Why I Believe
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07-04-2017, 10:22 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 09:57 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  What I find perplexing is continued religious belief by the thoughtful who do seek rationality. It seems to me that as general knowledge increases the absurdities of religious belief would eventually become so untenable such beliefs would erode away. That's how I came to my own atheism: the accumulated absurdities dissolved in the solvents of deeper understanding.
Same thing with yours truly.

But it took me time to get where I am. I was an evangelical for 30 years, give or take, and I would say that it took 15 years (years during which I was a child) before the first flutters of doubt appeared. I think that as a child I lacked the bare-metal contact with reality and any sort of permission to think independently and question, and I was cushioned by a loving and functional family environment. After that it was another 15 years before I was willing to accept that it was all bullshit. Getting to that point, in large part, was a function of the collapse of my first marriage, which I was trying to hold together by having "enough faith" and being good and all that. Since the destruction of that marriage destroyed my most dearly held and noblest ambition, to be a successful husband of one wife, it was enough for the rest of the house of cards to come crashing down with it, and for me to quit resisting reality in various other areas.

Then it was another 10 years of gradually accepting the label "atheist" and that there was no way to avoid the fundamental absurdities of life or to somehow make life what I had been taught it "should" be. Remember that religious faith is usually not just a bunch of theological abstractions but a whole set of expectations and beliefs about how reality works, together with beliefs about how it becomes totally unworkable without embracing the axiomatic "truths" of the faith.

My basic principle in these matters is that people don't change until the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of not changing. Or more exactly, until the perceived / anticipated pain of changing becomes less than the pain of not changing. SeaJay is beginning to understand that her anxiety and terror is untenable and that almost anything would be an improvement. SeaJay knows this at some level but as much as she hopes for better things, she fears even worse things than she already struggles with, thanks to all the shitty things her belief system has threatened her with for years.
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07-04-2017, 10:38 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 09:33 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 08:50 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  > How do you define God? Do you believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent?
I do

All powerful - powerful over you and the entire world
All knowing - knows everything of you and the entire world
All loving - loves you and the entire world

If you and everyone believes.
If you and everyone believes, suffering still remains.
If you and everyone believes, uncertainty still remains.
If you and everyone believes, hatred still remains.

What happens if you don't believe?

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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07-04-2017, 10:41 AM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2017 10:45 AM by SeaJay.)
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 09:57 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  What I find perplexing is continued religious belief by the thoughtful who do seek rationality. It seems to me that as general knowledge increases the absurdities of religious belief would eventually become so untenable such beliefs would erode away. That's how I came to my own atheism: the accumulated absurdities dissolved in the solvents of deeper understanding.

Why has that not yet happened in your case?
Fear of being wrong and burning in hell forever. And, years ago I did a lot of research into the claims Christianity wasn't true. I thought I needed to because there's always two sides to a story as they say. I can't remember the details today, but back then I was satisfied that the issues non-theists claimed Christianity had, weren't really a problem, for me. I'm talking primarily about alleged contradictions in the bible and failed prophecies. I am again looking at what I believe only this time I am delving more into the non-theist side of the debate.

(07-04-2017 09:57 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  What aspects of your religious belief still appear rational - particularly since you've expressed an interest in reaching truth without requiring the truths you find be religious?
An almighty creator. Or, put another way, something creating our world. If I were to disregard the Holy Bible, I look at our world and think it must have been created. Compared to all the other planets in our solar system, we look as different as chalk and cheese.

I mean, the other planets are either poisonous gasses, balls of rock, balls of ice, and then there is earth, and we have; plants! water! edible fruit! fridge magnets! philosophy! art! oxygen! literature! Spandau Ballet! elephants! Big Grin Though being humorous, we are unlike anything we've encountered so far. That said, I am aware our solar system is but a speck of dust compared to what's out there.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 10:49 AM
RE: Why I Believe
I am currently looking into the prophecy wherein Jesus says there were some who would see him return before they died. Apparently, it is a failed prophecy. I've heard about this before but can't remember delving too deeply into it.

Can anyone supply a good resource for me to investigate the prophecy please? I've done an initial search but it's all a bit everywhere, so I'm hoping for a solid resource to study from a non-theistic standpoint. Preferably online only because I can research it immediately.

