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Post Reply are you religious? if so, why?
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Posted 5/14/13

Ember_McLain wrote:


yoshicurly wrote:

i am religious because ive experienced proof. not the "my mommy survived cancer, its a miracle!" type, but actual proof. so there is in fact a god.
i dont think it makes a difference if you believe or not, because if we are created and the universe, and matter, and life is created by said god, then you not believing in god is the way you were made, and therefor you are innocent. (i said "if" because although i know god exists, and spirits exist, i do not know how it works) BUT if you discover some facts about the spiritual world, and have real encounters, it makes your life better. and calming. and you live a live without any kind of fear.

my point is, that god and spirits and bad spirits and blah blah, its real. but it doesnt matter wether you believe in it or not, it is what it is.
you cant expect someone to believe without evidence. and organized religion is not always a good thing.
When you claim you've experienced proof, while I don't doubt the sincerity of your words -- the brain is a first rate simulation program -- actual observable, measurable proof of a celestial dictator is nonexistent.

The premise of faith is thus: with no proof you must believe. The only arguments "proving" the existence of a celestial dictator can only be made by claiming to know things one cannot possibly know. Why are the stars there? I don't know. Well I do, it was God -- not only that, I know God's will. The absurd premise withstanding, the metaphysical claims of religion are untrue.



like i said before, there no point in arguing with people that dont know, and i also cant blame them.
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Posted 5/14/13 , edited 5/14/13
I'm a Universalist. I was raised Baptist and am still very much Christian, but now I affiliate with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as far as churches go. I've had a lifelong fascination with Buddhism and I personally practice Zen mixed with a few basic Tibetan/Vajrayana techniques. I also draw upon the Sufi tradition from Islam and devotional Hinduism, as well as the Daodejing, as ways to refine my understanding of "It" (God, the Universe, the Way, Nirvana, whatever you want to call "It").

I'm all for science and it's practical application and I don't think there's an inherent conflict with science and religion.
Posted 5/14/13

nonameronin wrote:

I'm a Universalist. I was raised Baptist and am still very much Christian, but now I affiliate with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as far as churches go. I've had a lifelong fascination with Buddhism and I personally practice Zen mixed with a few basic Tibetan/Vajrayana techniques. I also draw upon the Sufi tradition from Islam and devotional Hinduism, as well as the Daodejing, as ways to refine my understanding of "It" (God, the Universe, the Way, Nirvana, whatever you want to call "It").

I'm all for science and it's practical application and I don't think there's an inherent conflict with science and religion.


Science and religion nicely compliment each other actually. If you are interested with science enough, particularly physics you will have some sort of 'evidence' or 'proof' that God is real. Depending on how you take it, your findings.
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Posted 5/15/13
You know Cieloan the way you've put it actually makes more sense to me, so I'd have to say that I can understand why some people choose to believe in certain religions the way that they do thanks to your explanation. d;P
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Posted 5/22/13

Cieloan wrote:


jawsjaps41493 wrote:
Plus if you look at it that way praying to make yourself feel better isn't that just you using an excuse to not have to talk out your emotional problems over the situation by using a false being as your witness...Personally i'd rather put my emotions into something real instead of trying to create something that you can only believe to exist, when i could rather just believe in myself or the ability of others.



So you're saying praying isn't a valid way of "talking out" your emotions, because there 'might not' be someone on the other end of the line. Sounds reasonable, until you consider the plethora forms of self-therapy (e.g. writing, painting, etc.) that are touted by psychologists/therapists. You also imply that someone's praying could be used as an excuse so they wouldn't have to talk to the people around them about their issues. This has a lot more to do with how a person deals with stress and grief, than it does their religious beliefs or practices. Prayer is considered a form of meditation--and any form of meditation is highly recommended for people going through tough situations--it tends to make it easier to talk out your problems, instead of being an excuse to run away from them. Though I do understand that you disliked the comment you were replying to
.
You might be interested to know, though, that what you described as "putting emotions into something real" is the same as having faith--there isn't any way to measure a person's will to live, just as there isn't any way to guarantee that no one involved in their care will make a mistake: there's only hope. The only difference here between someone who prays and yourself is that the prayerful person is asking a deity to step in and help the person heal him/herself, while you are hoping that the person will get better on his/her own. I don't think either person's emotions are really being wasted in these endeavors. Unless you have something against being compared to someone with different beliefs than you, I guess.

