Why I Believe
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09-04-2017, 02:56 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 03:01 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why I Believe
It seems clear to me that the three options are:

1) Believe the Christian God is real but he's a total cunt
2) Believe there's "God(s)" but not the cartoon character Yahweh, or he's being woefully misrepresented
3) Not believe there is any God

Which one of those you believe isn't a choice, it's just what you believe. (Of course the cunt bit is optional commentary based on almost everything the bible says.)

Personally I don't believe there is "a god". I don't even believe it's a meaningful word, so I can't properly evaluate it in order to believe in it. Is/was there an intelligent creator of some sort? No idea. Maybe, maybe not. Don't care, it makes no difference.

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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09-04-2017, 03:29 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 02:54 AM)morondog Wrote:  SeaJay, at this point, do you still believe? I mean I know you might still *want* to believe, if only to avoid getting toasted, but can you honestly say that you buy the package? If you go to Church today, can you sing the songs, listen to the preacher, think "Ah, so glad God has a wonderful plan for me" and continue on your way? I know I couldn't.
Good questions

Do I want to believe due to fear of being punished forever?

Do I not want to believe due to fear of being punished forever?

I think there's a subtle difference there.

Do I still believe? Yes. But I'll admit I have major doubts

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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09-04-2017, 03:33 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 03:38 AM by SeaJay.)
RE: Why I Believe
I'm going to ramble a bit, just put my thoughts down here as they come to me.

Fear is a prime motivator for me continuing to believe. Would I want to believe if I knew there was no eternal punishment? God knows what I believe deep down anyway. So the end result is the same.

I am shocked at some of the things in the bible, and not in a good way. I believe it is wrong to kill another human being. Perhaps if that person is in agony and they say they want to die - even then I'm not sure.

What about killing to defend my own life or a loved one? Is justified the same as morally right? Wasn't God defending His chosen people from others because they were leading them from worship, or was it an act of aggression to do with claiming more land?

Is it morally right to worship primarily out of fear when you have issues with some of the things done in the bible? Is it the morally right thing to do, to stop that worship out of principle? What about being courageous and standing up for my own beliefs?

If God exists and He is good, He will understand.
If God exists and punishes me for unbelief, do I still hold the moral high ground?

Saw this the other day:

[Image: When-Did-You-Realize-You-Were-Atheist.jpg]

If I say "I am agnostic", how would I really know that? What happens if I say I am agnostic? Do I change, does something happen?

Perhaps I can't 'not' believe. Just because I fear hellfire doesn't mean I can just decide 'Ok I don't believe anymore.'

"Why did God harden Pharoah's, heart? Well, Pharoah hardened his own heart a good few times before God did so and God gave him warnings too". This is a great example of the frustration I find when I look into the bible. For every negative claim against the bible, there seems to be a good response. Not all the time, but enough to drive me mental.

If I didn't believe, what kind of person am I? Do I try and do good because I am good or because of Christianity? Do I get my morality from the bible? I mean, there's some mad stuff in there, but there's also some good stuff. Turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

Mental Note: There are probably a few other issues but aside from hellfire the NT seems so different to the OT when it comes to killings and talk of mercy.

I am not sure what I believe. Is anyone, are you?

I don't think it is possible to just stop believing something because you fear it. I fear because I believe it to be true. Or do I really believe?

/ramble off

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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09-04-2017, 03:41 AM
RE: Why I Believe
At work.

Hug

Heart

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09-04-2017, 03:57 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 05:35 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 03:33 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I'm going to ramble a bit, just put my thoughts down here as they come to me.

Fear is a prime motivator for me continuing to believe. Would I want to believe if I knew there was no eternal punishment? God knows what I believe deep down anyway. So the end result is the same.

I am shocked at some of the things in the bible, and not in a good way. I believe it is wrong to kill another human being. Perhaps if that person is in agony and they say they want to die - even then I'm not sure.

What about killing to defend my own life or a loved one? Is justified the same as morally right? Wasn't God defending His chosen people from others because they were leading them from worship, or was it an act of aggression to do with claiming more land?

Is it morally right to worship primarily out of fear when you have issues with some of the things done in the bible? Is it the morally right thing to do, to stop that worship out of principle? What about being courageous and standing up for my own beliefs?

If God exists and He is good, He will understand.
If God exists and punishes me for unbelief, do I still hold the moral high ground?

Saw this the other day:

[Image: When-Did-You-Realize-You-Were-Atheist.jpg]

If I say "I am agnostic", how would I really know that? What happens if I say I am agnostic? Do I change, does something happen?

Perhaps I can't 'not' believe. Just because I fear hellfire doesn't mean I can just decide 'Ok I don't believe anymore.'

