Why I Believe
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09-04-2017, 04:39 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 03:10 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  Smile In spades

Hey there, SeaJay ... I'm new here. Just joined yesterday so forgive the straw in the hair and snot in the nose. I may ask a question or two that has been answered and if so you can just tell me and I'll go back and find the relevant post.

I am curious what, to you, makes a belief in a religion and deity-worship so attractive to you?

You claim you're a 5.1, with a slight edge toward unshakable belief. What is it that makes you even want to believe?

"If my God exists, then the laws in the Bible should apply to everyone. I am certain my God exists, so ..." -- words of a theocratic fascist justifying theocratic fascism.
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09-04-2017, 06:27 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 02:09 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  The last psychologist I had had been a priest for 20 years. That didn't go too well and in the end I had to move on.

Gah! No! Therapist, not witch doctor! Tongue

I'm guessing that the current therapist is not faith-based? As I'm sure you've discovered, a therapist needs to be looking out for your best interests. Having ulterior motives like that is seriously unprofessional. Check their credentials and look for somebody who specializes in psychological trauma or deprogramming.

I'm glad we've been able to help, but at the end of the day you should take anything that's proved useful to a professional. Seeing what worked will allow them to direct your therapy more effectively and expand on what you've found.

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09-04-2017, 06:39 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 01:19 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 11:48 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  The default atheist position, and probably the most common one, is a lack of belief in Gods. That's not the same as believing there are no Gods. The first is a state of being unconvinced. The second is being convinced to the contrary.

This is a very common misconception, and one that is subtle and can be hard to grasp at first. I'll post my video below where I go through all this.

Please have a go at defining what a "God" or "deity" is. How would I tell apart a God from an arbitrarily powerful non-God?




Hello Robvalue having watched the video I find we hold some thoughts in common. It is indeed imperative of all parties understanding and agreeing on the definitions of chosen words to express ones positions. I also agree that if finding truth is the sole desire then having an open mind to facts, logic and reason is crucial. I would also add that as human beings if one brings preconceived assumptions or beliefs or a desired outcome then the degree of bias can be proportionally problematic with having an open mind, be it atheist or theist.

In your post you present the challenge to define God or deity however I seriously question whether you would have the ability to be objective and open-minded to give a fair analysis to anything I might offer but rather it would be judged by a double standard. I say this not judgmentally but rather simply as a conclusion of observation of previous posts.

In presenting a basis for this opinion I offer these previous posts:

In post#176 you stated:

When I talk to people, I just want them to think. I don't expect people to just agree with me. I wouldn't even want someone to agree with me, just because I'm saying it. I want them to stop and think things over. Look at things from every available perspective. If that means they eventually agree with what I'm saying, then great! If not, then that's fine too. What I can't stand is when people plug their ears.

You're really thinking, and that's a rare quality. It's a natural behaviour to try and preserve and defend beliefs, however dumb they may be. It takes guts to challenge them.

In post #180 you stated:

Yeah, God "plans" us to all be disgusting evil creatures so he can save us. Hero complex? What the hell is God even doing? Screwing about, it seems. Why did he make any of this?

Some people find that they transition to deism when coming out of religion. They still feel there is "a creator" but that it can't be any of the dumb versions put forward by religion, and doesn't appear to be interacting with us in any way at all.

I wouldn't worry too much about labels. In my mind, being a Christian is a choice though. Even if I believed in everything the bible said, I wouldn't be a Christian. I think it's a disgusting immoral book, and I'd just be depressed that such an evil monster is in charge. I decide for myself how to live my life, I don't take orders. Luckily, there's no evidence that any of it is more than a fairy tale that has been passed on by indoctrination through the generations.

I find religions irrelevant, whether they are true or not. I just use my brain.

And then from your Atheism and Me blog you state:

The first time I became aware of religion was at the age of about 5. At school, we were made to pray in assembly. I found it very strange and confusing. Even at that age, it was clear to me that what was happening was illogical. I have never changed my opinion since then.

