culaavuso wrote:First, the nature of gratitude. Why must a feeling of appreciation be expressed as gratitude?
And why does it need to be expressed to a person?
On both counts: Because this is what we usually do.
Of course, you are welcome to present a different conceptualization.
Are you able to be grateful to things?
And why can't the universe for which one is grateful simply be given a "person" label for these purposes?
I'm not sure I understand what you mean here.
The idea of gratitude I'm working with just logically extends notions of gratitude back to what is regarded the first cause or the source, ie. God.
E.g. Thomas is grateful to Peter that he picked him up from the airport. This is where we usually stop. But to be precise, since Peter didn't make the car he is driving, nor the roads, we also have to thank all the people involved in making cars and building roads. But, to be precise, these people also didn't make cars and roads out of nothing, there were other people before them providing resources, knowledge etc. So we trace back the credits, and in a theistic explanation of things, the credits go back to God. Ie. God created the Universe, provided time, space, materials, so that people can build cars and roads, so that then Peter could pick up Thomas from the airport.
Why is making up a "God" label any better than just applying an extra "person" label?
For one, it's not about "making up a "God" label." Unless we are to posit that all those people who claim to be theists, are in fact just making stuff up. But if we do posit such a thing, then there's no point in discussing this topic altogether, as it becomes moot.
For two, we're just working with some common theistic definitions of "God." I don't quite see the point of making up our own definitions of God.
Second, Why wouldn't there be an indebtedness and appreciation for God's existence?
It might be; but as long as God is defined as "First Cause," such indebtedness and appreciation for God's existence is not logically possible.
This is because there is a person who does a kindness, and so repaying a kindness is rightly to the person who performed the kindness. There is no need to impute a creator who performed the kindness of creating the universe.
I suppose it depends on how precise, how consistent one wishes to be.
The person who performed a kindness could do so because a thousand circumstances had come together so that he could perform that kindness.
For example, giving someone food is a kindness; but unless the giver has produced the food himself, out of nothing (!), there are obviously numerous other beings and factors involved in the production of food - and strictly speaking, they, too, deserve credit.
A "God" that is merely a convenient conceptual invention is a different thing from a "God" that is actually the creator of the universe.
Obviously, but I'm not sure what your point is with this?