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Are You Religious?

Are you religious?  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you religious?

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      15


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God has a reason for everything..

 

Like why I just posted this (Y)

 

On the other hand, we all have a free will, so it isn't actually God making me post this. But God knows what my 1,000th post will say and he knew a few decades ago. :)

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Well, I can't use myself, because I know where I got my sense of right and wrong, but C.S. Lewis -- one of the great modern doctors of the faith -- said that he found himself to be a hypocrite as an atheist, because he couldn't justify the existence of justice without an external definition of justice. That is, if there is no "supernatural" being to define justice, then there is no justice.

 

Justice and morality are subjective concepts that vary both individually and by culture. C.S. wrote some interesting stuff, but his arguments from morality are among his most illogical and belong in the trash can IMO unless justification can be given for all his assumptions that he passes off as a priori "knowledge".

 

why is there evolution? Why is there anything? This is basically the "first cause" argument. That might convince me.

 

Evolution is just a logical consequence of how the natural world works. Additionally, re: origin of the universe etc., there's no harm in saying "We don't know yet"...substituting an explanation simply for the sake of having an explanation is incredibly counterproductive.

 

I think BitBuster nailed the first cause part, although it's worth noting that even if the universe had to have a "first cause", there are still mountains more arguments to make before the nature of that cause can be determined.

 

The fact that anything does exist evidences that it stopped somewhere

 

[citation needed]

 

because the nature of God offers the most possible reasons why He could be the first cause

 

[citation needed] (and a bit more explanation of this would be awesome, not completely sure I understand this)

 

mere contingency

 

Interesting word choice.

 

It's reasonable to say that if there is no God, we created a God that would best fit all our unanswered questions. However, the things that actually happened in the bible (or quran, or vedic text), are not logical or reasonable to explain things. They are just weird. The old adage that fact is stranger than fiction may hold here, since I don't think we could make up some of this stuff ourselves.

 

I think the fact that those books were revered for thousands of years and believed by most to be the absolute literal complete truth (and there are still an astounding number that believe this today) shows that it's quite reasonable that the events could have been thought up by humans. A human design pattern is exactly what we see upon examination of the origin of the text, as well (The Documentary Hypothesis is a good example. Read the first bit of the wiki page so you understand what it means and then scroll down and look at the coloured image for a visual representation. 1) a collection of myths, traditions, and superstitions written, altered, and combined over many centuries by humans, or 2) a divinely inspired document; which of the two does that look like?)

 

I will mention here (in case I haven't yet) that my actual belief system is based on upbringing, experience and searching, and that I am always willing to discuss these things with an open mind.

 

What IS your belief system, anyway? You seem to be on all sides of this discussion :P

 

God has a reason for everything..

 

Like why I just posted this (Y)

 

On the other hand, we all have a free will, so it isn't actually God making me post this. But God knows what my 1,000th post will say and he knew a few decades ago. :)

 

[citation needed]

[citation needed]

[citation needed]

[citation needed]

[citation needed]

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I have never understood why God is seen as the "most plausible" explanation (and this is certainly not the first time that I've heard that "argument" made). Simplest, perhaps. Most satisfying (from a certain point of view). But most plausible? How the heck can you place a numeric probability value on the existence of God? You're just pulling numbers out of nowhere. Heck, with that logic, one can "prove" anything! (And people do, sadly.)

 

 

And the "God has a reason for everything" argument always makes me smile (in a very frustrated, bitter way). I wonder what abused children or starving people or wrongfully imprisoned people or rape victims or [fill in the blank] feel about this.

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Speaking wrongly imprisoned -- how in the heck did they leave that guy in a cell for FIVE DAYS with no food or water??

 

GEEZ.

 

Anyways, I tend to be coy about what I actually believe because people get "careful" if they think they might offend you. However, this crowd seems to be the "whatever"-type, so I can probably tell you. Also, I don't offend easily.

 

Technically, I'm a protestant Christian. I regularly attend a medium-sized church which happens to be associated with the Assemblies of God. According to them, the A of G isn't a denomination, so the church doesn't belong to A of G -- but that's just semantics. It's a pretty typical A of G church from what I know about them.

 

That is not to say this would be my first choice. I judge churches based on what they teach, and how they treat people. This one's pretty good and meets my family's needs -- and it's close to home! :D

 

As I mentioned somewhere else, I've attended many, many different denominations. I was baptized by sprinkling as an adult in a United Methodist church; I also was a certified "lay speaker" in that church for one year. They all have good and bad, and they're all made up of people, which makes them flawed.

 

If you want to talk about the more "ecstatic" parts of the faith -- feel free to ask. I can relate what I know and what I believe, but you may not be interested so I won't digress.

