Nothing personal

I promised some people I’d post a quick note on why a personal god (ANY personal god, and if you don’t know what that means – look it up first) is in defiance of the very definition of a god that it is most often attached to, so here it is.

A god is, allegedly, a supernatural being that is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at all times), omnipotent (capable of everything) and, some claim, omnibenevolent (all-loving). Here’s why a personal god fails the definition:

1. Omnipresent god can only remain omnipresent as long as it remains a part of every single particle in the universe. The only type of a god to fit this definition could be the energy field of the universe or something similarly non-divine. In this case, attaching the label ‘god’ to such an energy field would be completely unnecessary. A personal god, however, fails to be omnipresent on several grounds:

a) It is limited by physical boundaries of its manifestation. An omnipresent god cannot have ANY boundaries.

b) It is limited by its specific spacial and formal (meaning form) characteristics, whichever it may be. Again, this defies omnipresence.

c) It is often claimed that a god is an external presence to some niches, such as hell, souls of the sinners/non-believers, etc etc. Any time an omnipresent god is said to not be present in one single atom of the universe, let alone a whole human being or an entire hell or what have you, its omnipresence is voided.

2. Omnipotence of a personal god is also self-contradictory:

a) A personal god has a specific form and manifestation. This fact prevents that god from having any other form and manifestation at the same time. By this merit, the god is then unable to have the experience of every other possible manifestation of itself that it currently is not. For example, if a god is a man, it is incapable of experiencing womanhood. It is equally incapable of experiencing animal-hood, plant-hood, rock-hood etc.

b) If a god is capable of experiencing every particle in the universe, then it cannot ever be personal. Neither can it take upon any form at all and remain omnipotent. A ‘holy spirit’ type of a god is just as much in violation of the omnipotence claim, as it fails to simultaneously be able to be every rock, star and particle in the universe.

3. Omniscience of a personal god:

a) A god limited in its boundaries cannot possibly KNOW of the experiences outside of its boundaries or different in characteristic to its current form. The only kind of god capable of that would, again, have to be some sort of a unified energy field, not manifesting itself in any specific limited form.

4. Benevolence issue:

a) Any personality trait or characteristic of a god (whether good or bad one – yes, this includes playing favorites with human beings (out of all things and species in the universe, for some reason…)) refutes its claims to being a god. A god by possessing any specific ‘personality’, even if it consisted of a single ‘personality’ trait, like love, cannot be god, for it lacks by definition the experience of having and being every other personality trait that exists and thus is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. The only type of a god, if one were to exist, would have to be fully impartial and indifferent – as in, completely NEUTRAL – to fit the definition of a ‘god’.

Special pleading and other nonsense:

There is NO amount of exception-clause adding that can exempt a personal deity from the failure to live up to its own definition. A few of the most favorite exemptions made for ‘god’ are:

1. On omniscience: god can choose not to know something. Fine, it’s god’s choice, but it only says the same thing: god doesn’t know something. Whether or not this lack of knowing is god’s choice doesn’t change the fact that it’s lack of knowing to begin with, and thus god can never claim omniscience on those grounds.

2. Claim to choice not to know something is claim to personal preference, which violates the necessary impartiality of a true deity premise.

3. On omnipotence: god chooses not to do something. God by definition actually MUST do EVERYTHING, always. Everything that ever happens MUST be god’s doing, or it stops being god. Now if god chooses to NOT do something, it’s preference-playing yet again.

4. Omnipotence is paradoxical: if a god wanted to create another supernatural being separate from itself, could it do so? Or ANY being or place separate from itself, in fact (some believers, for example, claim god created a hell – a place where it is not present – for evil angels and forces that are not part of itself)? No – it could only do so in violation of both its omnipresence and omniscience and would thus no longer be a god. The only conceivable omnipotent god can be that which IS the laws that govern the universe. In that case, however, it would simply be laws governing universe – not a personal deity.

And just a few other points along the same lines:

Better yet, a more in-depth exploration of the theme can be found here:

Finally, some people like to jump to “god does not have to obey to the rules of the universe” and/or “god exists OUTSIDE of the laws of the universe… Below is a very good discussion on why god disobeying his own laws is a whack, even if one were to exist. However, both these claims violate the ‘god’ definition just the same:

A god that does not obey some laws therefore is excluded from the experience of obeying these laws – POOF! Omniscience is gone…

A god that exists outside of the laws of the universe is, therefore, NOT present in those laws. Leaving aside the fact that the laws governing the universe are pretty much the entire deal of what and why anything is the way it is in the universe, god cannot be OUTSIDE of something and remain omnipresent…

So without any specific further case-studying needed, there is no instance and scenario under which a god can be personal. In fact, the only type of a being fitting the definition of a ‘god’ (an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being) would inevitably have to be the following: the sum total of laws governing the universe and the total mass-energy of the universe. In other words – nothing personal.

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About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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16 Responses to Nothing personal

  1. Shubham says:

    Damn! From where did that God came? SO according to these points God is hypocrite.lol

  2. Anonymous says:

    You are such a good writer.

    • in shade says:

      LOLLL Yeah I seem to be good enough to even convince myself :D. Seriously – I was kind of a deist or at least one of those ‘deist apologetics’ in my mind thinking “well, maybe SOME form of a greater power is out there…”, then I thought about it (and my thought process is loosely reflected in this entry) and was like “damn… there CANNOT be ANY god, wtf was I thinking?”

