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Old 03-31-2011, 04:14 PM   #406
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Faith/Hope will never be enough to convince me there is a heaven/hell. I can't live in that world or that mindset.

I do have faith of course. I have faith that if I live my life as a good person, that good things will be returned to me (kind to others, etc). The problem is, as every single one of us knows, that isn't enough to make it true. Good people get treated poorly for no sane reason at all sometimes. Sometimes bad things happen.

Believing or hoping that they won't is not going to stop it. Actually following through with the talk of being good will increase your odds of having a good or satisfying life, as it's all in the eye of the beholder.

It makes me very happy when I see people of a denomination or faith doing good works, and there are many examples of people doing good deeds because of their faith. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just as there are many examples of people without faith doing good deeds.

I just wish faith would stay a personal matter. Not something that's a requirement for higher office, or a means to judge someone else, or even hurt that person.

If Jesus/Allah/God/Yahweh/etc want me to follow them, I need more than faith. IMO, that's not free will, that's playing a game with my emotions and hedging a bet that I will follow for fear of being alone.

If a God were to present itself by it's own power, not speaking through "followers" or some vague imagine on a pancake , I would then be able to make my decision, which would be a true representation of free will as the assumption in this scenerio would be that I have the evidence I have been asking for, and if I still chose not to believe.....that's truly being free.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:23 PM   #407
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I think my main question now is, why should I believe the scripture is anything other than a books some guys wrote 1500-2000 years ago? It seems to be the basis of all faith and all references of faith. Why is it more than just a book humans wrote?

imho, it isn't.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:25 PM   #408
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BEAL:
Ray Comfort would say, "look at all the birds and the beautiful flowers, and the clouds, man! The clouds!"
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:30 PM   #409
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imho, it isn't.
I agree, but I want to know how people come to that conclusion. If you operate under the assumption that it is the word of God, I understand a lot of views. But I don't understand operating under that assumption in any way.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:15 PM   #410
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It seems to be the basis of all faith and all references of faith.
According to who? I simply don't think this is accurate, at all. Most "religious" people believe there is a God because they believe there is a God, period. They may also believe that the sum total traditions associated with some particular religion (its scriptures, established theological canon, customary modes of observance etc.) offer the "best," most accurate portrayal of the nature of God and the relationship of man to God available to us--given that the full answers to those questions are, by definition, not self-evident nor empirically verifiable. Now if we're talking about children only, then what you're suggesting might somewhat apply, since young children aren't really capable of contemplating abstractions on the order they'd need to to ask, "On what authority are these underlying claims of the existence (or nonexistence) of a transcendent, supernatural entity even being made?" But I have yet to meet a mentally competent adult who doesn't immediately recognize the validity of the question. You might not be impressed with their answers, but that doesn't mean they don't understand the question and haven't asked it of themselves.

We could talk of a continuum of sorts in terms of how critically specific individuals examine various propositions about how to live and what is true that are put before them. But no human being exists who doesn't approach those questions under heavy influence of various forms of received authority. Human reasoning offers some powerful correctives to the dangers of that process, but it's not an "alternative" to it. If you personally aspire to an ethics and a vision of the human condition that never draws on explicit references to God, to specific religious scriptures, or to religious doctrines per se, so as to avoid that specific potential for corruption, then fine, go for it. It won't give you a saintly purity of intellect or enable you to reason in an existential vacuum devoid of received assumptions, but it's surely as true to the human condition as any other way of being. These questions don't have fully knowable answers, nor are there fully authoritative standpoints from which to contemplate them, via scripture or anything else; we only talk and to a large degree think as if that were the case, because we really have no other choice.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:44 PM   #411
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In all truth, my disbelief in god is less rooted in reason than it is in self-protection, because if I believed in god, I would be full of rage all of the time. I could not sit in a church for any extended period of time without that fury starting to build. I'm kind of a reverse of Gandhi, I like many Christians, but I do not like Christ (god).