 

I think the real key to whether you decide there is a God or not is to decide if you need a God or not. Frankly, I can barely handle existing WITH a benevolent God and a human Saviour. I cannot imagine my despair if I did not believe. That's part of why I, personally, will never be an atheist. I certainly have doubts, but I would never have enough FAITH to be SURE there was no God.

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I think the real key to whether you decide there is a God or not is to decide if you need a God or not. Frankly, I can barely handle existing WITH a benevolent God and a human Saviour. I cannot imagine my despair if I did not believe. That's part of why I, personally, will never be an atheist. I certainly have doubts, but I would never have enough FAITH to be SURE there was no God.

 

Isn't that more hoping that God exists rather than actually believing God exists? One of the reasons I can't just become truly religious is because everything to me seems to point away from God or similar divinities. I could go to church and pay my tithes, I could preach the capital w Word, I could swear on a stack of Bibles that I believed the messages within, but I wouldn't really think it was all true. Even if I desperately wanted, say, Christianity to be true*, that wouldn't affect my judgement of whether Christianity's premises are valid or not.

 

In any case, I can certainly understand why you believe given your mindset, but I don't understand your mindset itself. What about the lack of God would turn you into unimaginable despair? If God doesn't exist, then he hasn't this whole time, and you certainly haven't been in unimaginable despair as far as I can see. Obviously things like motivation and hope can take hits, but there are certainly ways for atheists to have high levels of these.

 

Also, I think your quote

 

I think the real key to whether you decide there is a God or not is to decide if you need a God or not.

 

sums up religion pretty well, IMO.

 

 

* (I don't, and not because its truth would mean I was wrong; I truly would rather it wasn't true.)

 

inb4 "omg u onlee athsizt bc u don want gawd 2 b tru"

 

 

 

Also, an interesting thing I just saw on reddit, via FB:

 

http://www.reddit.co...ssure_you_i_am/

 

It has an interesting point, although I would ignore the last two paragraphs. They explain what the point is (if you didn't get it while reading), but they have bad word choice (e.g. "hypocrisy") and a pretty unfairly harsh tone, and they kinda distract from the point.

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Well, I'm not sure I can explain this clearly, but I have a depressive personality. When I consider the pain and suffering that exists in this world (as well as the pain and suffering I've gone through*), if there were no other reality than this, I'd ALWAYS be depressed. So, I guess, hope is part of my belief system.

 

 

I had cancer when I was younger, and I went through a painful divorce

 

 

I guess if NOT believing gives you more hope, that's reasonable. Not TRUE, in my opinion, but reasonable.

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Back over to James: My initial exploration is whether an infinite temporal regress is possible. If not, this would entail that the first cause could not exist within time, else it would contradict itself because it would also be part of the regress and thus not the first cause. I simply find the timeless, changeless, spaceless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal, and eternal qualities of God most suitable for a first cause, offering the most reasons why the infinite regress could be averted, why it could and should create the universe, and even why existence has progressed from its initial form to the point it did today rather than fizzled out (because it's under the control of a being who knows how to prevent a fizzle). Do you have any origin theory at the moment? Other atheists I've questioned on this hold to the Hawking spontaneous creation model, but I find this unsatisfactory. I find it failing to overcome the initial infinite regress problem, an inadequate motive for ever creating anything, a wholly inadequate reason why it arbitrarily produced a universe, and no particular reason why such universe would have survived this long either.

 

You have stated that you don't yet know the origin of everything and will just wait for the problems to be worked out, but that's precisely why potential issues with the theistic model don't bother me much. I can trust that God has an answer for something I don't know or understand (and there are dark personal events I still don't know the reason behind) and could dismantle any of my objections with that answer, merely because of the nature of the God concept. What I'm unable to accept is the idea that this universe is the chance result of an astronomical chain reaction of contingencies when it could instead be an astronomical chain reaction of intelligent planning. Following from that, I could also introduce separate ideas about how we deeply search for an objective purpose and what that means, whether we would be as likely to feel that need if there was no cure, and why no other species feels the need for purpose if it's natural to want such knowledge; I've heard well-written explanations of this (evolution progressed to the point of philosophical thought in humans), but they again depend on contingency rather than God's deliberate effort. It's all dependent on what you have the capability to accept, one or the other; after philosophical and also personal inspection (this thread will definitely reach this area next, thanks Dave), atheism became beyond my scope to reconcile with existence as I perceived it. (Thanks again, there were new crevices of these thoughts I hadn't explored before, and I'll want to have them challenged and thus developed.)

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If God can exist forever, I don't see why matter can't exist forever. Both are equally incompatible with what we "know" about beginnings and ends (actually, doesn't science hold that energy and matter are never destroyed, only transferred?).

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...and no particular reason why such universe would have survived this long either.

I don't understand what you mean by this.

 

What I'm unable to accept is the idea that this universe is the chance result of an astronomical chain reaction of contingencies when it could instead be an astronomical chain reaction of intelligent planning.

