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View Poll Results: God?
I believe in A God, just not sure how it all works... 17 19.10%
I believe in a specific God 51 57.30%
I believe in many Gods 1 1.12%
I believe God is inside us 2 2.25%
I don't believe in any God 13 14.61%
Other 5 5.62%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 07-05-2002, 08:13 PM   #46
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I believe in God as an institution. With this I mean a superior force that is way beyond what the human mind can cope, and therefore forcing humans to stay grounded and humble. This I believe despite what my intellect. I Believe in God because that is the only way to stay sane. Otherwise I would, like in the words of Sartre, be living my life alone, facing the angst alone.
I believe in Jesus as a very wise man. I often refers to Jesus as my biggest idol. But, I can not and will never believe in the church. The church is full of humans, and therefore full of betrayel, greed, lust, hatred and stupidity. (this is not an accusation on any one here, who might be going to church regulary, but at the church as an institution)
Welcome to the forum, Folkelig.

A few comments that I hope you do not take the wrong way.

First, it's not necessary to believe in God despite one's intellect. I believe that the human intellect is at worst neutral: that it may not be able to say whether there is a God. At best, I believe it does point to the existence of the Almighty - from the transcendent nature of human reason to the historical evidence of Christ's resurrection.

To quote a Star Trek movie, "Logic is the beginning of wisdom . . . not the end."


Second, I believe that one cannot logically call Jesus Christ a "very wise man." Christ acted like He was God. He not only performed miracles, but he seemed to do so of His own power. He taught the Law not as a wise interpreter, but as its Author. And He forgave sins against other people; if He was not God, the Jewish religious leaders were right to call such an act heresy.

Famed Christian apologist C.S. Lewis noted that Christ assumed the authority of God and came to the following conclusion in his book, Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.


Finally, I agree that the church is a very human institution, succeptible to corruption and simple human error. But, if the New Testament is believed, Christ's plans to redeem humanity involves the Church; it is the body through which the bulk of His work will be done - from charity work, to bringing people to Christ, to teaching them what Christ taught.

It should not be forgotten that the church can make mistakes; in reality, it has made some HUGE mistakes. But we should trust that Jesus Christ knew what he was doing when he assigned Peter to be the foundation of that institution.
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Old 07-05-2002, 09:18 PM   #47
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You guys seriously find the Sigil of Baphomet creepy? I never thought of it that way.
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Old 07-06-2002, 12:48 PM   #48
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i don't really believe in any higher powers.

they may exist, they may not. quite frankly i don't really care. i don't say that fecetiously. i have associations with many religions and belief systems. i respect the people who do worship, i'm glad for the happiness that it brings them, the strength. but i really don't feel a need.

perhaps one day i will. as it is my life is going stupendously.

of course all this, in and of itself, is likely to be a religion. but such is the nature of discourse
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Old 07-06-2002, 12:54 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
The more I see of the universe and the world around me, the more I am convinced.
Exactly the opposite applies to me.
you mean the less you see of the universe and the world around you, the less you are convinced?


okay that was facetious. and pointless.
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Old 07-06-2002, 03:06 PM   #50
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No.

OK let me explain: first, i think it's a matter of belief: if you believe, than in your mind - in your point of view there is a God. If not, than according to your view there is no God.

I dunno - i think about it at times and i really do believe in the evolution (that it did take all those millions of years) and that it was more like a huge coincidence than a big plan behind it.
I do think that one life is all we get and that the universe (or the world, if you will) is full of chaotic random events rather than a big force or a creator running it.
I believe that humans have all they need within them to manage in this world - and that nothing is too hard to handle. And that essentially people are good inside - and that they have a natural desire to help each other out (ie i don't think that criminals for example are born). We have a conscience to tell us when we're wrong, also parents teach us right from wrong.

In the end, what it all comes down to it - as long as your family and your friends support you, you're doing things right.
Mostly though you have to answer to yourself and your values and morals as you go along. I guess it's up to everyone to find happiness in their own way.

