'm only an occasional guest.  So I honestly don't care if you bother listening to me at all.  Is there some reason I should?

I drop by occasionally when I have a bit of time (usually between semesters or while stuck on an airplane) just to offer a different perspective, from the point of view of a Christian who doesn't fit into the shallow straw-man caricatures of theists frequently presented here.  If listening to other perspectives is valuable to you, then listen.  If that's not something you value, then don't.  I promise I'm not upset either way.

Bob says:

"It's an invisible, unmeasurable, unprovable thing."

Sounds like the Christian's definition of doG.

However energy is real, we have made energy our bitch, which is why we can communicate via computers...ain't science grand?

Bob, maybe if we look at your use of analogies from a different perspective.

If you were giving a group of students a lecture on (say) Gravity would it go something like this?

…and to recap…..Aristotle’s ideas about the motion of objects was flawed because he did not understand the concept of the attraction of objects due to their mass. Forces acted upon each other even if no contact between them was made. Newton moved the idea further along with his understanding of Force and Mass and the universal Gravitational constant. Einstein stood on their shoulders and realised that time and space are interwoven and that massive objects distort this fabric of space-time with his theory. It is like the way we grow to know God. When we are young ours ideas are a bit like Aristotle’s but as we grow in faith we can appreciate the beauty of Einstein’s ideas. So really what we are doing when we study Science is that we are discovering the beauty of the Universe as God reveals it to us through Science.

No, Bob, I cannot hear you say this to anyone. Yet when we are discussing the nature of religious belief or debunking theistic based explanations for natural phenomena you will do the above in reverse and try to explain to us where we are wrong with the use of a science based analogy rather than directly address the point made.

You would not say (would you?) that a photon acting on an electron and therefore causing it to move position is like how God operates. You know, we can’t actually see him but we can observe his presence because we feel moved by the light he shines on us.

You would say (to us Atheists) when we say that there is no evidence for your God that is like Energy that cannot be measured but you know it is present because you can feel its heat. That never addresses the point of our argument. So rather than using the analogy just explain where there is evidence for your God or at least tell us where we are wrong.

Explain to us why we are wrong for not believing in (your) God in a straightforward manner with no theological padding. Why Bob do you believe in the existence of your God?

I hope my point is made. I must brush up on my use of analogies!!

No, Bob, I cannot hear you say this to anyone.

Why not? I sort of liked that.

@Reg:

I'm looking forward to Bob's answer, he is a bright guy and should be able to articulate an answer.

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