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Old 08-05-2006, 11:16 AM   #16
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
That standard is what a truly compassionate deity would create, it is not impossible to have free will and inherent goodness; a utopia (or distopia, depending on ones point of view) could be created by God but for whatever reason it would create beings that have the illusion of choice (since rejecting this blood sacrifice condemns the individual), why would such a deity demand gratification from coercion?

In the absence of evil and death there is no compulsion to submit to the idea of God, I would argue that the idea of God is neccessitated by those things and follows from them.
It is impossible to have free will and inherent goodness. How can you say it's not?

God doesn't demand gratification from coercion. There is no cercion. There is only our choice. If we don't want to spend eternity with him, than he won't let us. He's not going to force us to do what we don't want to do.

Many people believe the idea of God comes from a need for such a being. Although there is a need, God existed first. Also, I don't call out to God only when I need him. Much of my relationship with him is one of gratitude and worship. (I would argue this point on behalf of many fellow Christians and would hope it's the case for the majority of them.)
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:39 AM   #17
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To be blunt, conservative/fundamentalist Christians have, frankly, made me associate "Christianity" with stupidity, fanaticism, and blind hatred. Whether you think that's fair or not, I've had my share of bad experiences with religious types. Frankly, it takes a lot of self-discipline for me to not associate "God" with stupidity, fanaticism, and blind hatred too.

I'm not tremendously sure whether I fall under "agnostic" or if I just have beliefs that defy my current understanding of classification; but even then, after years of dealing with the rigid, but nonsensical structure of the Catholic Church, I'm not sure if I ever want to join another formal congregation. Put enough "religious types" in one room, and it always seems that the nuttiest ones attract the most attention. Still, although I have always been one to stick to my beliefs rather than compromise them to make friends (perhaps a testament to my rather insane standards of integrity), there's still some days where I wish I could have the community as well.

I have long ago reconciled the issue of God versus science, and, thankfully, in spite of all the nonsensical things I saw in the Catholic Church, they, at least, did not give me a hang-up over faith and science. As I see it, a lot of the age-old debate over good vs. evil and free will can be solved through mere reason.

God's idea of "perfection" and man's idea of "perfection" are not the same. Man defines perfection in truly human terms: complete uniformity in thought and culture, a world without choices...in other words, totalitarianism. As such, we have anthropomorphized "God" to assume that He carries the same prejudices that we have.

I believe that God defines perfection as perfection in form. In studying the universe, we've discovered something that is mindbogglingly complex, but orderly.

Earth, itself, is perfect as it is. If it had been larger, it might have attracted a larger atmosphere that may never have been supportive of life. Likewise, if it had been smaller, it might never have attracted a sufficient atmosphere. Its placement in the solar system is as "perfect" as it gets. Although we have to deal with periodic freezing and warming cycles, it's better than the alternatives--Venus and Mars.

Even the most violent of natural disasters serve a "perfect" purpose to maintain life on Earth. Without plate tectonics, which generates volcanoes and earthquakes, we would be as lifeless as Mars, as it is through this process that our crust recycles itself. Otherwise, Earth would be entirely nutrient-poor and flat as a cue ball. Hurricanes serve a very necessary purpose in sucking out massive amounts of heat in the tropics and sending it into colder regions to be dissipated. Otherwise, I have to think that the tropics might attain temperatures that would be enough to fry everyone and everything that lives there. As such, hurricanes are certainly better than the alternative.

Mankind, itself, is "perfect" in form, despite all this nonsense about us being "fallen." Without death, there would be no room for new life. None of us would be here today had our ancestors not died. There would be no need for reproduction, not to mention that there would be no room for everyone even if we could still reproduce. Our tendency towards extreme violence and extreme goodness shows our capacity for higher intelligence and emotion; you cannot have one extreme--goodness--without the other--evil. To merely have a choice to do good things is not to have a choice at all, and we would, as such, be no different from animals, who are generally strictly instinctual. "Good and evil," as defined by mankind, is a consequence of our free will.

And that's where I think the "mystery of God" sets in. If there is an "objective" idea of "perfection," I would rather appeal to logic, reason, and science, all of which would fall under "God's creation" (as would everything, theoretically), than a supposed "holy book" that's so full of hatred and illogical nonsense as to boggle my mind. Why the hell would it ever have been wrong to make clothes with two different kinds of fibers anyway?

Having all these crazy people around this world run around thinking that they know exactly what God wants makes me think that we know much less about "God" than we think.

Melon
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Old 08-05-2006, 04:47 PM   #18
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What bothers me about reducing the world to a battle between good and evil is that it tends to make some people – unfortunate often with strong religious beliefs – to condense everything into absolutes: Good/evil becomes for us/against us, saved/damned, moral/amoral etc. and so on. It’s a mostly useless world view that leads to even further polarisation.
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:46 PM   #19
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I'm not an agnostic or an atheist - I believe in God, but feel really uneasy within the scope of Christianity. It's not Christianity per se, it's political Christians who have completely poisoned my views towards organized religion. Most people my age whom I know ran away from the Church because of these types, which is comical when you think about it given that they're supposed to be spreading the good word. Instead, they're having people massively run in the opposite direction.

