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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 07-08-2002, 07:55 PM   #61
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You could assume that each person lives in there own "universe" anjd what ever they believe in is true for them but not for someone else that believes something different. In this case, all religions would be technically correct.
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Old 07-08-2002, 08:25 PM   #62
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Yeah, but - with all due respect - the assumption is silly.

And until someone actually claims this theory is the least bit plausible, I will dismiss it out of hand.
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Old 07-08-2002, 08:47 PM   #63
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It seems just as likely that some dude is sitting up there in the clouds planing our lives for us and making us bow down before him.
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:00 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar
It seems just as likely that some dude is sitting up there in the clouds planing our lives for us and making us bow down before him.
I dont think thats the way that GOd is portrayed........I dont think its right to say there is a big bloke up there with a big beard planning our lives- thats a *bit* too farfetched for my likin- i believe in some unknown entity living that none of us living folk can see and i hope that there is another life after this one...but nobody knows...
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:27 PM   #65
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Originally posted by RavenStar
It seems just as likely that some dude is sitting up there in the clouds planing our lives for us and making us bow down before him.
Let's cast theism in the proper light.

Very few theists older than, say, nine years old honestly think that the Almighty actually exists in the sky above us, sitting "up there in the clouds."

Second, few theologians believe that God made us to bow down before Him - that giving us free will and the ability to reason contradicts that possibility. Some religions believe the goal is that humanity will be absorbed into God, like a drop of water into an ocean; Christianity believes that we were created not to worship Him as subjects, but to have a relationship with Him as sons and daughters.

Finally, the idea of a Higher Power planning our lives isn't so absurd when you consider the novelist, who does the same for his characters. But unlike the novelist, God has infinite power to do this (rather than a limited lifespan and a limited imagination). And compared to the novelist's characters, human souls are infinitely more important.

So, we're not really comparing your suggestion to "some dude is sitting up there in the clouds planing our lives for us and making us bow down before him." We are comparing it to a power existing outside of creation, guiding this creation so that we may have a relationship with Him.

A sizable difference.


And what of your supposition?

First, there's the idea that each of us live in our own little universe. Any observation of reality suggests otherwise - that we're all in this boat together.

But let's go with that assumption for a moment. The further assumption is "what ever they believe in is true," which means that our belief DETERMINES reality. I could really, really believe there's a thousand dollars in my wallet, and that doesn't make it so.

But taken together, we have a truly absurd image: we are each in our own "bubble" universe, with each bubble created by what its inhabitant believes created it. It begs a whole series of questions:


1. What if I believed my universe's creator actually created all the universes? If that happens to be so, it negates the beliefs of everyone else. If that isn't the case, it appears that there are arbitrary limits on what my belief can make real.

2. What if my belief changes, if I suddenly go from believing in God to believing in nothing? Does my bubble's God disappear? Or is my bubble's history re-written so that it is in fact created by nothing?

3. Do the Gods who control each bubble universe interact?

4. WHO CREATED THIS SYSTEM OF BUBBLE UNIVERSES?


That last question is most important because it illustrates that your supposition does nothing more than move the question of God back a level.

As much as I have respected your opinions in the past, I must say that you're going down a dead-end on this one.
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:31 AM   #66
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u2girl,

I'm back and I've decided that the reply I was planning to write isn't as important as what I am about to say. What follows is for anyone who has been following our discussions lately.

Quote:
whiteflag said 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
Of course, I have many more reasons for being a Christian than the one above, but it was definitely a main factor in attracting me to my faith. I have found that belief in Jesus produces real differences in a believers behavior towards others in ways that can be observed by anyone. And in my own life, I know what belief in Jesus has done for my own personal "heroism." In actively practicing my faith, I have been brought into connection with a very real other Reality, and through this connection, I have found my formerly ordinary compassion and courage enhanced to an amazing degree. I now feel possessed of a new readiness and bravery which I am confident will produce extraordinary results no matter where or how I am called into service. Maybe I will make the kind of difference that attracts attention or maybe I will just make the difference for one person in my hometown and noone will ever know that I've done it. The important thing is that I know that I can do whatever extrordinary thing that's required of me. I know that I am never going to say again that heroism is for other people or that I can't do what's needed to help someone because I don't have some gift or because I am too shy etc...