Besides evolution makes much more of an exciting story than Creationism does.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:10 PM   #412
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BEAL:
Ray Comfort would say, "look at all the birds and the beautiful flowers, and the clouds, man! The clouds!"
Yes, and we have perfectly good explanations of how those things are created, and for the most part, WHY.

Yet we have no explanation of what is God, how he/she came to be except our own opinions.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:50 PM   #413
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Faith/Hope will never be enough to convince me there is a heaven/hell. I can't live in that world or that mindset.

I do have faith of course. I have faith that if I live my life as a good person, that good things will be returned to me (kind to others, etc). The problem is, as every single one of us knows, that isn't enough to make it true. Good people get treated poorly for no sane reason at all sometimes. Sometimes bad things happen.

Believing or hoping that they won't is not going to stop it. Actually following through with the talk of being good will increase your odds of having a good or satisfying life, as it's all in the eye of the beholder.

It makes me very happy when I see people of a denomination or faith doing good works, and there are many examples of people doing good deeds because of their faith. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just as there are many examples of people without faith doing good deeds.

I just wish faith would stay a personal matter. Not something that's a requirement for higher office, or a means to judge someone else, or even hurt that person.

If Jesus/Allah/God/Yahweh/etc want me to follow them, I need more than faith. IMO, that's not free will, that's playing a game with my emotions and hedging a bet that I will follow for fear of being alone.

If a God were to present itself by it's own power, not speaking through "followers" or some vague imagine on a pancake , I would then be able to make my decision, which would be a true representation of free will as the assumption in this scenerio would be that I have the evidence I have been asking for, and if I still chose not to believe.....that's truly being free.


"If a God were to present itself by it's own power, not speaking through "followers" or some vague imagine on a pancake."


He did and they killed him.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:17 PM   #414
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:14 PM   #415
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Scripture is not theophany.

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In all truth, my disbelief in god is less rooted in reason than it is in self-protection, because if I believed in god, I would be full of rage all of the time. I could not sit in a church for any extended period of time without that fury starting to build.

Besides evolution makes much more of an exciting story than Creationism does.
Creationism as we know it is a reactionary idea, which pretty much guarantees it'll be suffocatingly dull.

I think coming to terms with the human condition is much harder than coming to terms with the presumed existence or nonexistence of God (though they are related problems). If I thought that God thought ( ) that God has given us a satisfying, adequate explanation of and solution for our own self-alienation and the miseries that come with it, I would also be angry. Not that that's necessarily even what you had in mind...
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I'm kind of a reverse of Gandhi, I like many Christians, but I do not like Christ (god).
In India there's an often-told story, perhaps you've heard it, of a meeting between Gandhi and Jinnah (the 'Father of Pakistan') during the debate over Partition in which Gandhi, seeking to convey the passionately nonsectarian nature of his nationalism, declared, "I am a Hindu...and a Muslim, a Christian, a Zoroastrian, and a Jew." To which Jinnah impatiently snapped, "Only a Hindu could say that."

In all likelihood that's apocryphal; no proper documentation for it has ever emerged, and while Gandhi himself did express precisely that sentiment on other occasions, it doesn't really sound like something Jinnah would say. But many Indians delight in it, because it perfectly encapsulates an enduringly familiar contest between the tireless mystical optimist and the grumpy rationalist cynic on the potential of human solidarity, given God's presumed existence. No matter what one thinks of him, it takes a one-in-billions kind of will to be a Gandhi, and in the end it was a 'fellow' Hindu nationalist who assassinated him. Today that man is, not inappropriately, reviled as a 'fanatic,' but Gandhi may well have been the greater fanatic, in terms of in what and in whom he chose to invest his trust.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:24 PM   #416
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"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."


