Steadfast Madcap

Trying to Better Understand Theism and Religion

38 posts in this topic

So in order for the society to keep on going, people can't believe quite as deeply as they profess to?

It's weird but correct. I don't think we're ready for a full revelation. One of the reasons is because supposedly when Jesus comes back to earth he will judge the dead and the living, in other words Judgment Day. This is the reason he sends you miracles here and there and apparitions to certain people. I myself if an apparition were to happen to me, I don't think my life would be the same. Being single, I like to travel, i like new cars a lot, brand name clothing, etc. I'm working hard to get my dream house and live well. If I find a wife, I'd like to give her a good life including materialistic things, but if a miracle or apparition were to happen to me, I don't think all those materialistic things would matter to me anymore. I would dedicate my life to help people (I do help people but I can do better), pray a lot more, be a much better person overall and if were to happen before I find my other half, I would seriously consider becoming a priest.

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It's weird but correct. I don't think we're ready for a full revelation. One of the reasons is because supposedly when Jesus comes back to earth he will judge the dead and the living, in other words Judgment Day. This is the reason he sends you miracles here and there and apparitions to certain people. I myself if an apparition were to happen to me, I don't think my life would be the same. Being single, I like to travel, i like new cars a lot, brand name clothing, etc. I'm working hard to get my dream house and live well. If I find a wife, I'd like to give her a good life including materialistic things, but if a miracle or apparition were to happen to me, I don't think all those materialistic things would matter to me anymore. I would dedicate my life to help people (I do help people but I can do better), pray a lot more, be a much better person overall and if were to happen before I find my other half, I would seriously consider becoming a priest.

 

Interesting perspective, and definitely not one believers are willing to cop to very often. I really appreciate your honesty.

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Interesting perspective, and definitely not one believers are willing to cop to very often. I really appreciate your honesty.

You're most welcome. That's why we are here for (the forum). To support each other. I'll start contributing to Jegs thread "ask a Catholic". My father is a theologist and I think he can be very helpful. If you are interested, do stop by!

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You're most welcome. That's why we are here for (the forum). To support each other. I'll start contributing to Jegs thread "ask a Catholic". My father is a theologist and I think he can be very helpful. If you are interested, do stop by!

 

I've already asked a few questions on that thread: my first one is here, if you're interested in giving your perspective.  :)

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  • If you believe in any deity or deities at all: why do you?

I believe in a fine-tuned universe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

I believe that this world,this universe (and if other universes exist,those too) were made by intelligent design.

The sheer amount of Oddly specific things needed , not only for us to exist as life, but to exist as an individual with free will, capable of the mental capacity and other body functions to even question the ''how'' and ''why'' we exist. Capable of inventing a machine (the computer) where we have developed our own worlds with laws different than the laws of our own world,capable of free will, is the base of my claim.

 

My other choices are we came from another intelligent race which just adds another layer of questions to find the true beginning

or we come from nothing, both of which require the same amount of faith as the choice i have chosen , the last choice being the most depressing (to me anyway) 

 

  • How do you sense that he/she/they exist?

Thank God for nuclear fusion, without it protons,electrons, and neutrons could never have mixed and created anything on the periodic table of elements. Hydrogen couldn't become helium , stars wouldn't exist (well little would exist but lets look at stars) So the sun then wouldn't have existed.

 

thank God for all the uniform laws of nature that have somehow created a universe that has rules. The universe didn't have to obey rules, Let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. It could have been a universe that changed unpredictably.

or a universe that things just popped in and out of existence at random.

 

Thank God for DNA, The 3 Billion lettered instruction code that happens to be in every cell in our body  to tell them to act in certain ways, Even apoptosis, the programmed cell suicide which gives you fingers instead of webbed hands

 

these fingers we then use to create fine tuned objects we use to learn with our complexly designed brain that processes millions of messages of data to not just keep us alive,no,but to produce complex thoughts allowing us to ask these questions in the first place.

  • Why do you think your religion (and your particular denomination of that faith, if applicable), is correct?

I would like to think i am non-denominational , and that my religion is malleable depending on the new things that i learn and the opinions i create from them. I am sure my interpretation is not 100% correct just as any others isn't because i am not perfect

conveniently the bible acknowledges that we aren't perfect, just in case people might start thinking that they are

I would like to assume that i have the core part down, (love everyone regardless of there sins, love God,etc) but have a lot which i still need to learn more to truly be 100% confident in my decisions on them

 

  • If you believe that your scriptures are inerrant: why is that?

