Author Topic: Random Religious Questions That have Different Viewpoints and Answers...  (Read 1104 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

  • Official Forum Sous Chef and broler5
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 13773
  • Gender: Male
  • whahibrido pickingant in action...
He might very well disapprove of porking children, but have his own reason why it has to be allowed to happen which we can't understand.

If he DOES have his own reason, then he's a malevolent god, and not the god I was raised to believe in.  Not that I really believe all that much in any of it anymore, but still.

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 537

He might very well disapprove of porking children, but have his own reason why it has to be allowed to happen which we can't understand.

And as an afterthought, I have to again ask why then he'd instruct his various spokespeople to say something different to what he truly thinks. Jesus is stopping the mob from stoning the sinner as a lesson about curing your own faults first, but God secretly wants her spared only because he likes her dress and doesn't give 2 fucks about sin, hypocrisy or self-awareness? It makes no sense. Why are he and Jesus not on the same page? And if the reply is "how do you know the guys who wrote that story in the Bible got it right?", then I again have to question the entire basis of the religion and wonder what the point of all that talking and preaching that goes on in churches is for, if everything is just an incomprehensible and unknowable mystery.

Offline Tick

  • It's time to make a change
  • DTF.org Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9232
  • Gender: Male
  • Just another tricky day for you
He might very well disapprove of porking children, but have his own reason why it has to be allowed to happen which we can't understand.

If he DOES have his own reason, then he's a malevolent god, and not the god I was raised to believe in.  Not that I really believe all that much in any of it anymore, but still.
He doesn't allow it to happen or not happen. He gave man the will to choose right and wrong. God is not pulling strings from above. Man does what man does.
Yup. Tick is dead on.  She's not your type.  Move on.   Tick is Obi Wan Kenobi


Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19074
  • Bad Craziness
He might very well disapprove of porking children, but have his own reason why it has to be allowed to happen which we can't understand.

If he DOES have his own reason, then he's a malevolent god, and not the god I was raised to believe in.  Not that I really believe all that much in any of it anymore, but still.
He doesn't allow it to happen or not happen. He gave man the will to choose right and wrong. God is not pulling strings from above. Man does what man does.
A. This underscores my point about why bother with prayer. B. The question has now been raised whether or not we're even capable of understanding right and wrong. If God gave us the will to choose right or wrong but not the ability to comprehend the distinction, what good is the freedom to choose?
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

  • Official Forum Sous Chef and broler5
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 13773
  • Gender: Male
  • whahibrido pickingant in action...
By giving man free will, and allowing them the opportunity to make that choice, he has tacitly agreed to allow it to happen.  You can't do nothing and something all at the same time.  You can't simultaneously have tea and no tea.  But I suppose he can do anything he wants, since he's god, right?  I don't know, believing in a god who controls all things, then refusing to put the blame on him for bad things that happen, just seems kinda disingenuous to me.

Like EB said, why give us the freedom to choose, then say "Whoopsie for you, I gave you the ability to make the wrong choice, NOW BURN FOREVER!"

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 537
One final point I want to make here regarding your post Stadler (and for those who don't know me, Stadler and I go way back, we're buddies, and this is only conversation) - I have never been able to understand why you (personally you) have a belief in a God. From others I can understand it, but I've never been able to get a sense of where your belief comes from, and why you bother holding it. By your very own words, this 'God' entity you believe in is some kind of unknowable concept, it may as well be a nothingness. The Bible (by your words) is effectively useless as a source of knowing God's full and complete nature, we may as well look to the phone book for that because both were written by fallible humans and so we can never be sure if the text is truly God's intent. Fair enough, there's nothing unusual about that stance. But where you are unique in my experience is that not only do you reject the religious texts as ways to know God's full nature (or perhaps fairer to say, you treat them with skepticism), but you also believe that mankind is innately, inherently ill-equipped to fully comprehend God's nature and will. In other words, not only can no amount of reading or studying of the religious texts bring us closer to an awareness of God's complete nature and will, but we're also barred from him by the very nature with which he endowed us. We've apparently been given a destination but no possible paths to reach it; what the Russians term 'stremlenie', an unreachable, torturous yearning.

