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Can a person believe in God but not belong to any religion?





distantship
I'm that person. I believe there is a God, or rather, i believe that there is actually is a higher power controlling the law of nature. Does that make any sense at all?

I don't have anything against people different religions, I just think that people with a religious belief tend to rely to much on their religion.

When they want something, they go pray rather than try their best to get what they want. For me, want one thing just go and work for it.

when someone bad happened, they got comfort from thinking it's god will and they got peace and lessen their pain, but i would rather self-heal myself.

so, what do you think i am?
Ophois
Yes. In fact, I would say that's the best way to be, if you insist upon believing in such things. Religion tends to take a fairly harmless spiritual idea, and turn it into a business, compromising it's own claims of moral superiority and doing more harm in the end.
Aredon
Well for the most part I'd say that's becoming true of most people these days. I for one no longer affiliate myself with any particular denomination. For a long time I've felt that I shouldn't be learning about god from someone on stage telling me their opinions. I should be trying to find him for myself; find my own truth essentially. I do not think there is anything wrong with it, and actually it's probably better to learn for yourself. It prevents that whole "using religion to control people" business.
ocalhoun
@ topic title:
Of course it's possible:
"I believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn God" - Now you believe in God without believing in any religion.

But really, why shouldn't you make your own religion? It's exactly what I'm doing, based mainly on evidence, chains of thought beginning from that evidence, and occasionally, just the way things 'should be'... taking the option that is most 'elegant'.
Mainly it's for myself; I had been putting off the task of figuring out 'religion' for a while, and I decided it was too important to ignore any more. I will post it up, maybe even write a book too though... It'll be interesting to see if anybody else agrees with it.
spinout
I thing you are from Sweden!!!!

That is the common thought here!

We are genetically programmed to think about a god.... So it is natural!
HalfBloodPrince
You can believe whatever you want. Even if you don't want to put a label on it, you can still believe in God.
Bluedoll
I think a person can believe what ever they wish. If you believe in something then you can achieve and that is wonderful.

The most amazing thing to me is that God, a real living being although not human, nor physical, nor easily found - is and will always be above human religions.
Jinx
Sure, you can believe in God without following a religion. Or you can be uncertain if there is a God while keeping an open mind to the possibility. I believe that's called agnosticism.
You could even believe in many gods and goddesses if you choose, and believe that they are all just parts of one divinity so large it can't be comprehended as a whole and must be broken into anthropomorphic archetypes.
Or you can believe that The Invisible Pink Unicorn and The Flying Spaghetti Monster are having a tea party in orbit around Saturn and laughing themselves silly over our antics. Smile

It's your head, fill it however you like.
Indi
Jinx wrote:
Or you can be uncertain if there is a God while keeping an open mind to the possibility. I believe that's called agnosticism.

(No, it's called atheism. Agnosticism is something else.)
deanhills
I thought atheism was the absence of belief in deities. So how can an atheist have an open mind about the existence of God? An agnostic can be both an atheist and a theist, but a theist cannot be an atheist and an atheist cannot be a theist?
Bikerman
How many times do we have to go through this?
Do I believe that string theory is an accurate model of 'reality'?
Nope.
Have I got an open mind? Yep, certainly. Bring me some evidence and I'll be happy to change my opinion.
Atheists don't necessarily think that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated, I am certainly willing to be convinced. It's pretty unlikely, I admit, but it wouldn't need too much effort from an omnipotent being to provide a bit of convincing evidence...
Aredon
From my understanding atheists don't believe in a god (we might say, "yet"?). Because they have not seen any evidence to his/her/its existence. This shouldn't imply that they're completely close minded to the idea. Just that they perhaps don't believe/trust faith in place of a lack of factual evidence?
Indi
Aredon wrote:
From my understanding atheists don't believe in a god (we might say, "yet"?). Because they have not seen any evidence to his/her/its existence. This shouldn't imply that they're completely close minded to the idea. Just that they perhaps don't believe/trust faith in place of a lack of factual evidence?

