What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

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What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby PeteP » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

A god appears on earth either a monotheistic one with near unlimited powers, or if you want a polytheistic one with more limited abilities (which might make the proving part much harder.)
It tells you it's a god. What would it have to do to convince you it is one and not something else? Directly manipulating your mind so that you believe them doesn't count. (I know it's just about impossible to actually prove that it's a god and not an advanced alien or something. But that doesn't mean you won't be convinced.)

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Chen » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

If it were an omnipotent god I'd ask them to grant me omniscience so that I could confirm they are what they said they are. That said, this could probably be faked with that whole directly manipulating your mind thing.

Almost any macroscopic act could be more easily replicated via technology. I'm not sure I can think of something physical it could do that would somehow show it as being a god. Resurrecting long dead loved ones perhaps. Even then possibly replicated via some sort of advanced cloning and mind-reading technology.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:18 pm UTC

Make a burrito so hot not even they could eat it.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:22 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:I know it's just about impossible to actually prove that it's a god and not an advanced alien or something.

I'm not convinced there's a difference.

By that I mean even after you roll through the religions and look at the most powerful abilities (The Three Os - Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence) - if you encountered an entity with those - does it matter if it was born flesh and blood somewhere else, and is merely a member of a species with those traits as opposed to some fundamental force of the Universe? I'm not really seeing a difference between the an entity that can do anything, knows everything and is everywhere and another entity that can do anything, knows everything and is everywhere who happens to be chronologically younger.

Make a burrito so hot not even they could eat it.

The answer I've always heard to that follows the "Yes. And then s/he'd %action% it anyway" formula.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:26 pm UTC

To steal (paraphrase) from Matt Dillahunty, "I don't know what would convince me, but if God were real, it would know what it would take and would be able to do it." He then goes on to say, "And the fact that it hasn't done so means either it doesn't exist or doesn't want me to be convinced...yet."

To assume you'd be able to detemine the difference between God and some technologically advanced or otherwise powerful agent is very arrogant. If, however, some powerful being manifested on Earth and with a wave of a hand removed all pain and suffering and granted eternal youth and well being to everyone and then claimed to be the one true God, I'd honor and respect it for the salvation (though I'd wonder why it hadn't done it before) and just provisionally accept that it is God until proven otherwise, for no other reason than it is the only being to-date that even comes close to fitting the definition of God. That is to say I would provisionally accept it as a supreme being, perhaps the highest form of intelligence, but I'd need some further evidence that it was also the creator of the universe, as that is a much larger claim that comes with problems such as "who created the creator" and such. And 'round and 'round we go. As every iteration of power and benevolence and knowledge just gives you another vantage point to imagine yet more power, benevolence, or knowledge. How would you ever get to the "end" of these things to sufficiently prove that the being is the end-all be-all?

So, I'd very easily (for a God) be convinced to honor, respect, and maybe even worship a higher being of sufficient power, wisdom, and benevolence, but there would always be a grain of skepticism that questioned if the being was the supreme being of supreme beings.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:50 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:A god appears on earth either a monotheistic one with near unlimited powers, or if you want a polytheistic one with more limited abilities (which might make the proving part much harder.)
It tells you it's a god. What would it have to do to convince you it is one and not something else? Directly manipulating your mind so that you believe them doesn't count. (I know it's just about impossible to actually prove that it's a god and not an advanced alien or something. But that doesn't mean you won't be convinced.)


First, I'd ask why it cared about convincing me.

My probable second question, influenced by the first answer, would be to ask how it became a god.


I'm not overly fussed about if it's a super advanced alien or whatever. Power is power. Merely demonstrating power is fairly easy. The reason for a diefic relationship and the "how" are the interesting parts.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Djehutynakht » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:57 pm UTC

To put it simply, I'd know it when I saw it.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby elminster » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:14 pm UTC

I'm with Whizbang on this one.
It should appear obvious to us now that many things attributed to God have turned out to be something we later understand to be something else.
On top of that, it should be pretty clear that we can't trust our own senses. You always have to trust them to some degree, but the mere fact that milligrams of a psychoactive substance can make you truly believe in something that you know not be true by logical reasoning should tell us that they're not to be fully trusted. That excludes the fact that almost none of our senses even come close to the precision possible, even within living animals. At best, they give us a rough stream of information around us.

