Why I Believe
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10-04-2017, 05:21 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 04:31 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(10-04-2017 04:17 PM)kim Wrote:  I'm going to bump this ....

This would be a great idea. Thumbsup
I think my request got a bit swamped in the back and forth though.

Just saw your request SeaJay and absolutely on starting a new thread and ditto on being swamped and taking a breather. Best wishes in your search for inner peace, I pray you find it
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10-04-2017, 05:32 PM
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 04:28 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  I almost became a non believer a few years ago and turned to Buddhism. I felt I needed something to fill the void that Christianity was about to leave me with (though I did stay Christian).

That void was the thing that I kept trying to fill as well ...I don't remember who the Christian apologist is who talked about the "god-shaped box," but that particular argument is pretty persuasive when you can't quite accept what your mind is telling you. We perceive a "hole" for sure; unfortunately, when other people try to tell us what to fill it with, it gets confusing. It took me twenty plus years to figure out that the missing piece was ME, not what other people said was missing, it was the parts of myself that had gotten fractured in the process.

...and "me" is still a work in progress.

Quote:Bit of an eye opener

I had a similar experience with paganism back in the 90's. I actually had a fair following of friends who thought that I was some awesome sort of "guru" or some such, while in reality I was quite the basketcase.

I write ...a LOT (ever since I was in middle school); it's an interesting exercise to go back and read what you actually wrote 35 years ago, and compare it to how you remember it now. It's no mystery to me how the bible got fucked up over 2000 years, when I fuck up my own history in less than 20.
Quote:I've learned to question everything now and take nothing for granted.
Then you are far ahead of me at my own parallel point in our journeys!

I wish you the best!
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10-04-2017, 05:49 PM
RE: Why I Believe
Maybe it would help you to try this with a religion that you aren't invested in. That way you can look at the charlatanism in a more detached manner. Then if you spot something similar in Christianity you'll have already given it a critical going over.

Here's An Open Letter to a CES Director from a very disillusioned ex-Mormon.

If you're the horrible sort that skips to the middle then I should not tell you about the hilarity on page 11.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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10-04-2017, 07:53 PM (This post was last modified: 10-04-2017 07:57 PM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 12:41 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(10-04-2017 11:30 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ________
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As a scientist, I can tell you that I do know religious scientists who are very good scientists. However, they compartmentalize the religion. I have had several discussions with them and most of the ones I have talked to about it admit they compartmentalize. So what? It has no bearing on how rigorous they apply their scientific skills. The AAAS doesn't judge their membership based on non-science. Why don't you actually look up the criteria for the AAS? You will not find a religions question.

So what? I would answer by asking first did you talk to all of them, the rest may not compartmentalizeson. Secondly if a scientist affirms a faith in a deity yet can objectively still be viewed respectfully to retain his knowledge and ability to rigorously apply their scientific skills yet the majority of the American public who also claim the same belief are viewed as stupid, gullible and misguided who have no evidence of a deity but one that maintains equal footing with FSM, unicorns and pink elephants. This seems to be faulty logic does it not?

The fault is all yours. What you fail to understand is that the basis of their faith plays little to no role in their performance as a scientist. If it did, they would work at the Discovery Institute. That is what I am saying. No, I have not talked to everyone in the AAAS but I bet I know more of them than you. I also don't think or have ever said that theists are stupid (you either confuse me with someone else or are strawmanning). There are stupid theists and stupid atheists. The IDEAS and REASONS are what is stupid. Every god claim I have ever read or heard is full of fallacies, poorly thought out, or poorly justified. When a discussion ensues, they cry foul, faith, or plug their ears and refuse to even consider they may be mistaken (in my experience). That is when I personally would say they are stupid. One can't be intellectually honest and cherrypick when they apply logic and reason. Most of the population (in the US anyway) is completely ignorant of the history or foundation of their religion. I would say they are not stupid, just ignorant.


Edit: also, in regard to FSM, I agree, they are on the same footing: they are all fake. I hope you realize that FSM and the unicorn are made up and atheists all know that. If not, you just refuted your god claim. Congratulations.

"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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10-04-2017, 08:31 PM
RE: Why I Believe
Quote:Recap:

- Random thoughts popping into my mind: I don’t place them there
- Images in my mind when falling asleep or waking up
- Messages telling me I am going to hell (thought I do not consciously place in my mind)
- Bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit (these I do consciously place in my mind for reasons unknown to me)
- Worrying about things I might have said in the past.

On two different occasions, things got so bad; I considered becoming a voluntary patient at a mental hospital.