Thank you

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 10:56 AM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2017 11:06 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Why I Believe
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07-04-2017, 11:01 AM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2017 11:05 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 10:49 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Can anyone supply a good resource for me to investigate the prophecy please? I've done an initial search but it's all a bit everywhere, so I'm hoping for a solid resource to study from a non-theistic standpoint. Preferably online only because I can research it immediately.

Here's a link to a lecture by professor Bart Ehrman which you should enjoy, since it makes sense of much of what Jesus was teaching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvjPO2LilxM
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07-04-2017, 11:09 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 08:20 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 07:51 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I guess

Imma disagree with TOC. You're fucked in the head Smile Just like the rest of us Tongue At least you're not alone Wink

I meant crazy in the sense that he's not crazy for thinking and struggling like he is. We're all crazy to a decree. I guess I should have clarified. Tongue

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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07-04-2017, 11:26 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 10:41 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  ... then there is earth, and we have; plants! water! edible fruit! fridge magnets! philosophy! art! oxygen! literature! Spandau Ballet! elephants! ...

One of the most seductive fallacies of religious argument is the improbability of the configuration of our existence. The odds against this configuration are, well, not actually incalculable but so large as to make the difference between improbable and impossible too tiny to matter.

But the fallacy is in what configuration is being considered. Grab a deck of cards. Shuffle it. When you're done, calculate the improbability of the sequence of the 52 cards you end with. It's gigantic. It's more unlikely than finding the first 5 at the top are a royal flush of spades. Why? Because beneath the 5 cards of the royal flush are 47 cards whose sequence is of no consequence. Hence the number of occasions of shuffling up a royal flush of spades as the first 5 is quite large - it's greater than the number of possible combinations of the other 47 cards!

Yet the odds against getting the sequence you just did are far greater - only one chance out of all the possible sequences of 52 cards. Yet there it is, in your hands, a seemingly impossible sequence.

The question to ask is NOT how improbable is the universe's present configuration. Like the shuffled deck of 52, it is what it is. To compare it's unlikelihood to other possible configurations is to quibble over equal improbabilities.

The relevant question is this: given the configuration as it is, how improbable is the life we find within it? Those odds are not so astronomical - as the configuration as it is obviously DID give rise to life. And while the rest of our solar system is clearly inimical to earthly forms of life arising, no science I'm aware of has ruled life of some kind impossible elsewhere in our solar system. Finding intelligent worms on Neptune would be surprising, but also NOT surprising, as there are no violations of the natural laws we already understand in positing intelligent worms there.

So we can marvel at our complex existence, but without invoking impossible probabilities to do so.
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07-04-2017, 11:46 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 06:47 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Having a bit of a moment here, feeling a bit anxious :/

I worry I might have said something bad about Christianity in this thread so I went back through every one of my posts. Seems the worst I did was agree with folk about a few things. Like, if the bible is created by an all powerful being, then its message should perfect and clear.

That's how it is with me. I keep getting panicky, I'm like "What have I done/said what have I done/said!"

It's been like this since 2010 November. And it is really rough on times

It's perfectly natural to have the fear lurking within you. That's what indoctrination often does to people.

I'll say it for you: Christianity is a huge pile of complete arse! I've been saying it my whole life and there has been zero consequences.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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07-04-2017, 11:58 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(07-04-2017 10:49 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I am currently looking into the prophecy wherein Jesus says there were some who would see him return before they died. Apparently, it is a failed prophecy. I've heard about this before but can't remember delving too deeply into it.

Can anyone supply a good resource for me to investigate the prophecy please? I've done an initial search but it's all a bit everywhere, so I'm hoping for a solid resource to study from a non-theistic standpoint. Preferably online only because I can research it immediately.

Thank you

You may want to check out goodwithoutgod's resource thread He talks about a ton of stuff there and it is all referenced.

He talks about hell on page 2, page 5 has a really long list of sources (theistic and non-theistic), and he tackles religions other than christianity. I don't think he ever addresses the failed prophecies per se but it is a easy read and it you may find it interesting.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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