And:

Atheism and theism are not decisions. Belief, or a lack of belief, is a state of mind. You cannot simply choose to believe something, even if you want to. You can say you believe it, but you can't actually switch over your brain state at will. So to say to an atheist, "Why do you choose to be an atheist?" is a badly formed question. All you can ask of them is for them to pretend that they believe. Why anyone would want them to do that, I don't know. An atheist cannot help being that way, and the only thing that could change them into a theist is further evidence, an event, or a critical examination of their own thinking to discover a mistake.

Bias basis 1: You state people should think things over with an open mind looking at different perspectives and not plug their ears to truth yet you see religion irrelevant whether true or not. You state being a Christian is a choice and then state atheism and theism are not decisions and a person cannot simply choose to believe something. These contradicting positions would logically give one pause to believe that you could be objective in drawing one's conclusions.

Bias basis 2: Your level of negative bias would show your inability to be logical and objective to anything posited that did not fit your negatively biased position that God or anything religious is: dumb, irrelevant regardless of turth, its strange , confusing, disgusting and immoral, that God is an evil monster, that its just fairy tales, that religion itself is evil, that its controlling. Yet in spite of this you just use your brain to live life as you see fit.

Respectfully Robvalue everyone can and does hold a belief. But everyone isn't necessarily rational and objective in the justification for holding that belief. This entire thread was started with SeaJay's fear based on a belief. Is there any justification for that fear? This reminds me of Professor of Philosophy Thomas Nagel's statement regarding fear of religion from his book -The Last Word, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 130-131. :

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

You stated: An atheist cannot help being that way, and the only thing that could change them into a theist is further evidence, an event, or a critical examination of their own thinking to discover a mistake. I can only reply that that may be true for some, but for others I don't think any amount of evidence would cause them to become a theist simply because, for them, it wouldn't be a lack of evidence problem; it would because of a heart problem.


All that being said and referencing your blog entry "What is god" I would answer your challenge of how do I define God? I define God as the Creator yes (I acknowledge your personal opinion to stop here) but yes He does posses unlimited power. You pose the question: I don't know why people think that just because something may have created our reality, it also has to have unlimited power. Where does this idea come from? My answer is simply: If He can create all that is, from nothing, how could anyone rationally and logically think otherwise.

Thanks very much for watching my video, and for your feedback Smile I'll try and address your points, please let me know if I miss anything.

Sure, everyone has biases. I do my best to counter them as much as I can. I'm sceptical about myself: I challenge myself to produce evidence to be sure my beliefs are rational, and I don't assume my memory is always accurate.

So absolutely, since I've never been presented with anything that relates to reality regarding "gods", and it's rare anyone even tries to define it, I scoff at the idea. But I do honestly try to take every earnest reply seriously and to think about what is said without jumping to conclusions. If I fail to do that in any way, please let me know.

I'm glad you did eventually kind-of define God. I'm not looking for a complicated definition; in fact, the simpler the better.

Imagine this scenario: I have created a complex computer simulation. Somehow, the emergent processes of this program manifest themselves as "a reality". Elements of this program become self-aware. To them, their environment is as "real" as anything can be.

Am I now "God"? Am I a God? Or am I God subjective to that reality?

I created this manifestation "from nothing"; it wasn't there before the program I made started running. You could argue that my computer did it, although I was the intelligence behind making the program. I also have complete control over the reality. I can change it as much as I want, in any way. I can also ask the computer to tell me anything I want to know about my simulation. I'm pretty much "omnipotent" and "omniscient", in practical terms, regarding this manifested reality.

However, when I step away from the computer and start interacting just with my own reality again, I'm a regular guy. I can't manipulate my own reality with such freedom.

The problem is many people object with, "Then you're not God"! That's precisely why I ask for the term to be defined, so I can properly assess what the person means.

