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Community => Shootin' the Breeze => Topic started by: Aphasia on July 25, 2011, 01:03:03 AM

Title: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aphasia on July 25, 2011, 01:03:03 AM
Hello!

I was raised a christian.  Unlike my mother, father and sister I was a very luke warm christian.  Right now I would describe myself as agnostic.  My girlfriend and her brother are strong athiests.  Being exposed to a different way of thinking has inspired doubt in my heart.  I've been doing a lot of reading on evolution and watched tons of debates on the subject.  I still have a lot of unawnsered questions, most of which are common problems like the "Problem of evil", the likelyhood of the theory of evolution, Noah's arc shenannigans, etc.

Talking with my mother about my concerns brought her to tears.  I hate that.  I wish I could continue to ignore the things that don't make sense, like I have for a long time.  But more than that I want to be honest with myself.  I'm tired of meandering softly on the issue.

So, next logical step?  Consult the great thinkers of Skullknight.net of course!  I would love to hear your voice.  Do you believe in a God?  Were you raised in a religious environment?  If not, why?  If so, what is your reason?  Does faith play a big role in your life?  What would you reccomend for someone in my position?  

I've seen similar threads burst into flame on lesser forums.  Please be respectful.  Engage!
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 01:17:05 AM
Aphasia, check your messages.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: MrSmit on July 25, 2011, 01:29:57 AM
I am a Protestant Christian, and I was raised that way by my parents. My faith is based on trust in others' experiences as well as my own. I have seen God answer my prayers in ways that I just can't see as coincidence. Anyway, that's where I stand, and it's good to know there is a forum where we can have a discussion like this. I trust there won't be any blatant anger towards others in this thread.  :serpico:

Also, I 'lost hope' for evolution after reading this (http://www.amazon.com/Did-Man-Just-Happen-Criswell/dp/0802422128/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311561758&sr=1-1).

It was written about fifty years ago, but it is still mostly relevant to the fundamentals of what is being taught about evolution.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Slime_Beherit on July 25, 2011, 02:20:38 AM
I was raised catholic and am now a proud atheist. If you're having trouble imagining a world without Yaweh, then realize this, you have gone your whole life without believing in; Allah, Zeus, Horus, etc... you just have one more to not believe in.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aphasia on July 25, 2011, 03:21:33 AM
Aphasia, check your messages.

Got it.  Thanks!

I am a Protestant Christian, and I was raised that way by my parents. My faith is based on trust in others' experiences as well as my own. I have seen God answer my prayers in ways that I just can't see as coincidence. Anyway, that's where I stand, and it's good to know there is a forum where we can have a discussion like this. I trust there won't be any blatant anger towards others in this thread.  :serpico:

Cool.  Thanks for the response.  I'm open to arguments from both sides.  I might have to look into ordering this book.  Would be interesting to read a counter argument toward evolution.  Yeah, I'm glad too.  I think the majority of SKnet are adults who can handle other people living their lives according to their personal convictions.   :griffnotevil:

I was raised catholic and am now a proud atheist

That's neat.  Would you like to elaborate?  What influenced your decision?

If you're having trouble imagining a world without Yaweh, then realize this, you have gone your whole life without believing in; Allah, Zeus, Horus, etc... you just have one more to not believe in.

I think I remember Richard Dawkins making a similar claim in one of his videos.  If you haven't seen it already: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_militant_atheism.html

That's an interesting point.  I don't know if I can call myself a Christian right now, but I remember thinking how easily Christians dismiss other religions.  It's so easy for us because it's not our religion.  Without a second thought, usually.  In the same way it must be easy for an atheist to to dismiss the Christian God.  I remember someone saying "The difference between me and you is that I believe in one less God than you do." that really stuck with me.  We can't all be right.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Slime_Beherit on July 25, 2011, 03:33:23 AM
That's neat.  Would you like to elaborate?  What influenced your decision?

Sorry I was on my iPad.

Um, there were a couple of things that influenced me but one thing that really lingered in my mind was how every religion said they were right. All I could think to myself was "They can't all be right", all thses holy books seemed too have a lot of supernatural elements to them as well, things that don't ever happen now a days.

The bible itself seemed so cleverly crafted,  it really did a good job of cover all it's bases so no one should doubt it.Of course though evolution had a huge part in convincing me.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: mega_devastation on July 25, 2011, 03:46:29 AM
I'm atheist, i was raised catholic. i began to seriously question my parents faith around the time i turned 17. Instead of tears, my mom would get really angry with me when i questioned her about the faith she had raised me with. But none of the answers i got from her were satisfactory, especially the ones dealing with the problem of evil. Most of the time, people will say, 'God works in mysterious ways' which is sorta insulting when u know 1000s of children die of starvation everyday while their parents pray for a miracle.

the way i see it, theres too much wrong with religion to see it as something worth worshiping. Science is not perfect but it knows that and tries really hard at correcting its own mistakes, something that religions do not do. That means that eventually, scientists will find the answers. i can live without knowing all the answers, but its nice to know people are working on it.

and heres a quote that i really like, about living as an atheist:

ďThe only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and live. There is nothing more; I want nothing more.Ē óAyaan Hirsi Ali
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aphasia on July 25, 2011, 04:08:25 AM
Sorry I was on my iPad.

Um, there were a couple of things that influenced me but one thing that really lingered in my mind was how every religion said they were right. All I could think to myself was "They can't all be right", all thses holy books seemed too have a lot of supernatural elements to them as well, things that don't ever happen now a days.

The bible itself seemed so cleverly crafted,  it really did a good job of cover all it's bases so no one should doubt it.Of course though evolution had a huge part in convincing me.

You're good.  I'm on my IPad too.  Still getting used to it.  

A lot of people think miracles still happen today.  I've had some stuff happen to me that could be called a miracle.  Everyone around me proclaimed it as a miracle.  I even agreed with them for a time.  I mean, if something can't be expained it has to be supernatural right?  Not really so.  I'm sure we've all experienced something along these lines.  But then I realized you have to count the misses too.  Why would God save me vs someone else in the same position?  Did I have more faith than they did?  Surely their friends and family prayed just as hard to save their life.  

So does God pick and choose who to save?  I would love to hear an answer from a Christian on the boards.  I've heard responses but nothing that satisfies my curiosity.  "It's impossible to know Gods motivation" or "It was Gods will, it must've been their time to go" and "Bad things happen because there is Sin in the world.  It's unavoidable." "because Satan rules this world" etc, etc.  Are any of these satisfactory answers?  Or is this a matter of having faith?

The bible is the very thing making me doubt myself.  Not only are Christians motivated with promises of eternal life, but they're also threatened with hellfire if they refuse God.  That's kind of scary, especially if you were raised with this stuff.  "let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."

Is it so bad to doubt?  Even scarier, the prospect that denying God is the worst sin, above murder and adultery.



Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Slime_Beherit on July 25, 2011, 04:13:54 AM
Either Yahweh isnt omniscient or he's a sadist
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Grail on July 25, 2011, 05:15:42 AM
This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting the conversation, Aphasia! I've always wondered how personal religious feelings factor into a Berserk reader's mindset, given its sometimes biting critique of organized religion; but maybe that's another conversation. :guts: As for me, I go by the old Dark Horse translation of a certain quote from volume 21... "If you see God, you tell Him this... Leave me the hell alone!!!"

 :puck:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Turkitage on July 25, 2011, 05:16:09 AM
That's kind of scary, especially if you were raised with this stuff.  "let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."

Is it so bad to doubt?  Even scarier, the prospect that denying God is the worst sin, above murder and adultery.

Reminds me of this: Jesus said: "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."

Wasn't one of the commandments not to kill/murder?

So, next logical step?  Consult the great thinkers of Skullknight.net of course!  I would love to hear your voice.  Do you believe in a God?  Were you raised in a religious environment?  If not, why?  If so, what is your reason?  Does faith play a big role in your life?  What would you reccomend for someone in my position?  

Quick run down: Parents came from Turkey/Iran when they were mid 20s to the United States. They were Muslim. Got married in United States and became Christian and Americanized themselves the best they could - they changed their names/birthdays and everything. Went to Church often with the family when I was young, but this was to fit in to american culture at the time. Then we eventually stopped going as I started getting to middle school. It seems most kids stop going to church around that same age too, from what I gather. Parents never really bought into the religion thing, they simply switched to help prevent discrimination.


