Define God

Jordan Peterson:
“I was once asked how I would define God. My God is the Spirit who tries to lift up being. My God is the spirit that makes everything come together. My God is the Spirit who makes order out of chaos and then transforms order when it becomes too limited. My God is the Spirit of the incarnated truth. None of it is supernatural. Instead, it is what is most real.”

The word spirit refers to the principle of conscious living, the principle of human life, the animation of the body or the mediation between body and soul. I believe it is also this spirit that is meant in the Bible, although there is a difference if someone is to be filled with this spirit, insofar as such people are inspiring and invigorating. Otherwise, we all have the spirit that grows within us as we grow physically. It is the spirit that is metaphorically blown into the nostrils of the first humans.

When Peterson says that his God is the Spirit, as described above, he indicates that the meaning of life is realized in a way that we cannot comprehend or change. The only way to prevent this spirit is to stand in the way, which is what the Pharisees were accused of, and that is what many scholars, preachers, and priests still unwittingly do today. By wanting only one description of reality and excluding all others, we stand in the way of the spirit. It is described by Jesus as the most severe single sin.

The spirit that tries to lift up being.
If there is a documented attempt to elevate being, then it must be the Sermon on the Mount. In the framework presented, it could easily be understood as an explanation of what the Ten Commandments were trying to achieve. Whether it is a historical record of what Christ said in a session, or a collection of sayings put together, is irrelevant. The fact is that Christianity has had this sermon for nearly two thousand years. It must therefore be at the centre of the Church’s message, but I do not believe my assumption is right.
It was very moving to see Jordan Peterson struggling with the question of whether he was a believer. In the end, he explained himself by saying that the only one who really believed is Christ, who was crucified for it. All other witnesses, if they have not put everything on the line, are questionable. In this sense, he questions his own faith. In the end we can only try, he says, but if the truth is known, if someone believes like Christ did, he would create waves in the flow of existence and inspire people as is written in the Gospels.
It should be really disturbing that Christianity is boring except where a hullabaloo is done, which is often only superficial. It does not elevate the existence of those involved. Christianity, in full form, would deal with healing through understanding the message of the Sermon on the Mount.

The Spirit who makes everything come together.
My experience is that when people see how others are elevated by an experience, be it real or superficial, people come together. Things come together that were not the case before. People become responsible and trustworthy, they take care of their neighbours, they see the poor and lowly, the sick and depressed, and they take them in. In the past this task was attempted by people who were not themselves elevated, and as much as they meant well, it was obvious that they were overwhelmed and that things could not come together as they had imagined.

Often it was the way the Bible was imposed on people who hadn’t read a book since school, sometimes as a condition for further support (even if it wasn’t said). Very often, when they had people, they wanted too much of them, too fast. Sometimes they made their own ideas the yardstick for others and did not realize that everyone has his own story or his own way to go. Sometimes it was the exclusivity of the message and the condemnation of other traditions that people rejected. The spirit that brings everything together is real and does not force anyone do anything, but inspires and motivates, no matter where people come from.

The mind that makes order out of chaos and then reshapes order when it becomes too narrow.
Many people live a chaotic life and some don’t know that they are. Only when they experience what order can be achieved for them do they see how they have lived. The order I am talking about is the alignment of the different aspects of life so that people are able to find stability without being fixed. Jordan Peterson says it is the path between chaos and order, or the path between the new and the old, creativity and the unimaginative. We cannot stay on one side for long without questioning its meaning. We need both sides, but also the ability to walk the path between them.
This means that life cannot be just the observation of tradition. Nor should it constantly change the structure of our lives. We need continuity, but we need new ideas to stay fresh. We need confrontation with other ideas and exchange, otherwise our lives will become musty and boring. At the same time we need to know in which direction we are travelling. It is this ability to adapt to the needs of life that makes life interesting and exciting. As soon as what we do begins to fence us in and restrict us, something needs to be changed.
We live in a world where everything we have produced degenerates when we leave it to itself. There seems to be entropy in everything we do, and our struggle is to fight the natural decay that doesn’t have to be caused by malicious people, but exactly as it is. For this we need resources from both sides of the line, order and chaos/creativity. The religious word used for decay is “sin,” which means you miss the target. This means that every time we contribute to deterioration, even slightly, we miss the target. Therefore, the inspired way into the future is to fight against decay in all its forms.