My question can be boiled down to this - what is the point (for you) of this God you believe in? If he is unknowable, if he has a nature hopelessly beyond our comprehension, if every moral law people believe he gave can be brushed aside with "ah but who knows what that really means!", and if every human attempt to communicate God's will is necessarily suspect (including Jesus'), then from where does your belief in him come, and for what do you hold it? What does it even mean (and more interestingly for me - what does it feel like) to  believe in an entity that is unknowable to any fundamental level, and how is it different to simply not believing in a God? How is belief in something we can never confidently know anything about different to disbelief in something we can never confidently know anything about? Is the difference faith? If so then what is the difference between faith that the Bible, as written down by man, is the true word of God and faith that it isn't?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 04:23:49 PM by Dave_Manchester »

Offline yeshaberto

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8960
  • Gender: Male
  • Somebody Get Me A Doctor! - VH
I want to give God credit for their finally being a religious post in this P/R forum.

Offline axeman90210

  • Official Minister of Awesome, and Veronica knows my name!
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 11184
  • Gender: Male
  • Never go full Nick
I want to give God credit for their finally being a religious post in this P/R forum.

But then will we deserve the blame because of freewill when it goes off topic?
Photobucket sucks.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male
By giving man free will, and allowing them the opportunity to make that choice, he has tacitly agreed to allow it to happen.  You can't do nothing and something all at the same time.  You can't simultaneously have tea and no tea.  But I suppose he can do anything he wants, since he's god, right?  I don't know, believing in a god who controls all things, then refusing to put the blame on him for bad things that happen, just seems kinda disingenuous to me.

Like EB said, why give us the freedom to choose, then say "Whoopsie for you, I gave you the ability to make the wrong choice, NOW BURN FOREVER!"

Of course you can.  I am not God, nor do I pretend to be, but I give my wife free reign.  She comes and goes as she pleases, she is friends with who she wants to be friends with, and she  decides who and what she wants to do.   There are things I will or will not accept as part of our marriage, but that's on her to choose.  If she wants to blow the mailman with the next door neighbor watching, that's her call and I don't get to tell her what to do.

I will not be there that afternoon, however.  It's all a matter of free to choose AND accept the consequences.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male
To Dave (and Portnoy311):  first, let me acknowledge that I have no answers.  This is just my piecing together what I believe.   First, I think some of you are confusing "religion" with "spirituality".  I'll get to it more later (in response to your most recent post), but I don't at all argue the "sanctity" of the bible, nor do I necessarily concede all the doctrine of the various churches.   You are correct, I grew up Catholic, and I have a sort of affinity for that church in the same way that many of you use the same dish detergent that your mom used when you were a kid.   I don't actively practice a "religion".  Other than funerals, weddings, and whatnot, I haven't been in a church for mass in years.  I do on occasion go to a church (usually a Catholic one, not always) to pray (more on that later), but I  am an active skeptic in terms of the chronicled events of the bible.   I think if gun to head someone asked me, I would say that the bible is a man-made text assembled around 400 AD at the direction of Constantine, at the birth of the church as we know it today.  So while I don't dismiss your questions, and don't dismiss the faith of others, if you believe in the bible as something more than manmade text, I offer that it is your responsibility to explain  the inconsistencies.

I believe there is a spiritual being.  I also believe in evolution, the earth as 4.5 billion year old planet, and the universe as a 14.5 +/- billion year old entity.   I believe as a general concept, religion and science explain our world at any given time.  As we explain more with science, we need "religion" less.   We needed creation UNTIL we got evolution.    Doesn't disprove God.   I believe that at a minimum, it could be as simple as God simply spun the top that is our universe and everything that followed IS random and governed by the laws of science.  Perhaps we will learn more about the Big Bang that precludes the existence of a God.   Unlike many believers, I am willing to accept that there might one day be proof that there is no spirit (though I don't believe that will happen; there is a difference).   

I believe that the other end of the spectrum is that God started the universe, and everything is pre-ordained and planned out.   I believe that we are ACTUALLY at some point in between, closer to the first pole.  I believe that the universe is largely driven by random numbers, chaos, and free will, but I believe that there is - and here's where words fail me - a way to influence the energy - the spirit - around us, and thus the use for prayer.   I believe that we influence people with more than our actions and words.  I believe that things like "inspiration" and "energy" are ways in which we change the world around us, and ways in which perhaps God influences us.  I don't believe you can simply "pray" for money or wealth, and God gives you a lottery ticket (which is how my ex-mother-in-law prays; she's going on three decades now of sponging off her family, with nary two quarters to rub together).   I do believe you can "pray" for clarity, for strength, and understanding.   What I call prayer, atheists may call "meditation" or "deep contemplation", and that's fine, I'm not here to argue or quibble.  I do believe, though, that it goes a shade further, and I will elaborate in my other response to Dave. 

