A world with a loving God.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Xelasnave.1947, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    Excellent question. When you really think about it, the entire idea of God wanting us to believe, worship and obey him is a completely puerile, childish and immature concept. Many people will quickly figure out such a God is probably narcissistic. Maybe God just needs to see a really good therapist.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    16,064
    If you're asking 'why' and saying 'maybe' then it's not necessarily pointless, is it?
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,394
    wegs,

    I'm certainly interested to find out what you believe and why you believe it, if it's something you'd like to share.

    In my experience here, a lot of people are very cagey about exactly what they believe and why when it comes to religion. I think one reason for that is that a lot of people regard that stuff as deeply personal and so not be shared with more-or-less anonymous strangers on an internet forum. I think another reason is that religious people here often want to present as small a target as possible when they discuss what they believe and why, because they fear that they won't be able to adequately account for or defend their religious beliefs against likely criticism from the atheists and skeptics here.

    I guess that, because this is so often the pattern I see here, I sort of assume as a matter of course that religious people aren't going to share whatever it was that made them so certain that their God is real and their religious beliefs are true.

    It's not all on one side, either. I have at various times shared parts of my personal history of religious belief here. When I have done so, I have been told on more than one occasion that I was never a "true" Christian and even that I never "really" believed in God in the first place. I have been told direct personal experience of god belief does nothing to negate my supposed inability to understand what it means to be a believer or what it's like to "truly" know God. What this tells me is that the theists who say these things don't really understand the journey that takes a believer from theism to atheism. Their assumption is once an atheist, always an atheist, along with the usual tropes about how one needs to "deny" God in order to become an atheist and so on. The idea that somebody could actually not believe in God is alien to them, so they assume that all atheists have a kind of deeply buried god envy that they have to try to hide behind a thin veneer of rationality.

    I don't intend that as an insult, just a statement of fact. I'm sorry if it sounds harsh.

    But let me be clear. It's not that I think it is irrational to wonder whether there might be something "bigger" than us, or even whether there might be a personal being of great power in control of the universe. What's irrational is believing that you know the answer to those kinds of questions for sure, especially when the objective evidence for the existence of gods of any kind is so unpersuasive. I think that it is highly unlikely that subjective religious experiences are anything other than tricks the human mind plays on itself, because as far as I am aware there is no objective evidence that there is anything more to them. Moreover, we know that similar experiences can be produced in other ways, including with drugs.

    Nor do I think it is possible to know that God exists via any sort of philosophical reasoning from "first principles". As far as I can tell, all of the major philosophical arguments for God - the argument from design, the ontological argument, the cosmological argument etc. - are flawed in one way or another, or at least have been the subject of heavy criticism from professional philosophers.

    I'm all for personal religious freedom and freedom of choice, provided it does not hurt other people. Unfortunately, organised religion has long track record of hurting other people for one reason or another. This is not to say that organised religion has been totally a negative thing, by the way.

    One important aspect of my interest in discussing people's religious beliefs with them is to learn what makes them so confident they are right. In my discussion with theists, I don't set out to "deconvert" them so much as to ask them to closely examine the reasons they believe what they believe. I find that, mostly, religious beliefs are held uncritically, usually from a young age. Most strongly religious people spend most of their time surrounded by like-minded people. The truth of the shared belief is assumed and seldom discussed, other than in contexts in which presumed authorities (e.g. the bible) are used to give an uncritical kind of justification for the belief. It's like looking at only one side of an issue as a matter of course, never honestly considering the alternative.

    I completely get it that religion can be a great source of comfort and can provide a ready-made community or in-group. I understand why questioning the core of the belief system makes people uncomfortable - even angry, sometimes. There is potentially a lot to lose when you lose your religion. Lots of atheists from deeply religious backgrounds report being ostracised by close family and friends who honestly believe they have gone to the devil. Or else, those friends and family feel it is their duty to "save" the atheist from the very real and frightening hell that their God tells them the atheist will inevitably be going to, and so spend their time trying to bring the errant atheist back into the fold. Needless to say, the damage done to relationships when this kind of thing happens can be serious and life changing.

    What I am saying is that there's so much immoral stuff in the bible that good Christians have no choice but to follow some parts of the bible while ignoring others or making up excuses as to why those other parts are no longer relevant. As a result, most modern Christians can't really claim to be "following the bible". What they do is to follow their own consciences and give credit to God or the bible for that.

    If something is irrational (lacking rational justification), it isn't just a matter of it being irrational to me. That's the thing about rationality: in principle anybody can check for him or herself.

    I completely agree that it's possible to reach a different set of conclusions about gods than the ones I've reached, but I think that's only possible if one makes a very questionable (read unjustified) set of assumptions.

    If you've read almost anything I've posted in the Religion forum here, you should be aware that I spend a significant portion of my time here trying to understand why it is that theists believe in their gods. I ask a lot of questions. I get a lot of dishonest answers and I see a lot of people try to avoid answering altogether. Now and then, I get an honest answer, but you'd be surprised at how rarely I see that from the theists who come here to take down the evil atheists.