The Spirit of Truth in person.
An important value to maintain the fight against decay is fidelity to the truth. This is what God in Christ should be for us. Faced with the truth, we must surrender to it and serve it. If we push against the truth, we once again miss the target. Here, too, it is not a question of extreme, but of trustworthiness. People must be able to assume that I am telling the truth as far as I know and that I stand by what I am saying and do it. Thus the truth will be present in people in the neighbourhood.
People lie regularly, sometimes because they have brought themselves into a predicament from which they can only free themselves with a lie, if they do not want to disappoint or annoy people. The problem is that the lie is rated worse than the lack of reliability. There’s disappointment either way and another turn towards decay is done. The more a society lies, the worse it generally proceeds.

What do you think?

As an atheist I do not believe in God but if I were to re define the concept from a purely naturalistic context then I could claim that that particular God actually exists
And so if I had to define it from my perspective it would be the totality of all that exists including that which existed in the past and that which will exist in the future
Not only on a physical level but psychological and philosophical ones as well . God would be without gender and so there would be no need for anthropomorphism and would only be omnipotent in the sense that it was the totality of all that existed . And so it would not be omniscient or omnibenevolent and neither would it have any metaphysical or supernatural capabilities . It would not exist outside of time and space [ an entirely abstract concept ] and nor would it demand a lifetime of worship

I do not think Jordan Peterson and I are describing the same God even though his is not supernatural either . Describing his as Spirit implies a conscious entity where as mine is definitely non conscious . The existence of conscious minds and all that they are capable of can be explained as complex natural phenomena that evolved over time . Peterson may claim that his God is not supernatural but he is still a Christian - maybe not a literal one but one nonetheless - someone whose basic moral philosophy is grounded in the teachings of Jesus - albeit somewhat selectively . So I would place him somewhere in between a practising Christian and a cultural one

Dear surreptitious75,

I can understand your stance and appreciate your openness. I think you’ll find that you have more in common with JBP than you think. To begin with he is using the religious texts that are best known in the western hemisphere to illustrate some practical aspects of life. He started out, much as I did, trying to make sense of the Bible. Being well read after the example of CG Jung, he found the archetypal portrayal of key subjects that have dumbfounded thinking people for millennia. He explained (as did Jung) that often when struggling with such existential subjects, in ones sleep, the mind uses all kinds of symbolism in dreams. These dreams were written down and used to explain the deep questions of existence metaphorically. Over millennia, many people in many cultures found the stories so truthful, that they survived so long.

Our problem lies in the way we read such stories, rationally one presumes, but the stories are not about historical facts, but metaphysical symbolism that give us feelings rather than logical answers. However, we are creatures who also learn via feelings, as long as we don’t rule it out. Much damage was done by assuming the Bible was antiquated, just because we tried to read it differently than how it was written. JBP is opening the Bible back up for a great deal of people who watched his Maps of Meaning and Biblical videos. Of course, they are finding answers that the pious may not want to entertain. He says, for example, that he acts as if there were a God. That means, he acts from a metaphysical perspective, as though he could see through divine eyes. That is also what the scriptures do as well.

JBP refers to a spirit in much the same way as Socrates had a daimon. In what way a particular God actually exists is a question of how it reaches us. There has been a lot of thought regarding the Brahman/Atman version of the divine, in which Atman is in each of us but is a part of Brahman, and which is then said to be consciousness. Alan Watts dreamed up a “puppeteer God” who, inside everyone of us, he is looking for himself. But seriously, is God out there, or in here? Must God be the totality of all that exists including that which existed in the past and that which will exist in the future, or could it be the collective memory, that Jung put forward?
A God without a gender is difficult to talk to, but not impossible. I believe it is this idea of God being within that led people to anthropomorphism and omnipotency. It is a god “out there” that is omniscient or omnibenevolent and has metaphysical or supernatural capabilities, This is where I believe the Church went down a difficult road.

As you can see, there is a way to join scripture with rational thinking, even though the Mystery of our existence is still around and the question how intelligence and consciousness developed out of the chaos of energy we see in the universe. Where does it come from?

“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower…”(Dylan Thomas)
God is within and without. I see God as the creative force behind evolution’s growth and development of organisms.
I agree that God is the force that brings things together.
God is as personal as hands and feet.
Religion has shied away from the God within all creations by holding spirit to be something supernatural. My flesh is not at odds with my spirit; neither is my mind.
Those who believe there can be no natural religion sell short both religion and science. The Bible, if taken literally, has done and does much harm in causing schisms of the human psyche, of mind, body and spirit as One.

he’s a tight-ass… he’s a saaadist… he’s an absentee landlord! worship that? NEVER!!!