Offline Tick

  • It's time to make a change
  • DTF.org Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9232
  • Gender: Male
  • Just another tricky day for you
By giving man free will, and allowing them the opportunity to make that choice, he has tacitly agreed to allow it to happen.  You can't do nothing and something all at the same time.  You can't simultaneously have tea and no tea.  But I suppose he can do anything he wants, since he's god, right?  I don't know, believing in a god who controls all things, then refusing to put the blame on him for bad things that happen, just seems kinda disingenuous to me.

Like EB said, why give us the freedom to choose, then say "Whoopsie for you, I gave you the ability to make the wrong choice, NOW BURN FOREVER!"
I have no problem with God giving man to the choice between good and evil. God could force man to drop down on there knees and worship him but what good would that be? He gave man the choice to love him or hate him, accept him or reject him. He set before us blessing and cursing and its up to the individual to choose life. Or not.

He chose to give you a choice and to me that's a good thing. And "NOW BURN FOREVER!"
That is a choice isn't it? On this earth if you commit murder and get caught and convicted you go to jail for possible life. That's just how things work in the natural. Its order. Don't want to go to jail make the right choices.
You want God to impose his will to save you from yourself? You hold all the cards in the choices you make.

And if there truly is an afterlife, offering eternal life, then the little blip of 80 to 100 years here if your lucky is merely a blip in the grand scheme of things.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 09:40:21 AM by Tick »
Yup. Tick is dead on.  She's not your type.  Move on.   Tick is Obi Wan Kenobi


Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male
One final point I want to make here regarding your post Stadler (and for those who don't know me, Stadler and I go way back, we're buddies, and this is only conversation) - I have never been able to understand why you (personally you) have a belief in a God. From others I can understand it, but I've never been able to get a sense of where your belief comes from, and why you bother holding it. By your very own words, this 'God' entity you believe in is some kind of unknowable concept, it may as well be a nothingness. The Bible (by your words) is effectively useless as a source of knowing God's full and complete nature, we may as well look to the phone book for that because both were written by fallible humans and so we can never be sure if the text is truly God's intent. Fair enough, there's nothing unusual about that stance. But where you are unique in my experience is that not only do you reject the religious texts as ways to know God's full nature (or perhaps fairer to say, you treat them with skepticism), but you also believe that mankind is innately, inherently ill-equipped to fully comprehend God's nature and will. In other words, not only can no amount of reading or studying of the religious texts bring us closer to an awareness of God's complete nature and will, but we're also barred from him by the very nature with which he endowed us. We've apparently been given a destination but no possible paths to reach it; what the Russians term 'stremlenie', an unreachable, torturous yearning.

My question can be boiled down to this - what is the point (for you) of this God you believe in? If he is unknowable, if he has a nature hopelessly beyond our comprehension, if every moral law people believe he gave can be brushed aside with "ah but who knows what that really means!", and if every human attempt to communicate God's will is necessarily suspect (including Jesus'), then from where does your belief in him come, and for what do you hold it? What does it even mean (and more interestingly for me - what does it feel like) to  believe in an entity that is unknowable to any fundamental level, and how is it different to simply not believing in a God? How is belief in something we can never confidently know anything about different to disbelief in something we can never confidently know anything about? Is the difference faith? If so then what is the difference between faith that the Bible, as written down by man, is the true word of God and faith that it isn't?

Well, couple things. One, I echo your first statement; you ARE my friend, and I welcome the question, and for me, this is what the debate here brings.  I have to confront my beliefs and defend them, and if they fall short of your (you, personally AND the forum, collectively) logical scrutiny, it's my responsibility to either reconcile that or live with a faulty, incomplete world view.

Two, while you have it spot on for the most part, I would slightly quibble with a little of it; I don't KNOW we're incapable of understanding.  I'm more positing that the actual truth MAY be beyond our understanding.  And that's not necessarily to say that it is ENTIRELY beyond.  It may be as simple as God IS about love and happiness, but that it is beyond MY PERSONAL scope to readily know why the (to me) brutal murder of 20 6- and 7-year-olds by bullet furthers that aim.    I am more pushing back on street corner evangelism than I am sharpening the pencil on belief.   

Me personally?  I have seen too much in my life that isn't satisfactorily explained by 'random' to fully be an atheist, yet, I fully cop to a disdain if not outright disgust in how so many of us self-justify the most heinous of behaviors in the name of a God.   It's almost embarrassing to me to say how much of my world view is a reaction to those that simply think they have all the answers, as opposed to logical thought!  HAHA.  I was brought up devoutly Catholic.  I fell out in high school, because I though the church leadership was simply full of shit.   Just before I moved to college, I met a priest in my parish that changed me (some of you know him; his name is Bob Weiss, and he was the pastor of the parish that covered Sandy Hook, and he gave the nationally televised eulogy for the public service).   He told me it was okay to be a skeptic.  He told me it was okay to challenge.  He told me that we have an obligation to consider ALL facts, even those that disagree with our position (he meant things like evolution, but I took him broader than that, and many of you have heard me say those words here in other contexts).  I went to college, and while I didn't "practice Catholicism", I did attend church fairly regularly as a refuge and a place to soberly (not a small thing; my school was no. 5 party school in the country my sophomore year) consider my existence.   