To finish, i see God as the invention of man to explain the world around him. I respect religion as a source of comfort for those who choose it - which IMO is its main purpose.
Oh and i don't think that it's right for any religion to justify killing or any violence - because nothing or no one should ever be worth dying for.
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Old 07-07-2002, 06:52 PM   #51
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U2girl, I really, really hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think that this view is the whole story:

OK let me explain: first, i think it's a matter of belief: if you believe, than in your mind - in your point of view there is a God. If not, than according to your view there is no God.

In certain respects, belief is what matters. Studies show that those who believe in God may help themselves recover from an illness or accomplish physically demanding tasks - that belief is psychosomatically beneficial.

But there is still the question of whether there ACTUALLY is a God.

What I'm saying is this: there either really, truly, honestly IS a God; or there isn't. Our beliefs don't determine whether there is one or not, just like our shadow doesn't cause the sun to exist.

Either there is a God or there isn't. Either the believers are right, or the atheists are.


It's clear that you yourself are an atheist, and the rest of your post raises some interesting questions, but those can wait for another time, or a response from another forum member.
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Old 07-07-2002, 07:17 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl


In the end, what it all comes down to it - as long as your family and your friends support you, you're doing things right.
Mostly though you have to answer to yourself and your values and morals as you go along. I guess it's up to everyone to find happiness in their own way.
I try and keep up in this forum- so I'm going to try and contribute...

U2girl what you are saying here sounds like it would fall victim to the theory of cultural relativism: what is and isn't moral is determined by the cultural a person is living in. For example, the enslavement of blacks in America would be perfectly okay in the 17 and 1800's because your friends and family would have supported it, assuming you were the average southern white male at that time period. But are you still "doing things right" as you said?

Having to answer to only yourself and keep your morals and behavior in check with your self-imposed standards inherently creates problems: obviously Hitler or Bin Laden or a rapist or a child molestor sees nothing wrong with his/her problems, and in fact it is the death or domination of other people(s) that made them happy. Does that mean it their behaviors are okay and/or acceptable? I would think not. Therefore there must be something *more* than making sure you are happy and your actions are supported by your family and friends- if not then no one can ever complain about any injustice. Imagine standing up in court, pleaing not guilty after murdering someone from drunk driving simply by stating "But drinking made me happy...and my family supports it!"
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Old 07-07-2002, 11:59 PM   #53
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This may be a sort of cop out, but I believe that God may or may not exist. In other words, I think it's possible that He exists. But if He does, I don't see how humans could possibly understand Him or His plans for the world. I know many people might answer this with "it's in the Bible, etc, etc," but with all the different religions in the world I don't see how one particular one could be the correct one. I think religion - not belief in god(s) but religion - causes more problems than it's worth. Just think of how many people have died because of it! But anyway, I see belief in God as a personal choice- if you believe in Him, more power to you, and if you don't that's fine as well. I just try to live my life as a moral person, and I'm at peace with that decision.
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Old 07-08-2002, 01:55 AM   #54
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This may be a sort of cop out, but I believe that God may or may not exist. In other words, I think it's possible that He exists. But if He does, I don't see how humans could possibly understand Him or His plans for the world.
Well, what if God wanted to make Himself known to His creations?

If God exists, He created everything else - including us. Surely He is powerful enough to communicate to us, and that makes it at least possible our partial understanding of His will.

The questions that naturally arise are: Has He communicated to us? If so, in what way? And what was the message?

That's what religion tries to answer.

Quote:
I know many people might answer this with "it's in the Bible, etc, etc," but with all the different religions in the world I don't see how one particular one could be the correct one.
I think it's easy to see that one could be correct. In fact, with all the religions out there, there seems to be only one of two possiblities: either they're ALL wrong, or all but ONE.

(I personally believe Christianity is THE correct one, but it doesn't mean that most religions are absolutely wrong. Most religions agree on the basics of morality - charity, courage, etc. I just believe that, when Christianity and other religions disagree, Christianity is right.)

The more pertinent question is, how do you know which one - if any - is right?

A difficult question, to say the very least - one I'd be happy to tackle if you really want me to - but at least notice this one thing about my faith: it asks a very concrete question of its believers.

Unlike many other religions, Christianity does not revolve around the revelations of a handful of mystics, their insight into a reality that vanished in the mists of time or is otherwise removed from our experience. Christianity makes claims about a historical figure, one who was born recently enough that scholars rarely seriously question whether he actually existed.