My thoughts... there are a lot of nit-picky stuff in the bible that I have a hard time believing. But overall I can't prove or disprove God or even anything in existence. There is a high probability (I feel) that you can't prove or disprove anything in this world to be true or not true. I never understood how some people could be so blindly passion about something that can't be proven or not proven. I think most of it comes from the culture and assumptions people were born into. Peoples core belief systems typically would come from their environment and basic assumptions of reality. However, a lot of these assumptions are just assumed facts that they accept. So I feel that plays a huge factor in peoples lives even when they grow older to make choices on their own. It's why some people believe in their religion that might encourage killing other people (an extreme example). Now, objectively there is nothing wrong or right with killing people so if that's what they believe in, go for it - This is not something I prefer.

It's kind of off topic but the reason I'm mentioning it is because as much as you want to think about it, Aphasia, you'll probably come back to the same answer that you have - that you still don't know. I think the people who exercise "faith" helps them remain positive and expect justice (based on their own personal core believe system) so they can keep moving forward in their existence. Wishful thinking or a cop out, who knows?

So, just do what I do, Aphasia, and believe (or don't believe) in one thing: nothing.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Gobolatula on July 25, 2011, 06:44:32 AM
I was raised Catholic and still am Catholic.

I don't give much of a hoot about what others believe or don't believe in. There are so many different types of faith and I think a good idea to realize that what works for you may not work for someone else.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Truder on July 25, 2011, 07:04:02 AM
I believe in God, I don't believe in religion.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Delta Phi on July 25, 2011, 08:28:09 AM
I was raised Christian but wasn't exposed to church services until I was 5 years old at which point my parents became members of the First Presbyterian church. As years went by I just went through the motions. Sunday school and church services once a week with a few events on the side. Nothing ground breaking. My faith wasn't solid, but I always believed God was there watching and listening.

Things get a little awkward at this point, so excuse me. It was about 6th grade that I could finally name what was wrong with me. I was gay and extremely confused. My dad never gave me "the talk" and I had to learn the basics second hand from movies, friends, science class, and the guidance counselor. It was also about this time that my sister (who is 4 years older than me) came back from some kind of church retreat where her and one of my close friends (who attended the same church as us) had learned about some verses in Ezekiel and the very famous Leviticus verses. The news of what they had learned passed on to me and I instantly began to panic.

From about that point on I started praying at night whenever I couldn't sleep. Usually about some inconsequential thing and then I would always finish by asking God to fix me--that is, make me heterosexual.

A year or two passed and my religious studies began to get deeper. My aforementioned close friend began learning about the core beliefs of the Presbyterian church we grew up in, which was pretty much Calvinism verbatim. I quickly took hold of the subject matter and devoted a serious amount of time to the understanding of its dogma. At this same time I began asking questions to my religious peers about the ultimate destination of homosexuals. My fear of burning in Hell reached a climax and I began to pray nightly, pleading that God help me overcome my great sin.

Around my sophomore/junior year in high school I was spending a lot of time reading the Bible and talking with my friend. Things start to get really convoluted so I'll try and give a simplified version. Basically I spent a lot of weekends talking about Christianity with a somewhat motley crew. There were two reformed Calvinists (my friend and I), a Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic (who was previously a Calvinist as well), a Church of Christ who recently became reformed Calvinist, a Calvinist who was currently becoming Roman Catholic, and an Atheist (who quickly learned to stop showing up, or at least stop participating in the conversations)

The big discussion was usually why creationism was logical and necessary in our universe and why Christianity was the only logical religion that fit into that formula. Discussion would always move onto Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism vs. Calvinism and eventually a stalemate would be reached at which both groups would promise to come up with a rebuttal for the next weekend. As my knowledge and understanding of Calvinism and Catholicism expanded it only helped to worsen my fears.

Eventually the Catholics posed an question that couldn't be answered by the Calvinists. This was in the summer after my senior year of high school. We spent weeks trying to figure out and answer to the inherent dilemma of Sola Scriptura, the believe that the Bible is infallible, which is something a large majority of Protestant faiths believe. The only answer we kept coming to was that God had to ordain man to be able to interpret his word. In other words the Pope, Bishops, etc. Very quickly the small band of Calvinists unraveled. Most turned to Pre-Vatican II Catholicism. I, however, was completely crushed. My entire set of believes fell flat on their face and I was left questioning what was real and what wasn't. And this was all on top of me still struggling with my homosexuality. For the last 7 years I had spent, on average, praying for God to fix me. There were even several occasions that I swore to serve the church exclusively after high school and yet I still had this nagging sin. There were several moments where I came close to killing myself, but I was only halted because of the inherent sin of suicide. My life was miserable.

Upon going to college I stopped attending church. I left my Bible at home. In fact I still haven't cracked it open since I left. Eventually I renounced my faith as a Presbyterian to my parents and told them I was gay. I became a Deist for most of my college years. I chose to finally accept myself and I stopped praying. My stress level plummeted and I've recently become the happiest I've ever been in my life when my significant other and I decided to devote the rest of our lives together.

Currently, I choose to live my life as a kind and loving person. And I like to think Christ, if he is truly the son of God, would appreciate that. I just do what makes me happy. As for what'll happen after I die, I don't know. But I plan to find out eventually.

Really sorry if that was boring.

PS.  Also sorry for any grammatical/spelling mistakes :/
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on July 25, 2011, 09:10:55 AM
I was raised a christian.  Unlike my mother, father and sister I was a very luke warm christian.  Right now I would describe myself as agnostic.  My girlfriend and her brother are strong athiests.  Being exposed to a different way of thinking has inspired doubt in my heart.  I've been doing a lot of reading on evolution and watched tons of debates on the subject.  I still have a lot of unawnsered questions, most of which are common problems like the "Problem of evil", the likelyhood of the theory of evolution, Noah's arc shenannigans, etc.

Honestly it's retarded to debate the fact evolution occurs in this world. And that debate pretty much only happens in the USA, too. People should try to adapt their views to that fact instead of going against it, because it's a lost battle. They didn't want to believe that the Earth revolved around the Sun at first either. See how that ended up. Same with everything else. In that regard, I see fundamentalism as being very backwards (and dare I say stupid). Especially considering what I'm telling Slime_Beherit at the bottom of this post.

So, next logical step?  Consult the great thinkers of Skullknight.net of course!  I would love to hear your voice.  Do you believe in a God?  Were you raised in a religious environment?  If not, why?  If so, what is your reason?  Does faith play a big role in your life?  What would you reccomend for someone in my position?

I tend to describe myself as an agnostic, although my actual state of mind might more accurately be summed up as not giving a shit. I was raised in an environment that didn't care much for religion in general. Was baptized to please some great-grandmother but my parents never went to church or anything. We're called the Old Continent for a good reason, and despite the fact each little village here has a church that's built in stone and is hundreds of years old, few people are religious anymore. Islam is a little bit more lively due to the immigrants of the past 60 years (just like the Catholic immigrants who preceded them had rekindled that flame), but barely. Mostly the young people will observe Ramadan and avoid eating pork, and that's the end of it. Same inconsistencies you'll find with the vast majority of "believers" across all religions nowadays. So yeah, the environment in my country isn't exactly prone to being a serious worshipper, regardless of what your faith is. Most people keep it to themselves. Hope that satisfies your curiosity.

Now, about what you should do. Honestly, your current choice seems to be the best to me given your situation. Obviously in your case the big hurdle is to manage to tolerate/be tolerated by your family and your girlfriend/friends at the same time. Again, that's a very American problem. I mean religion isn't something I'd even care to discuss if I knew it was a controversial topic, and you'd think a mother could love her son regardless of his spiritual choices. Anyways, being an Agnostic works perfectly in your case, though it requires some degree of hypocrisy. First off, it's the most logical choice. If there's a God that exists outside of our universe, we by definition cannot be aware of Its existence. That's undeniable. Obviously that wouldn't be the Christian God, but hey, it's a God at least.

Second, you can agree with most of what your atheist buddies will say and state that being Agnostic is a technicality, a position they can't refute (nor are likely to care much about) if you word it properly. Same for Christians or others, although that'll be harder. Tell them you're bothered by inconsistencies and other elements in said organized religion and have moved on to believing in your own creed. That you're keeping all the good stuff (be good, help others, killing is bad, etc.) and letting go of the more dubious stuff (list is long). Depending on your ability to argue and be dishonest this could be settled over a lengthy, excruciating dinner without breaking too many hearts.

The bible itself seemed so cleverly crafted,  it really did a good job of cover all it's bases so no one should doubt it.Of course though evolution had a huge part in convincing me.