I lost it again after college, and moved steadily toward atheism, helped by reading much in the chaos theory/psychology realm as a result of a law school professor who was so far in left field it wasn't funny (my first question on my Contract final was about the proliferation of nematodes, and the second was to sketch out the Prisoner's Dilemma).  But then I married and we got pregnant.  Lost the first, and then got pregnant again.   About halfway through, we had some tests done and my daughter was pronounced with severe Down's Syndrome.  We were given the requisite options - our primary doctor was Christian, and would not perform some of those options, but the specialist who diagnosed not only said he would do it, but almost recommended it.    We could not.  We had lost one, and decided it was our daughter and we loved her no matter what.   Fast forward, she was born very small, but with no indications of Downs.  Fast forward, she is Dean's List in a high school that is regularly considered one of the five best high schools in the country, and has lettered in two varsity sports.  I'm not Trump, so I won't go so far as to say "I'd date her!" but let's just say she looks more like her mom than me, and that's a great thing.  That, and the lessons I learned from my dad (handicapped since he was 30, but the most amazing man I have ever met, and also in the top three smartest people I have ever met) force me to the conclusion that it's not all random.  It's just not.   

Auras, energy, God, whatever the fuck, I don't know, but it's SOMETHING.   And I walk the talk; I have to account for evolution, and geology and the fact that there is no direct proof, and no experiments, etc. So I get to where I am now.   There IS a God, but I have to acknowledge that a lot of bullshit has gone down in the name of religion that doesn't jibe with someone with the power to create the entire universe. 

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

  • Official Forum Sous Chef and broler5
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 13773
  • Gender: Male
  • whahibrido pickingant in action...
I have no problem with God giving man to the choice between good and evil. God could force man to drop down on there knees and worship him but what good would that be? He gave man the choice to love him or hate him, accept him or reject him. He set before us blessing and cursing and its up to the individual to choose life. Or not.

He chose to give you a choice and to me that's a good thing. And "NOW BURN FOREVER!"
That is a choice isn't it? On this earth if you commit murder and get caught and convicted you go to jail for possible life. That's just how things work in the natural. Its order. Don't want to go to jail make the right choices.
You want God to impose his will to save you from yourself? You hold all the cards in the choices you make.

And if there truly is an afterlife, offering eternal life, then the little blip of 80 to 100 years here if your lucky is merely a blip in the grand scheme of things.

True, god has given us choice.  However, I was given zero choice as to being born into the default position of burning in hell should I not give sufficient adulation as to ensure that "okay, no hellfire for you".  THAT makes no sense to me.  That is not "loving" by any means, a trait which we're supposed to attribute to god.

To use Stadler's example of being in a marriage: to me, that's like marrying someone and making it very clear from the beginning that you will have no trust in their fidelity to you and your treatment of them will reflect this, unless they go out of their way to continually prove to you that it's only you that they're devoted to.  Then once they split up with you for being too unreasonable, you continue to go around making their life miserable anyway, because if I can't have you, then nobody else can either.

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 537

Me personally?  I have seen too much in my life that isn't satisfactorily explained by 'random' to fully be an atheist

But this why is why I pick exactly your brains on this issue, because it seems like such an 'unStadler' action to leap from not being able to be 'fully atheist', to having the incredibly complex and detailed set of beliefs you do. You have an interesting linguistic tic, I don't know if you're aware of it, but you almost never say "I believe in a God", you use phrases like "I profoundly believe in a God" or "I strongly believe in a God". You're very precise and deliberate with language, you wouldn't write this for no reason. And so I can't then understand why you are not agnostic in these circumstances. How do you go from a vague suspicion (but as you yourself accept, by no means a certainty) of there being some kind of spiritual entity, to having a "profound" belief in a God who kicked off the Big Bang and sits at the end of a predetermined plane of time and space?