The Christians claim this man, Jesus, was born, killed on a cross, and came back to life.

Most scholars say that this man DID exist (he's a historical figure, rather than mythical), and most agree that he was crucified...

...which brings us to the big question: did he come back to life?

(If there is any accuracy to the records of the early church, we can at least say that his closest friends certainly thought so - and were willing to die themselves rather than say otherwise.)

If he didn't come back to life, Christianity is SIMPLY wrong (see below).

But if Jesus DID return from the grave...

Quote:
I think religion - not belief in god(s) but religion - causes more problems than it's worth. Just think of how many people have died because of it!
Well, most religious people would say that most instances of violence in the name of God were instances of abusing that name and violating the tenets of the faith. As a Christian, I can only speak for Christianity, but I can say without hesitation that things like the Spanish Inquisition were the results of disobedience to Christ - not adherence to His principles.

(And I would remind the forum that people have killed for godlessness, too - namely, the terror of atheistic Communism imposed by Lenin, Stalin, and others.)

Beyond that, for all its faults, the church has been a fairly reliable method of transmitting what it believes is God's message to His people. The stakes are literally infinite; our immortal souls may hang in the balance. So the missteps of religion may well be worth its existence.


FOOTNOTE: As I mentioned before, Christianity hinges on the Resurrection. Paul, one of the first Christian missionaries, put it best in his letter to the church at Corinth, in modern-day Greece:

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost. If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world. - 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, Today's English Version.

1 Corinthians 15 also contains perhaps one of the more historically noteworthy passages:

I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; that he was buried and that he was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures; that he appeared to Peter and then to all twelve apostles. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have died. Then he appeared to James, and afterward to all the apostles. - 1 Cor 15:3-7.

Like most of Paul's major letters, 1 Corinthians was probably written between A.D. 50 and 60. Christ was killed around A.D. 30, so that's only about 25 years after that - FAR too little time for history to become THAT mired in myth.

But the above passage seems to be a creed of the early church - a systematic profession of faith. If that's so, Paul could have learned it shortly after his conversion - some TWO TO FIVE YEARS after Christ's death. Thus, the church has been proclaiming that Jesus was raised from the dead since the VERY beginning. At the very least, the theory that later Christians just made up the Resurrection doesn't hold much water.

And this is one piece of evidence in a mountain of evidence that suggests that Jesus' coming back to life is an ACTUAL historical event.

Accepting it is certainly still a matter of faith, but it does not require one to suspend one's own ability to reason. In two millenia, the human intellect has not been able to rule out the possiblity that Jesus is the risen Messiah.
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Old 07-08-2002, 10:41 AM   #55
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I beleive that if it works for you, great. If you like it, great. If it keeps you from harming children, even greater. I may not agree with the opinion of most humans but I'll fight for our right to have that opinion.
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Old 07-08-2002, 01:44 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba
U2girl, I really, really hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think that this view is the whole story:

In certain respects, belief is what matters. Studies show that those who believe in God may help themselves recover from an illness or accomplish physically demanding tasks - that belief is psychosomatically beneficial.

But there is still the question of whether there ACTUALLY is a God.

What I'm saying is this: there either really, truly, honestly IS a God; or there isn't. Our beliefs don't determine whether there is one or not, just like our shadow doesn't cause the sun to exist.

Either there is a God or there isn't. Either the believers are right, or the atheists are.


It's clear that you yourself are an atheist, and the rest of your post raises some interesting questions, but those can wait for another time, or a response from another forum member.
Just when i thought i got away with it...

Yes i am aware of belief being known to help healing faster to certain people - i guess optimistic attitude in general helps. Or, they say that people who believe in the holistic view of medicine will gain more by alternative sources of medicine.

But anyway, back to the topic:
i said "matter of belief" because i don't think there's a definite proof either way about the existence of a God. So if you believe, it's real to you. ("personal choice", as Giant Lemon said)

That's what i meant. Also i think Giant Lemon raised an interesting question, one which i often think about too: if there is a supreme being, how come there's so many different religions? Also, Bubba - there is the third possibility what if all religions are wrong - surely with so many different religions in the world, we must consider that too, right?
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Old 07-08-2002, 01:52 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm


I try and keep up in this forum- so I'm going to try and contribute...