    Personally, I find the actual content of religious beliefs to be one of the least interesting things about religion. Since all the major religions are hundreds of years old at a minimum, their worldviews are inevitably limited. The writers of the great religious texts did not have the benefit of the findings of modern science (and, by "modern" here I mean pretty much anything post-Renaissance). They lived in a world that was largely mysterious, their vision confined to a single planet in a solar system that would be completely unremarkable were it not for accident that it happens to contain our intelligent civilisation.

    On the other hand, I find people fascinating - what they do, how they think, what makes people different from or similar to one another, what they value and why, how they relate to one another, the whole human condition. I'd say I'm a humanist, but I don't like that label because I think it has a tendency to downplay the importance and moral significance of other kinds of life. A lot of people hold religious beliefs. I am very interested, for all kind of reasons, both in the what and in the why. What is common to all or most religions? What differences are there? What is the source of all that? What is the psychology of it? Overall, is religion a good or a bad thing?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,394
    (continued...)

    I'm not great at finding bible verses, but I think it wouldn't take too long to find a different one that has Jesus approving of the old laws. He might even have said he was there to fulfil the old laws, not to change them, or something along those lines.

    Absolutely. Jesus's philosophy was a radical shift away from older religious ideas. Jesus's ideas were radically new in many ways. That's one explanation for why Christianity first became attractive and popular. A little later, of course, it became the State religion of Rome, which is what really helped to cement its influence.

    I think it would be fair for anybody to criticise the idea of one person owning another as property, regardless of when it happened. It's a fundamentally immoral idea. Yet Jesus never said a word against it, apparently.

    The bible is supposed to be the Word of God. Yet the bible has God himself setting out rules for owning and punishing slaves. So what happened? Did God say the wrong thing? Did the writers of Exodus make a mistake in translating God's Word? Was the whole slavery thing inserted into the bible against God's wishes?

    I have heard people argue with no sense of irony that it was just fine and dandy for people to own slaves in the past, even though we don't think it's okay today. They argue, with a straight face, that God did what was right in approving the slavery in the Old Testament. God knows best, so who are we to question? If God said slavery was okay, then we should be fine with it, because he's the Big Cheese. I've even heard some people try to defend slavery by answering "yes" when asked directly "Would you be fine with my owning you as a slave?" You can't take those people seriously. It is clear they will go to any lengths, no matter how ludicrous, to try to justify their faith.

    The bible was not written for today. It was written for one particular group of desert nomads thousands of years ago. We can only take messages from it now by cherry picking the parts we like and rejecting the parts we don't like.

    The problem there is in deciding who is right about what the "real" religion ought to be. You might like to think it's the moderates, but the fundamentalists clearly disagree with you. Both groups are using the same text books. An argument could be made that the fundamentalists have the stronger argument when they insist on an all-or-nothing acceptance of the truth of the Holy Book. At least they are consistent. The moderators have to pick and choose.

    I think it's clearly inconsistent with other things God says about slaves in Exodus.

    More specifically, I think it indicates that God does want his chosen people to be in bondage to slavery, but when it comes to other people he's not particularly fussed.

    But while we're on that topic, what does God do to make a way out of slavery? Well, one thing he does is to kill all the first-born of Egypt. That is, he punishes the innocents for the sins of their fathers. Is this a good example of God's morality? Are you willing to defend God's choice here as a moral one?

    I'm not so sure that it's not biblical. The "God Hates Fags" crowd are relying on passages from the bible to support their hatred. Moderates are forced to find excuses to reconcile things like homosexuality and gay marriage with the bible's antipathy to such things. It is not even the only the extremists who are up in arms over the idea of gay priests or single-sex unions. How often do we hear messages handed down from Christians preachers in pentacostalist mega-churches about "Gods laws" regarding homosexuality?

    For me, it really depends on what "religious expression" you're talking about. When religious expression is used to excuse oppression and bigotry, I don't see any need to defend it. On the contrary, I think that kind of religious expression needs to be met with forthright resistance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,394
    One additional thought that occurred to me when reading through the thread:

    God is supposed to be this omniscient, omnipotent being, right, and the argument being put here is that God is a loving God who has a set of moral rules to share with us all to make this world a better place.

    We might ask, with reference to the bible: why didn't the omnipotent God communicate his moral rules much more clearly than he did? Why give us a document (the bible) that leaves us to argue over the interpretation of God's holy commandments? (What does "Thou shalt not kill" mean? Is killing ever justifiable? Is this a prohibition only of murder, or other kinds of killing too? What about euthanasia? Also, in light of that, why did God order his people to slaughter others? And why did God himself directly kill people? Isn't that hypocritical?)

    Surely, at the very least, God could have chosen to communicate his most important rules unambiguously to his Creation, even if, for whatever reason, he is unwilling to enforce any of them?

    Why would an omnipotent God set down a whole lot of stuff that he must have known people would be arguing about for centuries?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  9. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,065
    LOVE is ultimate fundamental to nature, that's what God does, and why he doesn't have to care for you when at that you should be saving yourself and get your forgiveness too.

    Pacifism is omnipotent. With inner peace we can destroy our own pains and transgressions making us safe, and once safe we can be happy. And the non-violence, happiness, and safety simaltaneously liberates you.