The long post you wrote before the one I've just quoted is a list of what you believe, but I'm more interested here to get a sense of why you believe it. It seems to me that every single thing you listed in that post, I mean regarding cosmic questions of time and First Causes and God's part in evolution and so on, you could just as easily - with your type of mind, which has an almost forensic level of obsession for evidence and rationality - not believe those things. You have an equal amount of evidence for not believing those things as evidence for believing them (i.e none). Yet you choose to believe. Why? In any other aspect of your life, you would be horrified if someone arrived at a conclusion having bypassed the intermediary steps of evidence and logical reasoning. If someone in the Trump thread wrote "I believe Donald Trump is a moron and we need a Democrat revolution to overthrow him", you would politely but insistently demand reasons for the person believing that. Why, then, are you content to reach a conclusion about God without having sufficient evidence for doing so? Note, I'm not talking here about the general belief that there may be something (which as I understand it is the agnostic position, and one you don't hold), but rather your "profound/strong" belief in a God, and the set of beliefs you hold about how he ties into the Big Bang and so on.

Offline kaos2900

  • Posts: 1974
  • Gender: Male
I was raised Lutheran and fell out in high school and college just a lot of people do. I've considered myself an agnostic and have been pretty anti-religion until the last couple of years. My daughter goes to a church pre-school and they are teaching about good morals and how to be kind to others etc. through religious examples. I think religion or spirituality can be a very powerful positive force and improve peoples lives through just having a happy and positive outlook. Of course it can be used for bad or evil purposes the same as anything else.

This may sound cheesy my growing obsession with the music of Neal Morse has also shifted me away from having such a negative view on religion. I still wouldn't consider myself a believer but seeing and hearing the positive vibes from his music has helped me through some dark times and I don't see that as a bad thing. I'm pretty much with Stadler on this. I think there is something (energy, force, spirit, etc.) beyond our comprehension that some involvement in the universe but I'm not sure hence the agnostic label.

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 537

About halfway through, we had some tests done and my daughter was pronounced with severe Down's Syndrome.  We were given the requisite options - our primary doctor was Christian, and would not perform some of those options, but the specialist who diagnosed not only said he would do it, but almost recommended it.....Fast forward, she was born very small, but with no indications of Downs....that, and the lessons I learned from my dad force me to the conclusion that it's not all random.  It's just not.   


Imagine please you're been invited to a new friend's home, and on arrival you see that they have a child with Downs Syndrome. Would you tell the story you've just written to your friend, or to their child? "My own daughter was told she'd be like you, but it turned out the doctor was wrong and she was healthy. She's now very clever and beautiful, not like you with your dim-looking face and your awkward way of walking. This in part is why I believe in a God"

Of course I know you would never be so callous, and you'll understand I'm writing with deliberate bluntness for effect, but can you see that the story you just wrote there - and the conclusion you've drawn from it - is absolutely appalling, if read by someone with a suffering child? Your story in fact can easily be used as strong evidence against there being a God, and for everything being random, but you've taken it the other way. Why? How do you think parents of Downs Syndrome children (who, by the way, dearly love their children and consider them every bit as perfect as you consider your daughter) would feel, reading what you just wrote? How in fact is what you wrote any different to someone thanking God for the touchdown pass, or a Hollywood actor thanking God for all the stupid bullshit they have while African babies starve to death in their thousands?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 11:30:26 AM by Dave_Manchester »

Offline axeman90210

  • Official Minister of Awesome, and Veronica knows my name!
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 11184
  • Gender: Male
  • Never go full Nick
I grew up with my family belonging to a Roman Catholic church, although they were/are both very casually religious (I think we belonged because we got a break on the tuition at the accompanying grammar school as much as anything else :lol). My high school was also religious, run by the Jesuits, but that was only because it happened to be one of the better schools in the area. I think a lot of the people who I dealt with through those years who were more religious are at least part of why I grew somewhat disillusioned. A lot of people outwardly projecting piety, but really no better than the rest of us. I remember being at work one Friday in high school and a coworker was giving me grief about the fact that I had just eaten a cheeseburger on a Friday in Lent, meanwhile I was thinking to myself that she was probably leaving work and go meet up with her boyfriend to have premarital sex (and probably use a contraceptive in the process)  ::) Even without that kind of stuff though, I probably would have drifted at least somewhat because I'm just a very math/science inclined person and a lot of organized religion doesn't jive with that for me. Where I've landed is that I do believe in something beyond us, because I don't see any other explanation for existence. Beyond that though, I don't believe in much.

I will say, like kaos I do believe that faith can be a very good thing for many people. I've also had exposure to what I would call... better churches/parishes since my youth. I've been to my aunt and uncle's church a few times now for various baptisms/first communions/confirmations, and I remember one of the priests remarking that his congregation was "a hospital of sinners rather than a museum of saints", which I quite liked that imagery.
Photobucket sucks.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male
To use Stadler's example of being in a marriage: to me, that's like marrying someone and making it very clear from the beginning that you will have no trust in their fidelity to you and your treatment of them will reflect this, unless they go out of their way to continually prove to you that it's only you that they're devoted to.  Then once they split up with you for being too unreasonable, you continue to go around making their life miserable anyway, because if I can't have you, then nobody else can either.