"Why did God harden Pharoah's, heart? Well, Pharoah hardened his own heart a good few times before God did so and God gave him warnings too". This is a great example of the frustration I find when I look into the bible. For every negative claim against the bible, there seems to be a good response. Not all the time, but enough to drive me mental.

If I didn't believe, what kind of person am I? Do I try and do good because I am good or because of Christianity? Do I get my morality from the bible? I mean, there's some mad stuff in there, but there's also some good stuff. Turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

Mental Note: There are probably a few other issues but aside from hellfire the NT seems so different to the OT when it comes to killings and talk of mercy.

I am not sure what I believe. Is anyone, are you?

I don't think it is possible to just stop believing something because you fear it. I fear because I believe it to be true. Or do I really believe?

/ramble off

Belief is not something you control, and it is not binary. Your beliefs are dependent upon your knowledge. If you believe in hell and fear it, the thing that will release you from those mental shackles is knowledge. The knowledge that hell is a concept that evolved, and that Christianity most likely borrowed or adapted it from other religions or mystery faiths (such as Zoroastrianism). Hell doesn't exist in the Old Testament, the Jewish afterlife of Sheol was not a place of judgement or punishment. Think about it, why do so many Jews still exist if Jesus was the real Messiah? Well, from the Jewish perspective, he wasn't; and the idea that you need Jesus to save you from hell, is itself a convenient Christian fabrication, because the Jews didn't have a hell they needed to be rescued from. For as big of a dick as the Yahweh of the Old Testament was, when you were dead, he was done fucking around with you. That is of course undermined by the very real and mundane origins of the supposedly 'holy' texts themselves. There is no evidence of a soul, modern science has put to bed the concept of mind-body dualism, so there is no reason to think you have a soul that you need to worry about. On almost every level, the concept of hell simply doesn't add up.

There is no evidence to support the idea that hell is anything more than a concept.

But, even if you no longer believe in hell, that doesn't mean it cannot scare you. Sadly, fears don't have to be rational to affect you. Fear of hell is something that many atheists who come from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds have trouble dealing with, precisely because the fear is so irrational, being so long and hard ingrained as to almost be instinctual. Viewed from the outside (the street, as it were Tongue ), scaring children in order to leave such profound emotional scars is child abuse.

If you eventually find yourself in the position of no longer believing in hell, but still fearing it? You are the victim of psychological abuse and manipulation, and it is not your fault.

Hug

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09-04-2017, 04:03 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 04:10 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why I Believe
You're doing really well. Keep at it!

God shouldn't need to defend anyone by killing people. He could just turn them good, or something. And often he orders slaughter of entire towns, including children, babies and even animals. It's all apparently justified because he said so. That's a terrible moral system.

Of course, many of the stories in the bible didn't happen at all. We know this. But even so, they give an indication into the mentality of this God, if it was real.

You're right: a good god won't punish you for what you believe. And a bad god can't be trusted to stick to its word anyway, so fuck it. Why spend your life dancing to its evil tune when it can turn around and do whatever it wants anyway?

But most importantly, there's no evidence for any god whatsoever. It's not even clear what a god is meant to be. It's a human invention for filling gaps in knowledge and controlling people through fear and incentives.

By the way: you've clearly noticed that religious claims are unfalsifiable. They have to be. Otherwise, we'd go right ahead and prove them wrong. When they accidentally make one that can be tested, like "prayer helps people recover from illness", we test it scientifically and we find out it's not true. This has been done.

We're not told any information we could verify. Where is Hell? We can't be told. If we were told, we'd go there and see what's there. Wait, this is just a garage! This is bullshit!

Being agnostic is seperate from being a theist or an atheist. It just means you don't claim to know for sure. You either believe, or don't believe in gods, but you're not completely sure. If you're gnostic, atheist or theist, you claim to know for sure. Most intellectually honest people, from both sides, identify as agnostic. To say you know something is really just a very strong confidence in your belief. I'm actually ignostic, which means I don't even know what "god" is meant to mean and so I need more information before I could assess the claim.

Also, being atheist doesn't necessarily mean you believe there are no gods. That is an optional, stronger position within atheism. It can just mean you have no idea either way. You don't actively believe there's a god, but you don't actively believe there isn't, either. You're undecided. Both these positions come under atheism. Theism means you actively believe there is a god; atheism means you're not a theist, basically.

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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09-04-2017, 04:50 AM
RE: Why I Believe
Just want to say thank you very much for all the replies.

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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09-04-2017, 06:08 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 03:33 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I'm going to ramble a bit, just put my thoughts down here as they come to me.