Sometimes i wonder if the bible is accurate anymore considering it has been translated by imperfect beings , some of which could have there own agendas, or just simply be wrong about what a single word means. Its also a HUGE book of  metaphors in which everyone and anyone will interpret differently. (and a lot of people will use this as a tool for there own plans) and it also could have been made with the time period it was made heavily in mind.

 

 

  • If you seek to reconcile scriptures and science/history: how do you?
  • i really need  to leave that to the people in those fields.                                                            
  • Fun fact : http://www.eternal-productions.org/101science.html     there are many things in the bible which can be interpreted as scientific facts that were far ahead of there time    
  • another fun fact : i have a new profound hatred for bullets on forums   

 

  • Do you ever think something your scripture claims was caused/endorsed by your deity was just plain wrong? If so, how do you deal with that?

 

To try and understand why a Deity who is described as omnipotent , omniscient and omnipresent does what he does all the time, sounds like a really good way to go insane

 

If i was playing my game Gnomoria on my computer , and suddenly i was given the option to give my gnomes ''free will'' so i did and all my gnomes just started having wars and doing a bunch of things i told them not to do, i sometimes wonder how i would react to that situation and bundle of hard decisions, especially if i loved them all individually and even more confusing if i could see how the decisions they make and i make affect the gnomes 1000s of years in the future. Then i wonder what if my gnomes in my computer game started creating there own universes and etc etc and even more confusing if there is another thing i created and gave free will with an agenda to screw with my gnomes lives. 

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It's funny you should ask these questions, and that I would happen to come across this thread, given what I'm going through right now (which ironically relates to this topic).

 

From what you've described, I kind of feel like the "Anti You", in the sense that I've been raised in a uber-religious setting with very little exposure to other religions and cultures that didn't come of my own behest.  I believed fervently what I was told because I was told it, and trusted the people that told it to me, until I got to a certain age and could think and reason for myself.  As I aged, I found there were too many unanswered questions, and questions who's only answer could be "you have to have faith and believe" for me to really take the belief system I was indoctrinated with any further.  I've struggled for years with what this actually means, as believing so, and sharing it publicly, would make me an outcast in the community I was raised in.

 

All this being said, I do think I can provide some insight into the questions you've posed, so I'll do my best to answer them, and hope you'll forgive me, since it's been so long since you first posted this topic. :)

 

  • If you believe in any deity or deities at all: why do you?

I'm not really sure if I believe, or I guess I should say, I'm not really sure I don't believe.  I think I'm in my "Doubting Thomas" phase of religious belief, where if God exists, he needs to show himself to me in very real ways that can't be easily attributed to "happenstance" or "coincidence".  I don't consider myself and "atheist" or "agnostic" though.  So to answer your question: I believe there's something else out there (despite having no idea what it is), and the reason I believe it, is because I just don't have any concrete proof not to.  I've seen things and had life experiences that can't be explained away with "logic", and it's those things that keep me from chucking the idea of "God" altogether.

 

  • How do you sense that he/she/they exist?

It feels like the height of human hubris to think there's nothing else out there besides ourselves in the world.  Some things just can't be explained in nature nor through logic, and I think at those times, that's where God comes in.  I can also accept that at those same times, someone else might call that "magic" or "serendipity".

 

  • What does it mean when you say you hear them/talk to them/have a relationship with them?

For me, it's like a little voice in my head or instinctive thing that tells me something is right or wrong, or what I should or shouldn't do, based on what it is I know about any given situation.  Most times, when things are really hectic for me, I fast and try to get to a quiet place and just "be".  When my mind clears from whatever it is that's presently stressing me, I can usually see clearly what I need to do.  I also get these "fits of inspiration" while coming out of the shower, or when waking the morning after a particularly stressful day, after I've gone to sleep with a quandary on my mind.

 

  • Why do you think your religion (and your particular denomination of that faith, if applicable), is correct?

I lost this battle with the zealots of my religion, as I don't believe in the proselytizing nature of it.  There's too many questions and not enough evidence to support one religion over the other to be so sternly convinced that only your way is the right way!  In fact, I think of this whole "warring religions" thing is a real life example of the "Tower of Babel", where everyone's probably saying the same thing, but no one can hear it, because they're all speaking different languages to one another!

 

  • If you believe that your scriptures are inerrant: why is that?

I don't believe this, but of the people that I know who do, they believe it because the Bible tells them so.

 

  • If you believe in scriptures over secular science and history: why?