U2girl what you are saying here sounds like it would fall victim to the theory of cultural relativism: what is and isn't moral is determined by the cultural a person is living in. For example, the enslavement of blacks in America would be perfectly okay in the 17 and 1800's because your friends and family would have supported it, assuming you were the average southern white male at that time period. But are you still "doing things right" as you said?

Having to answer to only yourself and keep your morals and behavior in check with your self-imposed standards inherently creates problems: obviously Hitler or Bin Laden or a rapist or a child molestor sees nothing wrong with his/her problems, and in fact it is the death or domination of other people(s) that made them happy. Does that mean it their behaviors are okay and/or acceptable? I would think not. Therefore there must be something *more* than making sure you are happy and your actions are supported by your family and friends- if not then no one can ever complain about any injustice. Imagine standing up in court, pleaing not guilty after murdering someone from drunk driving simply by stating "But drinking made me happy...and my family supports it!"
OK, let me elaborate:

i meant the average person, one with morals and (i guess) Western civilization cultural values. I meant normal people, who respect the general and fundamental morals accepted by people around the world - and when i say "answer to your morals" i mean: i didn't decide what's right or wrong, our society (my parents primarily, i guess) did. You know, the "be honest, don't steal, don't do crime" etc... basics.

Additionally, there's laws that further define right from wrong.
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Old 07-08-2002, 03:43 PM   #58
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OK, let me elaborate:

i meant the average person, one with morals and (i guess) Western civilization cultural values. I meant normal people, who respect the general and fundamental morals accepted by people around the world - and when i say "answer to your morals" i mean: i didn't decide what's right or wrong, our society (my parents primarily, i guess) did. You know, the "be honest, don't steal, don't do crime" etc... basics.

Additionally, there's laws that further define right from wrong.
But if there is no God why would anyone have to be moral? because the law says so? But what if you can be immoral (kill, steal..) and get away with it? Does the act become okay?

This reasoning to me still sounds like cultural relativism. Even within Western Civilization there are immoral beliefs held and practiced by people- racism being one of them. And how do we tell people who are not of Western Civiliation to apply to our morality? We have no right to- unless God tells us there are specific rights and wrongs and that everyone should adhere to them.

Achtung Bubba explained some of this more thoroughly in another thread about "if there is no God why should we be moral" but I'll leave my response where it's at.
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Old 07-08-2002, 03:59 PM   #59
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I believe that humans have all they need within them to manage in this world - and that nothing is too hard to handle.

i see God as the invention of man to explain the world around him. I respect religion as a source of comfort for those who choose it - which IMO is its main purpose.
u2girl,

I'm sure you didn't mean to offend by your comments but I am always offended when I hear this argument coming from non-believers.

What you are stating here is the old "religion is a crutch" argument. And you are saying that if people feel they need a crutch even if they don't really, then you won't be the one to tell them they can't have it. Stated this way it doesn't sound nearly so enlightened does it? But that is the clear implication of your views. In other words, those who realize they are strong enough to handle life as it is, do not feel the need for relgion and those who feel they can't handle life without inventing something to make it more palatable, are the ones who feel the need to believe in God.

I feel this is the most demeaning attitude toward believers, second only to outright contempt for us.

I am not alone when I say that i did not come to religion because I couldn't make it in life any other way. I did not feel overwhelmed or overly bewildered by the universe. Before I became a believer, I was personally able to get by without the security of religion.

The real reason I was drawn to religion was the extraordinary joyfulness and uncommon heroism of religious believers. I was drawn to Christianity in particular because I saw Christians exemplifying this effect especially in their response to the worst possible situations. In short, I came to see that religion is the best way to maximize our lives, to add on to our ordinary strength, not as some way to make up for some perceived lack of strength.

In other words, I see religion not as a crutch to help believers cope with reality. It is rather a means of empowerment to help us achieve the extraordinary.

I agree with what you say about humans having all they need to handle the world but I have found this to only be true in ideal situations and only if you are happy to settle for just getting by looking out for just yourself and your family.

But when you tamper with this formula, and the record will bear this out, what you'll find is that human strength without belief falters according to the degree of variance from normalcy.

