God

Like the word "joy" (see the section on emotions) the word "God" has many meanings. The most common meaning is a personification of the moral code of society. Cohesive societies have a single moral code and thus typically a single God (monotheism). Fragmented societies have multiple overlapping and/or conflicting moral codes, and thus typically multiple Gods and Goddesses (polytheism). Personification is necessary because low-intelligence types (the vast majority of people) cannot possibly understand abstract concepts like "moral code of society". The phrase "vox populi, vox dei" (voice of the people is the voice of God) was originally used in the sense "if the people think someone should be canonized as a saint, that is strong evidence in favor of canonization". But perhaps the reason this phrase is so memorable is the alternative interpretation: "voice of society, in the sense of moral code of society, is what is meant by voice of God".

To question the existence of God, one must define God. For someone to say "God does not exist" without knowing who or what God is, is meaningless.

To do the will of God is to do the will of society (obey society's moral code, or codes in the case of a fragmented society). Those who do the will of society (company men, tools) are typically rewarded by society, and contrary-wise. Equivalently, those who do the will of God are typically blessed by God, while those who defy God are punished by God. Of course, there is sometimes a high price for being a company man, that more than offsets the rewards. "Selling one's soul to the Devil" commonly refers to those who sacrifice love for money and power. So much depends on the situation. For example, those who consecrate their lives to serving God as Catholic priests must sacrifice their sex life (unless they can arrange something on the sly), which is a very heavy price for normal men with a strong sex drive, probably high enough to offset whatever rewards come with such service. (The only rewards I can think of are power and respect, which are equivalent to wealth and fame, the twin booby prizes in the game of life. When I once called a priest insane, in exasperation at the foolishness he was spouting in an effort to "convert" me, he exclaimed that he was "sane as a tree stump"—a psychologically revealing answer if ever there was one, for what is a stump but the carcass left behind after the living flower of the tree is chopped down? Think also of stump of penis after cutting that off. Sacrificing his sex drive to gain social position does indeed turn a priest into a stump of sorts.) Those who don't care about being loved but do care greatly about money and power (and there are many like this), lose nothing by selling out to the Devil. Indeed, given that money and power are so highly respected in many societies, it is hard to see much difference between serving God (personification of society's moral code) versus serving the Devil (personification of money and power).

Discussing the nature of God openly is itself often forbidden as part of society's moral code: "To look upon the face of God is to die".

Personification of abstract concepts is not unique to the moral code. For example, the ancient Greeks personified the arts as muses (Calliope as the muse of epic poetry, etc), painters and sculptors have sometimes personified "Science", "Wisdom", "Mathematics" as toga-clad women, the government of the United States is sometimes personified as a lean old man named "Uncle Sam", and so forth. Personification becomes a problem when it is taken literally.

The second most common meaning of God is the individual moral code, or subconscious libido. Suppose a person says something like "in my times of difficulty, I took refuge in God and he comforted me and told me what to do". What this typically means is there was a split between their higher and lower mind, with the higher mind (spirit) dominated by society's values and the lower mind (soul) being their true personality, and they were letting the former run things, so that they did what society thought right rather than what there deepest inner self thought right. During the time of difficulty, they stopped listening to the voice of society and started listening to their deeper self. Because the deeper self is what ultimately gives us energy, they felt comforted.

One way to avoid confusion between these two common meanings of God is to split God into a male Father god, who represents the moral code of society, and a female Mother goddess, sometimes called the Virgin, who represents the interests of the individual. Because the moral code can change within a society and because different societies have different moral code, there is not a single father God but rather multiple father Gods. By contrast, there is only one Virgin, because the individual's interests are unchanging and single (at least from the perspective of a single individual). The interests of the individual are tightly tied with the body and the body is tightly tied with the material world, and thus the Virgin can also mean the material world as a whole (including body and soul) whereas the father God means the world of the higher mind (spirit). The Mother Goddess is called the Virgin because she is without flaw. We do not complain that water is soft or that gravity causes masses to attract one another. These are facts of the material world that must be accepted. Similarly, it is wrong to complain that our libido wants us to eat and sleep and have sex. We may choose to control our libido, but the desires themselves must be accepted as being without flaw. The mating of Father God plus Virgin gives rise to sons and daughters. A son is a being in whom the father element (spirit) dominates, whereas the mother element (body and soul) dominates in a daughter. Intelligent, well-socialized humans are sons, because spirit dominates soul in humans. Animals are daughters, because body and soul dominates in animals. The Virgin is the primal basis for all existence, whereas Father Gods are emergent phenomena. The idea that the Father created the material world is an abomination, an attempt to deny the very possibility of individual interests conflicting with those of society.

It is also possible to distinguish a Father God representing the moral code of society, from Satan (another male "God") representing the moral code of the individual, from the Virgin representing the body and soul of the individual as well as the rest of the material world.

This point has been addressed by many writers before, but I can't resist making it yet again. God as the creator of the material universe akes no sense, because the question immediately arises as to who created this creator. The Mother God or Virgin IS the material universe, not the creator thereof. Father God can be seen as the creator of the spiritual universe, on the other hand. Father Gods, or moral codes, are phenomena that emerge spontaneously from the Mother God, or material universe, as a consequence of the laws of nature, including the laws of game theory.

Death and resurrection of God is a symbol of expiation of sins and modification of the moral code. The old moral code, which gave rise to the wrong behavior, is discarded, and replaced by a new moral code, which presumably has been updated so as to avoid giving rise to wrong behavior in the future. Right and wrong are to be understood in a pragmatic sense. That is, exterminating the enemy is right if it works, wrong if it doesn't work. Genocide worked for the early Jews and thus was right. It stopped working when the Jews were no longer able to maintain their independence and thus became wrong.

Varieties of religious experience by William James (1902) has other meanings of the term "God".