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If you consider the God of the bible to be real (talking about Christianity), then the existence of God is relevant to you because he can do miracles, change your life for the best, and allow you to experience eternal happiness in heaven. The same thing applies to some or most other similar religions.

However, since there is no real proof of God actually interfering with people’s lives directly and granting certain desires that people might’ve expressed through prayer, and there is no proof to confirm the existence Heaven or Hell, we can safely assume that there are no things such as holy miracles, and there is no eternal life following death.

So if we conclude that God does not perform miracles and does not grant access to eternal life in heaven then what is the point of even considering the existence of God?

If God does not interfere with my life in a way that I can somehow influence, then what is the point of even bothering to think about God? I mean, if he does not influence my life, then he's of no importance to me. And if he does influence my life, but I have no influence over his decisions, then even though he is of some importance to me because he affects my life, is still all random, as I cannot predict or influence how God will act. So why would I bother to consider his existance?

LATER EDIT

As Jon Ericson pointed out below, the view I am describing is Deism. I basically make two assumptions: 1. I reject all religious ideologies. 2. I give credit for the formation of life and the universe to a higher power (God) that by design allows only natural processes to govern creation. (Deism).

Considering the assumptions right, then how is the existence of such a God relevant to me? How can I improve my life by understanding him? If I can only know God through reason and the observation of nature (as deism claims) why would I bother to teach my children about the existence of a God? Why would I not stop my reasoning at saying that the world works by the rules of nature and that is all there is to it. Why would I need to know God in such a case?

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    This seems like a rhetorical question. – MetaEd Nov 18 '11 at 23:31
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    "There is no real proof of God actually interfering with people's lives directly." While this is true in scientific circles, there are people who will disagree with this, which is why your reasoning isn't always followed (i.e., God is very relevant to some people because they definitely do believe he interferes with people's lives). But furthermore God need not interfere with your current life to actually matter; perhaps he interferes with your afterlife and in that way it's still very relevant to us (even if he doesn't affect me now, it's important that I listen to him so I go to heaven). – stoicfury Nov 19 '11 at 1:10
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    I'm having a hard time seeing the philosophical question here. Are you suggesting the notion that "Only things which affect my life in a verifiable way should be 'considered'."? I.E. We shouldn't bother thinking about things which aren't tangible, real, evidence-based? Clearly, that's probably not something you want to maintain. This might be more appropriate for Christianity.SE, although it would likely be instantly closed because they're pretty sensitive over there, no matter how logical or honest you are. For example, your entire ¶2 completely dismisses the Bible… – stoicfury Nov 19 '11 at 1:29
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    A very belated "Welcome to Philosphy.SE!" In some ways, I think you've answered your own question. I actually don't know if there are any living philosophers who hold to the view you are asking about, so you might not find anyone to defend the position. Attacking it is, therefore, akin to knocking down a strawman. (Deism is certainly not accepted by any at Christianity.SE.) – Jon Ericson Nov 21 '11 at 20:25
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    I think you adopt a profiteering and speculative attitude to the deepest existential and philosophical concepts. You do not believe into anything (family, country, religion included) in order to gain or profit from your beliefs. You believe in order to survive mentally and spiritually. Maybe this is irrelevant if you try to judge and balance things on a scale. History teaches however that people who dont carry deep beliefs/ideals as such, live miserable lives. Again, all this in my humble opinion. – p.a. Aug 16 '12 at 9:39
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In the philosophy of religion, the view you are describing is Deism. Your question is a pretty good critique of the position. But that is certainly not the God of either the Bible or of Christianity (in the mainstream).

Most of the religions that believe in one God are classified as monotheism. Christianity, Judiasm and Islam fall under the category of ethical monotheism. Whether or not God does "interfere with my life" is an open question in terms of individual experience, but under these systems of belief the answer is that He does whether we recognize it or not.


I think in the final analysis, Deism will be seen as a temporary stopover on the way to pragmatic atheism, which is far more common among contemporary thinkers. Part of the reason Deism is in decline is that God is no longer seen as a necessary hypothesis to explain the world we live in. People who would have tended to Deism in the past, now lack many of the social and philosophical pressures that required belief in some sort of God (no matter how irrelevant it might be). The God of Deism has largely been replaced by a combination of ideas including the anthropic principle and the many-worlds hypothesis. Deism turns out to be a philosophical dead end.


As a Christian, I would argue that God (and God alone) is worthy of my worship whether or not He does miracles, changes my life for the best, or allows me to experience eternal happiness. That He did this is an undeserved favor to humanity. The standard Christian belief conforms to what Paul of Tarsus once wrote:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

So the orthodox Christian belief is that God did interfere with humanity at least once in human history.

