Arguing experience; definition of God

I have a friend that always makes me stumble when it comes to arguing for God. In his understanding, he equates God with the combination of “love, peace, and harmony.” I, myself am agnostic but somehow I feel it is me that always ends up in the position of arguing against his personal/subjective understanding of God. Basically he argues that how can I say God doesn’t exist when the experience of “love, harmony, and peace” is real for him. Then somehow he turns it into challenging me because I admit that love/peace/harmony exist, but not that this = God. Can anyone help me in trying to get myself out of this position?

I have stated on many occasions that it is him that must prove to me or establish why I should accept his version of God, but I always end up confused and frustrated (maybe because I fall into his trap of accepting love, peace, and harmony-but what does distinguish subjective experiences; ex. emotions and whether they actually exist from experience with “god?”) I know that this argument probably has no answer, in that he can always fall back on this is what he believes, but I also think I should be able to better present my views and why equating God with these quailities cannot establish the existence of God. Thanks!

Hi Puzzledsoul,

I moved your post to the Religious forum as it will get a better response here.

Dang it, Pax. :angry: I wanted to try out my moderating powers but you got to it first. Oh well, I get the next one. j/k :wink:


God arguments always seem to be somewhat slippery but I think that you should be able to present a pretty good case. Your friend is arguing that God is “love, peace, and harmony”, right? First of all, his argument is completely arbitrary because what has he based his definition on? The Bible? the Quran? Although, I don’t know anywhere in either the bible or the quran that specifically defines God that way, but we can pretend that it does. So assuming that it is defined by one of these books, what give it the authority to define God? Nothing that I know of.

Secondly, if God is love, peace, and harmony, where did hate, violence, and disfunction come from? Did God create them? or was it the Devil? If it was the Devil, then who created the Devil? If God is the source of all things, then He must also be the source of Evil, right?

Hopefully, I have helped.



Hmmm. Hit your friend’s argument head on. He has created a definition from thin air. And he argues it with such intransigence and obdurancy because it is a matter of personal faith, and to question your faith with logic and reasoning, is to define your faith, which will only serve to see it evaporate.

Choose another word for yourself which you can equate with ‘love, peace and harmony’. A good word would be Truth, or maybe even Tolerance. And exhibit how your ability to accept other people’s system of belief makes you more suited to a world of ‘love peace and harmony’. Many people aim to associate themselves with popular values, such as Love Peace and Harmony, whilst that association (strangely) conditional to another belief. To accuse you of not believing in those values, or having a subordinate belief in those values, simply because you refuse to associate your belief in them with a belief in a God, is a symptom of extraordinary intolerance and prejudice.

Bertrand Russel - “The trouble with the world, is that the stupid are cocksure, whilst the intelligent are full of doubt.”

Be proud that your pursuit for the truth, and insistence that God is a fabrication, shows you to be an independent thinker, who’d rather confront our complex contradictory ugly and beautiful universe head on. It is very easy to believe something somebody says, if they show themselves to believe it passionately. It is clear that your friend’s belief is of great utility to him. However, it is clearly not to you. So you should not believe it. Nor should you feel obliged to believe it, because to not would be to risk your friendship.

Accepting multiple truths is necessary on matters of faith, as without a system of belief, reasons to exist seem few and far between. However, A and not-A cannot both be true in this case. I recommend you make this clear to him, and don’t talk about God too much in the future.

thanks guys…this helps a bit. However, I would anticipate as a possible come back to Skeptic’s arguments from my friend that…the definition of God does not come out of books. It comes from experience with “him” or whatever it is. And when “I” experience God the nature of it consists of love, peace, harmony.

I have not had the opportunity to ask him about the problem of evil, but I will bring it up in the near future.

Whose to say that your experience of love, peace, and harmony is God? your friend? Since when did he become the definer of all things? Love, peace, and harmony are merely words that humans made up to describe certain concepts.

Love, n. A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration.

Peace, n. A state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; calm; repose; specifically: (a) Exemption from, or cessation of, war with public enemies. (b) Public quiet, order, and contentment in obedience to law. (c) Exemption from, or subjection of, agitating passions; tranquillity of mind or conscience. (d) Reconciliation; agreement after variance; harmony; concord.

Harmony, n. . The just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or combination of things, or in things, or things intended to form a connected whole; such an agreement between the different parts of a design or composition as to produce unity of effect; as, the harmony of the universe.

Well, there you go. The definitions as you can find them in the dictionary. Nowhere does it mention God. If your friend continues to insist that his definition is the correct one, what can you do? Nothing. If he wants to disagree with the dictionary then that is his choice. At least you will know that you’re right and you put up a satifactory argument.

A philosopher should know that everybody’s right.

Only an armchair philosopher would say that :stuck_out_tongue:

I think a good temporary rebuttle would be this. If god is peace then his initial existance would be simultaneously with war and thus so with hate and harmony because one cannot exist without the other. To make god all good is to admit to the existence of all bad exactly when all good exists. Good luck! Hope it helps to soothe your id.