Keep in mind what you're calling the Bible is most likely an old, not very accurate translation of a collection of documents that have been heavily edited (content deleted, added, rewritten) over the centuries. A lot of people tend to forget that. I'm interested in religious texts (all of them) myself from a historical and mythological perspective.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 11:10:23 AM
Sorry to butt in Aaz, but it is not called the fact of evolution, but the theory of evolution -- even today. It is mostly a theory because it goes against the laws of physics, such as the law of biogenesis and the second law of thermodynamics (aka the law of entropy).

The law of biogenesis states that living things only come from living things. A rock does not turn into something alive. A cellphone will not walk away. To take it a step further, even something that was living cannot spawn living things from it -- a piece of meat will not spawn maggots/flies/jane fonda/etc.

The second law of thermodynamics is often called the law of entropy, which basically means that things go from order to disorder (and that all the energy in the universe is running out). What this means is that things cannot get more complex without some sort of energy being put into it to make it so (an outside source). Here is an example:

A person builds a house and then leaves it alone. Left to its own devices, the house will decay unless energy from outside the house is put into it to keep it from wearing out. To take this a step further, this house will never turn into a mansion on its own, because in order for that to happen an outside source of energy would need to be put into it. This is the law of entropy.

These are the laws of the universe. They cannot be bent or broken. They did not get the title of "law" by being proven wrong.

And this is without even going into the internal inconsistencies with evolution -- like how survival of the fittest goes against itself. There is also irreducible complexity, which states that in a complex system, if you take out one piece of it, it will not work, and therefore make the rest of the system useless.

There is also irreducible complexity, which states that if you take out one piece of a complex system, it will not work, rendering the rest of the pieces useless. A good example of this is an eye (or even a cell). If one piece were taken out of these systems, they would be rendered useless. This goes against evolution which says that evolution occurs very slowly over millions of years. Then there is the attempt by evolutionists to explain this away by coining the term "spontaneous evolution", which means that something may inexplicably gain an entire complex system on its own (which breaks the second law of thermodynamics), in order to counter this.

If anyone needs to me to clarify these definitions, I will brush up on my research. It has been a loooooooong time.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on July 25, 2011, 11:23:28 AM
Sorry to butt in Aaz, but it is not called the fact of evolution, but the theory of evolution -- even today.

Yeah yeah, I'm sorry myself (doubly so for being blunt) but I don't care to discuss this with you. There's enough people discussing it all the time as it is (with very good and detailed resources available online), and I spend way too much time proving people wrong on this forum to bother getting involved in non-Berserk arguments. Stick to your beliefs as much as you want, if rationalizing your faith with pseudo-scientific knowledge helps you deal with it then good for you. Nothing personal, I'm just not interested in saying more than I have already, seeing that this thread's goal is as far as I'm concerned simply to help Aphasia deal with his family's reception of his differing views on religion. I do recommend you to brush up on your "research" though.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 12:12:29 PM
I liked the part where you flamed me instead of speaking against my logic or whatnot, Aaz. Very mature.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: MrSmit on July 25, 2011, 12:17:51 PM
I disagree with Aaz on evolution, but I agree with him in that this thread shouldn't turn into Evolution vs Creation arguments.
But feel free to post reasons why you personally have your beliefs (as I did).
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 12:28:15 PM
Thank you, Smit. Also, how do I edit my posts? I'm new around these parts.

Also, I never stated my beliefs. How's that saying about assuming go?
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: MrSmit on July 25, 2011, 12:36:52 PM
Thank you, Smit. Also, how do I edit my posts? I'm new around these parts.

Also, I never stated my beliefs. How's that saying about assuming go?

Above your post, you can click 'Modify.'

Also, I said feel free to state beliefs. I didn't say that you did.  :schnoz:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 12:59:06 PM
Also, I said feel free to state beliefs. I didn't say that you did.  :schnoz:

Aaz assumed I stated them, not you. Apologies for the confusion.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: zrexe on July 25, 2011, 01:03:54 PM
I liked the part where you flamed me instead of speaking against my logic or whatnot, Aaz. Very mature.

Well Sokrei, Aaz is right, these Creationism vs. Evolution debates have already been very well explored by scientists like Dawkins/Sagan/Darwin...etc. The conclusion from all these debates is that Evolution can explain far more than Creationism can ever hope to. The core argument which creationism proposes ultimately reduces to: 'It's so complex, therefore someone must have designed it! How can something so complex come about by chance?' This shows much ignorance about evolution: A theory yes, but a theory which BEST explains the biological diversity we've seen so far. Until Creationism can give a better explanation than evolutionary theory, it remains as hocus pocus, and a vehicle for the Christian movement. 

The fact that you mentioned about the 'eye' problem already shows how many levels beneath the current levels of academia you are. Darwin already discussed this issue at length in the Origin of Species, the very first book regarding evolution, as well as propose a convincing explanation for that, with evidence. In addition, your point of 'survival of the fittest' also adds to the ignorance which you currently display. It was always about the survival of the most adaptable to the current biological niche. Thus, please do more research before you continue to spout more pseudo-science.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Oburi on July 25, 2011, 01:14:05 PM
Sorry to hear about your mom being in tears Aphasia, it's never a pretty sight. I won't go into my beliefs but this is what I've said to me own family (I live with bloodthirsty, tea bagging, conservatives) when they bother me about church. I simply say that I don't have faith like they do. Some have it, others don't. I have none and frankly, if I live my entire life as a "decent" human being and I am good to others (not always perfect but always trying), if at the end of my life I meet god at the pearly gates and he tells me that he's sorry but I'm damned to eternal fire because I didn't have blind faith and worship him specifically ... well fine. Send me to hell, I wouldn't want to be part of that club anyway. I know I lived a good life and I'm happy with my choices. I don't think I'll deserve an eternity in hell for it.

On personal note, I grew up in a strict catholic family and went to a private school. That means church every sunday, confession every first of the month, saying prayers before and after meals and reading sermons in front of the church. Oddly enough, once me parents separated they both gave up on religion altogether and now live much happier lives remarried. That always seemed to tell me something about the people that go to church.  
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: zrexe on July 25, 2011, 01:31:28 PM
So, next logical step?  Consult the great thinkers of Skullknight.net of course!  I would love to hear your voice.  Do you believe in a God?  Were you raised in a religious environment?  If not, why?  If so, what is your reason?  Does faith play a big role in your life?  What would you reccomend for someone in my position?  

Sorry for the double posting, and derailing. I think I should keep to the topic.

I currently describe myself as an agnostic atheist. If there was a scale of 1 - 10 (Theist - Atheist). I would call myself a 9/10 atheist. Unless, I see compelling evidence, I do not believe in one. However, there is that small window where if real evidence is presented, I will be inclined to believe in a God.

I was raised in a hodge pod of different religions. My mother believed in Chinese Taoism, my granny whom I lived with for my formative years was a Buddhist, while my father claimed he was Christian, just so that his Christian sisters and mother, would stop bothering to convert him.  His personal opinion is that Religion is for the weak and he never goes to Church, although he has read the Bible cover to cover. My sisters have gone to church when they were young due to the influence of my father's extended family, but they stopped believing ever since they were in their teenage years.

Myself, I went to Chinese Temples with my mom when I was young, and went through numerous rituals to pray for fortune, health and the like. When I was 21, my mother stopped asking me to go. I never once went back, nor asked her why she didn't ask me to go with her again. I started becoming curious about all religions, and read up on many of them because I have good and close friends who have converted to Christianity, because of Evangelists. Of course, I was asked to join as well. However, there were many questions which could not be answered to my satisfaction. Many of them which you have already come across.

Anyway, my personal belief is that rationalism is the way to go. As long as whatever you do is backed up my logic and good reason, then you should feel at ease with yourself. There are many people out there who are pre-disposed to believe in a personal God, and no matter what facts appear before them, they will choose to twist those facts to suit their own beliefs. I am scientifically trained, and therefore I will never accept what people tell me at face value, not unless they are backed by good logic. Thus, I believe that faith in a personal god will never play a big role in my life.

As for recommendations. I suggest believing in your fellow humans. Most people turn to religion for strength or moral guidance. The Golden Rule is one heck of a moral instrument, and one does not necessarily need to turn to religion to do good. Believe that people are inherently good, and try to treat all of them nice. It is difficult, but at least it makes life more fulfilling. As for strength and motivation, I guess you could look towards friends and families(maybe not). Your girlfriend will be a good start.

I have personally seen some of my good friends fall prey to evangelicals during times where they hit a rough spot. I found that sinister and opportunistic. To horribly (mis)quote Berserk, "People believe in a God because they need a reason for all the bad things that they do or happen to them." You sound like you are in a rough spot. However, just remember that shit happens to everyone. You do not have to sacrifice your healthy scepticism towards supreme being, for support.