  • Thanks for your comments. It's probably as close to an answer I am going to get. I just want to take the argument a bit further and say this: Consider Deism represents the absolute truth and all other ideologies are wrong in a way or another. Can we dismiss the other ideologies and hold on to deism only? I would assume yes. If so, then how is the God described by deism relevant to me? – Cristian Nov 19 '11 at 10:30
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    @Cristian: I've updated my answer to address your updated question. Your analysis is correct and reflected in current secular thinking about God. – Jon Ericson Nov 21 '11 at 20:16
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    Not worth updating the answer again, but I just ran across this C. S. Lewis quote: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Deism falls into that uncomfortable middle. – Jon Ericson Nov 21 '11 at 20:44
  • "God of Deism has largely been replaced by a combination of ideas including the anthropic principle and the many-worlds hypothesis": are you saying that deism has been replaced by, for lack of a better term, scientific principles (not as religion or faith, but just as what one thinks about when asked philosophically)? – Mitch Nov 21 '11 at 21:27
  • @Mitch: That's the gist of my answer, yes. Stephen Hawking is the direct intellectual descendant of Issac Newton. The former is a positivist who sees no need for the God hypothesis and the later was (probably) a Deist who saw God as the author of the laws of physics. You can read more about Dr. Hawking's philosophical views in The Universe in a Nutshell. – Jon Ericson Nov 21 '11 at 21:53
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The position you describe is indeed the logical outcome of a Deist position, and does not only apply in monotheist situations; Epicurus founded his philosophy from a similar starting point, which can be summarized concisely in the Tetrapharmakos. I don't much care for the translation in the Wikipedia article, but it is enough to get you started.

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Considering the assumptions right, then how is the existence of such a God relevant to me?

You actually cannot say (for sure) that there is no afterlife, as nobody reported that after dying (even though this might be even a good proof for the nonexistence) and therefor you should (in some way) consider an afterlife in which you might be condemned by god for not worshiping him. This problem/way of thinking was already done by Pascal, and he basically pointed out that it is too risky not to believe in god, as you might loose everything if he exist, but not win anything if he doesn't. But he just considered the afterlife in this bet, and did not think about the costs you may have to pay for believing (e.g. limited in your freedom of thinking, spending precious time in church or bible study) during your life on earth.

How can I improve my life by understanding him?

As soon as you start to look at this topic in a scientific way (as you did in your question) I doubt that you will ever get spiritual fulfilled by believing, but you might improve your life, and/or interaction with other people by understanding and studying why people believe, as religion still drives nations and cause wars and conflicts.

If I can only know God through reason and the observation of nature (as deism claims) why would I bother to teach my children about the existence of a God?

If god is known through reason and the observation of nature, then just teaching your children those topics would be enough to teach them how to know God, and you therefore don't need to bother about teaching them the existence as they should recognize it themselves if this argumentation is flawless.

Why would I not stop my reasoning at saying that the world works by the rules of nature and that is all there is to it. Why would I need to know God in such a case?

In the early ages (Stoneage/ancient Egypt) a God (or multiple Gods) represented things people were not able to understand e.g. the sun or lightnings. As human science developed God developed as he no longer represents natural happenings, but some kind of creator which created the whole cycle we are living in, and supplies an easy answer why everything is how it is.

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    Welcome to Philosphy.SE! I've edited your answer to fix the link (see the FAQ). Feel free to edit your answer to point the link where you want it to go. – Jon Ericson Nov 21 '11 at 20:21
  • Pascal's argument assumes that God, if she exists, behaves in the way that Pascal believes she should behave. – gnasher729 Nov 25 '16 at 16:08
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this might sound a bit blasphemic and a roundabout way but at the moment it is my best effort to answer your question.

For all intents and purposes, I believe the concept of God should have some relativity to it. For example, the scientist conducting an experiment, be that a serious one or just a failed primary school science experiment is relatively "God-like" compared to the beings in the petri dish or test tubes.

Thus, at least if I was God, our human universe was created to solve what God him/her/itself cannot solve yet. My analogy to this would be the Cancer scientist are the God to the cells that they are experimenting on. In broad, you could fall into 3 categories, the cells that do not show any reaction, the cells that successfully repel the cancer cells, or the ones that destroy everything. Since I personally believe that there is already statistically more human who are close to "bad", I would try and also encourage you to be on the "good" side as God sees fit and thus hopefully be preserved in the so called "afterlife" or God's version of cryogenic storage of the sort.

Please feel free to comment on my answer but I kindly ask a tiny bit more of tolerance since I am not an expert.

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In the case there is a God who created the universe, but does not play an active role in the universe post-creation, why try to understand that God?