    God is passive but he is still safe. You know anger is bad for you, and you had faith all along without changing. Don't worry be happy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,923
    To share their faith when asked with friends or whomever. Are you saying that believers shouldn’t discuss their beliefs with others or in public? Should all of the mosques, churches and temples be removed? Those are expressions of people’s faiths.

    I’m unsure if it’s organized religion you dislike (which I don’t care for, either) or a general idea of believing in a god/gods.
     
  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,923
    I’ll reply in more detail later but thanks for taking the time to share all of this. I identified as an atheist for a few years and at that time, I’d call it an indifference towards faith, religion, and the idea that any god existed. I wasn’t angry per se, but perhaps it was just a conclusion I had arrived at. My coming back to belief had to do with experiences that happened to me a few years ago that didn’t seem coincidental, but rather an enlightenment, of sorts. (not a secular enlightenment) Over the past couple of years, I realized that my “former” faith was more of an indoctrinated set of practices, prayers and rituals that I grew up with, being raised in a conservative Christian home. Now, my faith is my own, and I see the universe as having a Creator. So much more to share, but I’ll leave it there for now.
     
  12. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    Those are not conversations people have, they don't sit around talking about their personal beliefs. If it does happen, it often only leads to conflict because everyone thinks their beliefs are right and others are wrong. Why do you think there are tens of thousands of Christian denominations?

    We have already observed over the centuries what happens when beliefs do come out in public; conflict and violence. And I repeat, religion is between and person and their God, there is no point whatsoever that they should bring their beliefs out in public.

    Absolutely, they should be removed. They are eyesores that no one wants to see and they don't pay property taxes so the rest of us have to pay higher taxes to subsidize that land. They are clearly selfish, arrogant assholes who don't care about anyone else but themselves because they think they're better than the rest of us. This is the result of people expressing their faith.

    Both, because one leads to the other. Again, I repeat, religion is between a person and their God, it should always be kept that way. Isn't that what God wants?
     
  13. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    It's understandable, yet baffling at the same time that you can't see your statement is one of direct contradiction to itself.

    You didn't answer the question.

    You're not even listening to what others are saying. Do you not even know how to answer questions?
     
  14. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    Since you appear to be adamant about sharing beliefs in public, please do share those experience so that we may see if indeed they are worthy of sharing in public or if they are instead something that should be between you and your God. See how that works.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,923
    I'mma gonna just put you on ignore instead.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I find your posts to be arrogant and rude towards me, not sure why, but you're interested in sparring, for whatever the reasons. You have an idea of ''all'' believers as the same, so...think as you wish, I don't think a productive conversation can be had in that way. James isn't a believer, yet he approaches the discussion with respect, and I respect his views, too.

    [It's odd though that you believe all discussions about faith with others, leads to destruction. That hasn't been my experience. There are mean spirited believers and non-believers, alike. Oh well.]
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    It's interesting that you believe peoples beliefs should be discussed in public, but when asked to do so, you put them on ignore calling them arrogant and rude. Oh well.
     
  17. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,834
    For the record, nowhere here have I attacked you or your beliefs, I have simply been answering your questions, Nowhere am I sparring with you or being arrogant or rude to you. I think you are just using that as an excuse not to answer my questions. Clearly, one of us is being honest about this discussion and the other is not. You want respect but offer none.
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    16,064
    • Advice: Personal questions of this nature are better asked in private. They can be perceived as personal attacks.
    (Q): any chance you're somewhere on the autism spectrum?
    It might explain why you're missing the cues that other notice about your behavior.
     
  19. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    53,966
    You believe because... experiences. Did they happen to be coincidences? That can't be explained? I hear that a lot.

    Was it the God of the Bible?
     
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,923
    I don't believe they were coincidences, but I suppose they could be assumed to be as such. I'd say life is made up of both reason and experience. Reason/logic can lead me to understanding something, but so can experience. What are your thoughts on that?

    I'll say that I find truth in a variety of philosophies, and perspectives. But, when I think of ''God,'' I think of a triune God, which would be the God of the Bible. But, the Bible has a lot of truths within it, I'm reading it again because the first time around, I was forced due to indoctrination. I'd like to form my own opinions, now.
     
  21. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,894
    Why? was a question "maybe"was not a question is saying look at this from a different angle.
     
  22. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,894
    Possibly. It depends what concept of "God" we use. The God of the old testament is human. Unless you try to explain it "spiritually" he is a man. Man was made in his image. We know he has a pretty wide array of human traits, and is powerful, if the myths are true.
     
  23. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    53,966
    I think experiences are problematic as a foundation for belief, since they are subjective. People are vulnerable to interpretation bias, and to see random events as significant even though they may be truly random. There is also the problem of confirmation, how do you know that even a seemingly direct experience of God is actually Him? We can be easily fooled into believing in magic tricks and illusions of all sorts, as well as remembering things that did not occur. How do you know it wasn't only in your head?
    That is likewise a problem. I acknowledge this book contains truths. It also contains many false and immoral statements. Which means that anyone can read through it and pick out their own theology. Which means that one can find justification there for almost anything.
     

Share This Page