Hope my rambling has helped you in any way possible.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sokrei on July 25, 2011, 01:36:25 PM
zrexe, I completely agree with you that reasoning should guide a person's beliefs. That is how I came upon my beliefs.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on July 25, 2011, 03:16:43 PM
I'm ignostic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism). :griffnotevil:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Konketsuji on July 25, 2011, 03:52:26 PM
I was raised as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, but as I was growing up my brain started developing, too bad I started questioning things a bit later at the age of 16, I suppose. But anyway, I'm sorry for all sensitive guys, but goddamn, not believing in evolution is completely retarded. Science be Praised! =)
(http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b159/Jarlax-TJ/176373_700b.jpg)
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: IncantatioN on July 25, 2011, 03:54:45 PM
My thoughts... there are a lot of nit-picky stuff in the bible that I have a hard time believing. But overall I can't prove or disprove God or even anything in existence. There is a high probability (I feel) that you can't prove or disprove anything in this world to be true or not true. I never understood how some people could be so blindly passion about something that can't be proven or not proven. I think most of it comes from the culture and assumptions people were born into. Peoples core belief systems typically would come from their environment and basic assumptions of reality. However, a lot of these assumptions are just assumed facts that they accept. So I feel that plays a huge factor in peoples lives even when they grow older to make choices on their own. It's why some people believe in their religion that might encourage killing other people (an extreme example). Now, objectively there is nothing wrong or right with killing people so if that's what they believe in, go for it - This is not something I prefer.
I think this makes a lot of sense.

Sorry to hear about the incident with your Mom, Aphasia. I wish you good luck with finding your path of belief(s). There has been some real good advice in this thread so far. But, if anything, this is a little background about me - I was raised a Zoroastrian (it pre-dates Christianity or Hinduism or Islam) and my great great grandparents traveled East after the persecution of the Zoroastrians by the Muslims eons ago. A majority of the persecuted Zoroastrians landed in India and that's where I grew up. India as a lot of people may know is pretty diverse religion~wise. (In my teens) I didn't think I needed to go to a Fire Temple as long as I believed in the religion's core belief - Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. I live my life believing and incorporating those core words, and don't wear the religious vest or the religious thread around our waist that we're supposed to everyday. If you think about it, it's more like believing in 'karma'.

What I'm trying to say is that go with what you believe in and not what everyone around you follows or believes in. There's no absolute right or wrong. If I were you in your position, I'd take my time with finding the answers. It's your life and you decide how you want to live it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Tzur on July 25, 2011, 05:04:24 PM
I was raised Episcopalian, although my family isn't extremely religious. My dad's family is very Catholic, but I don't have much respect for the Catholic Church and their supersessionist theology. I'd call myself an agnostic faith-wise, although theologically I might be called Pandeist. I found I have a deep interest in the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, and have been teaching myself some Hebrew. My interests are purely historical and cultural however. Religion just doesn't suit me personally.

I was raised a Zoroastrian

Wow, that's cool. I've always thought Zoroastrianism was an interesting religion, it's a shame that its numbers of adherents continue to dwindle to due persecutions, conversions, and the fact they don't accept converts. You should be proud of your heritage, and smirk when people stare at you blankly.

Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Skeleton on July 25, 2011, 07:17:54 PM
So, next logical step?  Consult the great thinkers of Skullknight.net of course!  I would love to hear your voice.  Do you believe in a God?  Were you raised in a religious environment?  If not, why?  If so, what is your reason?  Does faith play a big role in your life?  What would you reccomend for someone in my position?

I wasnít raised in a particularly religious household.  As a child, we would attend church on Easter and Christmas, but we stopped going altogether when I was still young.  We never really seemed to actively practice religion.  It was just assumed everyone believed in God/Jesus and that was that.

Most of the time, I donít care enough to believe or not believe in Yahweh or any other spiritual entity.  I personally donít see any sort of divine interference in our world (such as miracles) so the question of whether or not a deity exists, and if it does exist what impact it has on our world, is moot.  After all, for me there are three options:  Either Yahweh or other deities donít exist, they do exist but donít or canít affect our world (such as by performing miracles), or Yahweh or other deities do exist but their influence is imperceptible to humans.  No matter which of those three options is fact doesnít matter to me because they all lead to the same result:  That we live in a world where, for all intents and purposes, there are no gods or God.  After all, if they donít exist, obviously thereís no deity.  If they do exist but canít or wonít affect our world, it's as if they donít exist.  And if they do exist and directly affect our world in an extremely subtle or imperceptible way, we have absolutely no way of knowing or acknowledging it so thereís no reason to care about it.  So I just live my life, apathetic towards the divine/spiritual.

Sometimes I want to believe in deities (sometimes itís Yahweh, sometimes itís pagan gods, sometimes itís spirits, etc), but usually thereís a mundane reason for it so I donít truly want to believe in Him or them.  For example, I have extremely low self-esteem/confidence so sometimes (most of the time) itís hard for me to recognize my own inner strength.  Since I canít see strength within, I often feel helpless because I donít think I am capable of achieving what I desire on my own which makes me look for strength without.  So when I desire God, or a god, to exist in that situation, it has more to do with my lack of self-worth and confidence than it does with me truly desiring a relationship with a deity.  Another example is a simple one.  I rarely think about it, but sometimes when I think about death it makes me want to believe in an afterlife or a deity that can continue my existence after this physical form ends.  But that has less to do with me truly desiring a relationship with a deity or wanting to know one exists and more to do with my survival extinct (obviously an organism programmed to survive dislikes the idea of its own demise).  Anyway, Iím sure this is more than anyone has ever wanted to know about meÖ

I think you should just research as much as you can about religion and spirituality in general.  Study Christianity as much as possible.  Study every religion.  See what you like.  See what you donít like.  You might find a religion that speaks to you or you might decide religion/spirituality isnít your thing.  Or, by studying other religions, it could deepen your understanding of and faith in Christianity.  Whatever the outcome may be, at least youíll have a good idea of what others believe and where theyíre coming from.  And Iíd probably shy away from talking about religion and spirituality with your mother.  Itís good to have an open relationship with your family.  But, to me, if all it will do is cause pain or conflict, itís probably better to not broadcast it.  Just look at it as a positive (you're sparing your mom the pain, worry, and conflict) instead of a negative (not being completely open with your parent).
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Konketsuji on July 26, 2011, 03:30:34 PM
Wow, I'm kind of shocked, to tell the truth this is my first time in English speaking forum. All thanks to Berserk my greatest passion among all. So anyway I read all kinds of interesting threads and it's just beautiful, especially reading how the smart people discuss serious things. After communicating with a lot of fucktards on the local forums it seemed just perfect. But goddamn everything shattered just like that, talking about stuff that doesn't make sense... Just read some books by Richard Dawkins for fuck's sakes. Come on, western society, I look up to you!
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on July 26, 2011, 03:47:45 PM
Wow, I'm kind of shocked, to tell the truth this is my first time in English speaking forum. All thanks to Berserk my greatest passion among all. So anyway I read all kinds of interesting threads and it's just beautiful, especially reading how the smart people discuss serious things. After communicating with a lot of fucktards on the local forums it seemed just perfect.

Yeah, well don't be the one to spoil it. :griffnotevil:

But goddamn everything shattered just like that, talking about stuff that doesn't make sense... Just read some books by Richard Dawkins for fuck's sakes. Come on, western society, I look up to you!

You probably shouldn't look west of the Atlantic in this regard.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Konketsuji on July 26, 2011, 04:03:15 PM
Yeah, well don't be the one to spoil it. :griffnotevil:
Well, I will try not to. :griffnotevil: It's nothing about you,  or Aaz, you guys sound sane enough.  :griffnotevil: Nah, I'm just kidding, you guys are fucking smart and I love it, and I'm just being honest, I would love to have friends like that in the real life. It's just I was really impressed that some people are still believe in some crazy-ass stories in the 21st century.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: NightCrawler on July 26, 2011, 05:15:02 PM
I'm a heathen. Fortunately my parents didn't baptize me and let me decide for myself when i was of age. I saw all my friends going to sunday school and all that, even attending some catholic chrism rites. I knew enough to make up my mind about the uselessness of religion, even though i respect the necessity for people to have their fears, insecurities and doubts directed at some thing. Actually let me put in that in other words, i respect personal faith but not organized religion, nor any other moldy customs and traditions (religious or otherwise).

http://www.hayag.com/w/9d0dc692fbac45aea9cfce9803cb7336
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on July 26, 2011, 06:22:11 PM
Great post, Piscator.  Very close to my thoughts and well put.  These days I don't find myself really hoping for a deity though - I'm cool with the idea of world being what it is simply because it's the way things work, but I'd be pretty bemused if this was the best some deity could manage.  I might fear mortality a little but I honestly can't bring myself to buy the idea that life after death is supernaturally possible - and I also get the impression that if I manage to get old enough I won't fear mortality much by then anyway.  The fact that there are people out there fighting the very idea of evolution tooth and claw, fighting family planning, fighting gay marriage, thinking Mother Theresa was a great old lady, worrying how some deity is going to judge them... it creeps me out too much to end up with an overall good opinion of religion. 