The only issue people tend to have in this area of discussion is with people who use faith to the exclusion of medicine--though that would be a big leap from the original topic of prayer as a form of comfort in a difficult situation.

Long story short: Emotional reactions are simply that--an expression of emotion. They don't bow to the merits of reasoned discussion--and they tend to overpower and obliterate any such discourse that they come across. Only you can prevent flame wars.


I'd like to start by saying that while I disagree with a some of your conclusions, you put forth a generally well thought out and interesting response that made me want to reply.

I agree that praying is a valid way of not only 'talking out your emotions', but also to reflect on yourself and your surroundings. It is essentially meditating. As far as demonstrable effects go (god still won't heal amputees or help in doubleblind tests I'm afraid) that meditating aspect is exactly where they come from. This effect can be achieved by regular meditation without religious connotations, so why not do it that way? The concept of praying to anything resembling an omnipotent/omniscient being is rather silly anyway. It makes sense to pray to a tribal god. If you can get a god on your side by slaughtering a goat because that god happens to love the smell of blood, that makes sense. But if you've got a being that knows what will happen, what should happen and has what it would take to make that happen, yet won't do it unless people pray for him/her, then that god is evil and a tyrant. Most tribal gods were assholes so that's consistent, but for an all loving all good god it makes no sense whatsoever to have prayer affect anything.

Whenever the word faith enters a discussion, stuff always gets muddled. Faith means a bunch of different things that are connected yet different.

For example when someone says you have to believe in (the existance of )god based on faith (I'm not sure you'd say that but it's a common expression) that means to me that I have to believe in the existance of something without evidence.
It gets complicated when we get to stuff like I believe in people or I believe in myself. Obviously people don't use this to mean that they believe people/they themselves exist. It means they're emotionally confident in how well others or themselves will do. Often this confidence is fueled by emotion. We can question how justified this confidence in things is and use reason to influence our confidence appropriately.
Reason based confidence and tentative trust shouldn't be equated to believing without or against reason. That's why I generally refuse to accept it when people claim I have faith in anything.

If someone is asking a deity to step in and believes that that in any way affects the world, that means effort directed to changing the world for the better is used on something that doesn't affect anyone outside themselves. If it makes people feel like they've accomplished something that means they spent less effort on actually treating problems. If I say I hope something will happen for someone else, I'm expressing my comraderie and my emotional investment in their lives. I know it won't change anything outside that scope and that's not why I say it. People who say they'll pray for others mean the same thing across and as such their emotions aren't wasted, but it adds unneccecary baggage.
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Posted 5/22/13

sharkjack wrote:
I'd like to start by saying that while I disagree with a some of your conclusions, you put forth a generally well thought out and interesting response that made me want to reply.


I'll readily admit I'm coming at this from a very different place, but I appreciate the reply. I get your reticence regarding "faith," it's a very ambiguous term, and is seen by many people to be completely contrary to reason or logic. I personally draw that line at blind faith. I don't believe in something unless I've personally tested/tried it--though it's not the same as a double-blind study, I'll admit.
I also don't believe that prayer by itself is the answer to anything. Prayer, like faith, requires action for it to mean something. Which I guess is why I don't see it as any less effective or efficient than other forms of meditation--though I know there are a lot of people who do see prayer as an answer in and of itself and use it as an excuse to not take the action necessary to affect the world around them. In which case, I'd fully agree with you.
I can't say I share your thoughts about praying to an omnipotent and omniscient god being silly--but I also don't think that God only helps you if you pray to him, so I'd say we can agree to disagree on that one.

Again, thanks for the well-reasoned reply--I like being able to get a feel for where people are coming from and have a chance to see someone's else's thoughts (especially without all the flamewars ). I hope I was able to return the favor at least a little bit.
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Posted 5/23/13

Cieloan wrote:


sharkjack wrote:
I'd like to start by saying that while I disagree with a some of your conclusions, you put forth a generally well thought out and interesting response that made me want to reply.