I was contemplating a thought the other day.

I was considering about you and your jail-time and court cases. I presume you had a State-appointed defendant both times. It’s a simple case, to me. You get what you pay for. Why not put down $25,000 for a lawyer, or 50k, or 100k? Isn’t it worth years of your life, to simply pay the cost for a good lawyer and defense?

These questions lead me to more questions and answers, as is typical of a philosophical mind. Isn’t Law all about attributing ‘Cause’, ‘Blame’, and ‘Guilt’, to various subjects and objects? A Great Lawyer can attribute Cause almost anywhere. Even if a person is found, at the scene of the crime, with the murder weapon, with intent…even if a mass of people watch the murder take place in broad daylight, a Great Lawyer can still win the case. So what does this then say about cause, blame, and guilt when the Great Lawyer can convince Juries, Judges, whomever he needs to, that ‘Blame’ does not lay with perpetrators, but elsewhere? What does it mean to convince people that the Cause is not This, but That?

I believe, corresponding to Philosophy, that Law is a simple matter. Anybody (any Jury) can be convinced of anything. Average people, with average minds, are easily swayed by Charisma and persuasive arguments.

So, why not pay the price? Why not afford a better life? Why not buy your way out?

any society that requires ‘payment’ in order to determine the guilt or innocence of a person and give him due process, is fundamentally flawed. does a person’s innocence or guilt depend on how much money they have? that’s one of the most ridiculous things i’ve ever heard… and i’ve heard a lot of ridiculous things. the problem is, it is believed that the facts of a crime are explained, better or worse, according to the rhetorical skills of those who examine it. so that for example, a crime might not be ‘that bad’ if an examiner is able to produce mitigating factors and persuade a judge/jury of them. but this begs the question; either those factors exists, or do not, and an examination of them should not depend on the competence of the examiner. so this translates to; if you hire lawyer x, your crime is only kinda bad… but if you hire lawyer y, your crime is very bad. see what i’m getting at? the nature of the crime has nothing to do with who articulates it, and remains the same regardless of how it is explained. but because of our particular kind of criminal justice system, ‘justice’ is an arbitrary concept that depends solely on the degree of pathos, ethos and logos (it should only consist of logos) used in the art of rhetorical persuasion. and the more money you have, the better your chances of getting someone skilled at these things to defend you. the point is, the legal procedure should not depend on this.

i’ve never paid for a lawyer in my life, and never will. in all three sets of felony convictions - first set was six felonies, second set was two felonies, third set was three felonies (only two felonies of which i actually committed) - i had a court appointed attorney. but these aren’t free, either, and cost about as much as a private lawyer. i owe somewhere around six or seven thousand dollars in two states, all combined, which i will never pay willingly (state can garnish wages and raise taxes to get that money, though).

court appointed attorneys are usually paralegals, one time prosecutors, or failed private practice lawyers who work for the state for a steady paycheck. like the prosecutors, they are opportunists motivated by personal profit. the practice of law is, for them, like a sport. what these attorneys do is make deals with prosecutors behind closed doors. they work together and are not rivals. that’s just an appearance. the prosecutors goal is to increase his conviction rates… while the defenders goal is to increase his not-guilty verdicts and/or his plea-deal rates. so what they do is ‘trade off’ cases. the prosecutor will go easy on defendant x so the defender gets his plea-deal or not guilty verdict… then the defender will let the prosecutor fry defendant y so he can get his conviction. they do each other these favors, and back and forth it goes.

and to answer your question:

“Isn’t it worth years of your life, to simply pay the cost for a good lawyer and defense?”

i look at it another way. this is somewhat difficult to explain, though. i am willing to trade a few years in prison for the privileges i will grant myself for being wrongfully charged and convicted of crimes i did not commit, once i get out… if that makes any sense to you. this is how i make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak.

also consider the dilemma one is put in when facing trial. if i decided to plead ‘not guilty’, and lost, i’d have gotten the maximum sentence… which was around seven years. but if i accept the plea offer for four years, and plead guilty, i only do the four.