This is analogous to the question "in the case the universe began with a Big Bang, but that Big Bang event was unique and will never occur again, then why try to understand it?"

In either case, the answer is that knowing the origins of the universe can presumably be a source of insight into understanding the nature and characteristics of the universe.

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I think that many people misunderstand the idea that is being stated here, though I do realize the possibility that I may be the one who is misunderstanding. If that is the case, then I apologize.

My idea is similar, but not the same and I hope you will see what I mean after reading.

However, I beg you to read what I have to say and think over exactly what it means to you and what effect it could have on your life. I ask of you not to only read the very beginning of what I have to say and let that insult you because it disagrees with or contradicts a system of beliefs or values that you have established.

Please and thank you.

The idea that I have to present to you is this: It is of a certainty that there is either one or many gods or no god at all. It is also of a certainty that there either is or there isn't a purpose for our lives and reason for our world to exist. Of course these things are certain. All that I have stated is that things either are one way or they aren't that way.

What I'd like to present is the idea that perhaps none of that matters. Perhaps it does not matter if there is a god or indeed many gods, or quite possibly even no god. It really is of no relevance if there is a life after this one or if at the moment of death a person simply stops existing other than as the deteriorating physical remains of their body.

I know that many readers will likely consider this thought a terrible thing, and there is a good chance many people will stop reading now in disgust. Again, I ask you, keep reading. I do not think that you will regret it.

Let us suppose for a moment that there is one greater being; one god. Let us now talk about a hypothetical individual, simply for the sake of increasing our understanding. We shall call this individual Jim.

Now, let’s say that Jim lived a life according to the teachings of the God, and he has now come to his judgment. If the God is a benevolent God, then Jim will logically be rewarded for his life’s work. If the God is a malicious God then it seems logical that Jim could be punished even though he did what he was told. If the God is relatively indifferent or distant from humanity, then it probably wouldn't matter what kind of life Jim lived, his judgment could conceivably go either way.

Now, I know that most people don’t accept or even want to consider the possibility of an indifferent or malicious God, but please keep an open mind. This should all come together.

Okay, back to Jim. Let’s suppose now that Jim lived a terrible life. A benevolent God might give him a process of repentance, or simply punish him for his actions. A neutral God could likely do just about anything. And a malicious God could punish as well, or possibly reward for being such a negative factor in others’ lives.

Finally, if Jim’s life was rather extraordinary or uneventful, he really sat the fence then this also would logically change his judgment. A benevolent God would almost certainly not punish him, but might give him some path that he must follow to achieve “salvation”. A neutral God could, again go either way. And a malicious God would again be malicious in judgment.

If we change the situation and there are multiple Gods doing the judging, then the potential outcomes are, essentially, the same. You just have to consider the majority of the gods or their power instead of a single God.

Our last potential situation is that there are no gods to judge Jim. When he dies, he is dead, and that is the end. Whatever events took place in his life, they are the sole reward for his actions. Religious belief systems that incorporate no Gods, but allow for reincarnation are very similar as your reward is simply the direct result of your actions in perfect justice.

So here is what we can draw from this: a benevolent life is most likely to lead to a good reward, and on the small chance that it does not, at least the earthly rewards of a good life are present (almost certainly more reward than any other kind of life in the same circumstances). A neutral life is likely to gain, well, neutral reward. And an evil life would logically lead to an undesirable reward under most foreseeable possibilities for judgment or reward.

So then, does it really matter what exists beyond this life? Is that really something important to us?

If we live a good life, then we are logically more likely to receive a more desirable reward than any other way of living. And the less well that we live our lives the less positive our reward is likely to be. For even if your only reward is the life that you lived, the life that is lived better is more rewarding.

I think this was originally the idea that Buddha was trying to present: that circumstances beyond our understanding are just that. Beyond our understanding. So it is really no use to stress about them, or to try to shape our lives around them. Instead, it is simply best to live our lives as well as we can based on the simple, logical things that we can deduce.

So, now that you have read what I have to say, I want you to ask yourself: does it really matter what happens when your life comes to an end? Or should you just strive to do the best that you can, based on what you know, on a daily basis?

Thank you for reading.

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Before I answer, I summarise your key questions as follows:

  1. Is there a creator/god who created us and the universe
  2. Does he influence our life
  3. Can we influence his decisions that affect us?

I answer this question only based on my collective experiences which have helped me validate my so called beliefs. Having said that, there is no way I can prove it to you, unless you experience the same yourself.

