The category error of conflating God with a god
More often I hear people online especially Atheists, agnostics and even surprisingly theists , make the category of error of grouping God with a god or gods. so I thought I address this today.
Now, let’s look at the classical definition of God. According to Merriem Webster dictionary, God (capitalized) can be defined in the following ways:
The supreme or ultultimate reality A being perfect in power, wisdom and goodness worshipped as CREATOR and ruler of universe The infinite mind.
While a god ( small letter g) is defined also by merriem Webster dictionary as a being or object believed to be controlling a particular aspect of reality. Eg Greek gods of love.
In classical theism, the “G" is used to denote a different category of being. One mostly ascribed as The uncaused first cause according to Thomas Aquinas , creator of the universe, eternal supernatural being and infinite mind. Known to Muslims as Allah, to Christians as Yahweh, to Stoics as Zeus, to Hindus as Brahman and to Deists as the supernatural being that set the universe in motion.
Even when you look at most pegan societies that believed in many gods (polytheism), you would observe that even those gods in fact do have a general creator or source. Take a look at the Stoics. The Stoics believed that Zeus was the king of the gods who created the Universe and everything within which including the other lesser gods like Thor , Horus etc. In that sense, Zeus is God. Now let's look at the Yoruba traditional religion in Nigeria. The Yoruba traditional religion believe in many gods as well. Some of those gods are : Sango the god of thunder, Ogun the god of war, Ifa the goddess of fertility. yet this didn't hinder them from acknowledging that these different gods came from a head source, a creator they call Eledumare.
Now does the fact that God is being described differently by various religions, mean that there are different types of God or more than one God ? I don’t think so. Let’s take this analogy for example, lets say I just bought a car and asked three of my friends to guess what car I bought. Let’s says person A says a Toyota, person B says Ford and person C says Honda. Now, does the fact that they all had different assumptions about the type car I bought alter the reality that I bought something other than a car? No ofcoz, same goes for God. The fact that diffrent religions have different descriptions of God doesn’t change the reality of what is being talked about when they talk about the origin of everything or the cause of the universe. And most people out of ignorance even go further to ask the question, "what caused God?" of coz its a faulty question , why? because it’s same as asking, " what caused an uncaused thing ?" God by definition is uncaused, necessary and eternal (beyond our universe). Hopefully in my next post I would stress on this some more.
So when next you hear people having a metaphysical discussion about the origin of the universe and someone says he believes that God created the Universe, and another asks, " which god? ”, It implies that the person that asked the ‘which god’ question is either ignorant about classical theism’s definition of God by making the category error fallacy or simply being dishonest, since it would mean that they are both arguing about two entirely different things. If the person is being dishonest, then there is no need to continuing the discussion or argument.
Well, hope you learned a thing or two from this little write up ( smiles). You can ask further questions on anything that you want me to clarify and I will try my best to respond. Come to think of it, this is actually my first writing, so of coz my subsequent posts will be better and descriptive. so, forgive my errors and typos. we are going to have alot of fun and gain new knowledge discussing about metaphysics , science and religion. Do stay glued to my page, have a lovely day.