I don't believe politics and religion can nor should mix. So long as they continue to do so, I don't want to any part of a religious affiliation.
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I'm not an agnostic or an atheist - I believe in God, but feel really uneasy within the scope of Christianity. It's not Christianity per se, it's political Christians who have completely poisoned my views towards organized religion. Most people my age whom I know ran away from the Church because of these types, which is comical when you think about it given that they're supposed to be spreading the good word. Instead, they're having people massively run in the opposite direction.

I don't believe politics and religion can nor should mix. So long as they continue to do so, I don't want to any part of a religious affiliation.
This is a great post. Actually, believe it or not, you're part of a revolution in thinking this. I know you said you're not exactly a Christian, but a lot of Christians are finally starting to revolt against the Right Wing Christianity. People are finally starting to wake up to its lies and how it's made the faith something completely different, in so many respects, to anything Christ stood for when he walked this Earth.

I highly recommend "God's Politics" by Jim Wallis. Bono is a big fan of it, too. It's very refreshing.
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
To be blunt, conservative/fundamentalist Christians have, frankly, made me associate "Christianity" with stupidity, fanaticism, and blind hatred. Whether you think that's fair or not, I've had my share of bad experiences with religious types. Frankly, it takes a lot of self-discipline for me to not associate "God" with stupidity, fanaticism, and blind hatred too.

Melon
Unfortuatnely, this is the case for so many people. It really urinates me off too. Christianity, as Bono says, has a lot of bad second-hand car sales men. In the name of Christ, people smear Christ's message and example all over the place like a pile of poo. It's sickening. Yet, I'm just as human as they are. Just as flawed. There's been many times when I've misrepresented the faith and Christ. I'm glad to hear you're pushing yourself to understand God from a higher perspective than what so many people have today. Of course, you're intelligent, so it's no surprise.

I agree with a lot of your post. It's very well written. Your perspective on science and faith is moving, actually. Thanks for sharing that. You're right -- the world is complex, but orderly. I think in observing the world and how it works (science), we get a glimpse of God's character. It's truly remarkable.

You said you're seeking the community. I urge you to keep looking. It's important to all of us. It's how we're built. There are some bad apples out there, but there's great churches, too. My only advice is to settle for nothing less than a place where the Bible is taken seriously, where people haven't given up on understanding it and where a relationship with God is at the core of everything. If you mix that in with some good people, it'll change your life.
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:50 PM   #22
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Actually, coemgen, I do think of myself as Christian. It's Christianity as a current-day organized religion that I take an issue with. A bit like Gandhi said, "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians; they are nothing like your Christ."

That rings very true to me.

ETA: Thanks for the book recommendation! I have 4 weeks off to do nothing better than read. Somebody else suggested a book to me whose title I can't recall exactly at the moment but it was something along the lines of "How the religious right hijacked Jesus" and I've been meaning to look that up as well.
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Old 08-05-2006, 09:12 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Neenie
I’m a former Christian fundamentalist who is now Agnostic. I believed with blind faith and it’s taken me years to tell myself that I was simply brainwashed by the church. I still sometimes go through waves of confusion but you just have to block it out of your mind, and that’s taken a long time for me.

There are contradictions in the Bible and it’s been translated over and over. So many people have different beliefs on various verses of scripture, I found myself questioning is this really the inherent word of God? But that was just one of my many doubts.

The one thing that scared me in the church was how hypocritical and morally pretentious a lot of them really are - I was glad to get out of it.
....that pretty much sums up my new feelings too.
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Old 08-05-2006, 09:54 PM   #24
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former conservative christian turned agnostic.
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:21 PM   #25
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The more i think about it the more it becomes obvious how unreal and rather ridiculous today's christianity becomes. Im not trying to break anyones faith but that's the way i feel about it.
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Old 08-06-2006, 04:38 PM   #26
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^ Just for my curiosity's sake, can you explain why you think of "today's Christianity" as unreal and ridiculous?
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:12 AM   #27
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Well I don't mean just today's christians but i mean just the whole idea of christianity. I mean first, Why can god only have one son and why is it necessary for him to die on a cross? As if god will only have his power
if jesus dies on a cross. That's just an ancient belief in
animal and human sacrifice.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:40 AM   #28
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Former Catholic turned weak atheist.

The more I thought about it and learned about religion, the more unlikely the whole situation became. The less you know, the more you believe. At this point, my logic won't allow me to believe in the Christian god, or any other god that's been claimed by a religion.
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:53 AM   #29
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The last time we tried to do this here, it didn't work out so well.

http://forum.interference.com/t162074.html
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:16 AM   #30
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Originally posted by XHendrix24
The less you know, the more you believe. At this point, my logic won't allow me to believe in the Christian god, or any other god that's been claimed by a religion.
I respect your position, but I find it funny that the man who wrote the lyric "The less you know, the more you believe," is a Christian.
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