Mm, yes and no. Your description of atheists isn't wrong, and it actually does correctly describe the vast majority of atheists... but it is incomplete.

Because some atheists do deny the existence of any gods - they actually do say "there are no gods, and i am absolutely sure that this is true". They're quite rare, but they do exist. Some atheists are quite closed-minded to the idea that gods might exist.

And not all atheists place any stock in material evidence - some are quite religious, or believe in nonsense like crystal power and feng shui.

Nope, the only thing that makes an atheist an atheist is: if they are asked "does god exist", they don't answer "yes". They can answer "no", "i don't know", "who cares?", "the question makes no sense" etc. ... whatever, as long as it's not "yes". Their reasons don't matter either - it could be anything from "lack of evidence" to "the spirits from Atlantis that i'm channelling tell me no".

As for the matter of open-mindedness - some atheists are, some aren't (actually, by far the vast majority are). Most simply say (to quote Bertrand Russell), "Not enough evidence, God. Not enough evidence.". The funny part is that the evidential requirements for most atheists are stupidly low, compared to the evidence it would take to get the average theist to agree that no gods exist. Take one of the posters on this forum, for example, who said that if the Moon had written across the dark side, "Made by Allah, Inc.", then he would believe. But that's not really good proof for God, because an alien species could have done that, or a technically competent modern-day human civilization given enough time and money (it is no more ridiculous a conspiracy theory to call the Apollo mission a hoax than it would be to dream up a conpsiracy where the Christian American government secretly sent probes to the Moon to manufacture this kind of proof for their religion). Still, something like that would be enough for most atheists. We're not really asking that much. Most people say that God created the bleeping universe! What's a few words on a small satellite to something with that kind of power?! It's functionally asking for nothing, considering what we could ask for.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
Still, something like that would be enough for most atheists.

If there is a God as described in the 'Abrahamic' religions, He must have some reason to think that the world is better without proof of His existence.

My current theory is that 'God' is actually more like a natural force unknown to modern science though.
Ophois
If you ask me if I believe in God, I would assume it's the Abrahamic one we are talking about, to which my answer is a very clear "no". That particular God is no more real to me than any of the other countless Gods we have abandoned over time. It is just far too silly of an idea; an all knowing deity that happens to behave like a spoiled child. No dice.

I don't ask for evidence(other than in hypothetical arguments), because there is none, and there never will be. If there was going to be, there would have been some by now, provided by this great being. Zip, zilch, nada. Ahhh but then we come to "faith"...
ocalhoun wrote:
If there is a God as described in the 'Abrahamic' religions, He must have some reason to think that the world is better without proof of His existence.
And this is something that many religious people have told me over the years. Evidence would actually negate the purpose of faith, they said. Well, what is the purpose of faith, I ask? I have been given many answers about this. Some say the purpose of faith is to have the ultimate trust, to give yourself over to a power that you can't even understand, and simply trust in it.
Total cop-out, as far as I'm concerned.

To me, trying to prove the existence of God is an enormous waste their time.

If it's faith you have, then stop looking for evidence.
If it's evidence you need, then stop looking for God.
deanhills
Ophois wrote:
If it's faith you have, then stop looking for evidence.
If it's evidence you need, then stop looking for God.
Excellent point. Also why I wonder at all the debates as the two are on completely different levels. I found this quote that was quite meaningful to me:
Quote:
Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof
by Ashley Montague, British American Anthropologist (1905-1999)
Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/ashleymont102365.html

You've added a different dimension though.
ocalhoun
Ophois wrote:

To me, trying to prove the existence of God is an enormous waste their time.

Only if you fail. ^.^ If you actually succeeded in at least proving it to yourself (even if nobody else believes you), you'd probably consider it the best-spent time of your life... (Because if God is real, then heaven and hell are probably real as well.)

As I said earlier, I don't think you'd succeed like that, because I don't think 'God' as the Abrahamic religions define Him exists. But who knows?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
(Because if God is real, then heaven and hell are probably real as well.)
I can't really agree with that. For me the concepts of "heaven" and "hell" have been created by human beings and are terms that are relative to our own human experiences.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
(Because if God is real, then heaven and hell are probably real as well.)
I can't really agree with that. For me the concepts of "heaven" and "hell" have been created by human beings and are terms that are relative to our own human experiences.