And the beautiful thing is that this is the destiny of all of us, no matter how ordinary we think we are. Christianity is different because not only are ALL Christians, all people, expected to be heroes of God like Jesus but we are also all given the empowerment we need to meet that expectation. (and Grace as well when we fail)

Just imagine a world where the heroes outnumbered the ordinary guys who deal pretty well with their lives but otherwise just stay on their couches. Just imagine the improvement in the conditions in the world if more people than not followed The Jesus Way instead of just complaining. That picture is but a shadow of The Kingdom which the Church was originally instituted to help bring about. And if any religion is uniquely able to bring about this vision it is the Christian religion if only because of Who we exclusively follow.

of course this is not to say that people of other religions are never heroic. What I am saying is that Christianity is as close as we get to a science for turning ordinary folks into heroes-in-waiting.

Keep reading and judge for yourself if this might be true.

We Christians are in love with an astonishing Being who it is said began and ended his ministry on earth with heroic sacrifice, first humbling himself to live far beneath his means, and lastly to suffer through an awful death for the sake of others who pretty much rejected him. In between, there was nothing at all theoretical about the Love he had for people.

Jesus is the most heroic of all the great religious figures. Just look at his record.

1) He never killed or even hurt anyone or tried to justify such behavior as "necessary". He never left the people he met just as they were. He did nothing but build people up one case at a time, person to person.

2) He was the friend of the most despised, and therefore the most lonely members of his society. He held their hands. He touched them. He looked into their eyes and he wept over them. Jesus didn't just say to love others. He didn't write it down in some book. He didn't say love some people or love people as long as they don't mess with you. Over and over he showed excatly how Love must practiced for it to be really Love and not just a form of kindness and politeness. He showed the world that Love isn't Love unless its can be seen and heard and be exchanged between two people face to face. He was the first and the last great religious figure to focus exclusively on Loving people up to a higher state one person at a time.

3) He returned the dead and the mad to their families. He healed people with hopeless conditions. He provided abundantly for the desparate and hungry people who flocked to Him.

4) He could have resorted to violence or force to save Himself but he refused. He died the worst death possible to get through to us what is the true depth of Love. He made of Himself a giant billboard for the ages so that noone could miss hearing the message even if they went on to reject it.

5) He forgave his enemies.

And you know what? Even if you believe that most or all of the story was made up, can anyone deny what the effect would be on a person who whole-heartedly loved the Jesus we find in The Gospels and believed in Him alone? Countless numbers of people have decided to follow in his footsteps as exactly as possible out of passionate but abiding Love for Him, embracing the world rather than renouncing it and putting themselves last instead of seeking a personal balance or spiritual ecstasy first. Can anyone deny the extraordinary things such people have done in The Name of Jesus (Love)? Can anyone deny that the world is in emergency need for many more such people?

Can't you see that if we wait around until we get our heads together first that we'll be waiting forever for something to change?

I said at the top of my post that there are many reasons why I am Christian. But wouldn't the reasons I've just gone over be enough?

Isn't it more important to get out in the world and Love after the example of Jesus than it is to worry about having the right belief or searching your whole life for some elusive Truth or balance? Isn't it very likely that the Truth can only be found when we love abundantly the One who loved us abundantly so that we might also be empowered to love other people just as abundantly?

(try saying that last line really fast a couple of times )

Anyway, doesn't The Jesus Way make more sense given the current condition of the world? And if so, why would that not be a good enough reason to believe?
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Old 07-09-2002, 01:02 AM   #67
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba
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.
Couldn't it possible that deep down they're all right? I realize that with the great variety of religions there are many contradictions, but when it comes down to it all religions (at least that I know of- feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) are based on a belief in a supreme being. Couldn't this just indicate that a supreme being does exist and everything else is just added on?

Quote:
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.)


