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Thread: false gods

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    Mostly Harmless nbdy's Avatar
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    false gods

    Didn't want to poop all over Corbin's thread with my perplexity, so here's a different thread. This multiple-god monotheism thing bothered me, so I did ask a Christian about it today, not verbatim, obviously, but generally accurate:

    "In your church, is there one God or many gods?"
    "There is only one God."
    "Are there other gods out there but you simply don't worship them?"
    "There are other gods out there, but they are all false gods, the Christian God is the only true God."
    "What qualities make the Christian God the One True God?"
    "He created everything, knows everything, has all power in the universe."
    "Why would so many people worship false gods? Isn't there something obvious that would clue them in that their god isn't the One True God?"
    "Not everyone who hears the Word can see the truth. That's in the Bible."
    "But suppose a Hindu prayed to one of their gods and everything worked out great, how would he know that his god was a false god? That doesn't seem fair."
    "Maybe that's the Devil's work, I don't know. I do know that everyone who is meant to be saved will hear the word of God and be saved."

    And that was enough of that, but I can't leave things alone so I spent the rest of the afternoon pondering the notion of "false god." Sometimes I am particularly obtuse about things most people seem to know instinctively, but the term makes no sense to me. To me, if a person believes there is only One True God Who holds all the power in the universe, they should respond, "No, there are no other gods, though some people worship things that are powerless and mundane as if they are divine." God = divine, right? So there is god or not god, but false god? It's like the anagram, dog. You've got dog and not dog, but false dog? Makes no sense. And for the record, this is more a matter of semantics and logic than any attempt to make a religious argument --- just in case that wasn't obvious. Anyway, enlighten me if it is possible.

    "No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical." -- Niels Bohr

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    Bronze Member Munin-Hugin's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    That's an interesting point that you bring up, and the logic of it is what interests me as well. I'm going to use your example of a dog, because ... well, I think it works pretty well. Of course, I'm going to take it and run most likely in random directions, some of which may not seem to make any sense at the time. And, I'm going to use some generalities that I know won't apply to everything, but try to bear with me. Okay, so here we go.

    On one hand, we have a dog. Four legs, a tail, fur, a wet nose, bad breath, and it barks. We take a look at it, and we know it's a dog because of how it looks, how it acts, and how we were raised to view it as such.

    On the other hand, we have a little boy who loves dogs, and wants to be one so badly that he'll just about do anything. He's wearing a realistic costume, barks, crawls around on all fours, eats dog food, and maybe even will lift his leg and pee on stuff. We take a look at the boy, and we see that, according to the above mentioned criteria (looks, acts, how we view it), the boy IS a dog.

    BUT, because we know that in reality it is a boy in a costume, it doesn't matter that for all other purposes we perceive it as a dog. We could even go so far to say that it is a "false" dog. Of course, we may never really know that the boy is in fact a boy rather than a dog, unless we can figure out a way to tear off the costume and see the truth for ourselves.

    Now, from a Christian point of view, all we have to do is to replace a few words and we can see the meaning behind the concept.

    Dog = God
    Boy = The Devil

    So, how does that work for you?

  3. #3
    Fundamentalist Dumuzi's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    A lot of times when people say "false god" they actually mean "not really god". As in fake, not real, imaginary or whatever else.

    You also have to bear in mind that the word god is sometimes used to refer to that which is worshiped. For example, if I said, Martin's god is the sun, that doesn't mean that I believe the sun is an actual god, I'm just making the statement that Martin worships the sun. Or if I said, Maria's god is Krishna, that doesn't mean I actually believe Krishna exists, I'm just pointing out that's who Maria worships.
    Do they not, then, ponder about the Qur‘an? Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it much discrepancy. [4:82]

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    Sr. Member satanic witch's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    This is intresting , I heard the false god mentality at church when I was a kid. Personally I believe that false gods to a christian is gods that don't show in there reality or what they preserve as real .
    Knowledge is the key to eternity. Not bowing before a deity not grovling at the feet of a messiah. Knowledge is power beyond mesure - satanic witch

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    Copper Member LunarHarvest's Avatar
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    That being said...

    Re: false gods

    The mention of false god, in my personal experience, is more focused around the perception that because there is only one properly real God, or pantheon of Gods, in the religion mentioned, the other gods worshipped by those other people must not exist, or as this person said 'be manifestations of the devil'. The term false god is often used because usually religions of this variety will portray the other religions of the world as being the result of deception by the devil, or a similar force, and thus there deities are also derived from this. This, in my opinion, is the reasoning behind terms such as 'false god'. It is basically saying that the perception and worship of said deity or deities arises out of a deception.