I agree with you, not everyone holds beliefs for rational reasons. In fact, probably everyone is subject to irrational/emotional beliefs at various times; often without realizing it. Some people don't even care that much for rationality and prefer relying on their emotions. That is up to them, and I respect their choice. My comment, however, is on the reliability of beliefs that are irrational. They can lead to irrational actions, to the detriment of the person and those around them. So it's concern for people that motivates me. It's well documented that emotions are not a reliable way to determine truth. If people aren't overly concerned with the truth, then there's not much more I can say except to make my case why the truth is important.

I personally try to police my own thoughts to try and remove errors in thinking, and to challenge emotionally held beliefs. I welcome challenges about anything. If I'm being irrational, I want to know. I don't expect everyone to think like me, but I do encourage people to at least think about how they think!

I hope this addresses everything. Please let me know if not! I would love, one day, to be given something really challenging regarding "God". I accept people believe what they believe, and I'm not trying to take that away from them. I'm here to discuss, and I'm not going to force anyone who doesn't want to talk about it to defend their beliefs.

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, 06:57 PM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2017 07:01 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Why I Believe
Oh! I forgot one thing.

I don't think it's true that in my case at least, I'd reject any amount of "evidence for God". Some people may well do, I can't help that.

But I can't even consider what might be evidence for something until I know what it is. Is it something I already aware of? If so, I can easily correlate the appropriate evidence. If it isn't, where is the evidence, and how do I assess it in a falsifiable way? If it's not falsifiable, I don't consider it evidence. I have a video on this subject, if you want to hear more.

If "God", whatever it is, actually shows up and communicates with me, I'll believe it is real. I'm sure most people would. That would be plentiful evidence. Of course, if this only happens one time and no one else was aware of it, I'd have to question whether I imagined it. But if it regularly shows up and interacts with both me and other people, in plain view, I wouldn't deny it is real.

Now, people can claim this is already happening. But they point to this and that for evidence, and to me it just looks like stuff happening and they are assuming there is some being making it happen. Reality behaves exactly like I'd expect it to if no external intelligence was doing stuff to it: it's extremely predictable. So people telling me there "is evidence" does not make it credible evidence. For one thing, if God actually wants me to believe it's a real thing, it should know exactly how to convince me. If it chooses not to, then that's its decision.

Like I've said, I don't care if there's a god or not. I think that gives me a kind of detachment and objectivity, so I've no need to try and dismiss evidence. I'd in fact be very curious about such a thing, and I'd want to investigate it. But I can't, until something happens which doesn't just appear to be people imagining things and projecting onto reality.

Also, if I'm entirely deluded, or incapable of processing obvious evidence "for God", then I expect God either made me that way or is aware that's my condition. If it doesn't like me being that way, I'm sure it could remove my filters. If it expects me to somehow remove them myself, then that's a crazy game I'm not interested in. I have better things to do than to try to convince myself of things that aren't evident so hard that I start believing them. That sounds like madness to me.

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, 07:06 PM
RE: Why I Believe
One last thing:

I'm not intending to tell people what is and isn't evidence to them. Everyone has their own ideas and standards. I'm not claiming mine "are right". I just make my case as to why I think the way I do, and people can take it or leave it.

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, 11:48 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 07:06 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  One last thing:

I'm not intending to tell people what is and isn't evidence to them. Everyone has their own ideas and standards. I'm not claiming mine "are right". I just make my case as to why I think the way I do, and people can take it or leave it.

At the same time, somehow in science there's an objective standard and a consensus is arrived at - apart from the odd maverick who may up-end the whole apple cart with a new, more powerful idea, much to everyone's delight, yet in religion everyone has their own truth, and that truth is precious and may not be challenged - there's no consensus and heretics who believe something else are to be feared, not celebrated.

Religion is built on the idea of protecting some stupid idea. Science is built around tearing down stuff that doesn't work. As much as religion would love to be able to claim the same effectiveness as science, we cure more people wholesale in a week than have been cured by prayer in the last several thousand years.