How do you know my ex? 

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

  • Official Forum Sous Chef and broler5
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 13773
  • Gender: Male
  • whahibrido pickingant in action...

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male

About halfway through, we had some tests done and my daughter was pronounced with severe Down's Syndrome.  We were given the requisite options - our primary doctor was Christian, and would not perform some of those options, but the specialist who diagnosed not only said he would do it, but almost recommended it.....Fast forward, she was born very small, but with no indications of Downs....that, and the lessons I learned from my dad force me to the conclusion that it's not all random.  It's just not.   


Imagine please you're been invited to a new friend's home, and on arrival you see that they have a child with Downs Syndrome. Would you tell the story you've just written to your friend, or to their child? "My own daughter was told she'd be like you, but it turned out the doctor was wrong and she was healthy. She's now very clever and beautiful, not like you with your dim-looking face and your awkward way of walking. This in part is why I believe in a God"

Of course I know you would never be so callous, and you'll understand I'm writing with deliberate bluntness for effect, but can you see that the story you just wrote there - and the conclusion you've drawn from it - is absolutely appalling, if read by someone with a suffering child? Your story in fact can easily be used as strong evidence against there being a God, and for everything being random, but you've taken it the other way. Why? How do you think parents of Downs Syndrome children (who, by the way, dearly love their children and consider them every bit as perfect as you consider your daughter) would feel, reading what you just wrote? How in fact is what you wrote any different to someone thanking God for the touchdown pass, or a Hollywood actor thanking God for all the stupid bullshit they have while African babies starve to death in their thousands?

Of course I understand the implication of that story, and to the extent I owe an apology to anyone with Downs or a parent of a child with Downs (or any other condition which is generally viewed as something to be wished away), you have it unconditionally and without reservation.    But it's less about the so-called "positive" outcome as it is the degree to which we are helpless and out of control when it comes to the universe as we know it.   More importantly, how much in this universe seems to be governed by a "superchaos" for lack of a better word ("chaos" being a condition or state that is highly, overly sensitive to initial conditions) that is either beyond our current understanding of mathematics/science or not possibly predicted by any mathematics/science.  And the unspoken part, which is the fact that my wife (at the time) never even uttered a word about it.  We argued about EVERYTHING and yet when faced with aborting our future child, it wasn't even MENTIONED.   We knew.   

Some of this is partly why I threw in the part about my Dad; I could write for days (and actually thought about doing just that) about him and what he's done for me.  I'm not sure I would say this to him - or anyone else with a debilitating disease - but I can tell you that personally, for me, his sickness and suffering was FAR more formative on me - and influential on me - than any of the so-called "desireable" traits we see in movies.   And don't take that as selfishly as I wrote it; I mean to say, I would absolutely wish him to have had a healthy life, but the point is, we can't look at a static condition and say "THAT'S GOOD!" or "THAT'S BAD!" with any certainty. 

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male

Me personally?  I have seen too much in my life that isn't satisfactorily explained by 'random' to fully be an atheist

But this why is why I pick exactly your brains on this issue, because it seems like such an 'unStadler' action to leap from not being able to be 'fully atheist', to having the incredibly complex and detailed set of beliefs you do. You have an interesting linguistic tic, I don't know if you're aware of it, but you almost never say "I believe in a God", you use phrases like "I profoundly believe in a God" or "I strongly believe in a God". You're very precise and deliberate with language, you wouldn't write this for no reason. And so I can't then understand why you are not agnostic in these circumstances. How do you go from a vague suspicion (but as you yourself accept, by no means a certainty) of there being some kind of spiritual entity, to having a "profound" belief in a God who kicked off the Big Bang and sits at the end of a predetermined plane of time and space?

The long post you wrote before the one I've just quoted is a list of what you believe, but I'm more interested here to get a sense of why you believe it. It seems to me that every single thing you listed in that post, I mean regarding cosmic questions of time and First Causes and God's part in evolution and so on, you could just as easily - with your type of mind, which has an almost forensic level of obsession for evidence and rationality - not believe those things. You have an equal amount of evidence for not believing those things as evidence for believing them (i.e none). Yet you choose to believe. Why? In any other aspect of your life, you would be horrified if someone arrived at a conclusion having bypassed the intermediary steps of evidence and logical reasoning. If someone in the Trump thread wrote "I believe Donald Trump is a moron and we need a Democrat revolution to overthrow him", you would politely but insistently demand reasons for the person believing that. Why, then, are you content to reach a conclusion about God without having sufficient evidence for doing so? Note, I'm not talking here about the general belief that there may be something (which as I understand it is the agnostic position, and one you don't hold), but rather your "profound/strong" belief in a God, and the set of beliefs you hold about how he ties into the Big Bang and so on.