There might be billions of universes in which it isn't possible for life to exist. We obviously are not in one of those universes.

The reason our universe is so perfect is because it has to be. There's really no luck or planning involved.

 

If God can exist forever, I don't see why matter can't exist forever. Both are equally incompatible with what we "know" about beginnings and ends (actually, doesn't science hold that energy and matter are never destroyed, only transferred?).

There's no problems with matter not being destroyed AFAIK. But there is the problem of what God was doing during the infinite years before he created our universe.

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There might be billions of universes in which it isn't possible for life to exist. We obviously are not in one of those universes.

 

Yes! Or, alternately, there have been billions of years in which life did not exist...we are not in one of those epochs.

 

 

But there is the problem of what God was doing during the infinite years before he created our universe.

 

Well, he's God. Who are we to understand what he does (or wants) to do? I can buy the idea of a being who wouldn't need to create us. That, however, raises the question of why he did create us.

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But there is the problem of what God was doing during the infinite years before he created our universe.

 

Again, before there was a universe there probably WASN'T any time. You see how we cannot really understand eternity.

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I still maintain that that doesn't make sense. Time isn't something that actually exists; it's a reflection of how we measure the speed with which atoms vibrate (or something like that). "Time" has no more inherent meaning than distance measurements or weight measurements. They're human constructs.

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Well, I grant you that the way we think of time is our own construct. But the fact that we move through time (at a steady rate apparently) and in only one direction -- we didn't think that up ourselves. We have a start and end point in time, so in that sense one's entire existence has a "time" dimension.

 

My point is that there is an external reality, and the time we experience and are stuck in doesn't exist there like it does here.

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But the fact that we move through time (at a steady rate apparently) and in only one direction -- we didn't think that up ourselves.

 

That's not "time." That's just objects changing shape/form/energy/whatever. Can you reverse those changes? Well, if you could, you'd have a "time machine"...but it wouldn't be traveling through time itself, just states of being...

 

 

 

My point is that there is an external reality, and the time we experience and are stuck in doesn't exist there like it does here.

 

Wait...what?

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This has no bearing on anything at all, just thought it was humorous :P

 

https://mashable.com/2012/05/03/religious-sites-malware-study/

 

The gist: According to Symantec, religious sites are around 3x more likely to carry malware than pornographic sites are.

(Among the other numbers they give, approx. 20% of blogs carry malware, which is a bit troubling.)

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What I sometimes have an anxiety attack over is...

 

If God had no beginning and will have no end... he didn't ever "become God" or "pop into place". He's always just been there. That's kind of strange to figure out, no matter how far back you go in time, beyond the beginning of the universe... God has always been there. A little strange, isn't it?

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Very strange. But, since I can't think of a better explanation, I'm going with that one.

 

If you posit that beginning, ending, duration and time are just constructs of our existence, then the questions get unasked. MU.

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If you posit that beginning, ending, duration and time are just constructs of our existence, then the questions get unasked.

 

...which is why it's just as likely that all this MATTER just "always existed." I fail to see how God is more probable (particularly given that we knowthat matter, or at least SOMETHING exists).

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Welllllllllll

 

According to the current theory, nothing existed before the Big Bang except potential. Does THAT make any sense?

 

I think the key here is that you have to accept SOMETHING as existing before your own personal existence. Unless, of course, you're an existentialist -- in which case it doesn't really matter.

 

I do not think that the first cause argument will make someone ELSE believe in God, it just helps ME believe.

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According to the current theory, nothing existed before the Big Bang except potential. Does THAT make any sense?

 

To me? No. It doesn't. But then, the fact of something existing forever doesn't make sense...within our limited POV, that is.

 

 

I think the key here is that you have to accept SOMETHING as existing before your own personal existence.

 

I don't know if you HAVE to, but either way, it requires adopting a POV beyond what we "know." Either something always existed, or something can come from nothing...nothing in our current perceptions really allows for this.

 

 

I do not think that the first cause argument will make someone ELSE believe in God, it just helps ME believe.

 

...you mean as an excuse? It seems like a means of justifying something you've already committed to, rather than being a reason TO commit. I dunno, maybe I'm misinterpreting you here, but that's the vibe I get...

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...you mean as an excuse? It seems like a means of justifying something you've already committed to, rather than being a reason TO commit. I dunno, maybe I'm misinterpreting you here, but that's the vibe I get...

 

Excuse is a bit harsh. First cause isn't the reason for my belief system, nor is it required. What's nice about an argument like this (or design, or others) is that it enhances a belief system, makes it more rounded and complete.

 

So, it's not "justifying" as much as "fortifying".

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...well, I'm still not entirely convinced that it's an "argument"...it just seems to come across as more of an explanation for something you've already bought into, but then, maybe that's just me. :)

 

Also:

 

44352486-conspiracy-keanu-what-if-god-created-the-big-bang.jpg

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