Scriptures are nice and entertaining, but when people believe them over secular science and history, they're doing so because their faith demands that they do so.  There comes a point where, in order for you to prove that you are "a Person of Faith", you have to simply accept and take things on faith, which usually leads to things like believing that God is infallible and His Scriptures are true and you should live by them.

 

  • If you believe that your scriptures are fallible: how do you decide what is absolute truth, and what is just a story?

From my experience, most people simply pick and choose what parts of the Scriptures they like and run with it!  That's why some women cut their hair and wear pants, and some men masturbate and "waste their seed", and don't think twice of the "wrong" they're doing.  I've often found that people won't even admit to their "picky-choosey-ism", but instead will bow their head and say they aren't perfect and "God forgives them of their indiscretions".

 

  • If you seek to reconcile scriptures and science/history: how do you?

Very few people believe what they believe so strongly that they're willing to die for it.  That's why very few will reject cancer treatments and only opt for PRAYER when they've been given a cancer diagnosis.  I use this as an example to answer your question because I think it illustrates how people can easily reconcile Scriptures and science/history, when doing so benefits them personally in some way.

 

  • Do you ever think something your scripture claims was caused/endorsed by your deity was just plain wrong? If so, how do you deal with that?

I guess since I don't take The Scriptures to be the literal word of God, I can't really answer this.  It would seem that answering this would pretty much be saying that God is fallible.  I think a better question here might be whether or not one believes that someone who may have been responsible for authorship or publishing of those Scriptures claimed/endorsed something wrong? And if that were the case, I'd have to say a resounding YES, but since it wasn't the question, I'll just end this here, and hope I at least answered SOME of your questions to your satisfaction. ;)

 

 

Hi all...

  • If you believe in any deity or deities at all: why do you?
  • How do you sense that he/she/they exist?
  • What does it mean when you say you hear them/talk to them/have a relationship with them?
  • Why do you think your religion (and your particular denomination of that faith, if applicable), is correct?
  • If you believe that your scriptures are inerrant: why is that?
  • If you believe in scriptures over secular science and history: why?
  • If you believe that your scriptures are fallible: how do you decide what is absolute truth, and what is just a story?
  • If you seek to reconcile scriptures and science/history: how do you?
  • Do you ever think something your scripture claims was caused/endorsed by your deity was just plain wrong? If so, how do you deal with that?

 

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Thanks for your answer WFS, I'm definitely still interested in getting replies on this topic!  :D

 

What does it mean when you say you hear them/talk to them/have a relationship with them?

For me, it's like a little voice in my head or instinctive thing that tells me something is right or wrong, or what I should or shouldn't do, based on what it is I know about any given situation.  Most times, when things are really hectic for me, I fast and try to get to a quiet place and just "be".  When my mind clears from whatever it is that's presently stressing me, I can usually see clearly what I need to do.  I also get these "fits of inspiration" while coming out of the shower, or when waking the morning after a particularly stressful day, after I've gone to sleep with a quandary on my mind.

 

It seems like this answer is pretty in-line with what others have told me...it's funny, I experience the same thing, but never in my life have I considered attributing it to anything other than my own mind.

 

 

 

  • If you believe that your scriptures are inerrant: why is that?

I don't believe this, but of the people that I know who do, they believe it because the Bible tells them so.

 

  • If you believe in scriptures over secular science and history: why?

Scriptures are nice and entertaining, but when people believe them over secular science and history, they're doing so because their faith demands that they do so.  There comes a point where, in order for you to prove that you are "a Person of Faith", you have to simply accept and take things on faith, which usually leads to things like believing that God is infallible and His Scriptures are true and you should live by them.

 

  • If you believe that your scriptures are fallible: how do you decide what is absolute truth, and what is just a story?

From my experience, most people simply pick and choose what parts of the Scriptures they like and run with it!  That's why some women cut their hair and wear pants, and some men masturbate and "waste their seed", and don't think twice of the "wrong" they're doing.  I've often found that people won't even admit to their "picky-choosey-ism", but instead will bow their head and say they aren't perfect and "God forgives them of their indiscretions".

 

  • If you seek to reconcile scriptures and science/history: how do you?

Very few people believe what they believe so strongly that they're willing to die for it.  That's why very few will reject cancer treatments and only opt for PRAYER when they've been given a cancer diagnosis.  I use this as an example to answer your question because I think it illustrates how people can easily reconcile Scriptures and science/history, when doing so benefits them personally in some way.

 

These answers are definitely reminiscent of what I've personally witnessed when it comes to how many people practice religion. As a result I've become...more than a little cynical.  :lol: It has been nice to see that many (most) people here seem to do religion differently.

