Today a friend asked me "What is God?" Honestly I was completely stumped and the conversation went elsewhere. Later in the day I attempted to answer his question in an e-mail. Here was my answer.
Honestly I was caught off guard and had not myself evaluated the question, What is God? The best answer is I don't know. The closest thing that comes to mind is supernatural. I do not like this definition. By definition it is outside of reality. I do not wish to define something by what it is not or by ignorance. This is simply not intellectually honest. I can be comfortable with my ignorance until such concept can be defined. I do not even know how one would go about the investigation of the unknowable. There are questions we have like what was there before our known universe. We simply must be satisfied with not knowing and be honest enough with ourselves to not make up an answer.
Yes I could have simply said Myth. But in context of the conversation I think he wanted to know what my concept of God was.
So my question is what would your answer have been?
I just love the way Christians claim that God is unknowable in a conversation and the at the drop of a hat tell you all about him. The funny thing is they never realise they do it or recognize they have done it. What I do know is that there is no God proffered by man that passes the bullshit test.
This is a great question when discussing religion with theists. One can't really discuss theism or atheism without a common understanding of what a god concept is (the "theos" in theism). I have had to grapple with this question during my online debates with theists so I can share my thoughts and what I proposed to theists with you.
I have come to the conclusion that since we cannot see or otherwise sense this mystical/mythical god being then there must be another way to define him/her/it. The only other knowledge we have of this being is their acts as defined in some or other old texts eg bible/quran/gospel of FSM/etc.
What is common amongst many if not all god-texts is that this being is a creator being. He/she/it loves to create BIG things. The two biggest of course are the universe itself and life. So I always use the term "creator-god being" when I discuss with theists so as to avoid confusion.