Itís good to have an open relationship with your family.  But, to me, if all it will do is cause pain or conflict, itís probably better to not broadcast it.  Just look at it as a positive (you're sparing your mom the pain, worry, and conflict) instead of a negative (not being completely open with your parent).

Agreed.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Emp_Gaiseric on July 26, 2011, 08:20:27 PM
I was raised Methodist, I consider myself Christian though I do not go to church often because of some major hypocrises I have witnessed.

I believe in God and Jesus because my heart feels empty and hurts without them, and to me that is the main reason to believe.

I was raised witht heh idea that it is not wrong to question faith, because if you only go with what is ingrained then it isn't really faith.

I was also taught that God is responsible for the good in the world, the Devil is responsible for the evil, but man was given the option to choose between the two. God doesn't control the world, he just already knows what you will choose because he knows you that well.

Finally I think that no matter what the religion, everyone who chooses to ultimately worships the same god. Jewish, Christian, and Islamic all stem from the same idea of God, and I think that polytheistic religions worship the individual personified aspects of a single god that they need at the time.

I also think that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive. God made the universe and thus all the laws that govern it and keep it from falling apart around us.

Fortunately no one can tell you how to believe, and even if your head gets in the way, I believe that you will know in your heart if there is a God or not.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Xem on July 26, 2011, 10:24:28 PM
In the end I prefer to stay humble about topics like this since there's so many people who take it soooo incredibly serious...

I was quasi-raised Episcopalian Christian but quickly grew interested in other ideas.

I believe organized religion is a product of conditioning, whether you do it on your own or it's done to you through parenting, institutionalization, the media, or otherwise. To me the easiest thing to do it seems would be to fall in line with what you've been told throughout your life. It seems a lot more fun to make something up of your own if you need to believe in something, but then you lose out on the comfort and socialization (pretty important to some) that come with organization.... unless you can manage to get a following on your own that is.

 :griffnotevil:

Personally I prefer The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (http://www.venganza.org/) and The Church of the SubGenius (http://www.subgenius.com/) (Hail Bob!), if I'm feeling lonely, scared, or paranoid about the world and everything.
 
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on July 27, 2011, 12:05:35 AM
Heh!  I'd watched some movie about the Subgenius a long time ago and didn't see the appeal, but there's a radio station around here that plays their sermons sometimes.  I've caught one or two while driving around in the middle of the night, and that is some excellent stuff.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Emp_Gaiseric on July 27, 2011, 08:52:09 PM
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is awesome. I recently did a pro-spaghetti monster paper for an English class. It amuses me how pissed some church groups get about it becasue they think just because the creator of the church is athiest that they are anti-church, but the're not, they are just pro-separation church and state (especially in classrooms).

I guess Guts and the others are going to really increase global warming with all the pirates they are fighting.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Death May Die on July 27, 2011, 09:54:17 PM
I was raised Catholic, and but I don't practice it much these days. I disliked the Catholic school I grew up in. Every time I got to church I see the people who made my child hood a living hell. When I go to church I find a mix between frustration and yet some fond memories. I believe in a God and Jesus. I believe in evolution too.

I remember a South Park episode strangely that brought up a good point about evolution of all things.
Quote
Can't evolution be the answer to how, but not why?
I thought it was a good suggestion on the topic.

Lately I have been reading some Edger Casey books about his claims made from self induced subconscious traces into the afterlife. He has a lot to say about reincarnation. Which I simply wanted to bring that into the picture to discuss as well, does anyone believe in reincarnation? Do we only live once?
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on July 28, 2011, 02:55:25 PM
Science in general is all supposed to be about how and not why.  Fans of science will tell you anything else is a misunderstanding the same way Christians will tell you anything not in the spirit of 'love thy neighbor' is a misunderstanding.  For example even a question like 'why do we have empathy' is really asking and trying to answer the question 'how did we end up with empathy'.  Why never needs to come into it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Viral Harvest on July 29, 2011, 04:11:50 AM
Catholic turned agnostic in my pre-teens/early teens (can't really pinpoint exactly where for the life of me, just key events that led up to that point) and atheist since I was about 17. Although from time to time I find myself teetering in between agnosticism and atheism, but never any further even though I feel the two are interchangeable. I would consider myself a skeptic by default.

I'm absolutely horrified by what I've read here so far and how a potential myth has caused some of you so much grief and pain. Though I was raised Catholic, I had the crutch of an extremely loving and understanding family in all of my decisions, even my conversion to atheism. I was never made to feel guilty or inferior because of my lack of belief though I'm sure they'd prefer if I adopted some sort of spirituality, but it never made sense to me in the slightest to do so. When I was in 1st grade, I was sent to an afterschool Catholic program that was supposed to prep you through your way past communion, and finally, confirmation. In 5th grade I remember we had a class discussion about Adam and Eve being the origins of all humans not 10,000 years ago.

Puzzled, I asked "Wouldn't their genes overlap and cause retardation and deformities over hundreds of generations?". Shocked, my religion teacher responded with "Well don't you believe in miracles?". That moment probably marked my perpetual escape from Catholicism. Sure, I received communion and confirmation - but more-so as a family tradition than a spiritual one. Also, I did not have any sort of developed ideology on the subject until after I was out of High School and found Sartre, Camus, Emma Goldman, Nietzsche, etc. That stuff resonated with me much more than any sort of religion ever has. Still, there's flaws in all of those works too but I found it at least a bit more plausible than some totalitarian yet benevolent deity. Though works of fiction, The Mysterious Stranger and Paradise Lost bring up a bunch of excellent points on the matter as well.

Admittedly, my experiences with atheism are all in direct opposition of western Abrahamic religions. I've only briefly dipped my hands into Eastern religions and philosophies and I guess if I'm going to give any credit, they seem less brutally oppressive in their ideals. A majority of the people I've talked to speak of "spiritual experiences", faith, and the affirmation of a higher power. I have experienced none of those things, ever. I know people say that you need to be "open" to it, but it has always seemed a bit tutti frutti to me. However, I will say this - I don't think spirituality can be defined for you. You can't read it in a book as absolute truth. Hell, it could all be metaphorical political jargon written by aristocrats at the time. Is there an origin to everything? Absolutely. But I don't think it is what we think it is, and if it exists I don't think it's conscious of itself or even a god at all. That's about as far as I'll go though. I am certain that a fictitious male being is not up there playing supreme court with the Earth. Questioning your faith is fucking painful, and I wish anyone who does so the best of luck and hope you find peace one way or another.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Rhombaad on July 29, 2011, 03:24:38 PM
I was raised on Christian beliefs (we even had VHS tapes that chronicled different stories from the bible in an animated format, called The Greatest Stories Ever Told), but I was never forced to go to Sunday school or a youth group by my parents. My Mom lamented recently that she wished they raised us better when it came to church, but she said it in more of a joking manner. My Dad is a born again Christian and my mom was raised in a Christian household, but they are extremely tolerant of my beliefs and the beliefs of my two siblings.

I hooked up with a pretty religious girl during my last year in high school and joined a pretty fundamentalist Bible study group in college. I really wish I hadn't, because both my ex-girlfriend's family and the Bible study group really warped my original thinking regarding Christianity. I also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, and had a terrible time in college because of the combination of the two. I'm pretty scientific minded, and always have been, and that didn't jive well with my new found faith, either. I struggled a lot with the idea of evolution and creation being or not being mutually exclusive.

Over the years, I've moved further and further away from Christianity, due mainly to my further pursuit of scientific fact and archaeological findings. I've come to the conclusion that I never really believed in most of Christianity's teachings (although I think the Golden Rule is absolute genius, whether Jesus of Nazareth, a rabbi or some other individual came up with it). I always felt a tug on my heart and a "wrongness" whenever I was in church or heard things like, "If you don't accept that Jesus Christ is your personal savior, then you are doomed to an eternity in Hell." So you're telling me that all the Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust are going to be sent to Hell during the Final Judgment? That just doesn't seem like something a rational, omnipotent, eternally good entity would do to his creations. It's rather petty and sadistic.