To tell you a little about my belief, I practice Jainism which worships tirthankars, who take responsibility of creating a system where by souls of the universe can get rid of their sufferings and achieve infinite peace or enlightenment. But tirthankars do not claim to be creators of the universe or of other beings but state that the universe has always been and was never created and can also never be destroyed, ditto for the souls that pervade it. Likewise, they also do not take responsibility of our happiness or sadness, success or failure and the like,, but certainly explain its cause and also the path and techniques to not only achieve true happiness but also resolve practical problems in life. Tirthankars are enlightened souls that strive to make other souls enlightened and perfect and free from all sufferings just like them. Lord mahavir was the last tirthankar lived in around 550 bc. Lord parshwanath, the 23rd tirthankar lived 100 years before mahavir and gave "all" information about the future birth of the next tirthankar(tirthankars are capable of seeing the past, the present and predicting future with 100 percent accuracy) (you may refer translation of jain scriptures, search google for shrimad uttaradhayana sutra, kalpa sutra, dashvaikalik, to name a few. Please note - interpretations may vary and also their accuracy). How I can confirm it to be true? The system created by the 24th tirthankar is present till date along with many of his sermons in form of Scriptures. How do I confirm that what is given in the Scriptures is the ultimate and indisputable truth?

For one, I have not read all his scriptures. Two, different people have different interpretations of the same parts of the scriptures. Despite the above , there are certain practices that I follow in daily life that are nothing short of miracle, but in essence are a science as explained in the scripts. These techniques are not available to the rest of the world, but will hopefully reach more people with globalization. To narrate one of the regular events in my life, whenever Im in doubt about which path to take a or b or c or d, I simply ask tirthankar parmatma and connect with his divine energy and get the correct answer to the question. The correctness is revealed after the situation is resolved. This assures me of his presence and his powers and influence on my life.

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It can help like this:

  1. If God exists (the Biblical God as you mention), then there are certain conditions for you to be in harmony with God, a presumably beneficial condition for your life path.

  2. If those conditions aren't met, then the consequences are documented to you beforehand, and they are dire.

  3. It helps to be true rather than false in life.

I see you've been taken by the Christians who conflate Jesus with God. You mustn't allow this. The Jews, who know the language of God, do not accept Jesus as God and that is significant. The Christian idea of everything in the Bible being the word of God is nonsense and has created several schisms in the journey of Man. It was very clear in the Commandments, for example, that we were to erect no false idols (like the crucifixion) or put anyone before God. Since Jesus didn't exist then, then this commandment is unambiguous and important to understanding to how to receive understanding about Jesus. Putting faith in Jesus has denied Christians receiving any revelations whatsoever. Their theology hasn't engaged since Luther. They have made themselves, effectively, robots for Jesus, while they act flagrantly against the commandments, seeking out and killing people ("Let he who has not sinned fire the first bullet").

The only explanation for this is Satan himself.

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The position you outline is a Deist one, effectively equivalent to identifying God with the Big Bang + the Anthropic Principle, so atheism. I am going to advocate instead, agnosticism.

Religions are not primarily cosmologies, and it is a mistake to judge them on their merits at this. Rebirth, at least as interpreted in the Buddhist tradition, is very similar to Rawls' theory of justice, we don't know where we will end up so try to ensure fairness & opportunity for all. Greek mythology can be understood as quite sophisticated psycology. Confucianism has enabled one of the most stable cultures in history.

Religious practice emerges and is evolved, as metis, as a kind of canny synergy of ideas about the world, festivals and community activities, and of one generation or even era trying to pass on insights. Above all, religions are about lived values. https://aeon.co/ideas/whence-comes-nihilism-the-uncanniest-of-all-guests

So, the deist instrumentalist position, God isn't going to serve me so why serve God, misses the point. God is a manifestation as an idea, of what a culture felt was needed - as Voltaire put it "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." This was for an era without police, or cctv. The sense of being watched, and that you would be held to account worked for many cultures, whether they pictured Osiris, Yama, or Yahweh. Again literalism misses the point, feeling accountable makes a better society - so that will be a kind of judgement, that sincerely belief would improve the future of ('God's plan').

Atheism, and Deism, come to the quick literal of religious ideas. But things like karma, understood properly can be more true than the 'Robinson Crusoeism' of a lot of modern thought, the Cartesian idea of an isolated thinker in a realm of pure logic who inherits nothing. Karma is more true than that, and we should take ot seriously in the history of ideas to at least the same extent.

Buddhism is an agnostic religion. Buddha teaches even Brahman, the Hindu 'ultimate reality' equivalent to supreme deity, how to deal with the same problems we face as humans (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html). Gods may exist, they may even intervene in our lives, but in the end cannot save us from ourselves, that is necessarily something we must each address for ourselves. Clear insight and understanding are held more important than any power.

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