Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
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17-11-2012, 06:45 PM (This post was last modified: 17-11-2012 06:50 PM by Dark Light.)
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
This reminds me of some Modest Mouse lyrics, from the song Bukowski

Quote:Well we sat on the edge of the river,
the crowd screamed, "Sacrifice the liver!"
If God takes life, he's an Indian giver.
So tell me now why, you'll tell me never.
Who would wanna be?
Who would wanna be such a control freak?
Well who would wanna be?
Who would wanna be such a control freak?
...
If God controls the land and disease,
If he keeps a watchful eye on me,
If he's really so damn mighty,
my problem is I can't see,
well who would wanna be?
Who would wanna be such a control freak?
Well who would wanna be?
Who would wanna be such a control freak?

Excellent song Big Grin

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17-11-2012, 07:20 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(17-11-2012 05:35 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I'm rather proud of your mom, onedream. Most mothers (like mine) tend to indulge in emotional blackmail, but your mother's message was neither an emotional appeal nor irrational. You have a cool mom.
Yes she is cool. She's a smart cookie. Incidentally, she's a professor at a university.
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17-11-2012, 09:15 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(17-11-2012 04:32 PM)onedream Wrote:  Great responses, everyone.

And I agree with most of them.

My initial reaction to her argument that our intellects are not sufficient is to ask "Then why would God hold anyone accountable for not believing in him if he created our minds in a way that prevents us from understanding him?"

God creates man with inferior mind that can't grasp him.

Man rejects God because his mind (created by God so it can't understand God) is imperfect.

God condemns man for rejecting him.

God is a big ass hole for creating a person incapable of grasping the concept of God and then condemning the creation for it.
There was a time, I suppose, when the ability to believe in a God was not particularly threatened by the small amount of knowledge we had about the world we live in. Having faith meant something different then from what it means now. It would still involve believing in things based on sparse evidence, perhaps, but at least it wouldn't require denying everything else that we already know is true. I'm not against the idea of a "leap of faith," per se, like taking a leap of faith for a relationship despite having been hurt in the past, or suspending disbelief for something counterintuitive like Special Relativity long enough to try to understand it, but there's a point beyond being open-minded, and even beyond being naive and credulous, where it's not really a "leap of faith" anymore. It's delusion. If reason is "necessary but not sufficient" for understanding the real nature of the universe, then the sort of faith that flies in the face of reason can be neither necessary nor sufficient. Perhaps it's not even possible to achieve what is sufficient, but we can at least rule out things that preclude what is necessary.

So, it's as you say: a God that would punish his creation for not believing the unbelievable cannot be fairly called "loving" or "merciful." The more likely explanation is that these are vestigial bronze-age beliefs that had to adopt a strong anti-reason message to survive and force its way into minds that would otherwise immediately reject it. If it had been more plausible, one could have simply believed in God and then dedicated one's life towards goodness and virtue, but instead, believers are forced to spend so much time and suffer so much agony trying to convince themselves whether he exists in the first place. This is not the sort of activity that I'd imagine a loving God would wish to inspire. Forget evidence: the model isn't even internally consistent.

I was wondering something about you, though, since I've been following your story somewhat. You're starting to identify things that aren't, but what are your beliefs about things that are? I'm not looking for any particular answer; I've just always felt like that was the harder part. I couldn't admit to myself that I didn't believe anymore until I started having some idea of what I could still believe in.
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17-11-2012, 09:51 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
If our minds are not capable of grasping some of the most important knowledge ever to have "graced" our mind, then it is inconceivably evil to punish us for an attribute that is not our fault we posses.

Just like it is not a newborn baby's fault that it can't memorize a dictionary, it just doesn't have the tools.

If we are not created to understand the message, then by what right do we have to pass it on as truth to newer, more susceptible generations? Consider

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17-11-2012, 11:44 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
I share your concern that if "Reason" and "our minds" are "Sufficient", then how do we know without a doubt that any faith we could muster would be sufficient? I thought about that as well. Thanks for putting it so clearly.

As far as "what isn't" verses "what is", I'm not sure yet.

I heard Lawrence Krauss say that "Science doesn't tell us what is true. It reveals to us what is NOT true. And from there we can surmise what is most LIKELY to be true."

He put it very well. At this point, I think I'm really just at the point of looking CLOSELY for the first time in my life at both sides of the argument. The devil is in the details; not in the talking points of either side. And the details seem to be pointing in the favor of reason for me. Every argument I hear against reason and science is simply toppled.

So, what ISN'T?

Wel...In my opinion, Christianity gives no real compelling, conclusive evidence that it's true. Islam gives even less. And Judaism...well...read the Old Testament. It's a load of myths mixed with a few geographical facts. It's essentially "God-Flavored Historical Fan fiction." And if the foundational religion of Judaism is false, then (logically) the two major religions that sprang from it (Christianity and Islam) are inherently false.

But it's the philosophical questions that keep speaking to me the
loudest. And this is chief among them: "What is more likely? That my
religion is the only correct one? Or that my religion is one of many
that are all wrong?" So what isn't? Man-made religion isn't. And that, I'm convinced of.

So what IS?

Goodness and compassion are. Love is. Integrity is. Human weakness is. Human need is. Human nobility is. Human ability to overcome is. Pain is. The scientific method is. The universe is. Knowledge is. Curiosity is. Creativity is.



(17-11-2012 09:15 PM)Beren Wrote:  
(17-11-2012 04:32 PM)onedream Wrote:  Great responses, everyone.

And I agree with most of them.