this is the blackmail concealed in plea-bargaining. think of it like this; if the prosecutor really believes the defendant should do seven years, then he should not ask the judge to give him only four if the defendant agrees to take the plea offer. what this means is, the prosecutor is more concerned with getting his conviction than he is with serving justice… which would have been to give the defendant seven years. or, the prosecutor doesn’t really think the defendant should get seven years, but artificially increases the sentence… then offers the defendant only four years if he agrees to plead guilty. here, he holds the seven years over the defendants head to scare him into accepting the plea offer.

a lot of defendants play this game, but not me. i will not run the risk of getting a maximum sentence when the piece of shit public defender loses the trial. instead, i’ll plead guilty to crimes i did not commit and do the time. ‘justice’ will be served elsewhere and in another way, you might say.

a superb example of this very thing is what darrow did in the trial of:

… speaking of the above trial, if you’ve never seen ‘rope’, put it on your list of things to watch. hitchcock changed the plot line a bit, but the movie was inspired by the leopold and loeb story. forward to 2:20…


Lol, c’mon, you can’t be that naive. You presume far too much of regular everyday people. Yes, you do get what you pay for. And this is a much better system than almost anywhere else in the world. Where in the world, right now, would you find a better Justice system?

The nature of the crime is in the Interpretation of the crime.

Is it “Murder”? Or is it “Self-Defense”? It goes both ways.

Again, this is your naivety talking. Why? Because Pride? Well, your Pride cost you years of your life. And for what, because you accepted a State-defender, who could careless about who s/he defends? At the very least, a Private Lawyer Defender will care about Winning. And that’s the important thing. It’s about Winning, or Losing, which is why I respond to your first response in this thread. The movie you quote, ironically, is the same point.

It’s about Winning, beating a case. Why Lose, when you don’t have to?

So if they’re Opportunists, then your above claim about Justice, is incorrect.

It sounds like a waste of time to me. At least you get street-cred though, I guess?

So pay a real lawyer and get zero years instead?

I’ll look into it.



Prometheus defined God as Al Pacino’s portrayal of the Devil in Devil’s Advocate. In the film, Al Pacino plays the Devil who is head of the world’s renowned Law Firm. Keanu Reeves plays Satan’s son and rising top Lawyer, who can beat any case, but at what price? At the price of your soul? The line is blurred between morality and ‘Winning’. What’s right and wrong, when only winning matters? What’s right and wrong, when anybody can be convinced of anything?

So I linked this description of God (and the Devil) to the law system, to morality, and to Cause, which is of utmost importance.

It’s a pity that you can’t follow along a Philosophical conversation in your own thread, Bob. At least Prom is defining God. What are you doing, except using another’s (Jordan Peterson’s) definition? It seems you should abide by your own thread, and Define God, in your own terms.

i didn’t have any money, brocephus. who the fuck has thirty grand lying around to drop on a lawyer? public defenders are appointed to indigent defendants. this is how the state honors the ‘right to a defense’ clause in the constitution… but that doesn’t mean the piece of shit will do his job. he just has to show up and wear a nice suit. the state knows what it’s doing. it’s been mastering this racket for hundreds of years.

and private defense lawyers got their own failsafe too, pal. they still get paid whether they win or not. these guys aren’t ambulance chasers who only get paid if you do.

yeah so it was either take the public defender or represent myself… and since i wouldn’t dare go to a trial by a jury of my incompetent peers, i had no need to represent myself. i only used the public defender to work out a plea deal. if i didn’t use him, it would have taken twice as long to get the show on the road. the only time i would have to negotiate with the prosecutor would be on my court dates (which were roughly every two months), and i didn’t want to sit in jail for a small eternity waiting this out. let’s get it over with; give me my sentence and send me to prison. i’m ready to hit the yard. fuck sitting in a jail cell.

lol, and each time in discussing the statutes of the crimes i committed (but didn’t), i had to correct the public defender in his understanding of the statute. even these knucklheads didn’t know what the fuck was going on, and they got degrees. i’m telling you man, you cannot pass judgement on the inexplicable joke that civilized man is when it really matters if he fucks up, until you’ve been through the criminal just-us system. only there do you get a clear view of what armchair philosophers think they got a grasp on if they aren’t wasting everyone’s time with asking stupid, irrelevant metaphysical questions.

anywho, the first set of felonies i sat in jail for five months. the second set for thirteen. the third set for four. why? well because the public defenders’ case loads are too big and the jail gets paid to house inmates. part of the racket. they coulda had me in and out in a week, but they can’t make any money that way.

attention mr. bob; this thread has now been successfully hijacked. please proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly fashion.