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(The World's Last Night: And Other Essays)
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:33 PM   #417
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I think coming to terms with the human condition is much harder than coming to terms with the presumed existence or nonexistence of God (though they are related problems). If I thought that God thought ( ) that God has given us a satisfying, adequate explanation of and solution for our own self-alienation and the miseries that come with it, I would also be angry. Not that that's necessarily even what you had in mind.
Yeah. to accept god or dispense with him is the easy part.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:47 PM   #418
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But many Indians delight in it, because it perfectly encapsulates an enduringly familiar contest between the tireless mystical optimist and the grumpy rationalist cynic on the potential of human solidarity, given God's presumed existence. No matter what one thinks of him, it takes a one-in-billions kind of will to be a Gandhi, and in the end it was a 'fellow' Hindu nationalist who assassinated him. Today that man is, not inappropriately, reviled as a 'fanatic,' but Gandhi may well have been the greater fanatic, in terms of in what and in whom he chose to invest his trust.
I don't knoiw any more about Ghandi than the typical casually informed American. Impressions mostly. The impression was certainly one of admiration with some frustration, but it is quite vague for me. Can you recommend a good book on him for me? But being a grumpy rationalist cynic myself, I could imagine some frustration there. Of course, my grumpy, rationalistic cynic in me has to fight for time against the pie-eyed optimist me and the superstitious me. I never did much get a fix on myself.

I always found the Old Testament much more interesting than the New Testament. Better stories, better characters. I mean, really, pit David against St. Paul. No contest. Once you get past the Crucifixion and maybe some nice pieces in Corinthians, it's pretty tedious. I thought the dynamics between man and god were much more compelling in the Old Testament. Man pushed against god, challenged him. It was a much more intimate relationship. A much more "equal" (if you will) relationship. Man could affect god. Man could shame god.

That changed in the New Testament. In a book review of a Jack Miles book, the reviewer summed up what I was thinking nicely.

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The most salient irony of all is one that Miles misses the chance to point out: by replacing the old political covenant with a new spiritual covenant, God gets himself permanently and conveniently off the hook. No one can tell, this side of the valley of the shadow, whether his promise of eternal life will hold up. From his refusal to intervene in John the Baptist's death to his lack of enthusiasm for restoring sovereignty to Israel, he defers victory to the afterlife, where no one can hold him accountable. Lo ha-metim y'hallelu Yah, says Psalm 115: the dead don't praise God, and they may not accuse him either. The life of Christ knits up the raveled ends of God's promises with marvelous ingenuity and skill, but he is still giving aesthetic answers: the promise of eternal life solves his problem, not ours. To a mind looking at the question with profane detachment, it seems likely that he can't keep this promise either.
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Old 04-01-2011, 02:58 PM   #419
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I always found the Old Testament much more interesting than the New Testament. Better stories, better characters. I mean, really, pit David against St. Paul. No contest. Once you get past the Crucifixion and maybe some nice pieces in Corinthians, it's pretty tedious. I thought the dynamics between man and god were much more compelling in the Old Testament. Man pushed against god, challenged him. It was a much more intimate relationship. A much more "equal" (if you will) relationship. Man could affect god. Man could shame god.
Keep in mind that, apart from the Gospels and the Book of Acts, the New Testament is Paul's attempts to lay out a theology -- codifying man's relationship to God in the Old Testament and unpacking a theology of grace in the New. As a result, the OT is story-driven, while the NT is theology-driven. While I agree that the story of David and Goliath may be more narratively compelling than Paul's discussion of an old life and a new life in Romans 7, I find value in both.

And as far as the equanimity in the relationship between God and man, I find this pretty powerful from Jesus on the night he was betrayed: "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." ~ John 15:15

And I know of no other more haunting moment in either Scripture than Jesus wrestling with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, begging if there is any way for the cup of wrath to be passed from Him...
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:53 PM   #420
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If a God were to present itself by it's own power, not speaking through "followers" or some vague imagine on a pancake , I would then be able to make my decision, which would be a true representation of free will as the assumption in this scenerio would be that I have the evidence I have been asking for, and if I still chose not to believe.....that's truly being free.
"You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us have been
"A place that has to be believed to be seen"
~ U2
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