It turns out that people who rely on only their own strength are perfectly capable of handling normal human experience, like caring for family or even dealing with the illness or loss of a loved one. But take everything away, home, family, wealth, the protection of law, the freedom from torture, literally everything and a believer will be much better able not just to deal with it but to ALSO to continue functioning at extraordianary levels of virtue and activism.

And yet it is not even necessary to go so far to see the uncommon heroism of religious believers. Among all activists you will find a MUCH higher presence of believers to non-believers. But the rougher things get, the less you will see of non-believers. It is much easier for a believer than a non-believer to go into a dangerous situation that they could walk away from because the believer goes in with knowing that they will be allright no matter what terrible thing might happen. Odds are that a non-believer is much more likely to hesitate because they really are essentially unprepared to deal with the REAL possibility of their death (as opposed to theorizing about their THEORETICAL death somewhere in the distant future) In the hurricane force winds of that real possibility, you had better be as certain as you can be or else you WILL be blown away.

I could go on. But I'll just ask you who would be more likely to crawl in filth for the sake of someone else? Who would be more likely to die for your sake? Would it be someone with a favorite theory about life or would it be someone for whom a loving God is as real as the ground we stand on?

To conclude, I have found that far from being a crutch for reaching normal human strength, religion is the surest way to increase human strength far beyond its normal limits. It is the surest way to true heroism and when you really look at the world as it is for most people, you'll quickly realize how much this world needs for us ordinary people to become heroes. And whatsmore you'll also quickly realize that the roster of heroic humanitarians and activists is chock full of religious believers.

Frankly, you would have to do some research to find more than a handful of athiests on that same list.


I actually have more to say in reply to your post. So stay tuned.
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Old 07-08-2002, 05:21 PM   #60
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But anyway, back to the topic:
i said "matter of belief" because i don't think there's a definite proof either way about the existence of a God. So if you believe, it's real to you. ("personal choice", as Giant Lemon said)

That's what i meant. Also i think Giant Lemon raised an interesting question, one which i often think about too: if there is a supreme being, how come there's so many different religions? Also, Bubba - there is the third possibility what if all religions are wrong - surely with so many different religions in the world, we must consider that too, right?
I certainly see what you mean about the "matter of belief;" I just don't think it comes close to answering whether God actually exists.


Concering the thrid possibility - that all religions are wrong - that's what I meant in the first of the two possibilities:

In fact, with all the religions out there, there seems to be only one of two possiblities: either they're ALL wrong, or all but ONE.

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear, but the two possibilities are these:

1) All religions are wrong.

2) One religion is right; the rest are wrong.

One could suggest that all (or many) religions are right, but that raises the question of what you do about the differences. If the differences are really minor (compare Catholicism to most Protestant faiths) than we're really talking about different denominations within the same faith.

But if the differences are REALLY great (Christianity and Buddhism), then you can't resolve the difference in any meaningful way.


All of this leads up to the biggest question you asked: "if there is a supreme being, how come there's so many different religions?"

Depending on your view of what the supreme being is, you're going to have a MULTITUDE of answers, most of which I won't be able to cover fully. So, I'll take it from my own point of view - if the Christian God is real, why are there so many other religions?

Well, I believe God has first given us a desire to be in His presence - the "God-shaped hole" Bono wrote about in Mofo, a desire that many people try to sate through human relationships, the acquisition of power and wealth, or the use of mind-altering drugs.

(C.S. Lewis has an interesting take on this observation: we have a natural desires we call thirst and hunger. And these desires can be met by real things - water and food. If we have a desire for God, it's possible that that desire is a sign that God Himself exists to fulfill the desire.)

So, we have desire to know God, but God has not given us definitive, overwhelming proof of His own being. I believe He withheld such proof to keep our free will intact, so that we could choose Him in a way that the choice is meaningful. So, people have come up with their own explanations of God that fill their desire and match their own conclusions about reality. Hence, the appearance of a whole variety of religions that say very different things about God.

Finally, we have two gifts that give us ideas about God: our conscience, which results in so many religions having broady similar moral codes; and the universe itself, which explains why so many religions use very similar imagery.

That's a VERY rough sketch of an answer, but I hope it helps.
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