With that in mind, there's nothing I know of that could make believe they were a God. If it were a God, it would already know what to show me. Why would if even want to convince me? Although eventually it comes down to the definition of a God. All I'd know it's a being able of a particular set of things through powers I don't understand. At what level of power is something a God? Over 9000?

Then it begs the question... so what? If there's no definitive set of abilities a God must have, why should I follow or worship it? Simply knowing the existence of a super powerful being raises a lot of questions, but has no practical implications if he's doing nothing other than proving to me that he is a God. I wouldn't know if he's the source of any good or evil, or even if he asks for worship or how to do that. I could ask it to make the world a better place, but why hasn't it already? Or maybe it has, but it's abilities are limited and just I'm unaware of it.

tl;dr: My senses and knowledge are fallible, therefore it's always just going to be a degree of certainty. Even then, it's existence just raises questions, but no practical implications if nothing else becomes of it.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby JudeMorrigan » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:34 pm UTC

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby speising » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:53 pm UTC

I would assume that a real god has enough charisma everybody would naturally fall to their knees in awe upon seeing them. No need for vulgar demonstrations of power.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:32 am UTC

speising wrote:I would assume that a real god has enough charisma everybody would naturally fall to their knees in awe upon seeing them. No need for vulgar demonstrations of power.
I'd say possessing enough charisma that everybody would naturally etc qualifies as a pretty vulgar demonstration, or at least qualifies as directly manipulating minds.

But then, I agree with M. Elminster that it would be pretty much impossible to discern the actions of a god from the direct manipulation of one's unreliable senses. In the end, it would come down to asking things that only God would know. Perhaps he might grant a brief glimpse of omniscience, kinda like that one bit near the end of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby notzeb » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:19 am UTC

Permanently grant me immortality, the ability to teleport, the ability to shapeshift, the ability to travel to alternate universes, and the ability to kill a god. I would consider that sufficient proof of godhood.

Three out of five abilities would get at least a "maybe" out of me.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:14 am UTC

To assume you'd be able to detemine the difference between God and some technologically advanced or otherwise powerful agent is very arrogant. If, however, some powerful being manifested on Earth and with a wave of a hand removed all pain and suffering and granted eternal youth and well being to everyone and then claimed to be the one true God, I'd honor and respect it for the salvation (though I'd wonder why it hadn't done it before) and just provisionally accept that it is God until proven otherwise, for no other reason than it is the only being to-date that even comes close to fitting the definition of God. That is to say I would provisionally accept it as a supreme being, perhaps the highest form of intelligence, but I'd need some further evidence that it was also the creator of the universe, as that is a much larger claim that comes with problems such as "who created the creator" and such.

Isn't this a bit too Christian? One true god, creator of the universe, etc?

Suppose this demonstrated powerful being with deep understanding said, nope, there's no creator of the universe where did you get that crazy idea; omniscience and omnipotence are poppicock; no life after death although I could whip something up if you guys really value it; I never heard of Jesus Christ; I am about as powerful as it gets east of the Virgo Supercluster; you won't get anything closer to a god than me.

At that point, you could complain that it doesn't meet the standards of a real god. But why bother? Either reuse the word 'god'for this being that comes pretty close to the concept, if not the particular Christian version. Or make up a new word and "god" becomes a word like alchemy, an old word used by people who had vaguely the right idea but the wrong particulars.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:47 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Isn't this a bit too Christian? One true god, creator of the universe, etc?


