Why I Believe
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05-04-2017, 07:53 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:03 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 05:57 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  So what evidence is there for hell? Zero, nada, zilch.

What evidence is there for a story, made up by people to scare you into believing?

Quite a bit:

Hell -
This Wikipedia entry is just a start, there are numerous resources that will break down how hell was created and how it evolved over time. The Old Testament version is much different than the New Testament version.

This also applies to the bible as a whole, who wrote it and why? The answers are quite interesting, but can you really accept it? The answer can ultimately free you from the fear of hell.



I'd heard of the different authors of the Pentateuch but I never really gave it much thought because it never dawned on me the Bible says it was written by Moses (if it does say that). I remember chatting online to some Christians and they were even studying the fact that the Pentateuch was not solely written by Moses. Not really sure what to make of this. Does anyone know if there is a verse saying the Pentateuch was written by Moses? It's been a while since I looked.

Think carefully about this, the last chapter of the book of Deuteronomy says where Moses was buried, so obviously Moses couldn't have wrote that.
The bible hides the information about who wrote what and when, this is not an accident, ancient writers frequently would use pseudepigrapha to give their writing more authority.

I think most modern people would consider this lying; or to be generous, pious fraud.

So when you ask if the Pentateuch or any of these ancient texts will reveal the truth in that regards, it's just not the case. The only way to separate pseudepigrapha from fact is to determine what is actual scholarship or the continuation of the authority of a text that is simply undeserving of this respect.

The bible is just one religious book of many, written by men for their own reasons, that's all it is. Even if Moses existed (he didn't) he was a liar. How do I know this?

Because the book of Genesis is replete with blatant falsehoods about stars being created in a day (apparently after the Earth was created), and impossible things. (Cue talking serpents).

When you realize this, then the bible can be put into it's proper place, as just another religious document, no more true than the thousands of other books pretending to know things that it knows nothing about.

Here are a couple of excellent resources on this forum, there is a lot of information to go through, but it can be interesting and quite an enjoyable journey of discovery, especially if you reach the point where you realize that it's a bunch of made-up stories that have no connection to the real world.

Old Testament Texts/ Another Look

GoodWithoutGod goes through most of the apologetic arguments and destroys them, remember this very important fact- apologists are liars! They may believe what they are saying, but what they are saying is a lie. Even worse, a lot of them don't believe what they are saying and are interested in selling their books, their religion, their DVD's or want hits on their website. It's really about them getting rich at the expense of the gullible, this is where apologists really anger me, they are vile sort of propagandist trying to keep you from looking behind the curtain.

GWG's resource thread

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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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05-04-2017, 07:58 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:37 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 07:16 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  A good question. I'm sure the other gods are fictitious

Why are all the others fictitious? Why is your god real?
I just know they are. I was brought up in a Christian (westernised) society and whilst nobody thrust Christianity on me, I ended up being a Christian.

What if I was born in Kuwait, or Nepal, or Israel or all questions I have pondered. But like mordant touched upon, there seems to be something subconscious going on with me that ties me to the idea of going to hell.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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05-04-2017, 07:59 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:50 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  So a couple of sadistic fucks in the middle ages dreamt up the idea of Limbo.

Limbo, where the dead babies get to wait, not in heaven, until judgment day. That sucked, since you would still be separated in the afterlife. But, if you bought enough masses and paid enough tithes, you could buy your baby a ticket to heaven. Of course, once they stopped that practice, you just got to sit on the edge of heaven and look at your baby in Limbo.
The evangelical version of limbo is the "age of accountability", and equally made-up notion (not in any way scripturally supported) that god decides at what point a child is old enough to comprehend and be responsible for their sins. Before that squishy and undefined, known-only-to-god age of accountability, a child who dies goes to heaven; otherwise to heaven or hell like anyone else based on whether or not they have accepted the redemptive finished work of Jesus on the cross. This allows fake comfort and hope to be dispensed to grieving parents of most children, particularly those who haven't reached the "wild oats" years of teenagerhood. It is just a way of coping with an inconvenient logical inconsistency that evangelical theology creates for parents whose children die. It is bad enough to explain how parents who are "godly" and do the "right things" and whose children are angelic, should have to endure their untimely and tragic deaths, without suggesting that the children are in hell on top of THAT.
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05-04-2017, 07:59 AM
RE: Why I Believe
I'm pretty sure there are other hells in other religions. Do you fear those too? If not, why not?
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05-04-2017, 08:03 AM
RE: Why I Believe
Millions upon millions of people already consider you an atheist. It's purely a matter of geography.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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05-04-2017, 08:03 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:16 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 06:51 AM)julep Wrote:  How certain do you feel that you've chosen the right god? There are other gods, other damnations.
A good question. I'm sure the other gods are fictitious

Hmmm... There's just as much evidence for those gods as for yours. Documents written about them, with outrageous/unsupported stories claiming to be accurate history. Kings and commoners claiming that their prayers were answered. People hearing the voice of that god. People coming back from trauma with visions of the afterlife from those religions. Stories about supernatural beings wandering around, interacting with humans. Priesthoods devoted to those gods. Millions of ordinary people who believe they've been touched by those gods. The evidence for the Christian god isn't superior in quantity or quality.

Now, most of those other gods are followed by people you've never met, so it's easy to dismiss their evidence as unconvincing. Probably practically everyone you know believes in the Christian god, so your uncertainty is understandable. It's easy to fear that the problem is you. That you're just not smart enough to understand or good enough to feel the god of your friends and neighbors.