      Thanx though :). I try.

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  4. Douglas says:

    I don’t understand where this definition of personal god comes from and why you think it means that and only that.

    • in shade says:

      Because in the realm of Judeo-Christian tradition, this term very specifically means god as a person, or at the very least god as having a form and a set of characteristics. It’s always amazing how often even believers themselves don’t know the definitions that apply to the deity they believe in… For more extensive info on the subject, consult Wiki almighty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_god :)

      • Douglas says:

        So because tradition chooses to define a “personal god” a certain way, I’m obligated to agree with it? I don’t subject myself to tradition because it is not tradition that is authoritative. Why does personal god have to mean the complete essence of God encapsulated in a finite body? In the case of Jesus, God existed in Him and everywhere else. This is evidenced by the many times Jesus, God in the flesh, prayed to God.

        • in shade says:

          I’ll ignore the “evidenced by…” part of what you wrote for the sake of not going off into a “fucking nonsense” spree…

          To answer your definition question shortly: if YOU disagreed with the tradition of calling orange color “orange” and decided it doesn’t encompass its true nature and went ahead to call it “yellow” instead, do you think you’d really need a thorough explanation of what everything is wrong with this approach?…

          As for any specific manifestations of a god: can’t happen. Implying that at any given moment any part of a god is bound by rules and laws – for as long as that part of god is, if you insist, inseparable from the rest of god, means that any single atom of god possessing/exhibiting any characteristics of a personal god renders the entire god “cannotexist-ical” anyway. In other words to remain ‘god’ the god cannot for any moment in any of its parts stop being “omni” – as any of its parts are bound to the whole.

          • Douglas says:

            It’s not nonsense. It is fact that in the Bible Jesus prays to God, which means that God, according to the Bible, can and is in at least two places at once. Calling orange orange is not a tradition, it is a definition accepted into our language, not subject to argument. As far as the omni thing goes, God made such laws,he can bend them to his will. You are also thinking three dimensionally. If God is all powerful, he would not be limited to that.

            • in shade says:

              Douglas, if no one has mentioned this as of yet, allow me:
              Using the Bible as ‘proof’ or ‘illustration’ of the VALIDITY of ANYTHING IN the Bible doesn’t pass. End of story.

              If god bends laws, then god is preference-playing. Thus it is taking sides. Thus it is not impartial – and thus defies its definition.

              All-powerful god is nonsense in its own. Can god commit suicide?.. I sure can.

              What you fail to understand here is no matter how you twist your understanding and what mental gymnastics you go through to make a personal god fit the picture, you end up lying either way.

              1. You claim that god doesn’t operate by the laws of the universe that god created. You claim we cannot asses god’s character and characteristics through our limited understanding of the world. Well in that case, my friend, you are a LIAR because YOU claim that SOMEONE DOES HAVE this understanding of the divine here on earth – which you yourself JUST said is IMPOSSIBLE. It is thus either possible, or no one has/can have this understanding.

              If you insist anyone out there knows ANYTHING of god – god’s will, god’s commands, god’s WHATEVER at all – you are a LIAR because you just said it’s impossible to do.

              IF it IS possible then, to assess god by our limited understanding, then god doesn’t exist according to anything of the common understanding that we ever imply.

              IF it is IMPOSSIBLE, on the other hand, then not the Bible, not ANYONE EVER telling you “THIS is what god WANTS us to do/not do!” can be anything than FILTHY LIARS and scammers. Because if NO ONE can know – neither can THEY. Neither can the Bible’s authors, nor Moses (who didn’t write it btw), or Adam and Eve – NO ONE. By the virtue of being humans.

              And I frankly don’t care how you bend your logic – if you insist on ‘god can’t be understood’ AND at the same time insist on following ‘god’s law’ (which, by the merit of being divine, CAN NEVER be understood either) in one and the same head of yours, you’re suffering from a very serious case of split-personality disorder at best. At medium-case, you’re engaged in suppressing some major cognitive dissonance here by blunt denial. In worst case, you know your ‘argument’ is full of holes and you are a plain outright LIAR. Pick yours.

  5. in shade says:

    I’ve made this point elsewhere and I wanted to add to this discussion:

    God by definition is an omni-entity… Which cannot be such. Thus – does not exist.

    You can’t call anything else ‘god’ and presume it is void of the definitional baggage. It’s not. God IS the omni-whatever thing. By definition. IF we’re talking about something NOT omni-something, it is thus NOT god. It is something else, and we would discuss it in a due manner. The moment you call that whatever else ‘god’ however, it takes upon itself the definition of such.

    Therefore, we can discuss things as, say, global consciousness, universal self-awareness etc – but we cannot call any of those ‘god’. God is one thing and only – it is omni-whatever. Yes, many people will have pantheic notions of a deity and would actually be contemplating over a ‘god’ AS being, say, global consciousness… But they confuse what GOD actually IS.

    We can talk about global consciousness – no problem. That some people equate anything NOT ‘omni’ to a ‘god’ IS a problem. A lot of confusion spurs from this. We shouldn’t therefore call anything that doesn’t fit a definition of ‘god’ by that name.

    This way anything else can be easily discussed at its own merit, while calling it ‘god’ makes it automatically dismissable on definition premise.

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