What Is God?
In our global society there are many religions, faiths and theories that are dedicated to this thing we call God. Sometimes God is just a single being such as the God in the Christian faith, or Allah in the Muslim faith. Sometimes this God is made up of several beings, like in the Hindu faith or many ancient faiths like Ancient Greek, where each god is responsible for different tasks or elements. But to keep this paper simple this being, (or is it a being?) will be referred to as God. The question of is God real, is one many have pondered, yet no definite answer has been found. Different people believe different things, and it is hard to find an answer everyone agrees with, so that is why this paper will discuss a few different views of a few different philosophers and then my own personal view. To explore this question we must explore our minds, because only in our minds can we find the answer to the age-old question, is God real?
In Plato’s Five Dialogues, Plato, or more like Socrates, talks about this idea of body and soul. Plato explores what the soul is and how it is different than our bodies, even different then our minds. Plato says the soul travels on after death, and depending on how virtuous the person’s soul and body has been, this soul either goes to a good place or a bad place. This idea of your soul either going to heaven or hell is where God first steps into play. When asking who gets to decide if your soul has been virtuous enough or not to get into heaven, the conclusion that is quickly drawn, almost as if it is common knowledge, is God decides. Plato does not get into the details of what God is, but his ideas of what the soul is and what it does, get the ball rolling. I believe the soul is the essence of life, and is not God also the essence of life? Many believe God creates all and everything, so then it would make sense that God is the essence of life, because he is giving life to everything.
When exploring the idea of what God is, the idea that God is anything but perfect feels strange. Why then, if God is a perfect being, does God create imperfect beings? No one can pretend the human being are perfect, we are in fact far from perfect, but why would something so perfect create something so imperfect? This is what went through the 17th century philosopher, Rene Descartes’ mind as he explored this topic. Descartes came up with a system of discovering truth through what he calls the Method of Doubt. The Method of Doubt means taking all previous knowledge and destroying it as if it was all lies. Descartes believes this is the only way to get to the absolute truth, using only your mind to rediscover what is real. Descartes believes shutting out all information coming in from your five senses, and then using only your mind, you can discover the innate feeling of God. This is how Descartes proves God is real, because where else would we get this fantastic idea of an all perfect, unimaginable being that is beyond things like space and time, but by he who created us and put this idea there.
This idea of Descartes’ that God himself planted the idea, or innate feeling, of God in our mind goes along with another philosopher’s idea that our reality is what God is thinking it to be. This Philosopher’s name is George Berkeley. Berkeley took Descartes’ ideas to a whole new level, crumbling away everything we took to be true and questioning if there is even such a thing as matter. To Berkeley God is purely a mental status, not even a being, which is beyond anything our human minds can comprehend. He believes everything is in our minds, that our minds create our reality. The physics of it make sense, since everything is made up of tightly combined atoms. Closing your eyes and instead of seeing things as what they are, see them as blue glowing atoms. When looking at the world like this, it is easy to imagine that God is creating what we perceive through our senses as our reality and our world.