And God isn't?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
(Because if God is real, then heaven and hell are probably real as well.)
I can't really agree with that. For me the concepts of "heaven" and "hell" have been created by human beings and are terms that are relative to our own human experiences.

And God isn't?
Most of what we learn about Him is also created by man, agreed.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
If there is a God as described in the 'Abrahamic' religions, He must have some reason to think that the world is better without proof of His existence.

Why does that follow?

If there is a god as described in the Abrahamic religions, then that god is capricious and not entirely rational, because that's how he's described. But even if that weren't the case, why assume that any god that exists and is somewhat similar to the Judaistic god is always rational? Why must he have a reason for anything?

ocalhoun wrote:
My current theory is that 'God' is actually more like a natural force unknown to modern science though.

i don't see any need to suppose that.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
If there is a God as described in the 'Abrahamic' religions, He must have some reason to think that the world is better without proof of His existence.

Why does that follow?

Because if He existed, and He wanted there to be proof of His existence, there would be proof.

Since there is no proof, one of those two statements must be false: either He doesn't exist, or He doesn't want proof of his existence.
Quote:

If there is a god as described in the Abrahamic religions, then that god is capricious and not entirely rational, because that's how he's described. But even if that weren't the case, why assume that any god that exists and is somewhat similar to the Judaistic god is always rational? Why must he have a reason for anything?

He doesn't have to have a reason for wanting or not wanting something, but I feel justified in thinking that an omnipotent being would usually get what it wants.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
My current theory is that 'God' is actually more like a natural force unknown to modern science though.

i don't see any need to suppose that.

<.< You wouldn't...
Why not suppose that? (Various razors aside.)
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Because if He existed, and He wanted there to be proof of His existence, there would be proof.

Since there is no proof, one of those two statements must be false: either He doesn't exist, or He doesn't want proof of his existence.

"If triangles made a god, they would give him three sides."

This is the problem i see whenever someone tries to describe gods to me; invariably, they pack the description with loads of unjustified assumptions, because the god is always like them in its behaviour or thinking. But you have a model for this god already - the Abrahamic model - so let's take that model as the source of what we would expect about the god, not what you would do.

There are tons of assumptions hidden in even those two little sentences. The first and most obvious is that the god is rational. But what possible reason would anyone have for thinking that? i don't see anything in this universe that implies that if it had a maker, that that maker would be rational.

Things get even worse if you're using the Abrahamic model for the god. Most definitely that god isn't rational. That god's behaviour is childish, capricious, and quite frankly bizarre. To put it less gently, the Abrahamic god is fricken nuts.

On top of that, if you are using the Abrahamic model for the god, then quite clearly - according to the model - that god has tried to give proof of his existence on several occasions. That would imply (which is corroborated with tons of other evidence) that this god is ripping incompetent.

The bottom line is that if you just look at the Abrahamic model, the god is irrational, insane, and incompetent... so when you posit rational behaviour and competency in that god, it's not coming from Abraham.

ocalhoun wrote:
He doesn't have to have a reason for wanting or not wanting something, but I feel justified in thinking that an omnipotent being would usually get what it wants.

Yet, clearly, if you are talking about the Abrahamic god, that is not the case. Because unless God wanted angels to rebel (which kinda warps the meaning of "rebel"), then obviously something happened that it didn't want to happen.

Things get even fuzzier when you take the stories associated with the god into account. Like what was up in Eden? Did God want Adam and Even to eat the fruit... and if so, why did he punish them? Hell, why did he pretend he didn't know? Just bizarre.

At the most fundamental level, consider this issue: the Abrahamic god has the emotion of anger. Kawha? How can a being who can get anything it wants ever experience anger? Anger is the emotion of extreme frustration. If God really can get whatever it wants, it should never know frustration, let alone anger.

ocalhoun wrote:
<.< You wouldn't...
Why not suppose that? (Various razors aside.)