I took it in the context of the lively ongoing (and never ending) debate between theists and atheists, specifically the Christian/Atheist side of the debate. If we were to shift gears a bit and put a new context on the conversation and label God as "a being with a power level over 9000", then I'd have to change my answer, but only slightly. I said I'd honor, respect, and worship a sufficiently poweful, benevolent, and wise being. The only change to my above statement would be to forget any niggling musings on a yet more powerful being. After all, enough is as good as a feast, as they say. A minor god that takes an active role1 in improving the quality of life for all of humanity is all I'd want or need. The rest of the cosmos can get their own god.


1By active role I mean it produces tangible, testable results, none of this "God works in mysterious ways" bullshit.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby brenok » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:53 pm UTC

notzeb wrote:Permanently grant me immortality

How exactly do you test this one?

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby mathmannix » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:57 pm UTC

brenok wrote:
notzeb wrote:Permanently grant me immortality

How exactly do you test this one?

Yeah, so if anybody comes up to you and tells you they are a god, that's the first one you want them to tell you they just granted? Good luck with that.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Deva » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:05 pm UTC

brenok wrote:
notzeb wrote:Permanently grant me immortality

How exactly do you test this one?

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby PeteP » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:11 pm UTC

When they try to use the ability to kill a god they might find out.

Also I notice that none of you made sure it isn't a trickster god before asking for anything to be granted/demonstrated. Sloppy, sloppy.^^

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:14 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:When they try to use the ability to kill a god they might find out.

Also I notice that none of you made sure it isn't a trickster god before asking for anything to be granted/demonstrated. Sloppy, sloppy.^^



"Are you a trickster god?"

"No."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Really, Really?"

"Yes, me-damnit."

"Rea-"

"Gah. You know what, nevermind!"



.... Come to think of it, maybe that is the real story behind Abraham and he just fucked it up for the rest of us.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:55 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:In the end, it would come down to asking things that only God would know.
You mean, things that only God, and you, would know, but that (say) the NSA would not know, and that a slightly less superpowerful but still awesome creature would also not know. And you'd have to know that this putative God would know it but that that demigod would not.

Good luck.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby mathmannix » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:06 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:it would come down to asking things that only God would know

like "how many fingers?"
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:10 pm UTC

I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light. If a God is all-knowing, then it would know about things before the information could travel the given distance. For instance, send a statlite to the other end of the solar system, or even just a few light-minutes away. Have the satalite send back a random message. An omniscient being would know the message before it was received here on Earth (or even before the probe was sent). 'Course, you'd have to also try and prevent the being from tampering with the results, which could get tricky if it was also potent to any large degree.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby mathmannix » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:28 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light. If a God is all-knowing, then it would know about things before the information could travel the given distance. For instance, send a statlite to the other end of the solar system, or even just a few light-minutes away. Have the satalite send back a random message. An omniscient being would know the message before it was received here on Earth (or even before the probe was sent). 'Course, you'd have to also try and prevent the being from tampering with the results, which could get tricky if it was also potent to any large degree.

Not a bad test. It would prove that said being were at minimum either accurately future-knowledgeable or quasi-omnipotent. Either one, and you've got yourself a serious candidate for a god.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby speising » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:30 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light. If a God is all-knowing, then it would know about things before the information could travel the given distance. For instance, send a statlite to the other end of the solar system, or even just a few light-minutes away. Have the satalite send back a random message. An omniscient being would know the message before it was received here on Earth (or even before the probe was sent). 'Course, you'd have to also try and prevent the being from tampering with the results, which could get tricky if it was also potent to any large degree.

Not a bad test. It would prove that said being were at minimum either accurately future-knowledgeable or quasi-omnipotent. Either one, and you've got yourself a serious candidate for a god.

or any average stage magician.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby notzeb » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
brenok wrote:
notzeb wrote:Permanently grant me immortality

How exactly do you test this one?

