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theo logos - talk about God, God talk. Usually, the Christian version of God is implied.




"If I were able to define "neutral", I might have demonstrated that it existed.  So I cannot define it, but I can attempt to try and say what I think others describe when they use the word.  Dictionary.com [defines] it (under one definition) as "Belonging to neither side in a controversy".  However, rather cleverly, the Wikipedia people don't attempt to argue that it is possible to "belong to neither side in a controversy" because they recognise that they are not attempting to "belong to neither side", but instead to "summarise fairly".  I like the self-critique displayed in the paragraph beginning... "If there's anything possibly contentious about the policy along these lines, it is the implication that it is possible to characterize disputes fairly...".  And the self-critique ought not to stop there... Likewise, if I were able to define "God", I might have demonstrated that God existed, and thus that which I had demonstrated would not be God.  So the task of the theologian ought to be to affirm with atheists that what is frequently called "God" is not accurately so."  --AR, from discussion on WikiEtiquette
That's an intriguing idea at the end there. I hereby define an invisible purple unicorn as an imperceptible purple horse with a horn. Does this mean one now exists? Or am I misunderstanding what you mean? - MoonShadow
You're misrepresenting me slightly I think because I said that if I were able to define the word "God", I only might have demonstrated that God existed.  Of course, theologians have to try and define the word "God" or we'd have to be silent (which is necessary too).  All that I'm saying is that we have to live in the knowledge that our definitions of God rely upon their constantly being negated if we are to avoid idolatry.  I don't know whether in fact an imperceptible purple unicorn now exists if you define it, because I'm not presuming anything already about invisible purple unicorns.  When I speak about God, I am having to make certain presumptions.  I cannot fail to do so because I don't speak for me, but for a community who demonstrate God in their communal life.  I am presuming that if you succeed in defining God, what you have would not be God, because God simply cannot be defined, only revealed.  Incidentally, read all this with a large "I think" sign on it...  I'm thinking as I go along, and I dislike this kind of discussion, primarily because people think that it is possible to speak about "God" in the abstract, and have everybody in the discussion share a meaning.  I don't think that at all.  I think that we learn what "God" means, and we learn to speak of Him who is so named, and that involves a community, a Church.  When I say "God", I am always implicitly naming the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Now I realise that perhaps that might look like a Christian take-over of the word "God", but I want you to know that I cannot speak of the word "God" other than in a way that is intelligible to Christian communities.  If I manage to do so, then those communities would no longer be able to claim me, and I would be a useless non-theologian.  I would not want to stop a Muslim using the word "God", but I do not think I am saying the same thing as the Muslim who does so. --AR
This POV is actually reminding me a *lot* of zen. Theologians seem a bit like tiger fur smugglers - their job is to talk about something that they don't believe can be talked about. - MoonShadow
Possibly showing that whatever flavour of enlightenment you subscribe to, it's still enlightenment? --Requiem



I don't understand much of AR's paragraph, but I agree with this bit: "So the task of the theologian ought to be to affirm with atheists that what is frequently called "God" is not accurately so." I sometimes want to say to atheists, "Tell me about the God you don't believe in - odds are I don't believe in him either!" --AlexChurchill

He's anything that could be described as a self-conscious individual, for me :) But I understand what you mean. Many atheists seem to have a very skewed and negative idea of God, and what religous people believe. A small but vocal minority... -- Xarak

I entirely agree with Alex here.  The same is said by DenysTurner?, who is a professor at the Cambridge DivFac?.  He wrote a chapter in a book about exactly that.  I believe the chapter is entitled "how to be an atheist". --AR



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