Why I Believe
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24-04-2017, 10:24 PM
RE: Why I Believe
OakTree500 Wrote:It led to a conversation about how I don't believe in any of that stuff, but it's totally fine if she does. I think somewhere I've crushed her idea's about what to believe in. Although she did say "well If I believe in god, and you don't believe in anything...is that like if you're from a different country or something?" haha.
She is so cute.

Robvalue Wrote:That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. You're not telling her what to believe. You're encouraging her to think and to question.
I agree with you.

OakTree500 Wrote:Yes we are different but we're not special.
Of course we're more advanced that say, dogs for example, but my point is that religion take it to another level. What they say is, "Well, we're clearly not like the rest of these mindless animals, so the answer must be because of a god that created us in his/her image", when the bottom line is: Human beings ARE animals as well, [we're members of the 'Great Ape' family], so why would human being have souls and everything else that's alive on the planet be any different? So either all animals have souls, or none of us do. You work it out.
Ok, I got your point. But if we forget about religion for a moment I would still say that we are special kind of animals.

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25-04-2017, 01:25 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(24-04-2017 02:54 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  You say that you have problems with the "brutality" etc. in Christianity??? I have no recollection of reading anywhere in the NT that Jesus advocated brutality, slavery or human sacrifice. I thought he said things like "love your enemies", "do unto others" etc.
I never said anything about Jesus or the NT specifically. I was more talking about the entire bible; it's not like we can just ignore the OT.

(24-04-2017 02:54 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think you should sit down and read Matthew again, particularly the bit called the Sermon on the Mount and all the bits about turning the other cheek. I'm sorry but I think you have mistaken "Christianity" for what is preached by whackjob American bible thumpers, which is merely the rantings of unstable, violent sociopaths.
With all due respect Deltabravo, I think you are presuming way too much.

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25-04-2017, 03:16 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(24-04-2017 10:24 PM)Alla Wrote:  
OakTree500 Wrote:Yes we are different but we're not special.
Of course we're more advanced that say, dogs for example, but my point is that religion take it to another level. What they say is, "Well, we're clearly not like the rest of these mindless animals, so the answer must be because of a god that created us in his/her image", when the bottom line is: Human beings ARE animals as well, [we're members of the 'Great Ape' family], so why would human being have souls and everything else that's alive on the planet be any different? So either all animals have souls, or none of us do. You work it out.
Ok, I got your point. But if we forget about religion for a moment I would still say that we are special kind of animals.

Language is important in these types of things, and I understand what you're trying to say, but I think you generally mean "different". As in, we are very different to most, if not all, other animal life on the planet.

Special implies there is something SO different, that we aren't animals at all, which we are. I don't mean to keep banging on about it, but its important to really understand that humans = animals, although we just have a better brain capacity. Something, I might add, humans have evolved at the expense of needing somebody to care for us for the first couple of years, before we can effectively do anything, whilst most animals are walking/functioning by themselves pretty much straight after birth.

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25-04-2017, 03:40 AM
RE: Why I Believe
I've never understood how anyone can deny that we are animals, think about all the things your dog does that we also do, dogs have lungs and breathe so do humans, they have a cardiovascular system, so do humans they need to eat food, so do we,they piss and shit so do we,only difference most of us use a toilet Big Grin
I cannot imagine the cognitive hoops people must go through to think we are somehow different from animals. Only our intelligence separates us from other mammals Imo.
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25-04-2017, 04:45 AM (This post was last modified: 25-04-2017 06:16 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Why I Believe
(25-04-2017 01:25 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(24-04-2017 02:54 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  You say that you have problems with the "brutality" etc. in Christianity??? I have no recollection of reading anywhere in the NT that Jesus advocated brutality, slavery or human sacrifice. I thought he said things like "love your enemies", "do unto others" etc.
I never said anything about Jesus or the NT specifically. I was more talking about the entire bible; it's not like we can just ignore the OT.

(24-04-2017 02:54 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think you should sit down and read Matthew again, particularly the bit called the Sermon on the Mount and all the bits about turning the other cheek. I'm sorry but I think you have mistaken "Christianity" for what is preached by whackjob American bible thumpers, which is merely the rantings of unstable, violent sociopaths.
With all due respect Deltabravo, I think you are presuming way too much.


