The shape of God
if you were to ask a modern religious believer what they envisage god to look like, they probably respond with some sort of anthropomorphic image of an old man in the sky. So to, when asked “do you believe in god?”, I presume that my conversation partner is asking about his anthropomorphic visage, and hence i reply no. However, the philosophical notion of god has, for centuries of intellectual discourse been very different. The god of the philosophers is immaterial, impersonal and unchanging. When philosophers sought god, they were looking for the primordial force that started the universe, something which was perhaps pre-eternal, but was at he very least the first. I think that many atheists, including myself, would state to believe in such a being.
The difference however remains on the issue of worship. Many theists, theologians and philosophers worship this first being, but is it deserving of such praise?. The impersonal, law-of-nature god which i just describes would, in all likelihood, not even be concious of the praise it receives . In ancient religions however we see behaviour quite similar to this praise of nature. It is quite well known that European pagans worshiped both celestial bodies, certain plans and at times animals alongside their own forebears. So to do we see Egyptians worshiping the sun as well as the river Nile among other things. There are even theories hinting that the European consumption of beef is, not unlike the Hinduistic tradition, a form of worship.
In each of these cases, we see the worship of something that makes like itself possible. The force of nature god of the philosophers certainly belongs in this category, making absolutely everything possible. Though it may sound ridiculous, i belie it o not be misplaced to worship the beginning of the universe, perhaps alongside the forces in virtue of which we exist such as gravity, or the strong nuclear force.