...and how do you know? Discussion of God in any context, it seems to me, must begin here. I cannot jump into a conversation of God's role in government or one's personal life as I would like to without understanding what is meant by "God".
A word should have a meaning, no?
I think the definition IS the debate. I don't think we can get past defining what God is, let alone his/her/it's role in gov't or our lives.
For instance, in response to definition #1,
How do we know God is the supreme being? And what is meant by "spiritual"? I have no clue what that really means.
Where is this information about God coming from and how do we test it for accuracy?
And when I asked the initial question, it was geared not so much toward dictionary definitions, but toward the more fundamental "what", as in "what is God made of?" .. is it a substance of some kind? If not, how does it have consciousness? Does it have a brain? How does it manifest in the universe? This question I think is quite similar to "what is a spirit" or "soul"?
The Bible contains descriptions of many of the attributes of the Personal & Living God... and prophecies pertaining to His incarnation and future Return...
God transcends the Space-Time Continuum... so in essence, God is immeasurable, yet is the measure of all things... God is the Logos, the essence behind energy, matter, and substance... God is the origin of ideas within the mind that manifests as consciousness (soul) and Conscience (Spirit)...
The definition does not need to include definitions of anything else other than that being defined. If you need any other definitions of other words look those words up.
You've asked what is the definition of God or god, then someone gives you a definition and then you ask well, what is the purpose of a God or god. That's more of a dictionary lookup than a who or what does he/she do.
Not to be mean but you need to know the question before you ask it.
Spiritual comes from a Latin verb that means to breathe. It is also connected with the verb to blow. It seems pretty material to me.
OK, what is a spirit?
I don't think I am communicating effectively here. I'm not asking for dictionary definitions, I'm after the fundamental nature of these things, and what is the rationale behind believing in them.
First, I did not realize you wanted contemporary meanings--is spiritual in the sense you used it something strictly contemporary, presumably, contemporary with us? Secondly, etymology is pretty much the only guide to what people think & have thought on a matter. Take your example of villain--in the somewhat operatic context in which it is used today, it is closer to mastermind, or some such evil-doer, whereas originally it related to a paltry creature. You may find the occasion to reflect on the different attitudes to injustice that democrats & aristocrats take... Thirdly, I am not sure contemporary meanings are coherent. That's the problem with quoting definitions out of a dictionary... Anime? That's back to breath, blowing, isn't it?
And entymology also gives us insight into the evolution of the word, which raises interesting questions about the evolution of thought, which is very much (almost exclusively) bound to our language.
For example: when and how was it that "breath" came to mean, or be synonymous with "immaterial" or "supernatural"? Was this before we knew the nature of air as it is: matter? Could this have possibly created an equivocation of an unseen life force to mysticism to spirits and the spiritual, anthropomorphized into beings with human or superhuman like qualities? Is our knowledge of the gods based on evidence and experience, or simply the manifestations of our language?
You do not seem like the kind of man who is able to answer these questions. If you wish to read a man who thought he was able, & who is reputed to have been among the ablest, read Martin Heidegger.
Now, as for what the evolution of thought means, I'll believe you are the exemplar of a positive evolution when I see you are cleverer than previous thinkers. I am not sure whether you think I am setting the bar low or high, but if you ever are able to understand Homer's or Hesiod's teaching on the gods, then I'll believe you have a chance to know better.
Finally, a note on the examples you chose. I think you are plainly wrong about immaterial: That gods were immaterial does not seem to have occurred to people who believed in gods, at least in records of those beliefs in poetry, such as the likeness between breath & soul. Further, about supernatural: I do not think you are aware of the discovery of nature. Opinions about the gods surely precede it: The oldest poets present them as things taken for granted, already old, as stories go, whereas they do not talk in that way about nature. To speak therefore of the supernatural in this connection is a serious mistake. Originally, the gods & nature might have been alternative explanations of the phenomena.
What are your thoughts on Heidegger? Did he answer the questions in your opinion?