I look at it differently from most. I live in the Near East and what surround me tells me a different story. There are several different "Christian" narratives which have "Jesus" as different personages. For my own purposes, I don't think any of them are terribly significant as, being in a Muslim country, I don't have to discuss Christianity with anyone, ever, unless I go out of my way to put myself in the firing line. I try to avoid that and it is fairly easy here. There is no discussion of Islam here either, or any religion. There are some aspect of Islam which are obvious, like empty mosques and loudspeakers with "canned" call to prayers, and people observe Ramadan, ie., the "fast", when people eat all night until they are so stuffed they can't work the next day. lol And there's the Goat Bayram when, instead of buying a Christmas tree, they hang a dead goat from a tree and then eat it.

Muslims see Jesus as a warrior figure and they have a figure called the "false Messiah". Jesus is also a figure in Shia Islam. Shia believe he will return to life and will be greeted by the Mahdi. Then there is Ahmadiyya whose adherents believe that Ahmad, a nineteenth century Immam, appeared in the likeness of Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice, and peace.

These people are interesting because they believe Jesus is entombed in Kashmir.
Wiki: Contrary to mainstream Islamic belief, Ahmadi Muslims believe that Jesus was crucified and survived the four hours on the cross. He was later revived from a swoon in the tomb.[54] Ahmadis believe that Jesus died in Kashmir of old age whilst seeking the Lost Tribes of Israel.[55] Jesus' remains are believed to be entombed in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf. In particular, it is believed that the biblical and the Islamic prophecies concerning the second coming of Jesus were metaphorical in nature and not literal, and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad fulfilled in his person these prophecies and the second advent of Jesus. Ahmadi Muslims also believe that the "Promised Messiah" and the "Imam Mahdi" are the same person, and that it is through his teachings, influence and prayers and those of his followers that Islam will defeat the Anti-Christ or Dajjal in a period similar to the period of time it took for nascent Christianity to rise (see also: Ahmadiyya relationship with Christianity) and that the Dajjal's power will slowly fade away, heralding the prophecised final victory of Islam and the age of peace.

Then there are Thomas Christians in India...

The problem I have is that one can say that the NT contains a myth or that any of these ideas of Jesus are closer or further from the truth of what actually happened back them, but what's that got to do with the moral philosophy contained in Matthew, which is pretty much a secular morality and not dependent on belief in a god or even Jesus? I find it much more difficult to understand why people want to believe in the magical elements of the NT story than I do to accept that people back then wrote up books which were part fact and part political/religious mumbo jumbo.

Then there are other theories of more recent origin that Jesus was a Syrian prince/rabbi, put out by people who shall remain namellis. (sic)

The point is, if the NT contains a story about a mythical person, then it is a work of fiction. Which means, I think, that you can't use it to either prove or discount the "existence" of the central character. What follows is that you would have four, supposedly independent, gospels all being written about a fictional character, plus the rest of the NT and the other "gospels" which didn't make it into the NT. Imagine an explosion of writing about a non-existent person by multiple people, in different places and at different times. And...no one, at the time, picked up on the fact that this character never existed. Like, hey, no one ever said, "y'know, my granddaddy was living in Jerusalem back then and there weren't no guy called Jesus ridin' round the countryside on no donkey". And, this was in an age when most knowledge was passed down from generation to generation orally...
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25-04-2017, 05:01 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(25-04-2017 04:45 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  ...put out by people who shall remain namellis. (sic)

Dodgy

...are you, like a masochist? Should we call someone?

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25-04-2017, 07:23 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. I also copy/paste posts and/or certain parts of posts into a word document too.

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

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

Here's my problem.

When I was very young, I went to Sunday school and I heard about Jesus, who I thought was a regular guy, who preached to people. Then, when I heard about the crucifixion and resurrection, I thought "nah". I never got beyond that because I asked my parents if I could stop going. I found the story very disturbing. My reaction was to imagine Jesus slipping down the cross when no one was watching and going through some kind of trap door, like a magic trick. That stuck with me although I knew I was just inventing it. After that, I just tried not to think about it and I then found it very difficult to understand anything about Christianity at all. I never got to the point where I ever believed there was a big man up in the clouds who made everything. My older brother, who was a bit of a "genius" said that the bible had to be wrong because the OT said that all life was created 4000 years ago and this couldn't be right because of dinosaurs. As I believed everything my older brother told me, I never saw religion as anything other than "make believe".

