The problem w/ god is that there's no universal definition. There may be a lot of minor gods like saints and spiritual advisers, but according to Judeo-Islamic-Christians (people of the book), there's One God to rule them all. A single 3-d, invisible, objective, self-aware entity, with a built-in jack to everyone's thinking, who created everything & can only be placated by submission. This is built on millenniums of refined god definitions with the objective of
- making Him impervious to rational dissection,
- default ruler over any other cultures deity(s), and
- which justifies religious imperialism.
God is the source that advises you during seizures, schizophrenic episodes, and hallucinations. If you get bad advice, either god's not happy with something you did, it's not god giving the advice, or you've sprung a few gears. It used to be ancestors, or forest and animal spirits, but now it's God. Same advice though.
Some famous authority once said there are no atheists in foxholes. Here's why: primates are social so we consider ourselves part of "the people". We first learn to imitate our parents (stick out your tongue sweetie), and transfer that learning process to any other authority (God the father, son & holy spirit). So there's a special area in our head that connects a resolution of the unknown with authorities ("mom can tell us"). When one is in a foxhole with an empty magazine & bullets zip inches overhead, ones natural response is to frame the question; "what would the ultimate authority recommend if I die?" Otherwise rephrased as "shit-oh-shit-oh-shit, no, no, no, please god, not me, ..." Then you either live or die. If you live, evidence supports the position that it was either worthwhile or coincidental. If you die, you either find out, or you don't, but there's no way to verify in either case because who are you going to ask if you were the only witness?
Here's the dirty part:
There's a common practice among people who wish to be authorities, of teaching a response to various foxhole-like situations, which benefit the teacher rather than the student. The live-fire drill instructor says to keep your head down, keep moving, don't bunch up, resist capture, keep cool, stay on mission & don't run away screaming. The sergeant, though his intentions may be good, has no actual skin in this particular game, and is just making a living from saying those things. One supposedly can't question his motives if they benefit "the people" in general, and a sure way to be an authority is to assume that mantle. While it's true in the overall scheme of things that it's usually cheaper to train resilience than to replace the unit, that's not always so. If death is believed to be an illusion, people become expendable as well as exploitable.
Here's how to train people to be suicide bombers.
Arguments for plausibility of God are based entirely on doubt. You can't prove that He (She or It) doesn't exist, so if The Authority says god exists, one assumes it's so. Everyone has response options for a given situation, and selecting between them can sometimes be a chore, so we defer to some previous similar plan that turned out ok. The desired result is almost always hormonal relief because that's what's associated with the memory. The most deeply experienced hormonal relief is group security, (variously expressed as pleasing the leader or doing the right thing). To reach this state of enlightenment, two DI's yell at you from 6 inches away until you realize the elegant beauty of their logic, and then you return to that realization whenever you reach a similar stress level. Shortcuts to that relief are why some people consider mass mayhem a realistic response to a perceived insult. Therefore: when setting up your new religion, it's crucial to make your deity's blessing supersede any others and it probably wouldn't hurt to make it deliver a profit too (authorities gotta eat too y'know).
By the way, there's nothing in my blog that should offend most people, I just clicked the "offensive material" button because I was bored & wanted to see what happens. It turns out readership has gone up (sucker). Wait, don't be offended ...