My initial reaction to her argument that our intellects are not sufficient is to ask "Then why would God hold anyone accountable for not believing in him if he created our minds in a way that prevents us from understanding him?"

God creates man with inferior mind that can't grasp him.

Man rejects God because his mind (created by God so it can't understand God) is imperfect.

God condemns man for rejecting him.

God is a big ass hole for creating a person incapable of grasping the concept of God and then condemning the creation for it.
There was a time, I suppose, when the ability to believe in a God was not particularly threatened by the small amount of knowledge we had about the world we live in. Having faith meant something different then from what it means now. It would still involve believing in things based on sparse evidence, perhaps, but at least it wouldn't require denying everything else that we already know is true. I'm not against the idea of a "leap of faith," per se, like taking a leap of faith for a relationship despite having been hurt in the past, or suspending disbelief for something counterintuitive like Special Relativity long enough to try to understand it, but there's a point beyond being open-minded, and even beyond being naive and credulous, where it's not really a "leap of faith" anymore. It's delusion. If reason is "necessary but not sufficient" for understanding the real nature of the universe, then the sort of faith that flies in the face of reason can be neither necessary nor sufficient. Perhaps it's not even possible to achieve what is sufficient, but we can at least rule out things that preclude what is necessary.

So, it's as you say: a God that would punish his creation for not believing the unbelievable cannot be fairly called "loving" or "merciful." The more likely explanation is that these are vestigial bronze-age beliefs that had to adopt a strong anti-reason message to survive and force its way into minds that would otherwise immediately reject it. If it had been more plausible, one could have simply believed in God and then dedicated one's life towards goodness and virtue, but instead, believers are forced to spend so much time and suffer so much agony trying to convince themselves whether he exists in the first place. This is not the sort of activity that I'd imagine a loving God would wish to inspire. Forget evidence: the model isn't even internally consistent.

I was wondering something about you, though, since I've been following your story somewhat. You're starting to identify things that aren't, but what are your beliefs about things that are? I'm not looking for any particular answer; I've just always felt like that was the harder part. I couldn't admit to myself that I didn't believe anymore until I started having some idea of what I could still believe in.
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18-11-2012, 12:03 AM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
If it is any consolation, I will tell you exactly what is wrong(in my opinion) about Christianity or the Christian God. It will be a lengthy post, and it will be quite hard to not point out the emotional appeals, but the post wouldn't be meant to take as an unbiased post.

By the way, onedream, do/did you believe in the concept of Orginal Sin?

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18-11-2012, 12:10 AM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(18-11-2012 12:03 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  If it is any consolation, I will tell you exactly what is wrong(in my opinion) about Christianity or the Christian God. It will be a lengthy post, and it will be quite hard to not point out the emotional appeals, but the post wouldn't be meant to take as an unbiased post.

By the way, onedream, do/did you believe in the concept of Orginal Sin?
I'd love to hear your dissertation on Christianity.

Original sin? I think we're all motivated by personal need. I think the driving force within us is survival and to thrive. As far as "sin", I think it's subjective.

I used to believe in original sin. But that is becoming more grey area now.

Sure, there are codes and creeds that are wise to live by. Like, the Golden rule is a great idea as a rule. But that was in existence long before Christianity or Judaism were even ideas.
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18-11-2012, 12:16 AM (This post was last modified: 18-11-2012 12:21 AM by Atothetheist.)
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(18-11-2012 12:10 AM)onedream Wrote:  
(18-11-2012 12:03 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  If it is any consolation, I will tell you exactly what is wrong(in my opinion) about Christianity or the Christian God. It will be a lengthy post, and it will be quite hard to not point out the emotional appeals, but the post wouldn't be meant to take as an unbiased post.

By the way, onedream, do/did you believe in the concept of Orginal Sin?
I'd love to hear your dissertation on Christianity.

Original sin? I think we're all motivated by personal need. I think the driving force within us is survival and to thrive. As far as "sin", I think it's subjective.

I used to believe in original sin. But that is becoming more grey area now.

Sure, there are codes and creeds that are wise to live by. Like, the Golden rule is a great idea as a rule. But that was in existence long before Christianity or Judaism were even ideas.
Perhaps I should make a separate thread for my post, seeing as it is off topic.

Plus, I am sure a fifteen year old kid's interpretation of Christianity and God might be a bit skewed from this topic.

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18-11-2012, 12:23 AM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(18-11-2012 12:16 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(18-11-2012 12:10 AM)onedream Wrote:  I'd love to hear your dissertation on Christianity.

Original sin? I think we're all motivated by personal need. I think the driving force within us is survival and to thrive. As far as "sin", I think it's subjective.

I used to believe in original sin. But that is becoming more grey area now.

Sure, there are codes and creeds that are wise to live by. Like, the Golden rule is a great idea as a rule. But that was in existence long before Christianity or Judaism were even ideas.
Perhaps I should make a separate thread for my post, seeing as it is off topic.

Plus, I am sure a fifteen year old kid's interpretation of Christianity and God might be a bit skewed from this topic.
Give yourself credit, no matter what it is, it would probably be more accurate than anything I could produce.

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24-01-2013, 10:02 AM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(17-11-2012 04:21 PM)Impulse Wrote:  I don't think anyone can choose to have faith or to not have faith. The only choice we have is whether to learn all we can about various faiths and the arguments for and against their being truth. After that, belief or non-belief really just happens.
I think that this is the essence of religion, "Do I believe the story?" = Leap of Faith. I think you must choose to believe.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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