Razors aside? ^_^; Alrighty then.

Because it's too complicated. How can one force do all the things God is supposed to do? It makes more sense to just assume that God just uses an army of fairies to make things happen. The reason we don't see them is because they erase our memories and alter recording devices to hide their existence.

You see, if you throw out Ockham's Razor... anything goes. That's why we use it - all the time, not just in careful thought. Whenever you stop using it, that's where nuttiness comes in.
lagoon
If anything, I am anti-religion, but I believe in a higher power. The idea of an omnipotent power has been hijacked by power-hungry people the world over, ever since the middle ages.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Because if He existed, and He wanted there to be proof of His existence, there would be proof.

Since there is no proof, one of those two statements must be false: either He doesn't exist, or He doesn't want proof of his existence.


Things get even worse if you're using the Abrahamic model for the god. Most definitely that god isn't rational. That god's behaviour is childish, capricious, and quite frankly bizarre. To put it less gently, the Abrahamic god is fricken nuts.

Even the childish and insane can still want something and attempt to get it... Heck, even plants can do that! If God wanted something, wouldn't He try to get it? And if something omnipotent tries to get something, how can it fail?
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
<.< You wouldn't...
Why not suppose that? (Various razors aside.)

Razors aside? ^_^; Alrighty then.
Because it's too complicated. How can one force do all the things God is supposed to do?

Simple. It doesn't.
A lot of the things 'God is supposed to do' aren't done, or are effects of things other than the 'force' I'm talking about.
The thing I'm talking about could only be compared to God as a loose analogy. The two are very different in most ways.
crimson_aria
I have a religion, but I sometimes think about that too. I think it's possible to believe in God but not belong to any religion. I am a Catholic so I naturally believe in God. but if someday the God I believe in was proven false, if someday Jesus was proven to have never existed at all, I won't be devastated. I believe in the teachings and if the source of these teachings turn out to be nothing, I'd still be living in this world following the teachings cause in my heart I believe it's right.
sum12nv
yeh my brother believes in god but yet has no religion
but i dont believe in jack
deanhills
lagoon wrote:
If anything, I am anti-religion, but I believe in a higher power. The idea of an omnipotent power has been hijacked by power-hungry people the world over, ever since the middle ages.
You put it well. I would not say I am anti-religion, but religion has definitely been misused by "power-hungry" people as you say. For me the Catholic Church with its layers of political bureacracy has to be near the top of the list. There can be a point where religion is not what it is supposed to be and turns into something nasty. Probably because it originates from people and not a higher power. We're very fallible and imperfect, too imperfect to really grasp "higher power", the only place where we seem to get close to it is with the good stuff like love, hope, compassion, simple stuff along those lines.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Even the childish and insane can still want something and attempt to get it... Heck, even plants can do that! If God wanted something, wouldn't He try to get it? And if something omnipotent tries to get something, how can it fail?

... -_-

Let's try this again: "Things get even worse if you're using the Abrahamic model for the god. Most definitely that god isn't rational. That god's behaviour is childish, capricious, and quite frankly bizarre. To put it less gently, the Abrahamic god is fricken nuts."

The problem isn't that if the god wanted to be seen he could or couldn't manage it. The problem is that the god is IRRATIONAL. Fricken nuts. It is childish and insane because it is irrational, it is not childish and insane but rational.

An irrational god may work like this: "I want to end suffering in the world, so I'll eat cheese and dance the mambo." It is crazy. If it wants something, it may not necessarily get it - not because it doesn't have the ability, but because it cannot turn the want into a rational plan to get it.

THAT is how an omnipotent god might fail to get something it wants.

But that's just the beginning, because an irrational being may not even want something rational, let alone simply being unable to plan a way to get it. You are putting in the god your thinking, which is rational: "Because if He existed, and He wanted there to be proof of His existence, there would be proof." and "If there is a God as described in the 'Abrahamic' religions, He must have some reason to think that the world is better without proof of His existence." The word is right there: "... he must have some reason...". To which i say, oh really? Why must he? Why can't he just be irrational, and want it for no reason at all? Or why can't he rationally want it, but be unable to rationally plan a way to get it?