(I don't think the problem is you.)
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05-04-2017, 08:04 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  One thing the OP may be helped by is dealing with the fact of their own mortality apart from whether that could involve bliss or punishment. Some of the fear people have of things like hell are simply subconscious deflections from the fear underlying the fear: the fear of accepting their mortality.
Years ago when I first starting seeing a therapist for anxiety (no fear of hell at this time), I remember talking and I said "I guess I'm just afraid of dying." The therapist said "I've been waiting for you to say this for weeks." I believe there might be something here for me to talk to in my next therapy session.

(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  It also may be productive to ask yourself, why would you be more likely to fear eternal punishment, than to look forward to eternal reward?
My therapist tells me it is because I feel I need to be punished and this is due to my upbringing. Of course I am unsure and believe it's just a sugar coated way of excusing me as a "bad person deserving of punishment".

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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05-04-2017, 08:06 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 08:04 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  One thing the OP may be helped by is dealing with the fact of their own mortality apart from whether that could involve bliss or punishment. Some of the fear people have of things like hell are simply subconscious deflections from the fear underlying the fear: the fear of accepting their mortality.
Years ago when I first starting seeing a therapist for anxiety (no fear of hell at this time), I remember talking and I said "I guess I'm just afraid of dying." The therapist said "I've been waiting for you to say this for weeks." I believe there might be something here for me to talk to in my next therapy session.

(05-04-2017 07:42 AM)mordant Wrote:  It also may be productive to ask yourself, why would you be more likely to fear eternal punishment, than to look forward to eternal reward?
My therapist tells me it is because I feel I need to be punished and this is due to my upbringing. Of course I am unsure and believe it's just a sugar coated way of excusing me as a "bad person deserving of punishment".

So, who told you that you are a bad person who needs punishment?

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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05-04-2017, 08:08 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  EDIT: Thanks all very much for the considered and (quick!) responses. I am sorry that I cannot reply to every one of them fully or even at all (I think I'd go mad Smile ) but I do appreciate them, and I read them.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Hi all

Thanks again for the welcomes (from here: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...d1164883), it's much appreciated.

unfogged asked me why I believe there is a god and why it is the Christian God. I like that; straight to the point. I'll try and answer here (you might have encountered this post on another atheist website).

Fear is the key. Not sure if anyone expected that answer, but it's true. For the most part fear is the key. I mean, it's not just fear, I do have a belief it is true. But here's the situation:

I have major issues with Christianity, from slavery, brutality, misogynistic practices, the need for a human sacrifice, the threat of an eternal agonising afterlife for some, the need for any of this. But I am scared of being wrong. I have a real phobia about going to hell. I feel trapped and as I see it, there are only two ways out for me.

1. To be convinced there is no hell (not possible – as we cannot say either way for sure)

2. To, not believe. All I will say is that I have major doubts. I'm having a real crisis of faith.

I ask myself, if my thought processes were not inhibited by fear and anxiety, would I still believe? Well, having a Heavenly Father sounds great to me. Someone to love and care for you, and having the biggest and strongest Dad in the world is what every child inside us wants. Someone to pick you up every time you fall down, someone to tell you everything is going to be ok.

All that said, if I could push aside all concepts of Christianity and have a mind unfettered with Christian tradition and influences (all of them), would I still believe it was all true?

Truth is, I’m too anxious to even ask myself that, which in itself speaks volumes. I can relate to Pascal’s Wager.

I ask myself, why does an omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) creator, feel the need to create a torture chamber, where the wicked are sent to spend an eternity in unspeakable, unthinkable agony? Why not just utterly annihilate them? Not enough punishment? Ok, but why does there need to be any punishment in the first place? Surely an omnipotent and omniscient creator could just show us the error of our ways, teach us so we know why we did the things we did, and then we can all live in peace?

I see no point in it, but here is my problem:

Even if I do not see any point in it at all – it doesn’t mean it is not true. Sure it doesn't mean it is true, but that's where I am right now.

Do I only believe out of a fear of punishment? It’s probably not the ‘only’ reason, but it is a major part of it. Truth be told, I am not in a position to really answer that question yet.

I very probably will ask questions concerning biblical verses and such, but I assure you it is not to force my beliefs on anyone. As I always say, I really have no axe to grind and certainly have no agenda I want to push on anyone.

The reason for my questions (and questions to subsequent answers I may receive) is to really test what I believe, and why I believe. If my questions stand up to scrutiny, if I cannot have my faith torn down, then I will remain a Christian. Conversely, if I end up not believing because my beliefs cannot stand up to scrutiny, then I will seriously question what I believe, in fact, I may not have that option because regardless of what I want to believe, the truth is the truth.

Thanks all

Thank you for your honesty. I've suspected for some time that this is the main reason for the staying power of religion, even though no one has ever proven any gods to exist and the lack of any proof has gone on for century after century. Religion plants these seeds in your mind before you have any defense against them and it simultaneously destroys your confidence in your own mind and your ability to think, kind of like a mosquito injects chemicals into you so you won't feel it sucking the life out of you. I can relate. It took me a couple years to get over that dread after I stopped believing. What brought me out of it was rational philosophy. That's the only answer that I know of. Learn what reason is and how to do it effectively and then apply it to what you've been taught. See for yourself the massive flaws and fallacies that Christianity depends on.

Start with this question for yourself and other believers: how can one reliably distinguish "god" from something that is merely imaginary. You'll find that there isn't any way and there never has been. As long as you equate the imaginary with the real or the possible, you'll most likely never get out of the trap you are in. You see it is all really in your head. You have to imagine the thing that is frightening you in order to have "awareness" of it. Once I realized that the fear I felt was for something that I had no alternative but to imagine, my fear melted away as fast as a dream leaves you in the morning. Now there are no vestiges left. It was all me doing it to myself. It was self inflicted.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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05-04-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(05-04-2017 05:40 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  Fear is the key.

You're a pussy troll.

#sigh
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