I'll readily admit I'm coming at this from a very different place, but I appreciate the reply. I get your reticence regarding "faith," it's a very ambiguous term, and is seen by many people to be completely contrary to reason or logic. I personally draw that line at blind faith. I don't believe in something unless I've personally tested/tried it--though it's not the same as a double-blind study, I'll admit.
I also don't believe that prayer by itself is the answer to anything. Prayer, like faith, requires action for it to mean something. Which I guess is why I don't see it as any less effective or efficient than other forms of meditation--though I know there are a lot of people who do see prayer as an answer in and of itself and use it as an excuse to not take the action necessary to affect the world around them. In which case, I'd fully agree with you.
I can't say I share your thoughts about praying to an omnipotent and omniscient god being silly--but I also don't think that God only helps you if you pray to him, so I'd say we can agree to disagree on that one.

Again, thanks for the well-reasoned reply--I like being able to get a feel for where people are coming from and have a chance to see someone's else's thoughts (especially without all the flamewars ). I hope I was able to return the favor at least a little bit.


You sure did.

When it comes to faith, I just don't see how it's in any way a useful concept, but I do see how it's used to do a lot of harm in its use to oppose critical thought and shield belief structures from examination. (something that too many people are also willing to exploit comercially, often targeting people when they are at their most vulnerable).

when I said praying to an omnipotent and omnicient god is silly I didn't mean to say that I find people who pray silly. Besides the fact that there are a bunch of reasons to pray, including to find betterment of yourself and to express helplesness in a world that is as uncaring to what happens to us as ours, people often take it quite seriously and that's fine.

I think it's conceptually silly though because it's one of those things where it used to make sense if you believed gods existed, but now it's no longer internally consistent.

You know how stuff like the easter dating is really silly. We celebrate it on like the weekend after the third full moon of the year (or something like that) when it's supposed to be a holiday that takes place on the days Jesus died. Why tie that to the moon? It made sense in it's original context. Fertility and moon cycles were highly related in the pagan culture easter originated from. But in Christianity it's silly.

Same goes for the way gods operate in the bible. ( this is a nice starting point if you don't know what I'm talking about ) )When Yahweh was still the tribal god that he started out as, it made sense that the Isrealites could curry favor with him by praying to him and killing goats (because he likes the smell of blood). It makes sense that such a god would hold a petty contest with another god to see if Job would ultimately remain faithful. It makes sense that he'd go and change the faraoh's heart just to show of how bad ass he is to the Isrealites by taking out the Egyptian soldiers that Yahweh himself sent after them. It makes sense how like the first commandment is to have no other gods before Yahweh. After retconning the gods into one however? it makes a god that is supposedly unchanging, eternal, all knowing and all good look like quite the schizophrenic.

What is praying to this god supposed to do? you can't change his mind, for it is supposedly unchanging. You can't alert him to your plight, for he is all knowing. You can't convince him to do something he wasn't otherwise going to do, because being all knowing and all good requires him to take those actions regardless. That's what makes the asking god for things type of prayer silly in that context. All you can really do is meditate and change yourself, but you can already do that without it being prayer.

Finally, about agreeing to disagree, in the literal sense (and I know that's not how you meant it) of course we can. If we couldn't agree that we disagreed on a thing we disagreed on, communication would completely break down.
If you meant the "I can accept that you disagree and move on" meaning, then I can accept that you presently disagree. I can accept that you might never agree and I don't respect you any less for that, but I cannot accept your point of view as valid. I can also accept any unwillingness you could have to no longe continue this conversation.

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Posted 5/23/13

sharkjack wrote:

You sure did.

When it comes to faith, I just don't see how it's in any way a useful concept, but I do see how it's used to do a lot of harm in its use to oppose critical thought and shield belief structures from examination. (something that too many people are also willing to exploit comercially, often targeting people when they are at their most vulnerable).