These days I'm proud to say that I'm 99.9% agnostic. I don't know whether or not God exists, but I don't think Mankind will ever be able to prove or disprove His existence. I still feel a tug every now and then towards Christianity and the fear that one day I will burn in Hell for eternity, but I chock that up to my OCD and the overwhelming scrupulosity that I feel because of it sometimes, as well as the radical teachings I got mixed up in when I was younger. Regardless of what I believe, I don't think anyone else can convince you whether or not God exists, or what God or gods to believe in; that choice is entirely up to the individual.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Emp_Gaiseric on July 29, 2011, 09:09:29 PM
Quote
Still, there's flaws in all of those works too but I found it at least a bit more plausible than some totalitarian yet benevolent deity.

God is not totalitarian (according to scripture he gives man free will with a few guidelines) the churches are, and that is a major hipocrisy that is the reason why I'm still christian but don't attend church often.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: MrSmit on July 31, 2011, 05:08:03 PM
Puzzled, I asked "Wouldn't their genes overlap and cause retardation and deformities over hundreds of generations?". Shocked, my religion teacher responded with "Well don't you believe in miracles?". That moment probably marked my perpetual escape from Catholicism.

I also wondered about this for a while. I found the explanation at Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/who-was-cains-wife) (Search for 'Biological Deformities') quite satisfactory.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on July 31, 2011, 08:27:15 PM
Something tells me that if Viral's teacher had said "genes back then were perfect, they've just got worse these days because of sin" he would not have gone "oh, okay then" and continued on his way, at least not for very long.   

I think faith is at its best when it's not so worried about every word in its texts that it must explain how the things that appear to contradict reality really make sense - and in the process of explaining create new contradictions. 
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Viral Harvest on August 01, 2011, 02:46:52 AM
I also wondered about this for a while. I found the explanation at Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/who-was-cains-wife) (Search for 'Biological Deformities') quite satisfactory.

I don't know if that link was supposed to be a serious suggestion or not, but I choked on my dinner from a sort of comedic value that I'm sure wasn't intended by the author. With all due respect of course, if this was serious. To each his own.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Groovy Metal Fist on August 01, 2011, 02:58:30 AM
I am also an agnostic atheist. My maternal grandparents were religious but lived mostly secular lifestyles and my paternal grandparents took their religion fairly seriously but somehow never imposed on my father (strange, I know). So my mother is a monotheist who has little if any beliefs that would apply to a specific religion and my father became an agnostic atheist. I wasn't really exposed to any religious doctrine until I was 9 and by that time the stories didn't sound realistic.

I want to clear something up:  A belief in God is not the boundary between civilized society and an anarchy made of nothing but psychopaths. If that were the case secular societies like Sweden or Japan would be a hotbed of crime, yet they are some of the safest places in the world. The people who make the argument that only God can ensure morality neglect the fact that people innately feel compassion for each other; people who banded together and sacrificed for each other had a far better chance of survival and being able to raise children than loners. History and common sense also show that a belief in God is a poor deterrent for crime. We have constructed governments, police forces, and jails even in the most God fearing societies for a very good reason.

I also don't believe that we would have world peace if religion were eliminated. People would still be shooting each other over ethnic or resource conflicts. The act of trying to clear the world of religion itself would probably lead to endless bloodshed.

I have read newspaper articles about political atheist groups protesting 'under God' in our pledge or using a cross at a political memorial. I don't know if the media is biased or if these political groups are truly that short sighted and petty. What these political groups should be doing is legally battling the people who have come under the illusion that the 1st amendment doesn't exist. Fighting the censorship of Science would be a far better goal.The religious fundamentalists who want to impose their religion on us at the expense of someone's human rights or education are a far greater threat than a 2 word phrase. The United States was not built on the idea that one religious group represented the real Americans while other groups were second class citizens who must submit. Religion is something you should have the option of practicing in your personal life, not something the government has the right to impose on or steal from you.

I don't know if we will ever have a definitive answer to how the universe was created. How many people thought 1,000 years ago that we would reach the moon?

Though I'm an atheist now, I am considering conversion into the church of the flying spaghetti monster so that I may one day call myself a Pastafarian.

Also:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist)
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on August 01, 2011, 03:21:57 PM
The United States was not built on the idea that one religious group represented the real Americans while other groups were second class citizens who must submit.

Actually it kind of was, but that's why change and a clever constitution are good things! :guts:

Anyway, I pretty much agree with everything else you said. I'm as suspicious of zealotry in those that hate gods as love them, matters of science and spiritually need not conflict unless extremists make it so, and religion isn't a cause of good or evil in humanity so much an instrument of it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: umop_3pisdn on October 21, 2011, 04:56:02 PM
I'm ignostic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignosticism). :griffnotevil:

I like Ignosticism, but personally I'm more fond of Apatheism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism). Mostly because I have my doubts that the question of God is even deserving any thought beyond that required to dismiss it as insignificant. My reasoning is probably somewhat similar to yours only I adopt more of a phenomenological approach. It is apparently impossible to have an experience of God, and with no experience there is no justification. There are things like sensed presence experiences (which I have had myself), but simply having the experience of "a presence" in no way implies that it is God, it requires a form of conceptual elaboration (which generally signifies delusion or bias) to reach that conclusion. In terms of mystic experience elaboration is pretty much the death sentence of reason, diverging from bare experience and trying to connect the dots via some self-created concept is pretty much where every mystic goes wrong... mystic experience in and of itself can be incredibly invaluable so long as we don't make the mistake of adding our own BS to it. Bare experience never lies (specifically that we are experiencing said experience), but our interpretation of experience is open to all kinds of delusion. Viewing it in these terms clarified the human tendency to create God where there apparently is none, sort of similar to how those witnessing an illusion in the case of stage magic may assume that it was real magic. We feel the need to insert our own meanings into our experience when really bare experience is self-sufficient and incapable of lying when on its own.

As for this thread in general, I'm quite into religion and metaphysics and all of that stuff. I self-identify as a mystic and with phenomenological psychology, so I'm not exactly subject to the same biases as those who rely strictly on things like empiricism or naturalism, which a lot of people seem to see as a kind of kookiness but I think it just requires a particular kind of finesse that most people are understandably unwilling to cultivate. But after a lot of reflection I find all god-concepts to be entirely unnecessary and likely pure elaboration. Pretty much from the age of twelve or so (when I first broke away from Christianity, the religion of my parents) I experimented with every kind of religion or philosophy that I could think of... Gnosticism, Luciferianism, Neo Paganism, Platonism, Neo Shamanism, Discordianism, etc, etc. Before becoming an Apatheist I was essentially a Panentheist or basically a Western equivalent of a Brahmanist. But then I realized that I was basically identifying with something that was purely conceptual in nature and it was actually only serving to widen the gulf between me and 'unconditioned' experience. So now I'm something of an Apatheist with Buddhist aspirations and philosophically I think I've finally found my niche.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on October 21, 2011, 05:34:12 PM
I have my doubts that the question of God is even deserving any thought beyond that required to dismiss it as insignificant.

VS

Rest of your post
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: umop_3pisdn on October 21, 2011, 05:44:26 PM
VS


How is that a contradiction? My point is only that no experience of God is possible therefore is there any reason that we should even be thinking about it? Epistemologically speaking experience is the only thing that we can have absolute certainty in.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on October 21, 2011, 05:53:18 PM
How is that a contradiction? My point is only that no experience of God is possible therefore is there any reason that we should even be thinking about it? Epistemologically speaking experience is the only thing that we can have absolute certainty in.

The contradiction lies in the fact that you obviously spent/are spending a lot of time thinking about it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: umop_3pisdn on October 21, 2011, 06:03:30 PM
The contradiction lies in the fact that you obviously spent/are spending a lot of time thinking about it.

That doesn't contradict what I said, my phrasing was vague, I said "beyond that required to dismiss it as being insignificant", which may be a lot of thought or it may be little :P Again, I was vague, I meant dismiss in more of a 'felt' way, as in that it actually forms ones perspective rather than as a purely intellectual exercise. It generally requires more thought to have something enter one's actual world-view in a significant way since that involves how one attends to ongoing experience and ime required an almost total elimination of doubt.

Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Walter on October 21, 2011, 06:19:33 PM
I said "beyond that required to dismiss it as being insignificant", which may be a lot of thought or it may be little :P Again, I was vague, I meant dismiss in more of a 'felt' way
If there's no god, you just wasted some precious time here on this rock pondering whether you should be wasting it on pondering god's existence.

