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25/11/08 - Ed's journal
If you believe in God, but your definition is sufficiently different from that of another person (for the sake of argument, lets say they're actively practising a monotheistic faith), does there come a point at which your use of the term becomes incorrect? And where is that boundary?


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stgpcm From: stgpcm Date: November 25th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, but theirs might ;)
mavnn From: mavnn Date: November 25th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Incorrect or confusing? There are many words that require clarification to have real meaning in a particular conversation, both religious (church, for example has at least 3 I can think of) and not (pretty much any technical mathematical term has a separate and distinct meaning meaning in normal English use).

So I might well feel that someone is incorrect in what their idea of God is, but I wouldn't call it incorrect for them to use the word God to describe that idea.
From: linamishima Date: November 25th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's why I'm Ignostic - without a coherent definition of 'God', any statements regarding the existance or otherwise of one are essentially meaningless.
thepsion5 From: thepsion5 Date: November 25th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess it's all how you define God. Personally, I believe in a higher power but not a singular being that personally listens to all of our prayers, etc. If I had to say anything I'd say that the universe, collectively, is divine. I associate more with
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] deism</a>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

I guess it's all how you define God. Personally, I believe in a higher power but not a singular being that personally listens to all of our prayers, etc. If I had to say anything I'd say that the universe, collectively, is divine. I associate more with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deist"Deism</a> than any monotheistic religion.
thepsion5 From: thepsion5 Date: November 25th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I fail at linking. :(

mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: November 25th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm increasingly of the view that talking about 'religion' as a grouping is more misleading than not. Probably 'Christianity' too.
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: November 25th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Faith is very personal; there is no right or wrong, just what is right for you.
jorune From: jorune Date: November 25th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would you care to clarify your use of the word incorrect in your posting, if you now believe that 'your use of the term is now incorrect' implies the opinion holder has changed their mind. Do you have any examples to illustrate the point?
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: November 25th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
If one schizophrenic sees green aliens walking across the ceiling and another argues they are purple, is either one wrong?
ed_fortune From: ed_fortune Date: November 26th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Not sure what that has to do with the price of beans, unless you're and implying that a certain way of thinking is a mental illness. (And gosh, that's a dangerous road to travel down.)

I shoved my thoughts on faith here ages ago to save time.

Edited at 2008-11-26 10:53 am (UTC)
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: November 26th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I was in a crappy mood last night and my comment was a bit stupid. It didn't even express whatever it was that I was trying to express.

Religion is such a personal, subjective thing that the term 'god' means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and very little at all to some. I think the word can be useful and relevant, but the key to using it is to know how different people/audiences will interpret it when used. I don't think it can be 'incorrect' as such, but it's so very open to interpretation that it's important to understand what the other person understands by it.
oftendistracted From: oftendistracted Date: November 26th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
'Belief' does not imply 'truth', therefore you can't reach a state of 'incorrect'. At least, that's how I see it.
purp1e_magic From: purp1e_magic Date: November 27th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
There are all sorts of misinterpretations as you look through cultures interacting. 'God' is a hard word to pinpoint the meaning of. Taoists have many of what we call gods - it's the best translation. But they lack most of the elements we would consider properties of a god For example, people have powers over the gods, while the gods actions are bound by the people. Usually the word is described with its attributes, eg creator god(s), beings of spontaneous or divine creation, whether they have powers to intercede in the natural order, things that are worshipped or prayed to, etc. Some religions have something very similar to what Christians might call a saint, but they call them a god.

It's a matter of defining the word and finding the best fit. Language is about communication, by agreed common understanding. Any time a word fails to communicate the same thing to different people, it is a communication failure, so either it's the wrong word or needs clarity of meaning. That's true of any word. We normally manage this intuitively, but in any context there will be misunderstandings. To say someone's use of the word is wrong is true only when their understanding of the word fails to convey the intended meaning to the person or people they are talking to, usually defined by a common understanding among others.
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