I'm sorry that you haven't been able to see any of the benefits that faith has--though faith in and of itself isn't something that opposes critical thought or shields beliefs from examination. Faith is simply believing that something is true--generally in the absence of empirical evidence. What you're describing largely has to do with people feeling attacked by someone questioning something that's so personal to them. It's more insecurity than anything intrinsically to do with faith (beyond the loyalty aspect, I suppose). Though I can foresee you disagreeing with me on this point. Which is fine. Faith is not a useful concept in your life, and like most things, it can be and is exploited (hope, greed, charity, love, and kindness are similarly exploited). So I understand your view, But you should be able to respect that it is a useful and important part of other people's lives--and as such, has merit for them.
I didn't think you were saying people who prayed were silly--though I do admit I don't understand what you mean by it no longer being internally consistent.
As for Easter's timing, it makes perfect sense in context. It's tied to the lunar calendar because the actual event of Christ's death is tied to the passover, which is a part of the Jewish lunar calendar. Christ died and was resurrected the weekend after the passover according to the Gospels, and this is when we celebrate it today. We could switch it to a standard date every year, since most scholars agree on the date, but it also makes sense, imo, to keep the celebration in its original context.
I'm not sure I'd be able to have a really meaningful conversation about the nature of God in a forum discussion (it takes me way too long to write these things). You bring up some interesting points, though my own reading of the bible didn't lead me to the same conclusions.
As for the purpose of prayer--I believe that the point is to grow closer to God, to develop a relationship with him. In the same way that you don't tell your friends your problems in order for them to fix everything for you, I don't pray to God so that he'll fix everything for me, but so that I can figure out what actions I need to take. If you don't believe in God, then yes, prayer would be kind of pointless. In which case, I would revert to simple meditation.
I admit I don't really understand why you are unable to see my point of view as valid. But honestly, that's your prerogative, and I don't wish to argue it. I'm not unwilling to continue the conversation, though I think it's reached its natural conclusion (it'd be in serious danger of becoming circuitous if we were to continue ).
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Posted 5/23/13
I wouldn't say I'm religious, but I believe God created the world and I believe Jesus died for my sins so I make it a point throughout the day to try and live according to how God would have us live. I believe He has a purpose for my life and that I should spend my time searching for that purpose.
It's more like a relationship than a religion.

By basis: I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that this complex, intricately designed world happened by "chance" or that it didn't have a creator.
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Posted 5/24/13

Cieloan wrote:


sharkjack wrote:

You sure did.

When it comes to faith, I just don't see how it's in any way a useful concept, but I do see how it's used to do a lot of harm in its use to oppose critical thought and shield belief structures from examination. (something that too many people are also willing to exploit comercially, often targeting people when they are at their most vulnerable).



I'm sorry that you haven't been able to see any of the benefits that faith has--though faith in and of itself isn't something that opposes critical thought or shields beliefs from examination. Faith is simply believing that something is true--generally in the absence of empirical evidence. What you're describing largely has to do with people feeling attacked by someone questioning something that's so personal to them. It's more insecurity than anything intrinsically to do with faith (beyond the loyalty aspect, I suppose). Though I can foresee you disagreeing with me on this point. Which is fine. Faith is not a useful concept in your life, and like most things, it can be and is exploited (hope, greed, charity, love, and kindness are similarly exploited). So I understand your view, But you should be able to respect that it is a useful and important part of other people's lives--and as such, has merit for them.
I didn't think you were saying people who prayed were silly--though I do admit I don't understand what you mean by it no longer being internally consistent.
As for Easter's timing, it makes perfect sense in context. It's tied to the lunar calendar because the actual event of Christ's death is tied to the passover, which is a part of the Jewish lunar calendar. Christ died and was resurrected the weekend after the passover according to the Gospels, and this is when we celebrate it today. We could switch it to a standard date every year, since most scholars agree on the date, but it also makes sense, imo, to keep the celebration in its original context.
I'm not sure I'd be able to have a really meaningful conversation about the nature of God in a forum discussion (it takes me way too long to write these things). You bring up some interesting points, though my own reading of the bible didn't lead me to the same conclusions.
As for the purpose of prayer--I believe that the point is to grow closer to God, to develop a relationship with him. In the same way that you don't tell your friends your problems in order for them to fix everything for you, I don't pray to God so that he'll fix everything for me, but so that I can figure out what actions I need to take. If you don't believe in God, then yes, prayer would be kind of pointless. In which case, I would revert to simple meditation.
I admit I don't really understand why you are unable to see my point of view as valid. But honestly, that's your prerogative, and I don't wish to argue it. I'm not unwilling to continue the conversation, though I think it's reached its natural conclusion (it'd be in serious danger of becoming circuitous if we were to continue ).


It pretty much has yes and I'm happy to leave it as such. It was an interesting discussion as it's now and that's what it can stay as.
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Posted 5/24/13

DanielLWall wrote:

I wouldn't say I'm religious, but I believe God created the world and I believe Jesus died for my sins so I make it a point throughout the day to try and live according to how God would have us live. I believe He has a purpose for my life and that I should spend my time searching for that purpose.
It's more like a relationship than a religion.

By basis: I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that this complex, intricately designed world happened by "chance" or that it didn't have a creator.