    That being said, I do see the point being brought up by saying the argument of the dog. But I do have a question, what is a dog? Is a dog merely a dog because it is a dog, or is it a dog because we properly identify it as being a dog? If we identify something as a dog but not another, is it not possible for someone to make an argument that what we see as 'not a dog' is actually a dog? Just something that came to mind.

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    Cat Freak Gleb's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    It is confusing. Because there is no exact definition to "True god" or "False god". Either it's a god, or it's not. So according to a persons answer- "there are more gods", I assume all gods are true. Otherwise, why would people worship something that is false, or not true?

    Another thing I don't understand, is - what do people need to be saved from? This concerns Christianity. When it comes to Judaism, it's written that Yhwh is the only REAL god, and the other gods are void. The question is asked again, but a bit differently: would people worship something that is false, or doesn't exist?
    "Fair means that everybody gets what they need. And the only way to get that is to make it happen yourself."



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    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    I have to say that, in my opinion, the phrase "false gods" is a misnomer. A convenience but nothing more. The meaning that is supposed to be inferred is more along the lines of "not a god". But that it isn't enough to say "not a god" because of the sheer volume of people that would, ostensibly, believe "is a god". So the term "false" is added, as a redundancy, to further point out that so-and-so's "is a god" is a false statement. And, as such, is a false god. "God" in that context being a very, very loose, ambiguous term, almost to the point of being a slur... and ultimately serving as a slur - when the word "false" is added to it - to berate, or correct, another's observance of [a] God, but not the REAL one.

    Or something to that effect.

    *shrug*




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

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    Cat Freak Gleb's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    Quote Originally Posted by ChainLightning View Post
    I have to say that, in my opinion, the phrase "false gods" is a misnomer. A convenience but nothing more. The meaning that is supposed to be inferred is more along the lines of "not a god". But that it isn't enough to say "not a god" because of the sheer volume of people that would, ostensibly, believe "is a god". So the term "false" is added, as a redundancy, to further point out that so-and-so's "is a god" is a false statement. And, as such, is a false god. "God" in that context being a very, very loose, ambiguous term, almost to the point of being a slur... and ultimately serving as a slur - when the word "false" is added to it - to berate, or correct, another's observance of [a] God, but not the REAL one.

    Or something to that effect.

    *shrug*
    Aaah... It's much more clear now. Thanks, Chain! Though, considering a god false, still doesn't make sense to me....
    "Fair means that everybody gets what they need. And the only way to get that is to make it happen yourself."



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    Copper Member LunarHarvest's Avatar
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    That being said...

    Re: false gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
    Another thing I don't understand, is - what do people need to be saved from?
    That is something which requires a person to accept the notion of sin, and the need for salvation from sin on top of that. I've found that, once you believe in neither, Christian preaching becomes rather ineffective, as the grace and mercy of their God is only really effective if there is something that requires its grace and mercy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
    When it comes to Judaism, it's written that Yhwh is the only REAL god, and the other gods are void. The question is asked again, but a bit differently: would people worship something that is false, or doesn't exist?
    The answer that I've seen people give before is generally that, 'Those people originally did worship the true one God, but over time they were diverted away from true practices by evil forces and false prophets (yet another 'false' that often comes up) to a corrupted form of faith.' I don't view this as an effective argument though.

  10. #10
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: false gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
    Aaah... It's much more clear now. Thanks, Chain! Though, considering a god false, still doesn't make sense to me....
    You're right, it doesn't make sense. Lunar brought up "false prophets", which is exactly the same problem. If they're false, then they're not prophets, now, are they? But that is taking it a bit too literally.

    I mean, imagine some yahoo claiming they are a god. Or claiming they're a prophet. Persons A and B both follow said prophet to the worship of said god. An established religious group, in the vicinity, simply states they are actually nothing but frauds, both the false god and the false prophet. Person B is convinced and converts. Now Person A still adheres to the false prophet's claims and worships the false god. But, according to Person A's perspective, it is Person B who is now following and worshiping the frauds, the false prophets and false god. And it is his own god, instead, that is the "one true...".

    In that scenario, "false gods" are not specific enough to be taken literally, word for word. The phrase is just meant to represent one person's belief that another person's gods are the wrong ones.

    Ya know, it's a bit like two planes and a "near miss" which is actually a 'near hit', and precisely 'a miss'. But the phrase "near miss" is the terminology used to describe such an event. Even though it makes no sense. The eternal flaw in our language(s).




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



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