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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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10-04-2017, 12:15 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 04:39 PM)Shirina Wrote:  Hey there, SeaJay ... I'm new here. Just joined yesterday so forgive the straw in the hair and snot in the nose. I may ask a question or two that has been answered and if so you can just tell me and I'll go back and find the relevant post.

I am curious what, to you, makes a belief in a religion and deity-worship so attractive to you?

You claim you're a 5.1, with a slight edge toward unshakable belief. What is it that makes you even want to believe?
Hi Shirina Smile

The idea of life after death sounds appealing, it's also nice to think there is someone looking out of our best interests. But primarily, my fear of burning in hell keeps me in Christianity.

I know it isn't logical, I know it is irrational, but nevertheless, it is still powerful

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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10-04-2017, 12:21 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 12:15 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 04:39 PM)Shirina Wrote:  Hey there, SeaJay ... I'm new here. Just joined yesterday so forgive the straw in the hair and snot in the nose. I may ask a question or two that has been answered and if so you can just tell me and I'll go back and find the relevant post.

I am curious what, to you, makes a belief in a religion and deity-worship so attractive to you?

You claim you're a 5.1, with a slight edge toward unshakable belief. What is it that makes you even want to believe?
Hi Shirina Smile

The idea of life after death sounds appealing, it's also nice to think there is someone looking out of our best interests. But primarily, my fear of burning in hell keeps me in Christianity.

I know it isn't logical, I know it is irrational, but nevertheless, it is still powerful

I threaten to burn you eternally with my mind-ray if you don't stop believing such silliness.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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10-04-2017, 12:27 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(09-04-2017 02:06 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 12:53 PM)unfogged Wrote:  7-13 depends on which version you use; the translators reworded it to say what they wanted it to say. The King James is what I had quoted and it explicitly blames the god

http://biblehub.com/exodus/7-13.htm

Joshua 11
20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.

See alos Romans 11.

God causes people like Rezin, king of Damascus to attack israel, and in his tun, God raises enemies against Rezin. Etc.
Reading Joshua 11:20 I also came across this

Joshua 10:12-13
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”


13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.

I’ve researched this and I have not found a good explanation for why the sun and moon stood still. The most popular explanations are:

1. It was a miracle
2. The earth slowed on its axis

To me it is obvious the ancients thought the sun moved around the earth and not vice versa.

Is this strong evidence the bible is man made or is it the case that God does not need to correct the authors on every detail? I can't help think that a divinely written book should not include this.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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10-04-2017, 01:06 AM
RE: Why I Believe
Yeah... obviously that did not happen. If you were reading any other book you'd recognize that bit as fictional. They're probably trying to justify their side of the battle by writing how God helped them.

You'd think he could help a bit more directly, huh? Just instantly char all the "enemies". Done. God sure likes to pansy about Tongue

They did indeed think the sun went round the earth, just as they thought the earth was flat. It's perfectly understandable that they did, given their lack of scientific knowledge.


(09-04-2017 11:48 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(09-04-2017 07:06 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  One last thing:

I'm not intending to tell people what is and isn't evidence to them. Everyone has their own ideas and standards. I'm not claiming mine "are right". I just make my case as to why I think the way I do, and people can take it or leave it.

At the same time, somehow in science there's an objective standard and a consensus is arrived at - apart from the odd maverick who may up-end the whole apple cart with a new, more powerful idea, much to everyone's delight, yet in religion everyone has their own truth, and that truth is precious and may not be challenged - there's no consensus and heretics who believe something else are to be feared, not celebrated.

Religion is built on the idea of protecting some stupid idea. Science is built around tearing down stuff that doesn't work. As much as religion would love to be able to claim the same effectiveness as science, we cure more people wholesale in a week than have been cured by prayer in the last several thousand years.

Absolutely, I agree. Ultimately, what is evidence to any particular person is no use in advancing the general knowledge pool. It's about having a proper standard, generally testability and reproducibility. Religious evidence is always of the hidden variety, which can never be verified. Scientific evidence is out in the open.

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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