You say that you do not place the random thoughts that pop into your head, but how can you be sure? The subconscious mind is an enigma that hosts a plethora of unknowns. Is it not possible that your deeply rooted subconscious fears are forcing themselves into your consciousness? The same would apply to all the other things in your recap above.

From what I can tell so far, the issue here is not really about heaven, heal, Holy Spirit, God, Jesus, or anything religious.

The issue here is all about fear itself. Fear is an incredible and often overpowering emotion that can paralyze and subdue all other emotions to such an extent that one can become detached and withdrawn from other emotions such as love, joy, etc. Allowing it to rule you can create an emotional imbalance which can disable your ability to consider any given situation with balanced objectivity.

My point to you here is not to persuade you to be an atheist, or even to be non religious in any way. But rather to encourage you to really sit back and think only about fear, and what it does to you. Aside from those particular fears about hell et al, try to think about other non related fears you may have in which, if you carefully consider them, you may then ask yourself if the level of fear you feel actually jibes with the reality, or if it should be considered as irrational.

Yes you can actually rationalize your way through the fear gauntlet by simply making a conscious choice to confront your fears. Challenge their validity and their rationality by standing up to them one at a time. I suspect that, because you appear to be a kind and decent human being at heart, that when you actually challenge your fears with rationality many of them may quickly turn and run from you, freeing you from their unwarranted nightmare.

Thumbsup
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11-04-2017, 12:15 AM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2017 12:19 AM by Airportkid.)
RE: Why I Believe
450 posts in and it seems to me that there's really only one impediment to your abandoning the unreason of religion and that's just a fear of "punishment" for doing so. You don't seem to want to hold your religious convictions on their own merits but would cheerfully discard them except for a nagging worry that it could cost you more than you can bear to think about.

If so, perhaps that fear can be abated by making hell specific instead of vague. Right now hell is probably no more than just a general notion of extreme relentless discomfort you can't do anything to relieve, but nothing you can measure with a yardstick and scales. So in your mind's eye start measuring the place.

Is there gravity there? Will you be alone or will others be there with you? Would you be able to talk to the others? Does it have days and nights? How many hours long? Will there be food? How often would god come visit to gloat? Or would god ignore it utterly and all who are there? Would you be corporeal or exist as a shimmering orb of tortured energy?

What would you be thinking when you awake on your 140,000,000th year of being a resident there? What would you think about your's and Hitler's fates being exactly the same? Would Hitler be there?

Etc.

Resist the temptation to say you can't answer such questions. The very concept of hell is already an absurd answer having no basis in anything real, so answers to specific properties of hell can't be any more absurd than hell already is. Never stop coming up with specific questions about what hell is like and never stop deriving answers to them. Eventually, I think, the whole thing will finally collapse by the sheer weight of its own impossibilities, contradictions and wholesale nonsense - and no longer worth your time to pay any attention to, let alone fear.
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11-04-2017, 01:18 AM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2017 05:03 AM by SeaJay.)
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 05:10 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(10-04-2017 04:42 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  Your post got me thinking about how to really test the veracity of bible claims. Test the prophecies that are made within its pages.

Most of the so-called prophecies in the bible refer to later events that are also documented in the bible.

The others are way too vague. A prophecy needs to be very specific. When will something happen? Where? What exactly will happen?

But let's say it does contain some "true prophecies", for the sake of argument. What does that tell us? Either the authors had some way of knowing or accurately predicting the future, or they got lucky. This doesn't provide any evidence about the involvement of a God. We're just left not knowing how they managed to predict it. They don't get to just say it's from God and it's automatically true. That is a separate claim that needs evidence, and all people ever say is "How else could they have known?". That is the classic argument from ignorance.
That's a fair point

I remember having a huge debate with another Christian years ago to do with the destruction of the city of Tyr. Apparently it was supposed to be destroyed so that the nearby sea covered it. But Tyre is still there today. Something like that anyway.

Is there a book that deals with failed biblical prophecies?

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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11-04-2017, 01:18 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 05:21 PM)A_Thinking_Theist Wrote:  
(10-04-2017 04:31 PM)SeaJay Wrote:  I think my request got a bit swamped in the back and forth though.