I'm going to answer this, but I need time to do it and today isn't good for that.  But these are important, integral questions.

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16178
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
I'm not very strong in my religious beliefs.  I grew up in a born again Christian family.  My mother is very religious, but we never really went to church.  My mother really didn't like any of our local churches, she preferred to just read the bible.  However, I went through all the sacraments and whatnot like a Catholic, because my parents forced all of us to. 

Some of that forcefulness as well as learning science and history had lead me to go athiest in high school.  I just couldn't wrap my head around why someone would believe in God.  Just too many questions and not enough answers, and when there were answers, they certainly weren't good enough for me to start believing in it.  My parents were deeply upset with my opinion.

As years go by and I learned more about the world we live in, my views have changed.  When people ask, I usually say I am Christian, but the reality is hardly that.  I personally don't believe in the church.  The church was created by man and to me, that doesn't make it any closer to God or Godliness than me just sitting home reading the Bible.  I always felt things like Lent and Christmas, made no sense.  Why do we do these things in the name of religion?  Now, I celebrate the holidays more so as tradition, but I don't really take part in the religious part of it because to me, it seems very superficial.  At least here in the US with my extended family, it feels far removed from anything religious. 

Now, just because I've been turned off by organized religion, I haven't been totally turned off.  That's where faith comes in.  Part of me feels like faith and science can co-exist.  Just because Adam and Eve may not have been the first humanoids, doesn't mean that God didn't create the world and the animals that exist in it (maybe through the big bang, maybe through some other means science has not understood).  I've come to find the Bible is more about tales on how to live your life and be a decent human.  In that context, it's great and doesn't need to be taken so literally.  There's plenty of good moral stories/lessons in there. 

At the end of the day, I just come to the conclusion that finding this entire jigsaw puzzle of life to be some sort of chemical reaction is a bit of a stretch for me, probably as much of a stretch as athiest find the thought of God.  However, I can't wrap my head around the idea this life is nothing.  I mean, sure, my life is nothing really compared to the history of the world, but everything can't be nothing.  When I look up at the stars and see how little I truly am, and when I see a Redwood tree 1000s of years old and bigger than any other naturally growing thing, or see a huge volcano, or the waves crashing onto a rocky shore... it just makes me feel there HAS to be something more (and sure, science can explain a lot of those examples, but it's literally how I feel when I see these things that feel bigger than life to me).  Now maybe it's my religious background as a kid that keeps feeding my thoughts of there having to be more, and maybe if I grew up in an athiest family I wouldn't have that feeling at all, but I can't shake it.  I can't answer the questions and I can't say I have any firm beliefs honestly, but I also can say that I feel like there is more to it than just what we understand which to me, will always lead to religious questions with different viewpoints.

Offline jammindude

  • Posts: 7990
  • Gender: Male
    • The Jammin Dude Show
 I have so much stuff I wish I could say that I'm overwhelmed by all the things that I wish I could say.

 At the end of the day I do want each and everyone of you to know one thing for certain. That this online community, and each one of you individually, have meaning for me.  I have absolutely no other outlet for the second greatest passion of my entire life (music) than here.

 Most of you know by now that I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  I really enjoy discussing my beliefs, but far  too often, online discussions just tend to degrade. People usually end up  just trying to prove each other wrong.

 So I just want all of you to know, that if I ever preach to you, EVER....  that it never ever comes from a "holier than thou" attitude.

Penn Jillette  is one of my favorite human beings in the entire world. An avowed atheist, he once said the following:

Quote

I've always said that I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I don't respect that at all. If you believe that there's a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward--and atheists who think people shouldn't proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself--how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn't believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.

 So now you know. If I ever discuss religion with anyone of you. This is the reason why. It's because I care about you, and from my point of view I am trying to save you from the truck.
"Better the pride that resides in a citizen of the world.
Than the pride that divides when a colorful rag is unfurled." - Neil Peart

The Jammin Dude Show - http://www.youtube.com/user/jammindude

Offline Chino

  • Be excellent to each other.
  • DT.net Veteran
  • ****
  • Posts: 19299
  • Gender: Male
I'm a big fan of Penn Jillette. This is one of my favorite things he has said;

3:00 mark

https://youtu.be/4_WKlttKRDw

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16178
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
So I just want all of you to know, that if I ever preach to you, EVER....  that it never ever comes from a "holier than thou" attitude.