The dead earwig on my wall bugs to differ. Get it? Its a pun hahaha.
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Posted 5/24/13 , edited 5/24/13
i am also spiritual. Yes i believe in God, BUT you will never catch me saying things that the idiot bible thumpers do. "OH LOOK AT ME!!! I AM RIGHTEOUS AND BLAH BLAH!" nope. you are human and flawed and can NEVER be, but God is.so basically its like this:

Yes i believe there is God. do i have 100% scientific proof he exists? nope. but here is the thing...

i would rather die believing there IS one and find out that there isnt, than to go about life thinking nothing and then die and find out there IS. its that important, so i do everything i can do to make sure i follow as i am needed to follow. the great thing is that-- i do not HAVE to. the bible does say i have free will, but i choose to follow the word because of the possibilities. the mere fact that i can hope for something great is good enough.
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Posted 5/24/13 , edited 5/24/13

DanielLWall wrote:

I wouldn't say I'm religious, but I believe God created the world and I believe Jesus died for my sins so I make it a point throughout the day to try and live according to how God would have us live. I believe He has a purpose for my life and that I should spend my time searching for that purpose.
It's more like a relationship than a religion.

By basis: I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that this complex, intricately designed world happened by "chance" or that it didn't have a creator.


Ah, the (200 year) old watchmaker fallacy.


cyberkeeper1 wrote:

i am also spiritual. Yes i believe in God, BUT you will never catch me saying things that the idiot bible thumpers do. "OH LOOK AT ME!!! I AM RIGHTEOUS AND BLAH BLAH!" nope. you are human and flawed and can NEVER be, but God is.so basically its like this:

Yes i believe there is God. do i have 100% scientific proof he exists? nope. but here is the thing...

i would rather die believing there IS one and find out that there isnt, than to go about life thinking nothing and then die and find out there IS. its that important, so i do everything i can do to make sure i follow as i am needed to follow. the great thing is that-- i do not HAVE to. the bible does say i have free will, but i choose to follow the word because of the possibilities. the mere fact that i can hope for something great is good enough.


God of the Gaps, Pascal's Wager. A good argument except the part where you waste time, effort and money worshipping a God that's not real when you die and find out there's no God.
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Posted 5/24/13
i believe in God ,but not into religion or heaven or hell.
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Posted 5/24/13
Religion is one of those argumentative ideals. Religion started with the "creator", but you cannot specify who this "creator" might be. People do not believe in the thereafter, only the here and now, much like the opposite in which people also believe that one rules all, and that heaven/hell is like either government, or battle.

For many centuries if you had faith, you had religion. You cannot say when religion first came to existence, but many Christians seem to believe, from my understanding, that religion began at the time of Christ. Although, I kid you not, it did not "begin" with him (heads exploding), that word being a relative phrase that might mean either the idea or religion itself. Being Atheist and a Theist, it is not set in stone what the truth is, just your beliefs. I could believe in a giant alien bug that came from the sky to place our races individually among the wastelands. It might not be your belief, but what if it was mine? Scientology is basically that, but those are seeming like the crazy people of this world, but it is not true, since that is the basis of all religion. People believe we were brought here by a powerful being, and that one being created everything and all. Scientology would be normal for how people react to the bible today. How can someone from earth even remotely contact a being from another world, and only that one guy? I could make my own religion based off of that but it would be considered a cult.

So, Jesus makes a cult, worst-case scenario. He only has people believe in him through his eyes, preaching like he is god's son. Perhaps his gathering of people and making them believe what he thought of as right was considered cultist and thus he was placed on a cross as a symbol to people who took it as their own? So then they spread the word on and on, eventually reaching England, and all-the-while people think they actually "seen" god through Jesus' eyes, but left out Jesus.

I have actually had someone tell me "Oh god told me to date him, told me to marry him" and then months later. "God showed me it just wasn't the right time", of course thinking to myself, this is not someone who thinks a lot about the future, since he actually told her in the first place that he believed god wanted her to go to him. Yet, she said explicitly that God told her to do it.

Many interpretations and so many misguided people. It would be easier if god would tell the world, but no, he tells "special people". If that is so, then why tell me that I can if I allow him into my heart? Meanwhile there are those people who still have not spoke to god yet? Billions of people.

So much to disprove the religions, but I don't think you can or cannot disprove god. Btw, god goes bowling, apparently that is called thunder. =/
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