I do find, therefore, that I cannot identify with people like Ehrman and Carrier, or even Richard Dawkins, who admit that in their early lives they "believed" in "God", because I never did. I've developed a prejudice, as a result, against these types and I don't consider them as being as "clever" as me, because I never got sucked into it in the first place.

I have problems also with simple things like the resurrection. We are told that Jesus "died" on the cross. It actually doesn't say that in the NT. It says he "gave up the ghost". I have no idea what that actually means, medically. Then we are told that he came back to life. So, he was alive... Then what? If he was alive, and then went off somewhere, then what happened to him? I asked my step-daughter this, as she is a devout-ish Roman Catholic and she said that he "ascended to heaven". What does that mean? If he was "alive", then did he then "die" again"? Or did he go to heaven as a living "person". Or was he like a "ghost"?

The only religion which takes this head on is Ahmadiyyanism which says he did not die on the cross and that he lived and made his way to Kashmir.

What is interesting about this is that the biblical Abraham is supposed to have been a Chaldean as he came from Ur of the Chaldees. We know these were a real people who lived near Lake Van and Mount Ararat in southeastern Turkey. They had a god called "Khaldi", hence "Chaldeans", and they converted to Christianity and left Van to settle in India where they became known as Thomas Christians. Thomas, Jesus' purported brother is also supposed to have travelled to India.

Thomas was "Didymus":

Etymology of the name Didymus
The name Didymus is a common Greek word that means double or twofold. Liddell and Scott (A Greek-English Lexicon) state that our word is formed from a reduplication of the familiar word δυο (duo), meaning two.

So, Thomas was Jesus' double. Were there two Jesuses?

Prior to the capture of Jesus by the Romans, Jesus speaks to Thomas and tells him something. The disciples are all drunk and they are asked if they can tell him who he is like:
Jesus said to his disciples: Compare me, tell me whom I am like. Simon Peter said to him: You are like a righteous angel. Matthew said to him: You are like a wise philosopher. Thomas said to him: Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like. Jesus said: I am not your master, for you have drunk, and have become drunk from the bubbling spring which I have caused to gush forth (?). And he took him, withdrew, (and) spoke to him three words. Now when Thomas came (back) to his companions, they asked him: What did Jesus say to you? Thomas said to them: If I tell you one of the words which he said to me, you will take up stones (and) throw them at me; and a fire will come out of the stones (and) burn you up.

Then, Jesus tells Judas to indentify "him" to the Romans. Did he tell Judas to identify Thomas? Who knows?

Muslims say that it was not Jesus who was crucified at all. There was a switcheroo.

So, Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus, was identified by Judas and it was Thomas who was crucified. The Yuz Asuf "Jesus" shows crucifixion marks according to supposed casts of his feet.

My take on it is that when "Jesus" says, from the cross "Eloi, why have you forsaken me", he's referring to the fact that he thought he would not be left to die there by his brother. I mean, really, if he thought he was the "son of god" then why would he be worried about dieing? I don't read anything more into this whole thing than that this was an attempt by "Jesus" to avoid being captured by the Romans.
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25-04-2017, 07:42 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(24-04-2017 10:24 PM)Alla Wrote:  I would still say that we are special kind of animals.
Sure, Alla ... you are special, just like everyone else.
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25-04-2017, 07:54 AM
RE: Why I Believe
I kind of relate, Deltabravo.
That is a new and interesting story - new to me, anyway. Not that I want to even know any more of this story. But I do think it is interesting.

It's like ... yea, I liked Rogue One. It was a bit more relative and relevant to A New Hope, but it was still just as unnecessary as One, Two, and Three. AND they're ALL fiction.

So, yes. Interesting but, ok ... more fiction ... kind of poorly written. Shy

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25-04-2017, 07:55 AM
RE: Why I Believe
(25-04-2017 05:01 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(25-04-2017 04:45 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  ...put out by people who shall remain namellis. (sic)

Dodgy

...are you, like a masochist? Should we call someone?

I'm ok. I have some pills I can take.
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