Yeah, so if anybody comes up to you and tells you they are a god, that's the first one you want them to tell you they just granted? Good luck with that.
Claiming to believe that they were indeed a god after surviving a thousand years costs me little...
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:35 pm UTC

speising wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light. If a God is all-knowing, then it would know about things before the information could travel the given distance. For instance, send a statlite to the other end of the solar system, or even just a few light-minutes away. Have the satalite send back a random message. An omniscient being would know the message before it was received here on Earth (or even before the probe was sent). 'Course, you'd have to also try and prevent the being from tampering with the results, which could get tricky if it was also potent to any large degree.

Not a bad test. It would prove that said being were at minimum either accurately future-knowledgeable or quasi-omnipotent. Either one, and you've got yourself a serious candidate for a god.

or any average stage magician.


Fine, then have the test be outside of our galaxy. I am told that on any given night astronomers see a handful of supernovae in distant galaxies, which they then use to measure the distance to the galaxy. An omniscient being would be able to tell you exactly which galaxies would have observable supernovae that night, and at what local time it would become visible.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby speising » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:42 pm UTC

I'd still be more inclined to believe i'm facing an alien which managed to develop FTL than a god. If you have FTL travel, "predicting" supernovae becomes trivial.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:59 pm UTC

brenok wrote:
notzeb wrote:Permanently grant me immortality

How exactly do you test this one?


Wait for it.

speising wrote:I'd still be more inclined to believe i'm facing an alien which managed to develop FTL than a god. If you have FTL travel, "predicting" supernovae becomes trivial.


Working FTL that's sufficiently reliable effective that they're willing to use it for such an end is basically diefic power from my perspective.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:46 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light.
Joke's on you. It turns out that Einstein's relativity is only correct under certain conditions. It will be replaced in 2278 by the theory of concubicity, which generalizes relativity to folded space. Thirty years later, we will figure out how to make the first fold, which allows light speed travel without the attendant paradoxen. Six years later the second fold is discovered, allowing for speeds of 8 times light speed. Interstellar travel will become possible, and advances in mathematics show that there are at least eight possible ways to fold space, each one increasing the "speed limit" within that warp factor by the cube of the fold number.

We're just so primitive we haven't discovered any of this. We're the bushman seeing a radio for the first time. Pretty cool, but if that's sufficient for godhood, then we are gods to the bushmen.

And thus gods. Period.

Tyndmyr wrote:Wait for it.
The river is small.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:49 pm UTC

Heretical! Only gods may travel the folds!

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby ahammel » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:25 am UTC

speising wrote:I'd still be more inclined to believe i'm facing an alien which managed to develop FTL than a god. If you have FTL travel, "predicting" supernovae becomes trivial.

An alien with FTL technology would probably be close enough to a god, relatively speaking, as to make no odds.

I guess if it's asking to be worshipped that might be a different story.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby quintopia » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:22 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Wait for it.
The river is small.

Jose

Is this a reference to Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld? It doesn't count as immortality if the powers that be can arbitrarily decide to stop reincarnating you.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:32 am UTC

I suspect the God of Laziness won't be convincing any of you anytime soon.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:13 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:
speising wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
Whizbang wrote:I would imagine a test on omniscience would have something to do with the speed of light. If a God is all-knowing, then it would know about things before the information could travel the given distance. For instance, send a statlite to the other end of the solar system, or even just a few light-minutes away. Have the satalite send back a random message. An omniscient being would know the message before it was received here on Earth (or even before the probe was sent). 'Course, you'd have to also try and prevent the being from tampering with the results, which could get tricky if it was also potent to any large degree.

Not a bad test. It would prove that said being were at minimum either accurately future-knowledgeable or quasi-omnipotent. Either one, and you've got yourself a serious candidate for a god.

or any average stage magician.


Fine, then have the test be outside of our galaxy. I am told that on any given night astronomers see a handful of supernovae in distant galaxies, which they then use to measure the distance to the galaxy. An omniscient being would be able to tell you exactly which galaxies would have observable supernovae that night, and at what local time it would become visible.

If the answer is "All of them" and it is correct you really need to start worrying.

quintopia wrote:
ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Wait for it.
The river is small.

