When an agnostic says “I am not sure if there is a god”, she means something very different from a Christian who says “God told me to sell my house and prepare for the apocalypse.” The Christian’s god is much bigger than the agnostic’s god — they mean very different things when they use the same word. Thus, before discussing “God” or “god”, it is important to see how many concepts, feelings and commitments are tucked into the person’s word, “god”.
I have made these diagrams to illustrate how god gets expanded as more and more concepts are captured within its borders. The diagram above lists the main individual qualities that get packed into each expanding god. I brainstormed a few qualities to illustrate the principle — please offer your thoughts.
The diagram to the right is a summary which labels the type of believers associated with each larger god. What terms would you use? Again, I am just trying to illustrate principles.
Any particular believer will, of course, not have all these qualities in their god. And each believer will weigh the importance of each of these god-types differently. That is why we must ask each believer for a picture of the god they have constructed in their head.
Related Posts (same idea, different approaches):
- Dissecting God(s): An exploration of the guts of the theologian’s god.
- Bursting Beliefs: Your faith is a ballon, full of ideas and feelings.
- Modular God: Building on the Spackle god.