That's fantastic.  Honestly, from my experience when people who are very religious try to talk to you about their beliefs, it often feels like they are "holier than thou" and it's a major turn off immediately from the discussion. 

And that basically describes how I feel about my younger sister.  She lets just say, was troubled.  Not the greatest kid growing up, had plenty of issues.  She ended up abusing alcohol and becoming very depressed.  She found a church that was:
"a hospital of sinners rather than a museum of saints"
And it really helped her get her life back together.  She became extremely religious and stopped the drinking.  I felt the church is and was great for her.  Everyone at that church had serious issues and the church helped them deal with it through god and religion.  However, I've always found that if you try to talk to her, she has an immediate sense of "holier than thou" attitude now.  It's quite annoying.  I got to say, it's better than what she was before, but my brother in law who is jewish is now in constant clash with her. 

Point being, I appreciate that you will not preach with that sort of attitude because I think it takes away from whatever point you are trying to make.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9884
  • Gender: Male

Me personally?  I have seen too much in my life that isn't satisfactorily explained by 'random' to fully be an atheist

But this why is why I pick exactly your brains on this issue, because it seems like such an 'unStadler' action to leap from not being able to be 'fully atheist', to having the incredibly complex and detailed set of beliefs you do. You have an interesting linguistic tic, I don't know if you're aware of it, but you almost never say "I believe in a God", you use phrases like "I profoundly believe in a God" or "I strongly believe in a God". You're very precise and deliberate with language, you wouldn't write this for no reason. And so I can't then understand why you are not agnostic in these circumstances. How do you go from a vague suspicion (but as you yourself accept, by no means a certainty) of there being some kind of spiritual entity, to having a "profound" belief in a God who kicked off the Big Bang and sits at the end of a predetermined plane of time and space?

The long post you wrote before the one I've just quoted is a list of what you believe, but I'm more interested here to get a sense of why you believe it. It seems to me that every single thing you listed in that post, I mean regarding cosmic questions of time and First Causes and God's part in evolution and so on, you could just as easily - with your type of mind, which has an almost forensic level of obsession for evidence and rationality - not believe those things. You have an equal amount of evidence for not believing those things as evidence for believing them (i.e none). Yet you choose to believe. Why? In any other aspect of your life, you would be horrified if someone arrived at a conclusion having bypassed the intermediary steps of evidence and logical reasoning. If someone in the Trump thread wrote "I believe Donald Trump is a moron and we need a Democrat revolution to overthrow him", you would politely but insistently demand reasons for the person believing that. Why, then, are you content to reach a conclusion about God without having sufficient evidence for doing so? Note, I'm not talking here about the general belief that there may be something (which as I understand it is the agnostic position, and one you don't hold), but rather your "profound/strong" belief in a God, and the set of beliefs you hold about how he ties into the Big Bang and so on.

I've been thinking about this question - obsessing really - since I read it.   I'm still not sure I have a satisfactory answer for it, but I'll try.   Maybe it'll at least start the dialogue.

To some degree it's an affectation, meant to clarify the answer in as few words as I can.  As some of you know, I get hung up on the definitions here a lot.   Many people, for example, like to talk about "Christians", using the word almost as an epithet, when in fact, about 85% of the United States are nominally "Christians", but the ones we read about - the one's that picket funerals and tell you they won't make the wedding cake for Adam and Steve, or sign that marriage license for Thelma and Louise - are the Evangelicals, who only make up about 15% of the population.   I get hung up on "religion" and "belief in God" as well; Hitchens  often seemed to confuse this, using heinous acts by mankind as some argument against a "God".   

I say I "strongly" believe in God, because I do.   I'm not blindly stating a faith that is convenient, or placating.  It might be logically unsound to assume the presence of something that isn't there, but it is a part of - and only a part of - what is relatively speaking a well-thought out view of the universe from one humble man's position.    That's not to say I usurp science, or inquiry, or logic.   Those things ALWAYS trump my belief to the extent that they are in direct conflict.   It doesn't mean I will reject those things I demand in real life with issues that face us as people every day.   The one thing you can  say about my position, is that it does fill in blanks in a way that perhaps we don't do in real life.  If I come home from work, I don't assume that there are four blond super models in my basement, because I have no reason to believe there isn't one.   But I don't think "God" is as big a stretch; almost all science and logic innovations start with an idea or a thought problem, and for me, God is no different.   It's NOT the same as saying that "Trump" is a moron", and on a couple different levels.