Jose

Is this a reference to Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld? It doesn't count as immortality if the powers that be can arbitrarily decide to stop reincarnating you.

It is a reference to the topic 1190: "Time". Jose couldn't resist the urge to use OTTish outside of the OTT.
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:47 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:Fine, then have the test be outside of our galaxy. I am told that on any given night astronomers see a handful of supernovae in distant galaxies, which they then use to measure the distance to the galaxy. An omniscient being would be able to tell you exactly which galaxies would have observable supernovae that night, and at what local time it would become visible.
It seems to me that it would be pretty trivial for a moderately advanced being to fake it really well, i.e. to put up a satellite that will generate everything one would expect from a supernova.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby PeteP » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:07 pm UTC

If the god was in demonstration mood I might ask him to let the sun go supernova while protecting the earth and afterwards return the sun system to it's prior state. That should give some good data about supernovas at least and would be quite cool. Also if someone can do that and repair anything I would probably be willing to accept their claim to godhood. (Or they are good at illusions or mind manipulation.)

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Whizbang » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:37 pm UTC

The problem that seems to have cropped up in this thread, and indeed in any discussion on the nature of God or gods, is that "god" is such a loose term (as, I am sure, is nothing new to any of you). As such, if we limit the definition to "power level over 9000" rather than the at least one of the three omnis, then we will constantly run into the fact that some alien somewhere, conceptually, could meet the requirement without meeting the nebulous requirement of being suernatural. Also, any test you can conceive of, or at least that I can conceive of (there are plenty of smarter people than me), will be limited in scope and power required. So, yes, potentially technology will allow us (or any intelligent being) to go FTL. But right now that is a seeming impossibility. Any discreet test will run up against that problem that some other type of agent could conceivably do that task as well. From there it just becomes an argument on the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:52 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:The problem that seems to have cropped up in this thread, and indeed in any discussion on the nature of God or gods, is that "god" is such a loose term (as, I am sure, is nothing new to any of you). As such, if we limit the definition to "power level over 9000" rather than the at least one of the three omnis, then we will constantly run into the fact that some alien somewhere, conceptually, could meet the requirement without meeting the nebulous requirement of being suernatural.


*shrug* What's supernatural anyway? Once it's well understood by us, and we know how it works, we just define it as natural. Some other race of creatures, if sufficiently spooky and unknown, might be labeled supernatural, but once we understand how they tick, even if wildly different from us, then it's just an esoteric field of study.

It seems an almost meaningless distinction.

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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Spleen » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:06 pm UTC

I am polytheistic, so I imagine a god to be one with limited, but good powers for a specific need.
Sadly this religion which I am supposed to be a follower of, I am not especially devout or hardly at all actually ..... since it haven't kept itself updated to modern times.

There's religions who have tried to cover every base and situation though. Hindu's made a decent attempt with their myriad of gods, though the Catholics is not that far behind with ersatz deities called saints that fill a similar role.
This said only as one example for anyone who might read this and that I only make an example here that polytheism is not that weird - you might already be into it, especially if you got ancestry from India or perhaps even Italy.

Anyhow, we did not upgrade our faith, not even to version 1.1, yet if we had done so we would make offerings to our deities with items like a surfpad, a pair of sneakers or the camshaft of one Aston Martin.

For the sake of argument lets say that we had upgraded anyhow, so erm lets see ....at least 2.0 by now, then I might drag in one VASIMR to the sacred place in the hope I eventually will be rewarded by my upgraded deity with a Firefly or Moira class spaceship - and my faith certainly would be strengthened. :lol:
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Re: What would a god have to do to convince you it's a god.

Postby Weeks » Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:Also I notice that none of you made sure it isn't a trickster god before asking for anything to be granted/demonstrated. Sloppy, sloppy.^^
'cause it's so interesting to think about!

"Wow what if it's like a trickster?!?!?!? You're fucked anyway haha lol!"
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