God can't be defined

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When do we hear it?

This is a common companion of "You can't prove God doesn't exist" in that postulating on the non-existence of God is a fruitless exercise. As humans we lack the capability to properly comprehend what God 'truly' is, and therefore are not competent to even define him, never mind disprove him.

A response

The first problem with this statement is that the claim of an undefinable entity requires no refutation, so there's no point to this argument.

However the claimant is actually trying to sneak in premises. The word 'God' has a history and the entity it describes has a multitude of attributes. Furthermore, by bringing this up in response to an atheist, the claimant is also acknowledging that whatever 'God' is, exists. In order to do that, he does have at least a working model of what 'God' is supposed to be, however nebulous, in order to have a position on the matter. Otherwise why take part in the discussion?

Here, some will claim that they have supernatural knowledge of God, enough to know He exists, but not enough to adequately define him. Even then, they need a working definition of what 'God' is, even if it's no more concrete than 'the originator of that vision/dream/inner conviction/personal witness I had'. Even so, making it supernatural is no more than an appeal to ignorance

Note: The theist who makes this claim may also posit that all 'gods' in human folklore are approximations of the 'true' god, possibly with the one tradition he favors being the closest one. In that case it is worth noting holders of the same position, but who prefer a different tradition as the closest one.

See Also

v · d Common objections to atheism and counter-apologetics
Personal   Why are you trying to tear down other people's faith? · Why can't everyone just have their own beliefs? · What are your qualifications? · Atheists believe in nothing · You are a communist · Why do atheists inspire such hatred? · That's not my God
Religious   That's not in my Bible · They're not true Christians · You just want to sin · Atheists know there is a God · It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe · God doesn't believe in atheists · Science is a faith · Atheism is a religion · Atheists worship materialism · Hypocrisy of celebrating religious holidays · Atheism is based on faith · Religious belief is beneficial
Science and logic   You can't prove God doesn't exist · Science can't touch god · God can't be defined · So you think we came from nothing / pondsoup / monkeys? · If God didn't create everything, who did? · That might be true for you, but its not true for me · Religion is another way of knowing · God is trying to trick you with dinosaur bones · Satan is trying to trick you with dinosaur bones · Tides come in, tides go out
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