Fear is a prime motivator for me continuing to believe. Would I want to believe if I knew there was no eternal punishment? God knows what I believe deep down anyway. So the end result is the same.

I am shocked at some of the things in the bible, and not in a good way. I believe it is wrong to kill another human being. Perhaps if that person is in agony and they say they want to die - even then I'm not sure.

What about killing to defend my own life or a loved one? Is justified the same as morally right? Wasn't God defending His chosen people from others because they were leading them from worship, or was it an act of aggression to do with claiming more land?

Is it morally right to worship primarily out of fear when you have issues with some of the things done in the bible? Is it the morally right thing to do, to stop that worship out of principle? What about being courageous and standing up for my own beliefs?

If God exists and He is good, He will understand.
If God exists and punishes me for unbelief, do I still hold the moral high ground?

Saw this the other day:

[Image: When-Did-You-Realize-You-Were-Atheist.jpg]

If I say "I am agnostic", how would I really know that? What happens if I say I am agnostic? Do I change, does something happen?

Perhaps I can't 'not' believe. Just because I fear hellfire doesn't mean I can just decide 'Ok I don't believe anymore.'

"Why did God harden Pharoah's, heart? Well, Pharoah hardened his own heart a good few times before God did so and God gave him warnings too". This is a great example of the frustration I find when I look into the bible. For every negative claim against the bible, there seems to be a good response. Not all the time, but enough to drive me mental.

If I didn't believe, what kind of person am I? Do I try and do good because I am good or because of Christianity? Do I get my morality from the bible? I mean, there's some mad stuff in there, but there's also some good stuff. Turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

Mental Note: There are probably a few other issues but aside from hellfire the NT seems so different to the OT when it comes to killings and talk of mercy.

I am not sure what I believe. Is anyone, are you?

I don't think it is possible to just stop believing something because you fear it. I fear because I believe it to be true. Or do I really believe?

/ramble off

It may be something that you have to let happen organically, I removed myself from church, from preachers, from any bible reading for over 25 years and was comfortable with using the term agnostic to describe myself.

Basically I removed myself from the Christian environment and simply got on with my life, I lived my life without bothering too much with philosophical or religious questions and would occasionally mull over things as life happened at it's own pace.

I sat back and slowly evaluated things that went on around me, I was told god answered prayers, as years passed, I watched the pastor that I used to listen to lose his wife through a silly accident, she fell on a sidewalk and broke her neck. Well, that was a stupid way to go, what was the point of that? I could puzzle over this unemotionally from a distance.

An assistant pastor at the church had cancer, he prayed, the church prayed, he died. Drinking Beverage

This pastor later lost his church due to financial mismanagement, again I could coldly evaluate this from a distance and even be amused by it.

It was unmistakable that these great godly people that claimed to have a super-special relationship with god were subject to all of the pains of life that the rest of us were, there was no higher power to prop it up. There was no higher power that had any effect on their life, they were subject to all of it without a single get out of jail free card.

I realized my life would proceed exactly the same with or without god in it. That's not entirely true, I had more money since I wasn't giving a church 10% of my income any more. Drinking Beverage

Over time you realize just how irrelevant and unnecessary all of this god stuff was, how much time and resources that you could devote to it with nothing to show for it. It was nothing more than a distraction from living your life, and then, eventually, you simply move on and leave the religion behind.

After about 25 years of leaving all of it behind, I went back and reexamined my beliefs and then I was ready to finally reject all of it at the most fundamental level. That's when I started using the term atheist to describe myself.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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09-04-2017, 06:25 AM
RE: Why I Believe
Let's say a hardcore Christian becomes a hardcore atheist if that atheist sometime later has a change of heart, can he once again become a Christian, is he saved, or is he forever lost? Not sure what the bible says about this.

I know this isn't logical (looking to the bible to affirm I'd be ok as an atheist/agnnstic, but I am interested in what people here believe to be the case.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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09-04-2017, 06:34 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 06:25 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Let's say a hardcore Christian becomes a hardcore atheist if that atheist sometime later has a change of heart, can he once again become a Christian, is he saved, or is he forever lost? Not sure what the bible says about this.
I'd have to have a change of brain. And since Christianity is a load of woo anyway, sure, he can once again become a Christian. Christians themselves hold several different positions on this. Some say, sure, he's saved forever. Others say, no, he was never a Christian in the first place. Others say fuck you, he will burn in hell.

Quote:I know this isn't logical (looking to the bible to affirm I'd be ok as an atheist/agnnstic, but I am interested in what people here believe to be the case.
You're asking us what we believe to be the case concerning beliefs that we do not hold... It's kinda... special.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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