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Old 08-02-2013, 06:23 PM   #51
Flyndaran
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Default Re: What a "god"?

The problem, of course, is that religious concepts have little to nothing to do with observable reality. That means things like god, spirit, soul, etc. are not truly translatable.
The most we can do is create our own setting specific definitions.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:45 PM   #52
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
The problem, of course, is that religious concepts have little to nothing to do with observable reality. That means things like god, spirit, soul, etc. are not truly translatable.
The most we can do is create our own setting specific definitions.
Just because you, Flyn, either do not observe these things or cannot make sense of what you observe does not mean that no one else can or has done.


I do agree that culture-bound or setting -specific definitions for 'gods' are useful.
But why stop with what you call 'religious concepts'? We could have a long debate about the meanings or proper usage of all sorts of words, whether they refer to physical objects, human actions, abstract concepts, and so on. In fact, such arguments have come up pretty often. Remember when you disagreed with people about what 'theft' meant?

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Old 08-02-2013, 07:02 PM   #53
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Any sufficiently advanced thaumaturgy is indistinguishable from deism?
Gods don't have to play by our petty rules. With things like reality quakes, modern actions can ripple through time to have made them always exist.
I'm definitely down with some sweet, sweet reality quake action.



Wizrobes masquerading as gods is also cool.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:03 PM   #54
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
The problem, of course, is that religious concepts have little to nothing to do with observable reality. That means things like god, spirit, soul, etc. are not truly translatable.
The most we can do is create our own setting specific definitions.
Religious concepts have to do with human social interaction which is an observable reality. Even positing materialism, they have at least as much reality as "state", "corporation","money","internet" etc. Or as much reality as "elf", "dwarf", "werebeast", etc. All of whom have their own associations.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:42 PM   #55
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Just because you, Flyn, either do not observe these things or cannot make sense of what you observe does not mean that no one else can or has done.


I do agree that culture-bound or setting -specific definitions for 'gods' are useful.
But why stop with what you call 'religious concepts'? We could have a long debate about the meanings or proper usage of all sorts of words, whether they refer to physical objects, human actions, abstract concepts, and so on. In fact, such arguments have come up pretty often. Remember when you disagreed with people about what 'theft' meant?
That was a simple dictionary difference between theft and stealing, not really a conceptual one.
But the fact that no one can definitively prove religious concepts and that no two cultures share them is close enough to them not existing as fully translatable for the context of this thread.
God is not as universal a concept as taking something that doesn't belong to you whatever you may call that.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:48 PM   #56
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Religious concepts have to do with human social interaction which is an observable reality. Even positing materialism, they have at least as much reality as "state", "corporation","money","internet" etc. Or as much reality as "elf", "dwarf", "werebeast", etc. All of whom have their own associations.
Vague terms such as those in which nearly everyone has their own unique definition are good similar examples. What is and isn't an elf? Do we go back to the linguistic origins, or try for what modern audiences expect?
Legolas, Puck, Santa's helpers, or Keebler?
I don't think it's possible to create a definition of Elf or god that most would agree on.
I'm not knocking anyone trying to do it. But I think it would be just as much fun to create working definitions for specific settings.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:16 PM   #57
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Of course. But the OP asked for a definition. .
"What can the gods be (in a game)" is not actually a request for a definition.
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Old 08-03-2013, 10:23 AM   #58
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Vague terms such as those in which nearly everyone has their own unique definition are good similar examples. What is and isn't an elf? Do we go back to the linguistic origins, or try for what modern audiences expect?
Legolas, Puck, Santa's helpers, or Keebler?
I don't think it's possible to create a definition of Elf or god that most would agree on.
I'm not knocking anyone trying to do it. But I think it would be just as much fun to create working definitions for specific settings.
But the point was that rejecting human social tropes as undefinable simply because you believe them to have no existence outside of humanity is unwarranted. The creations of human minds exist in their minds. Once they are communicated to others they become more sharply defined if perhaps still vague, by the necessity of communication. Gods of course by virtue of their influence on society have not merely literary existence but at least as much existence as states. The fact that humans think them to exist and operate as if they exist makes them at least legal fictions if they do not have independent personalities.

In a way you are sounding like Cordelia's claim that Vor do not exist. Vor exist because Vor claim themselves to exist, because everyone on Barrayar accepts the claim and even Komarrans accept it enough to rebel against it, and that being the case galactics must accept that vor exist. Likewise if gods don't exist as individuals, they exist because poets chant to them and priests sacrifice to them and they alter the existence of society as I note writing this on Saturn's day instead of Frey's day, Thor's day, or Odin's day.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:31 AM   #59
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Default Re: What a "god"?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
That was a simple dictionary difference between theft and stealing, not really a conceptual one.
But the fact that no one can definitively prove religious concepts and that no two cultures share them is close enough to them not existing as fully translatable for the context of this thread.
God is not as universal a concept as taking something that doesn't belong to you whatever you may call that.
No person can definitely prove that he exists, either.
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #60
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Default Re: What a "god"?

Every human culture has mythology, gods of some sort, religion, and so on....whatever you may call that.
:)
At the risk of sounding like one of those post-modern hipsters; if you are trying to reduce the concept of 'theft' to a brute fact instead of a cultural construct, I don't think it can be done.
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