Great discussion! :void:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: umop_3pisdn on October 21, 2011, 06:29:03 PM
If there's no god, you just wasted some precious time here on this rock pondering whether you should be wasting it on pondering god's existence.


Hahaha, it's true, but for me at least it was one of those things where once it was raised to my attention I couldn't actually put it to rest without actually... putting it to rest (in my own mind at least). I'm also one of those kooky types that actually enjoys metaphysical contemplation, so if nothing else I'll just chalk it up to profound boredom.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Skeleton on October 21, 2011, 08:51:16 PM
I'll just chalk it up to profound boredom.

There's nothing wrong with that.  Some say that's the very reason why the Good Lord created the universe to begin with!
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Proj2501 on October 27, 2011, 12:21:07 PM
I was raised as a very, very moderate Catholic. As a boy we occasionally went to church. Normally if I made a face to not go that would be enough to get me out of it.

Then I was sent to Catholic school and then a Catholic, all boys, college preparatory high school.  :magni:

It goes without saying I had to take mandatory religion classes for well over a decade.  I think all religions are manipulative. There are good things done in religion's name as well as bad. Long story short, I believe in morality, not a god. Did religion help teach me my morals? To an extent I suppose. I think someone with a sound conscious doesn't need to pray to a god to have a great set of morals.

At this point in my life I consider myself an agnostic, borderline atheist and feel, personally, I'm better off as such.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, as I want to be entitled to mine.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Skullgrin140 on November 01, 2011, 03:34:24 PM
Even though I am half Muslim I do have some believe in God, but religion is indeed a confusing and really over-dragged thing to dwell on that its almost impossible to believe at all if there even is a god. Despite what has been said to people over and over again and so many things we've seen regarding is there a god or not, I'm getting to the point where I wont be convinced he exists until I see a shred of proof of his existence.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Xem on November 01, 2011, 08:45:17 PM
I'm getting to the point where I wont be convinced he exists until I see a shred of proof of his existence.

It'll never happen, faith always boils down to a gut feeling or instinct.

Unless you hear voices and hallucinate and stuff like that, then you might see some proof.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on November 01, 2011, 09:23:18 PM
Even though I am half Muslim I do have some believe in God, but religion is indeed a confusing and really over-dragged thing

That sentence in itself is pretty confusing to me. First off I'm not sure how one can be "half-Muslim," and second if you do have some belief in God, it wouldn't be in spite of being "half-Muslim" (what your use of "though" implies) but because of it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Viral Harvest on November 02, 2011, 04:37:14 AM
Living in direct and bitter opposition against things like Pascal's wager is the kind of liberating and jaded grumpiness I've been searching my whole life for.  :troll:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Handmade on November 05, 2011, 01:21:47 PM
I believe in God, I don't believe in religion.

I love God, I hate his Fan Club.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: KuraiDragoon on November 14, 2011, 05:11:24 PM
I was raised Christian by a very zealous, Christian father. He is the kind of man who blindly and completely follows religion in the most over-the-top ways possible to make up for all of his faults in life. He's is also one of the completely narrow-minded, judgmental Christians who think they are better than everyone else and treat religion more as some sort of competition than a spiritual lifestyle, all the while being a complete hypocrite. You know, the stereotypical Christian that makes the rest of the world hate Christians. That is my father. Needless to say, once I was old enough to have my own thoughts on the matter, his example taught me to be exactly the opposite of that.

I believe in the possibility of God. I believe in the possibility of heaven. I also believe that if either do exist, they are most likely far different from what people assume they are. The thing that bugs me the most about religion is how everyone claims to know everything about everything, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Things that no one knows and no one is supposed to know. Why do people feel like they need to know everything that is real and everything that is false about spirituality and the afterlife? Even if they do exist, there is no conceivable way we could know anything specific about any of it, and claiming to is just stupid. I suppose I am anti-organized religion, I don't think that it has a place in today's world. It just causes more harm than good and causes people to close themselves off from learning anything else, which I think is detrimental in modern times. I think spirituality is very important to a lot of people, but I think it is also very personal and has no place behind a microphone.

So I believe in the possibility of God, and I strongly believe in the possibility of some sort of afterlife and spirituality. But I don't claim to know anything for sure and can't stand when other people do. What theological group does that put me in?
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on November 14, 2011, 05:14:24 PM
So I believe in the possibility of God, and I strongly believe in the possibility of some sort of afterlife and spirituality. But I don't claim to know anything for sure and can't stand when other people do. What theological group does that put me in?

Bitterly agnostic, with agnostic theist leanings. :griffnotevil:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Groovy Metal Fist on November 14, 2011, 07:06:01 PM
I thought secular people were around 10% of the population, but the rate is much higher in this thread. Why is that?
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: KuraiDragoon on November 14, 2011, 07:19:28 PM
I thought secular people were around 10% of the population, but the rate is much higher in this thread. Why is that?
Berserk is a sin  :mozgus:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: BerserkMJM on November 14, 2011, 07:24:11 PM
Of course I believe in myself. :serpico:

I'm getting to the point where I wont be convinced he exists until I see a shred of proof of his existence.
The answer is most likely found in death. Unfortunately, you won't be coming back to tell anybody.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on November 14, 2011, 07:26:08 PM
I thought secular people were around 10% of the population, but the rate is much higher in this thread. Why is that?

10%?  Maybe you're thinking of the numbers for the States.  Secular folks are WAY more than 10% of the population in most of Europe.  Also I would have to say most posting members of SK qualify as some type of geeky person, and geeky populations have a higher rate of being secular as well.

I am under the impression that most Europeans look at the USA weird for being so whackadoodle about its religiosity.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on November 14, 2011, 09:58:58 PM
I thought secular people were around 10% of the population, but the rate is much higher in this thread. Why is that?

The rate is much higher among industrialized nations than in developing countries.

I am under the impression that most Europeans look at the USA weird for being so whackadoodle about its religiosity.

I guess that's the polite way of saying it. :iva:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on November 14, 2011, 10:27:14 PM
Yeah, we're pretty much an international fucking embarrassment in this regard. Though, in our defense, most of people here that self-identify as religious are total phonies that don't give a practical fuck about their purported beliefs. It's our saving grace. :ganishka:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on November 14, 2011, 11:29:35 PM
Though, in our defense, most of people here that self-identify as religious are total phonies that don't give a practical fuck about their purported beliefs.

That's the worst part, in a way. Nothing worse in my opinion than insincere believers.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Lithrael on November 15, 2011, 02:17:00 AM
I don't know.  There's the folks that don't want anyone to see gays kissing, but don't actually want them to die, and then there's the folks that will beat the holy shit out of gays in the church parking lot.  What bothers me is that the first group doesn't want to admit that the second group is still very much Christian and that the dark side of Good Old American Christianity hasn't climbed that many rungs above those Islamic types that are still into honor killings.  They want their religion to get credit for all the fuzzy God-Loves-You stuff but they don't want it to get any credit for the, you know, evil shit.  I don't mind Christians saying the Westboro type guys don't 'really count' but there's a lot of kids out there in America who are depressed as all hell cause God isn't speaking to them the way everyone they know tells them God will if only they were really being good enough, and I hardly ever see Christians that want to own up to that.  So I guess, yeah, I would be happier if I saw more of them walk the walk, and work to bring their religion the rest of the way into the current century.  Or alternately just quit paying so much attention to it.  It should be a mantelpiece thing, or it should be important enough to you that you fight the darkness in it.  You can't say it's so dear to your heart that you want all your politicians to at least say they are good Christians, but you don't really care that others are spreading hate in its name.  You can't have it both ways. 

Plus it's just weird when people are being all Yay God at you and you can only imagine the looks of horror on their faces if only you let them know the nice young woman they are talking to doesn't actually believe in God and isn't unhappy because of that.  It's weird knowing how many people will just snap judge you on that.  It's weird having to feel out a person to even guess whether they would still be cool with you if they knew.  It's weird as HELL knowing so many people you know THINK EVOLUTION IS JUST A CONSPIRACY AGAINST CHRISTIANITY, WTF.  It's just WEIRD.  WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD.  Extra-heads weird.  I mean, at least I can understand people intentionally not thinking about uncomfortable doctrinal shit that's just in the Bible, but what is wrong with you that you have to deny the mountains of evidence that point towards evolution?

It's also weird knowing that they'd respond to a comment like that by claiming how I'm no less judgmental.  But it's a legit fear thing.  They're not going to get ostracized for their beliefs.  They're just not.  Not here.  They're everywhere.  They won't let me buy beer on Sunday.  What am I going to do to them?  What can I do?  I can say WTF.  That's about it.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Vampire_Hunter_Bob on November 15, 2011, 02:36:33 AM
My personal thoughts on real Christians are that you cannot have a divorce and call your self a Christian. YOU SEE THIS DAD? FUCK YOU!  :mozgus:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Griffith on November 15, 2011, 10:06:34 AM
That's the worst part, in a way. Nothing worse in my opinion than insincere believers.