 

I would be interested in hearing the life experiences you've had that can't be explained away with logic/that still give you a reason to believe. Thinking back, I can't honestly say I've had anything like that happen to me. Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the open forums, or of course not share at all if you aren't comfortable.

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It seems like this answer is pretty in-line with what others have told me...it's funny, I experience the same thing, but never in my life have I considered attributing it to anything other than my own mind.

 

 

I think this might be because you don't seem to have been chiefly introduced to the idea to see everything as being "from God" to begin with.  Since my automatic mindset is "God-first", that's where I'd initially interpret any thoughts I'm having, especially if it's in regards to things I've never experienced before.  Sometimes I've wished I could have been raised an atheist or agnostic, because I've always been curious what it's like to have an understanding of things WITHOUT the "cloud of God" surrounding everything.  Even as I now stand in my own disbelief about some things, that "cloud" is still there, as I know (according to what I've been told), if I were to die, feeling like I feel right now, I'll burn in hell.  I suppose, if I never knew there was such a thing as "God", I probably never would ascribe those feelings/beliefs to that entity.  But since I've known that, and at least at one point believed it in, that's what "God" is for me, if that makes sense.

 

 

 

I would be interested in hearing the life experiences you've had that can't be explained away with logic/that still give you a reason to believe. Thinking back, I can't honestly say I've had anything like that happen to me. Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the open forums, or of course not share at all if you aren't comfortable.

 

 

I'll share some of my experiences with you via PM. :)

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I think this might be because you don't seem to have been chiefly introduced to the idea to see everything as being "from God" to begin with.  Since my automatic mindset is "God-first", that's where I'd initially interpret any thoughts I'm having, especially if it's in regards to things I've never experienced before.  Sometimes I've wished I could have been raised an atheist or agnostic, because I've always been curious what it's like to have an understanding of things WITHOUT the "cloud of God" surrounding everything.  Even as I now stand in my own disbelief about some things, that "cloud" is still there, as I know (according to what I've been told), if I were to die, feeling like I feel right now, I'll burn in hell.  I suppose, if I never knew there was such a thing as "God", I probably never would ascribe those feelings/beliefs to that entity.  But since I've known that, and at least at one point believed it in, that's what "God" is for me, if that makes sense.

 

Yes, I think it does make sense. I admit I have found it surprising to hear that is how so many people experience a relationship with their deity, because to me those feelings you described in your quote are incredibly normal and mundane, something I have assumed is pretty innate in all humans' experience of consciousness. It's not at all divine-feeling. I hope no one is offended by this...but it also makes me a little sad. It seems like people attribute some of the best parts of themselves (their conscience and their gut-instinct) to an external source that is correcting them, rather than something that has come from within them all along. If I believed that feeling was coming from something else, not me...I imagine I'd walk around feeling like a pretty terrible person much of the time, totally dependent on this external source to keep myself from messing up my own life and other people's lives.  :( Unless I'm misunderstanding, of course....

 

I definitely sense that "cloud of God" around other people, which has often made me feel alienated. That's really why I started this topic; I wanted to try to break through the cloud and see what it's like on the other side for at least a little bit. :D At the time, it was because I was in a Bible as Literature class, and was feeling incredibly frustrated by the fact that so many people clearly looked at the Bible as being divinely inspired and completely different from any other text...but I could not for the life of me see what those people saw. After a year of taking that class...I still can't.  :mellow: If you have any questions about what it was like to be raised without the idea of God, or what it's like to conceptualize certain things while not believing in God, I can try to answer.

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(I invite Jegsy to correct me if I have made any mistakes as far as Catholocism is concerned. I believe I have a good understanding of my faith, but I highly respect her opinions.)

 

If you believe in any deity or deities at all: why do you?

 

At the start (when I was very young), it was mainly because my parents and grandparents believed. Now I believe because the world just couldn't create itself out of nothing.

 

How do you sense that he/she/they exist?

 

A difficult question. I have been extremely awe-inspired by the actions of Jesus.

 

What does it mean when you say you hear them/talk to them/have a relationship with them?

 

I frequently pray. I can't prove that I have ever heard God speak directly to me, but I have received a lot of good advice, that I wouldn't have come up with on my own in response to my prayers.

 

 

Why do you think your religion (and your particular denomination of that faith, if applicable), is correct?

 

Like Jegsy, I am a Catholic. I have always been a Catholic, and my religious beliefs are the only reason I'm WTM. But I am also a very flawed person. When I was younger, I occasionally felt like God hated me (I knew that wasn't true, but it was tough, because I was very Obsessive Compulsive from a young age, along with several other problems).

 

But why do I choose to believe the Catholic faith is correct? Several reasons.

 

1) Before I was born, the doctors weren't certain if I was still alive or not. Wanting for me to be born fine, my mother took to praying to St. Walburga. She had (and still has) a tiny vial that contained St. Walburga's oil. If you are not aware, St. Walburga died in the year 777 or 779. Her bones were enshrined, and the tomb still releases an oil from October 12 to February 25, two of her feast days.

 

2) Padre Pio. Many confirmed miracles, and always pointed to Christ (and his Catholic faith) as what should be worshipped. He was able to confess people's sins for them when they went to Confession. He was confirmed as having been in multiple locations at the same time. He had stigmata (the wounds of Christ appeared on his body). When he died, there was no evidence of the wounds ever existing. A true miracle in all senses of the word.

 

If you believe that your scriptures are inerrant: why is that?

 

There is a difference between inerrant, and being literally true. For example, some Gospels list things as having happened in a different order. When Christ rose from the dead, the different Gospels give conflicting viewpoints on who was first to find the tomb empty, and what they did. The message is there, but even if one version is more "literally accurate", it doesn't take away from the fact that the authors were inspired by God.

 

If you believe in scriptures over secular science and history: why?

 

Like Jegsy said, there is no contradiction. For example, as you know, the Book of Genesis gives two seperate stories of creation, which slightly contradict each other. And elsewhere in the scriptures, it says that, "with God, one day is like 1,000 years".

 

If you believe that your scriptures are fallible: how do you decide what is absolute truth, and what is just a story?

 

It's not a question of falliable versus infallible. The Book of Tobit (not in many Protestant Bibles, but in the Catholic Bible) was originally intended as a work of fiction. As was the Book of Job. When compiling the Bible, the early Church decided that these books were divinely inspired, even if they weren't meant to be taken literally.

 

If you seek to reconcile scriptures and science/history: how do you?

 

I see no areas where a reconcialiation is necessary.

 

I would be happy to engage in a PM conversation if you like. But ultimately, if being an athiest is part of your identity, and something that you cling to (as evidenced by your user description), nothing may be able to convince you. It's ok. I have beliefs that nothing could change. If you are genuinely looking for the truth, and aren't afraid to question your own beliefs, I hope your opinions can be swayed. Ultimately, I choose to believe because peace, justice, freedom, and eternal happiness are something that everybody should be hopeful for.

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But ultimately, if being an athiest is part of your identity, and something that you cling to (as evidenced by your user description), nothing may be able to convince you. It's ok. I have beliefs that nothing could change. If you are genuinely looking for the truth, and aren't afraid to question your own beliefs, I hope your opinions can be swayed.

 

I can identify with something while still remaining open to changing my perspective on it; for example, I used to identify as a libertarian, but now I no longer do. That said, while I continue to remain open to new evidence, all of my truth-seeking has pointed me in the direction of atheism...so this thread, for me, isn't about looking to be converted, but rather to try to understand how other people's truth-seeking has pointed them in different directions.

 

Ultimately, I choose to believe because peace, justice, freedom, and eternal happiness are something that everybody should be hopeful for.

 

I should hope that everyone believes in those things, whether or not they believe in a deity.  :)

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Yes, I think it does make sense. I admit I have found it surprising to hear that is how so many people experience a relationship with their deity, because to me those feelings you described in your quote are incredibly normal and mundane, something I have assumed is pretty innate in all humans' experience of consciousness. It's not at all divine-feeling. I hope no one is offended by this...but it also makes me a little sad. It seems like people attribute some of the best parts of themselves (their conscience and their gut-instinct) to an external source that is correcting them, rather than something that has come from within them all along. If I believed that feeling was coming from something else, not me...I imagine I'd walk around feeling like a pretty terrible person much of the time, totally dependent on this external source to keep myself from messing up my own life and other people's lives.  :( Unless I'm misunderstanding, of course....

 

And herein lies the rub: Yes, there's that "downside" of having guilt and feeling "out of control" when it comes to things surrounding your life and well-being, but then, there's the absolute releasing of responsibility when things go wrong!  Ever heard the phrase: "The Devil made me do it"?  I realized very early on that this is a very interesting "side effect" to when you place all your faith and hope and future in an unknown ethereal entity: When you need to absolve yourself from having done something horrible, it's there.  AND, because this concept of "Good vs. Evil"/"God vs. The Devil" is something that most folks can relate to, a lot more are likely to buy it.

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