Tuesday, July 15, 2008

on sofa cushions

An exchange on sofa cushions at the atheists meetup message board:
JD: Anne, what would you say about the position taken by the fictional character of 'Nicky' in this fictional dialogue?

Nicky: I think you should know that I'm sitting on God.
Jerry: What do you mean?
Nicky: This sofa cushion. It's God.
Jerry: But God isn't a sofa cushion!
Nicky: I'm telling you that this sofa cushion is God.
Jerry: You're not telling me that that sofa cushion created the Universe!
Nicky: No, of course not.
Jerry: But you just said that that sofa cushion is God!
Nicky: That's right. It is.
Jerry: But God created the Universe!
Nicky: Don't be silly. How could a sofa cushion create the Universe?
Jerry: You're not making any sense!

full post

anne: I would say that he (or she) has his (or her) buttocks positioned on a sofa cushion.

If I were in Jerry's place I would simply accept that the sofa cushion is God and leave it at that.

Where Nicky says "Don't be silly. How could a sofa cushion create the Universe?" I think he (or she) is the one being silly for surely a sofa cushion can indeed create the Universe. That being said, Nicky is entitled to his (or her) opinion on the matter and again, if I were in Jerry's place I would leave it at that.

from this page

Ansgar: The interesting question is, why so much value is attached to the word "God". Anne said in another thread, that the "word god is god". If you look at the link that Anne provided to process theism, it is mentions explicitly that it disagrees in almost every aspects with how theists view god.But for some reason they are able let go of the every aspect that defines the word "god", but not of the word "god", itself. That is to say the least interesting.

Some scientists when canvassing these issues of philosophical theology may prefer to call themselves 'agnostics' rather than 'atheists' because they have been over impressed by a generalised philosophical scepticism or by a too simple understanding of Popper's dictum that we can never verify a theory but only refute it. Such a view would preclude us from saying quite reasonably that we know that the Sun consists largely of hydrogen and helium. When we say 'I know' we are saying something defeasible. If later we discover that though what we said was at the time justified, it nevertheless turned out to be false, we would say 'I thought I knew but I now see that I didn't know'. Never or hardly ever to say 'I know' would be to deprive these words of their usefulness, just as the fact that some promises have to be broken does not deprive the institution of promising of its legitimacy.

source: Atheism and Agnosticism @ Stanford

The one thing binding atheists to theists is the word "God". Neither group can get enough of this word.

I love God. I am God. I know God. I love the word "God" like Romeo loves the word "Juliet".

But as Rumi put it:

Believer, unbeliever, cynic, lover,
all combine in the spirit-form we are,

but no one yet is awake like Shams.

So it's also true that ...

I hate God. I reject God. I place my buttocks firmly onto God. I insist that I and God are separate and apart. And while I, my buttocks and my sofa cushion all quite clearly exist, poor God is not so blessed. Though given that life is such shit, perhaps God is the fortunate one after all.

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