God: an imaginary friend?

by greven 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • greven

    Have you ever had that you couldnt sleep at night and that your mind starts racing thoughts? I had one of those nights and this is basically the fruit of it.

    Is God an imaginary friend? When children feel very lonely or misunderstood it can happen that a psychological survival system kicks in: the imaginary friend. It helps the child to cope with hard times and situations. It can provide friendship and comfort. Now I was thinking: can it be that God is the grown-up version of the imaginary friend? Life can be pretty hard, maybe the grown-up finds it hard to cope with life itself: is this all there is? Is there something or somebody behind all this? The reality that you are born, live your life and die is not very comforting. Also being in the middle of misery like war or pestilence can be pretty hopeless. At times like that maybe this same psychological survival mechanism kicks in, only this time it is a grown-up imaginary friend. One that is capable of providing comfort and love like a father figure. And is also capable of revenge. Imagine little toddlers having a fight, one runs to his daddy: "daddy, they are teasing me." (do something about that!) Now picture an ancient Hebrew watching his country burnt by invaders. He runs to his God, "daddy they are killing us, do something about that!" Now, the problem is that there is just as much proof for the existence of God as there is for the imaginary friend. No response from this being provokes elaborate rituals to reach it, and to please it, resulting in religion.

    I think that religion can be a source of comfort and can be beneficial at times. However I strongly feel that at one point one must grow-up so to speak and realise the imaginary friend to be what it is: a figment of the imagination. Then we have to face up to the problems like grown-ups. We can no longer hide under that blanket of protection. We do not run to daddy anymore to help us, hoping he will solve everything in the end. We realise that humans mostly cause the problems and that they will only be solved by human effort. We have to face up to reality.

    If you worship [enter deity of choice], ask yourself this: do I worship because I think this life cannot be all there is? Is it that the cold reality of life forces me into believing?

    What are your thoughts on this?


  • vanilia

    Hi Greven,

    i completely understand your thinking, and it is very much like that. however, there is no evidence of an imaginary friend, but there is of God, you just have to look around you. when i get to feeling like an athiest, i always snap back into being a believer just by looking around me, it has to come from somewhere doesnt it?

  • Been there
    Been there

    HMMMMMMMMM...........Very thought provoking Greven.

    But I am not ready to let go of my imaginary friend yet. I'm with Vanilia on this one.

  • Gopher

    For the sake of argument, let me remove the word "imaginary" and assume the existence of a God / divine being.

    Then the question becomes, is God a friend? Does he really pick out certain ones to befriend, and leave the rest of humanity to suffer?

    Or is God an impersonal "first cause" who now just sits back and sees how things unfold here on earth in people's lives?

    If he is to be credited with directly helping those who have sufficient "faith" in him, is he to be blamed for the suffering where he chooses NOT to reach out and help abused people? I hesitate to give the Creator either such credit or such blame.

  • ChrisVance

    Right on! Even if there is a god there's no way to know what he/she/it is like or what he/she/it wants of us if anything. Therefore, the god(s) that people worship are all imaginary friends. If a child has an imaginary friend there's no way you can convince him that the friend is not real. The same stands true for an adult with an imaginary friend.

  • Vivamus
    can it be that God is the grown-up version of the imaginary friend?

    Quite possibly so.

    "A religion is sometimes a source of happiness, but it a comfort appropiate for the weak, not for the strong. ... One may bask in the warm fire of faith, or one may walk in the bleak uncertainty of life, but one cannot have both"

    It's a quote from Heinlein. I'm quoting from my mind, so I may have made a slight mistake in the quote

  • vanilia

    i disagree. it depends on what you believe i guess, if you believe the bible is balony it will affect what you think about God, i personally accept the bible, and he tells us in the bible what He wants from us, and that He loves us and will listen if we need Him, but we are not Him so who can say exactly what He is like?

  • greven

    Some deep thoughts here!

    Good point Gopher!

    Nice quote viv! (who is this heinlein by the way?)

    As an atheist, I am fully aware that faith is no longer a warm blanket. It is like looking at a picture and suddely discovering the hidden image. Once this has happened you cannot see the image without seeing the hidden one. As soon as I saw through faith i knew I could never use it again to lull my mind, to ease it. It felt like suddenly realizing there is no Santa Clause or toothfairy. Once you know it you can't go back. Is that a shame? No, I feel more mature, more aware because of it. But yes, I sometimes envy people that still believe in God. It is nice thinking someone is looking after you. But no, I would not want to go back.


    Vanilia: who can say exactly what He is like?

    Well technically, I know that if God would excist it would not be a "He". "He" implies sexual gender. And as you know God does not reproduce sexually so there is no need for sexorgans. God would be an "it". thinking about this isn't it strange that the angels were attracted (sexually) to the females on earth, resulting in Nephilim? Why would they have the sexual urges of humans? This story also implies angels are males! Bacteria reproduce asexually, so you can't call them male or female! do angels reproduce sexually????

    Edited by - greven on 4 February 2003 8:6:48

    Edited by - greven on 4 February 2003 8:9:4

  • Abaddon

    I think one major differentiator (as to whether people will accept god is like an imaginary friend) is what people are prepared to accept as evidence.

    vanilla says;

    however, there is no evidence of an imaginary friend, but there is of God, you just have to look around you. when i get to feeling like an athiest, i always snap back into being a believer just by looking around me, it has to come from somewhere doesnt it?

    Now, for vanilla this works. For me it doesn't.

    vanilla sees the world around her as incontravertable evidence that god exists; e.g.; "it has to come from somewhere doesnt it? "

    If I may paraphrase you vanilla, you're saying "I can't see any possible way for all this Universe to come about without god as the explaination". Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

    Again, for vanilla, this works. For me it doesn't.

    I can see very clearly how the Universe could come about WITHOUT a god. I see no evidence for a god, or gods, other than that inferred. By inferred I basically mean someone seeing a watch, and saying, golly-gee, I couldn't make that, it must have been made by a watchmaker. Or someone linking two events (like a prayer and an apparent answer to that prayer) using god as an explaination.

    However, there is no direct evidence for god. If god is a concerned creator entity with a plan, then this lack of direct proof is curious. There is such a LACK of direct evidence for god that one could say that the Universe has been put together in such a way that one can claim there is no god. If there is a god, why would they do this? Surely it would contradict the idea of a concerned creator, and make any plan more difficult to accomplish?

    So, to me, this lack of proof is almost proof, at least of the concept of a concerned creator god with a plan, which is what most of us subscribe to when we say 'god' as most of us are Christians of one sort or another, at least in enculturation if not actual religion.

    This does not exclude other conceptions of a god, but this and the basic contradictions in the Bible regarding god's supposed moral standards compared to our human biology set up a huge problem in terms of believing in anything resembling ChristianBibleGod.

    In fact, this same logic only really allows for unconcerned creator entities without a plan for us (i.e. we're like wood shavings on the floor of a carver, it is not about us, but there is a god none-the-less, albeit beyond any hope of contact or conception. There is a third option where god is not a creator entity, but is part of creation, perhaps with several million eons evolutionary headstart on us.

    But these alternatives are either unprovable, or about as useful as a chocolate kettle.

    On the other hand, I can explain the world around me to a far higher degree of satisfaction (not completely, but more completely) than those belief structures that entail some kind of entity called god.

    So, whilst respecting the right of people like vanilla to hold opinions like that (provided it is on a 'no harm to others basis'), I don't hold with them as I find them unsatisfactory.

  • Realist


    on what grounds do you accept the bible?

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