I know what you mean, that's very true in a sense, but in another it can never be worse than the sincere believers that deny natural rights, science and medicine to humanity in the name of their respective invisible overlords and brand of make believe. So, although I might not want to be their friend, when it comes to societal cancers, I'll take the more benign everyday hypocrites over that malignant type any time.

Anyway, heavy philosophical chit chat aside, here's what my pop culture addled brain sees of when I think of true believers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_plI0XlrY9Q#t=2m12s

 :guts:

My personal thoughts on real Christians are that you cannot have a divorce and call your self a Christian. YOU SEE THIS DAD? FUCK YOU!  :mozgus:

 :ganishka:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Handmade on November 15, 2011, 02:29:45 PM
I've had an enlightening experience with organized religion. Quite frankly, it scares me. I liked it much better when I was a kid and considerably dumber and ignorant of my surroundings. Apart from the good food, awesome building to run around in, and the Halloween candy selection, church was a pretty bad place to be. But this was my church. I'm aware there are much, much more "relaxed" churches than the ones I've been to. What it boiled down to was when I realized I had my own opinion and will, and when my church body would join hands in prayer and take hold of my hands and close their eyes passionately, I knew I didn't belong there because I couldn't do that, not like them.

A few years ago with one of my last visits to my mother's church, I agreed to go with her for the simple fact she wanted me to. Well, it just so happened to be on a day when they were doing a thing that was quite literally "Come over to this side of the room if you believe." And my whole family went, and I remained in my seat. This caused an emotional uproar in the people that will claim they "know" me and have known me my whole life. When they sat around me, took hold of me, and began crying and speaking to me, I knew right then that church-going was not for me.

I very much agree with what a lot of you have said. I am a perfectly happy person without religion in my life.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: KuraiDragoon on November 15, 2011, 04:20:44 PM
I remember the last time I went to church. It was one of those really hokey Christian churches that seems a little cultish, the kind that "slays people in the spirit"(knocks them over) and all that. Anyway, they were getting into this weird stuff. The preacher was trying to tell us that everyone can be a prophet for God.. they made us go into pairs and sit facing each other with our eyes closed. We were then supposed to go back and forth telling eachother "prophecies" about eachother, ya know, real prophecies from God. He really thought it was going to work, and the people there were all convinced that they were being real prophets. It was ridiculous. The church was trying to teach us to be fake psychics. In the name of God. If there is a God, I'm sure he was pissed. I remembered specifically from my Christian teachings that the Bible says that false prophets are an abomination and are going to hell.. so I really couldn't figure out why we were doing that. At that point I decided that church was bullshit and I was done with it. My dad told me that the next week, they started doing even weirder shit where they put people into pairs, and would have one stand in front with his eyes closed while the other walked behind him and the guy in front was supposed to use his psychic God powers or whatever to point to where the guy behind him was. That must've been some funny shit, but I think I left just in time.

Church is just not for this day and age. We're too smart for that shit now.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: VladimirPutin on October 02, 2016, 08:48:43 PM
My family is from Catholic background, but I just call myself a Christian, I'm praying but I'm not practicing if practice means going to church.

Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: JusticeArrows on October 29, 2016, 11:00:00 AM
No, not anymore. I was raised in a Catholic family, but even as a kid, I was too self absorbed to care about "God" or "religion". However, in 2011, I was admitted to a hospital because I was sick (I had sinusitis and it was bad) and in that period (2/3 weeks if my memories are correct) I cried almost every day because I was scared of dying (well, I was 12 at the time...) and after that, I became protestant. After that, I had some doubts about my beliefs, but I still believed in a God.

However, in 2014, I was at the church, and I just thought to myself: "If I stay here for one more night, I will be just lying to myself." I decided to not go to the church anymore and then I became an atheist. I felt quite free at the time. But today? I am actually an atheist-agnostic because whilst I don't think that God exists, I reckon humanity has no way of knowing if God exists or not. Who knows, right?
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Demon Knight on October 29, 2016, 12:01:46 PM
I do believe in god. I know many many people these days dont believe in so called religion. But i myself still believe in god for reasons.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sancho on October 29, 2016, 12:50:54 PM
I tend to describe myself as an agnostic, although my actual state of mind might more accurately be summed up as not giving a shit.

It's an old post, but that describe perfectly my state of mind. I respect choices, as long as those don't bring pain and violence, so i respect even the choice of having faith in something. But in my modest opinion most of religions are too childish to even bother to take them seriously and give them importance, and the "a priori" probability of the existence of God as described in the bible is no different from that of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, since we don't have any empirical evidence of either.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Oburi on October 29, 2016, 10:24:40 PM
I think Bill Maher described it best when he said " I preach the Gospel of 'I Don't Know'. And that's okay". I guess I'd be lumped into the agnostic category.

 But then again, when I really think about it, I'm always reminded of something Stephen Colbert said. "Agnostics are just atheists without balls".
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sancho on October 30, 2016, 07:04:27 AM
I think Bill Maher described it best when he said " I preach the Gospel of 'I Don't Know'. And that's okay". I guess I'd be lumped into the agnostic category.

 But then again, when I really think about it, I'm always reminded of something Stephen Colbert said. "Agnostics are just atheists without balls".

Going by what Stephen Colbert said then, making the choice itself is more important than the reasoning that led you to it. And regardless of that, i think it takes more courage to be an agnostic and have no certainties than to be an atheist and believing to have figured it out everything.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: hearTes on October 30, 2016, 01:36:32 PM
Agnostics are amazing. I mean, in a way, you have to be both brave and cowardly at the same time, it takes courage to admit you know nothing and cowardice to take no stand at all.  :troll:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: IcePuck on October 31, 2016, 06:45:49 PM
There's a fair amount of overlap between agnosticism/atheism. Atheism can mean lack of belief in god, or belief that there are no gods. Agnosticism can mean belief that we just don't know, or belief that it's literally impossible to know.

I mean the first definition is agreeable in both cases, but the idea that we can't even know (no matter how much our science improves) sounds absurd, and claiming that we can definitely rule out the possibility of any sort of god overly arrogant.

So are you an atheist until proven otherwise, or agnostic because there's no proof? I agree with the "Agnostics are just atheists without balls" quote in some cases, where a person feels like the idea of god is pretty unlikely and unnecessary - just call yourself an atheist like everyone else. But there are people who are truly ambivalent about the existence of god, perhaps even leaning towards the idea that there might be some kind of creative force behind the universe. In that case, I think agnostic is more appropriate.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: MrFlibble on October 31, 2016, 10:57:37 PM
I don't think there is one, if an entity that could be described as God exists, man has not discovered him, nor does man know its will. I side with the fedora tippers on this one.  :troll: Apparently this emoticon is a troll, I always thought it was a dinosaur.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: residentgrigo on November 19, 2016, 10:56:53 PM
I am an atheist, and i always was, but i read the bible from cover to cover. Itīs world literature after all and i will power though an audiobook of the Quran next year. Gonna be fun...
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Masacrator SR on December 14, 2016, 02:57:37 AM
mix of strong + apathetic agnostic. well, that until miura finish the series, then ill be miuraist
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Sweet Prince on December 29, 2016, 08:19:44 PM
I don't think there is one, if an entity that could be described as God exists, man has not discovered him, nor does man know its will. I side with the fedora tippers on this one.  :troll: Apparently this emoticon is a troll, I always thought it was a dinosaur.

Amen to that.  :troll:
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: DANGERDOOOOM on December 30, 2016, 04:44:41 AM
I'm very much a nihilist, and have been an atheist since I was very young. I view my experience in life as something very precious and my one chance to do what I can to help mankind and the one's I love.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Aazealh on December 30, 2016, 10:21:48 AM
I view my experience in life as something very precious and my one chance to do what I can to help mankind and the one's I love.

That's... not very nihilistic.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Johnstantine on December 30, 2016, 05:11:01 PM
That's... not very nihilistic.

Yeah that's pretty much the complete opposite of nihilism.
Title: Re: Do you believe in God?
Post by: Giovanna on December 30, 2016, 06:45:34 PM
I'm very much a nihilist, and have been an atheist since I was very young. I view my experience in life as something very precious and my one chance to do what I can to help mankind and the one's I love.

Maybe what you meant was Existentialism, in the definition of Kierkegaard?  :???: