On faith

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Not carrying on, however you choose to define it. (alcoholism, depressive recluse, mental breakdown, etc,)

    She may die much later rather than sooner, confirming for the man the miraculous power of prayer to stave off the inevitable. Faith is very nonspecific about how it gets rewarded.
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    It isn't sociopathic to accept what happens to you without understanding why. It's a sign of spiritual maturity and strength, often expressed in such passages as these:

    Romans 3:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

    “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
    ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    How does having confiidence in someone else's decisions make you stronger?

    Let me give you a real-world, recent example. My doctor told me that my best option would be a gastrectomy. I could live a full life with my esophagus connected to my intestine. (He was a surgeon, can you tell?)

    I said nuh-uh. I'm going to seek an opinion that's less insane. Guess what? Still have my stomach.

    If I'd had faith in my doctor - if I'd let him be strong for me, I'd be eating my meals with a straw right now.

    No. I'm stronger, because I had faith in myself.

    Yes, these are both valid examples where having faith has helped.

    In both situations though, they were situations that were not under their control.

    Perhaps that's the key. In most scenarios, having faith in yourself is the best option, and giving up your strength to some thing else is a bad idea. In situations where you have no options of your own, having faith that you're not alone can bring strength.

    The key then, is recognizing the difference. That's why I gave Timojin a hard time (post 12) - no offense Tim. How does one know when one is out of options? How does one know if they are on a train, bound for LA, or if they are on a bike, not bound by anything?
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  7. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Faith can have a positive placebo effect:::

    Religous faith can have a positive effect by causin the believers to thank help is on the way which might motovate 'em to make rational choices to help themselfs.!!!

    Atheistic faith simply cuts out the irrational God-crap... an a positive motivotational effect can arise thru careful consideration of the issue at hand -- as a plan of action wit the best chance of success comes together.!!!
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Any confidence makes you stronger, whether it is confidence in yourself, someone else, or even just the Force that jedi warriors learn to trust in.

    You simply decided to consult another opinion. You shifted your faith from one doctor to another. It had nothing to do with faith in yourself.

    I don't agree. I think having faith period gives one strength, be it something larger than you, your fellow soldiers, or your own skills and training. We aquire strength from anything that gives us confidence. Some people get that from faith in themselves, and others get that from faith in something greater than themselves. It's the same strength either way.

    That's where faith comes in, believing something despite not knowing for sure if it is true or not.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Not true. It was me that was strong, in order to make the best decision for me. I would never have consulted another doctor if I hadn't had faith in my own ability to assess what was best for me.

    I didn't put faith in the other doctor either. What I did was prove that, ultimately, I am the one driving this bus. i.e. I made a rational decision, instead of letting someone make it for me.

    A strategy which, had I followed - by believing in the doctor - I would now be eating mashed peas from a baby food jar.
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    No..you simply doubted your doctor and consulted another. There was no great act of faith in yourself or any other such nonsense. You chose another doctor to put faith in. That's all there was to it.

    A strategy you in fact pursued by having faith in the second opinion. Faith in another doctor saved you, not faith in yourself.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yes, because I trusted myself, not the doctor.

    You can speak for yourself. You don't speak for me.

    And I'll thank you not to use dismissive words such as 'nonsense'. This is a civilized discussion of varying opinions, not an argument.

    What makes you think there was any faith involved?

    You said:
    Except that I didn't "believe despite not knowing". I chose not to believe the first doctor and went looking for a solution that was acceptable. I would have done the thing with the second doctor (if necessary). Regardless, I had final say; at no point did I defer responsibility to someone else.

    That's the antithesis of faith.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Ok then..I'll have faith you know what you are talking about.
    DaveC426913 likes this.
  13. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Faith should not preclude knowledge... and on a simpler level, Prayer is not a substitute for Action:

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV)
    For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

    John 16:33 (ESV)
    I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

    Acts 14:22 (ESV)
    ...strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

    John 21:6 (ESV)
    He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

    It is a supplement... but Faith is not something to take the place of conventional wisdom and medicine. Why some folks feel that way is beyond me. Does prayer give strength in a time of need... I would say yes, simply because I have been in situations where I did not know how to continue on, or if I even could continue on... and it was genuinely helpful to feel like even if I didn't know what was to come, perhaps someone did... and perhaps there was good that could come out of the storm. Now, that doesn't mean that someone else is going to fix my issues for me - I still had to "put my shoulder to the wheel" so to speak... but it gave me hope.

    In much the same way... a quote I adore from Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    While it is always best to believe in oneself, a little help from others can be a great blessing. — Uncle Iroh
  14. mtf Banned Banned

    But is he really defering to God, or is he just saying that he does?

    Which is probably what religious faith is anyway, even if under the guise of deference to God.

    Arguably, this is what religious people do, it's just that they formulate it in more religiously correct terms.

    As long as religiosity has anything to do with personal choice, even religious people aren't actually putting their faith in God, but in themselves.
  15. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Trust based on evidence is not the same as religious faith, which is trust despite no reliable evidence whatsoever. One can trust a doctor to some extent, because we have reliable evidence that they can cure disease most of the time, as long as the disease is curable in the first place.
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    That seems kind of at-odds with this:
  17. mtf Banned Banned

    Not at all.

    I have serious doubts about whether religious people actually believe anything they profess to believe.

    In order to believe in God, an outsider and naive sucker like myself has no choice but to unquestioningly believe in the people who claim to be talking about God.

    Insiders are far better off. You're only now beginning to scratch the surface of what I've been wanting to discuss in these threads about God and religion.
  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Good point.
    As simple as this may sound, one has to actually believe in something, to be believe in something. Further more we all know this to be true, because we all experience believing in something.

    What tends to happen in discussions like these, is that some want to claim that there are people who have/can have no logical reasons to believe in God, that their belief is based on a type of emotion known simply as religious faith (distinct from faith), and the principle character of this emotion is a complete lack of evidence (which would make sense if God definitely doesn't exist).

    Believing in something does not amount to professing a belief in something. The same could said of love.
    Our true beliefs are expressed through our thoughts and actions, not something through our testimony.
    Further more we all have experience of that.

    That's like saying "in order to fall in love, I have no choice but to unquestionably believe in other people who have fallen in love". Of course that is not the reality.

    The problem with the way you view this, is due to the way you view God. as though God has to be proven as separate to our essential selves.
    We know, experience, and have heard about love. Not only in its emotional context, but as a real force which has the power to transform any situation into the best it can possibly be. Yet no one has ever seen it. No one can truly describe it. But it exists. Plus its existence is not separate to our selves, even we may experience it as being such.

    I'm up for talking about God and religion. So much so that most if any, on here, want to discuss with me.

  19. mtf Banned Banned

    And I don't think there are or can be logical reasons for believing in God.
    There are logical reasons for believing in a demigod, but not in God.


    I suppose some people are like that. This also seems to be a backwards description of what is usually going on in religious theistic faith.

    But the majority of religious people are people who never had any choice as far as believing in God goes, because they were born and raised into a religion. As far as their cognition goes, theirs is a situation that cannot be replicated for an adult that was not born and raised into a religion.

    Those born and raised into a theistic religion were taught belief in God as they were born and raised into a religion; long before their cognitive capacities developed to be able to reflect and to make any choices; they were primed to believe in God.
    So their faith is not based on emotion, nor on some lack of evidence or despite the absence of evidence of God. They were simply primed for it; the derogatory term for this is "indoctrinated."

    Of course it is. Falling in love requires that one follow a number of cultural memes about love, the meaning of life etc.
    People who fall in love do so without knowingly or deliberately following those cultural memes, and aren't even aware of them.
    Being aware of them is detrimental to falling in love, it prevents it. Which is why it is generally much more difficult for older people to fall in love, because they are aware of all the cultural memes involved in the whole thing.

    No, that's not what I mean. I never said anything about seeking proof of God; given my definition of "God," proof of God is impossible to begin with.

    I state that I wasn't primed to believe in God, and this is why I can't believe in God; or at least I cannot believe in God the way people can who were born and raised into a religion.
    But I am sure that if I were born and raised into a theistic religion, then I could believe in God.

    To the best of my knowledge, no theistic religion offers a rational way to begin believing in God for the first time as an adult.
    Theistic religions seem to have their religious epistemologies tailored for people to be born and raised into a religion.
    IOW, they are not proper missionary religions.

    God and love are not the same.
  20. mtf Banned Banned

    Leaving aside the problem surrounding romantic love --

    A person can experience God as something that "essentially is connected to them," as "something that exists, even though we cannot describe it, see it, taste it, smell it," etc. etc. --
    a person can "experience God" only after they have _internalized_ a number of claims about God.

    You will probably tell me that God is already in me somehow, that I am part of God, except that I am under the veil of Maya and therefore can't see clearly etc. etc.

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
  21. mtf Banned Banned

    Make it quick, because my vacation is soon over.
  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    I think differently.

    You assume that God can only be believed in through the process of being taught, or indoctrinated.

    It is true that we are conditioned from the moment we are born, and we can get caught up in a culture. But we don't have to follow-up when we reach teen and adulthood.

    As I said before we can only believe in God, if we actually believe in God. From your perspective (atheist/agnosti I presume) I can see you would arrive at the above conclusion.

    Lastly on this point. Believing in God is a natural state of mind for those that believe. What I think you're pertaining to to is religious doctrine, which is not necessarily about God as defined in any scripture. The many different denominations of religions bears testimony to this.
    There are many people who became theist long after their childhood. I myself am one of them. You should probably read a few of their testimonies.

    You can't be taught to believe in God, any more than you can be taught to believe in unconditional love. You can be taught, however, to believe in the person that espouses a particular religion. Belief in God only comes when you believe in God. Belief in unconditional love only comes when you actually believe in it.

    The reality is that you don't know the intricacies of the individuals worldview, other than what you can glean from. In the same way you do not know for a fact that someone believes in unconditional love, based on their personal testimony, or institutes, claiming their loyalty, and devotion.

    How do you know?

    That's not my personal experience.

    I wasn't primed to believe in God, and even if I was, there is no guarantee that I would believe in God now.

    The thing is, I know what belief in God is, so I can easily make that statement. What is the basis of your statement?

    I can see how you could conclude that, but that isn't the basis of theism.
    You seem to be basing you view on the notion that God doesn't exist, or there is no evidence of God existing. You are basically using your worldview too conclude another.

    So what?
    All that means is you have a poor fund of knowledge regarding the subject matter.
    Others may, and do have a fund of knowledge that allows them to believe.

    What's the difference?

  23. mtf Banned Banned

    I'm not sure you do.


    If you want to take that path, then anything goes.

    And I have, plenty, for twenty years. And none of them was able or willing to present a rational way to begin believing in God.

    How else then??

    One could, of course, jump to the God-conclusion and this jumping-to-conclusion is an ego defense mechanism. This would explain pretty much everything about how adults who don't become theists due to some social or economic pressure nevertheless can begin to believe in God.

    And I assume this is basically all there is to religion.

    That's a fideistic truism. I could say the same thing.

    Sure, I can only work with what people actually say, and the inferences that can be made from that.

    Been there, done that.
    Or are you saying that all that vast romantic literature is actually onto something? Lol.


    You have one reply to "What is belief in God?", other people have theirs.
    The basis of my statement is the conviction that theism is primarily a matter of being primed for it. It is also possible to arrive at theism via a Kierkegaardian leap to faith, but this is only possible for one type of ego, namely one that can delude itself about the act of this leap, living in the illusion that it didn't take place. (Even poor old Soren struggled with this until his death.)

    Really? And you're God?

    No. I am basing my view on this definition of God, which is -- "The definition of God I am working with is this: God is the one being that precedes me (and everyone else), that is bigger than me (and everyone else), that contextualizes me (and everyone else), that makes me (and everyone else) possible."
    It's because of this definition that I can have no choice as to what to (further) believe about God. However, any other definition of God, is the definition of a demigod.

    It's easy to "believe in God" as long as you define him as some kind of demigod. Arguably, most people who claim to believe in God, are actually believing in a demigod.

    This is inevitable for everyone.

    And what is that knowledge?

    I suspect that knowledge that makes the difference between me and a person who came to believe in God for the first time as an adult is that that person is far more attached to a particular person (like a guru) or to their own mind, than I am, or that they define God in terms of a demigod.

    For one, one is defined as ruling the world.

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