I completely agree with you here, and I admit that religion does have many virtues in terms of bringing people together, helping others, encouraging good morals, etc. It just seems that if organized religion didn't exist, we'd be free of so many deaths that were (wrongly) justified by religion. But, I suppose people would just find some other characteristic to be used as a basis to fight about. Sigh.

Anyway, I don't come to this forum often, but I think I'm going to be visiting more because threads like this are very interesting to me. Very nice insights, Achtung Bubba!
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Old 07-09-2002, 08:05 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally posted by Giant Lemon


Couldn't it possible that deep down they're all right? I realize that with the great variety of religions there are many contradictions, but when it comes down to it all religions (at least that I know of- feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) are based on a belief in a supreme being. Couldn't this just indicate that a supreme being does exist and everything else is just added on?
I kinda addressed the idea in a previous thread:

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.


Basically, that "everything else" that's added on isn't insignificant.

Some religions say that the universe is an illusion to be transcended, others (like Christianity) say that it is a real thing created by God.

Some religions say that, upon death, we are reincarnated in a different living thing; some say that we are absorbed into God; Christianity says that we maintain our identity and enjoy an eternal relationship with God (and that, somehow, we end up having a physical body in the process).

Some religions deny that Jesus ever lived; some try to assert that He was a mere prophet who was not raised from the dead; Christianity asserts that He is the resurrected and unique Son of God.

These are serious differences between religions, and for each question, there can be only one right answer.

The fact that all/most religions assert the existence of God means that they are all the same in the most important respect. But there are a LOT of other important areas in which they're different.

It's kinda like comparing geocentrism (the belief that the everything revolves around the Earth) and heliocentrism (the belief that everything revolves around the sun). Both beliefs agree that there is an Earth and a sun, but they disagree on what revolves around what.

Clearly, the two beliefs are vastly different.

Quote:
I completely agree with you here, and I admit that religion does have many virtues in terms of bringing people together, helping others, encouraging good morals, etc. It just seems that if organized religion didn't exist, we'd be free of so many deaths that were (wrongly) justified by religion. But, I suppose people would just find some other characteristic to be used as a basis to fight about. Sigh.
I believe that those who instigated things like the Spanish Inquisition would have found other ways to assert their power than religion.

And without organized religion, it would be far more difficult to pass on truths about God (if such truths exist).

Let's say, for a moment, that Jesus Christ is in fact the resurrected Son of God. Without organized religion, that fact (or, at the least, His specific teachings) would have probably vanished from this planet.

Quote:
Anyway, I don't come to this forum often, but I think I'm going to be visiting more because threads like this are very interesting to me. Very nice insights, Achtung Bubba!
Thanks - glad I could help.
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:23 AM   #69
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That reminds me of when two of my friends at school were fighting. They both thought the other person was lying. Turns out neither of them were lying, they just interpreted the situation differently. That doesn't mean there are two completely different situations, just different interpritations of them.
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:38 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba


Let's say, for a moment, that Jesus Christ is in fact the resurrected Son of God. Without organized religion, that fact (or, at the least, His specific teachings) would have probably vanished from this planet.

Great point
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Old 07-09-2002, 11:55 AM   #71
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you mean that opinion
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:21 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar
you mean that opinion
No, I mean great point.
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:25 PM   #73
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Let's say, for a moment, that Jesus Christ is in fact the resurrected Son of God. Without organized religion, that fact (or, at the least, His specific teachings) would have probably vanished from this planet.
He says fact, I say opinion.
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:44 PM   #74
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As you quoted me:

Let's say, for a moment, that Jesus Christ is in fact the resurrected Son of God. Without organized religion, that fact (or, at the least, His specific teachings) would have probably vanished from this planet.

That first sentence ("Let's say...") establishes that I'm dealing in the hypothetical possibility that Jesus is the resurrected Son of God. The second sentence, which follows from the first, assumes that the belief is fact, rather than asserting that the belief is fact.

To say I'm doing otherwise is grasping at straws.
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Old 07-09-2002, 12:48 PM   #75
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That is excatly what I was doing when I said about the "bubble universe" thing.
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