Just saw your request SeaJay and absolutely on starting a new thread and ditto on being swamped and taking a breather. Best wishes in your search for inner peace, I pray you find it
Thank you A_Thinking_Theist, I appreciate it Thumbsup

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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11-04-2017, 01:27 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(10-04-2017 08:31 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  [quote]Recap:

- Random thoughts popping into my mind: I don’t place them there
- Images in my mind when falling asleep or waking up
- Messages telling me I am going to hell (thought I do not consciously place in my mind)
- Bad thoughts about the Holy Spirit (these I do consciously place in my mind for reasons unknown to me)
- Worrying about things I might have said in the past.

On two different occasions, things got so bad; I considered becoming a voluntary patient at a mental hospital.

(10-04-2017 08:31 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  You say that you do not place the random thoughts that pop into your head, but how can you be sure? The subconscious mind is an enigma that hosts a plethora of unknowns. Is it not possible that your deeply rooted subconscious fears are forcing themselves into your consciousness? The same would apply to all the other things in your recap above.
Absolutely agree. And the more I investigate the bible and the more my belief is shaken, the more I realise this.

(10-04-2017 08:31 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  From what I can tell so far, the issue here is not really about heaven, heal, Holy Spirit, God, Jesus, or anything religious.

The issue here is all about fear itself. Fear is an incredible and often overpowering emotion that can paralyze and subdue all other emotions to such an extent that one can become detached and withdrawn from other emotions such as love, joy, etc. Allowing it to rule you can create an emotional imbalance which can disable your ability to consider any given situation with balanced objectivity.
This is 100% correct and I can fully relate to this as well.

(10-04-2017 08:31 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  My point to you here is not to persuade you to be an atheist, or even to be non religious in any way. But rather to encourage you to really sit back and think only about fear, and what it does to you. Aside from those particular fears about hell et al, try to think about other non related fears you may have in which, if you carefully consider them, you may then ask yourself if the level of fear you feel actually jibes with the reality, or if it should be considered as irrational.
Deep down I know my fears about hell are irrational. In fact I'm pretty sure hell isn't real, but because of my mental health issues, it's an irrational fear that I am only now starting to shift.

(10-04-2017 08:31 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Yes you can actually rationalize your way through the fear gauntlet by simply making a conscious choice to confront your fears. Challenge their validity and their rationality by standing up to them one at a time. I suspect that, because you appear to be a kind and decent human being at heart, that when you actually challenge your fears with rationality many of them may quickly turn and run from you, freeing you from their unwarranted nightmare.

Thumbsup
Thanks for the advice GoupUp. This is what I am currently trying to do, test everything. So far the going is good.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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11-04-2017, 01:42 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(11-04-2017 12:15 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  450 posts in and it seems to me that there's really only one impediment to your abandoning the unreason of religion and that's just a fear of "punishment" for doing so. You don't seem to want to hold your religious convictions on their own merits but would cheerfully discard them except for a nagging worry that it could cost you more than you can bear to think about.
Perfectly summed up.

(11-04-2017 12:15 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  If so, perhaps that fear can be abated by making hell specific instead of vague. Right now hell is probably no more than just a general notion of extreme relentless discomfort you can't do anything to relieve, but nothing you can measure with a yardstick and scales. So in your mind's eye start measuring the place.

Is there gravity there? Will you be alone or will others be there with you? Would you be able to talk to the others? Does it have days and nights? How many hours long? Will there be food? How often would god come visit to gloat? Or would god ignore it utterly and all who are there? Would you be corporeal or exist as a shimmering orb of tortured energy?

What would you be thinking when you awake on your 140,000,000th year of being a resident there? What would you think about your's and Hitler's fates being exactly the same? Would Hitler be there?

Etc.
I see what you're doing here; the more you try to apply reason and logic to hell, the more absurd it seems. I've thought so much about hell, I even tried comforting myself by saying "Perhaps there are islands of sorts in the fire that a person can sit/stand upon to lessen the agony for a while. Or, perhaps there are craggy walls here and there I can cling to. Mad and sad when I think about it.

(11-04-2017 12:15 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Resist the temptation to say you can't answer such questions. The very concept of hell is already an absurd answer having no basis in anything real, so answers to specific properties of hell can't be any more absurd than hell already is. Never stop coming up with specific questions about what hell is like and never stop deriving answers to them. Eventually, I think, the whole thing will finally collapse by the sheer weight of its own impossibilities, contradictions and wholesale nonsense - and no longer worth your time to pay any attention to, let alone fear.
Agreed.

Where is hell? How do you actually get there? How many people will be there? Is there oxygen, light, what's the ground like, is there a roof or is it in the open? Where's the entry point, will I be able to hold conversation with noteworthy atheists such as Christopher Hitchens? What keeps the fire going? And so on

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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