Case proven …

Take out a loan?

Oh yeah…the OP.

Prom, if you would have had Faith in God, He would have gotten you off the hook, no-time charged.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not plea bargain?

God is an illusory idea [non-empirical] invented by humans via crude reasons to deal with an inherent existential crisis.

DNA wise ALL humans have an inherently algorithm within the mind to always look externally for a savior starting from the first day of being dependent on a mother, father, siblings, relative and the ‘independent’ outside world to deal with an existential crisis.

When all these support systems failed to deal with the existential crisis, it is only natural for the majority of humans to invent a God that is omnipotent - via instinct and crude reasons - to provide whatever assurance for one to deal with that existential crisis.

Such a God via crude reason despite illusory [like Santa Claus] works very effectively [almost immediately] to soothe the existential pains. This is why most theists will cling to their illusory god as if there is no tomorrow.

While the idea [not concept] of an illusory God has its pros, it also has its cons. Due to desperation for salvation, SOME [not all] theists will exploit this idea for their own selfish reasons at the expense of the rest of non-believers. Any inkling of a threat to one’s god, an internal defense mechanism will be triggered and acted out in various ways.

At the extreme, theists will commit genocides [a whole range of evil and violence] in the name of their God to safeguard their belief and salvation. Theism is also a hindrance to the progress of knowledge, morality and humanity.

God as illusory is impossible to exists as real.
While at present the idea of an illusory god could be net-positive but in the future theism will be net-negative to humanity.

Thus it is critical that humanity must look within the individual human interdependently with the external rather that focus on an independent god which is actually an illusory idea.

God is an illusory idea [non-empirical] invented by humans via crude reasons to deal with an inherent existential crisis.

I see we have a lot in common. It is this power in nature that has had me enthralled when confronted with it. The will to grow, expand, push through, assimilate or just be, even when cropped, chopped and burnt, a sprout shoots through at first opportunity. Then there is the ability of mankind to see and copy, understand and use nature to feed, heal and recoup.

All that life in a universe that is adverse to all life on the planet that itself is in a mode of entropy, degeneration and decay. Species having died off at an incredible rate, and still on the decline. Life seems to contradict that process and stand up regardless. I agree, a natural religion is understandable, but what’s behind it? Who can complain about people in awe at this mysterious force, making its principles a guide for their own life?

The god that he describes has never been the true meaning of the biblical mythology, but it did become the root of an ideology, which spread across the planet and gave rise to war and suffering untold. However, there were prophets of a kind that told humanity what they had done, and predicted what would come. It was indeed the twentieth century, with all of its rationality, argumentation, degeneration and death that signalled that true religion had died. Pseudo-Religions grew and became the hope of millions, leading them to war, death and famine.

However, like nature likes to sprout, religion wasn’t dead but grew in unseen places. The spirituality of the twenty-first century could indeed give rise to a deeper understanding of the traditions that have helped mankind develop over millennia. The Renaissance did show the degeneration of religion to be what it is, namely ideology. However, underground there is a germination in process that is slowly gaining ground.

I would say that an existential crisis is never superficial but the argument you have given is.

You have defined God as “non-empirical”, but the Bible did that a long time ago. It doesn’t mean that God is an illusion. It is probably the existence of consciousness that baffled the ancients, and gave rise to speculation about where it came from, rather than the primitive imaginations that modern man comes up with. The ancients described in various ways how mankind became conscious, in the Bible it was when God blew into the nostrils of Adam and “he became a living spirit”. It is an indication that the ancients knew that consciousness was special amongst the species on earth. For some reason, they assumed, humanity and not another species became conscious and they associated this with responsibility.

Modern man is of the opinion that he is as knowledgeable as anyone can be, and that his accumulation of knowledge grew as time went on. He doesn’t take into account that knowledge grows more like a plant, and relies on roots and lower trunk from which his branch or twig has grown. There are other branches bearing leaves, but have taken a different route. There is no doubt that the wisdom of humanity was often interrupted by ideologies that caused widespread suffering, but it pushed through and is still there today, if only we would put on the right spectacles. It is, in fact, when various areas of our accumulated knowledge come together and make sense, for example, of biblical texts that we start getting the big picture.