The Abrahamic god is clearly irrational. Believers choose to believe - by faith - that it is not, and that it's irrational behaviour has a rational justification, even though there's absolutely no reason to believe this, because they don't want an irrational god. If triangles made a god....
tingkagol
Indi wrote:
The Abrahamic god is clearly irrational. Believers choose to believe - by faith - that it is not, and that it's irrational behaviour has a rational justification, even though there's absolutely no reason to believe this, because they don't want an irrational god. If triangles made a god....

An irrational god actually makes sense. In fact, I'm willing to believe that an irrational god exists, despite not having any evidence of its existence. However, I won't be worshipping it. What for? To me it would be no different than the sun or space or the universe- strange things that do what they do that directly influence the fate of our planet, our lives.

Though I doubt the belief that God is rational would go away. Yeah, if triangles made a god... etc. Human nature, I guess.


Anyway, if God was really rational, I'd blame the stereotype. We're just too busy thinking that a god should be omnipotent. Should it really be? What if our general knowledge of the powers of a "god" is a far cry from the correct one? What if it's as unique & unknown as an undiscovered dimension? (I have a feeling I'll end up classifying the universe as a 'god' in this line of thought). Pfeh, just wondering anyway, and I do realize I'm kind of downgrading the prestige of a 'god', so yeah...
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

An irrational god may work like this: "I want to end suffering in the world, so I'll eat cheese and dance the mambo." It is crazy. If it wants something, it may not necessarily get it - not because it doesn't have the ability, but because it cannot turn the want into a rational plan to get it.

THAT is how an omnipotent god might fail to get something it wants.


^.^ If an omnipotent God thought eating cheese and dancing the mambo would end suffering in the world... eating cheese and dancing the mambo probably would end suffering in the world...
That's the great thing about being omnipotent.
Really, what's the difference between these two?:
1: God said let there be light, and there was light.
2: God ate cheese and danced the mambo, and there was light.
Quote:
The word is right there: "... he must have some reason...". To which i say, oh really? Why must he? Why can't he just be irrational, and want it for no reason at all? Or why can't he rationally want it, but be unable to rationally plan a way to get it?

Okay, so maybe this God wouldn't want to be proven, but doesn't have any (rational) reason for that.
(Though, of course, we can dig up the old Christian argument about God's reasoning being quite beyond ours, but I doubt you want to hear that! It does make a bit of sense, though. Us questioning God's reasoning might be analogous to a dog questioning your reasoning when you're trying to train it... One could imagine the dog wondering why you want him to roll over, and thinking that your demands that he roll over again are irrational.)
Crinoid
There are a lot of not organized religions, and being on the way to believe in god (as a manifestation of supreme being) group could be the largest of them.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
^.^ If an omnipotent God thought eating cheese and dancing the mambo would end suffering in the world... eating cheese and dancing the mambo probably would end suffering in the world...
That's the great thing about being omnipotent.
Really, what's the difference between these two?:
1: God said let there be light, and there was light.
2: God ate cheese and danced the mambo, and there was light.

You're still not groking what it means to be irrational. You're still making the god rational.

Part of the problem is your wording. You said: "If an omnipotent god thought eating cheese and dancing the mambo would end suffering in the world..." You meant: "If an omnipotent god wanted it to be that eating cheese and dancing the mambo would end suffering in the world..." Do you see what happened? There is a difference between thinking X will cause Y, and making X cause Y.

The problem with an irrational being - god or otherwise - is that they think X will cause Y when it won't. Or, to put it another way, they want Y, but do X which causes Z. A rational person thinks "but that's stupid/pointless/crazy"... and it is all of those things. But to an irrational person, it makes perfect sense... to them, it might not even make sense any other way.

So it's actually the difference between these two:
1: God wanted light, so he did something that created light.
2: God wanted light, so he did something that created cheese.

The latter god is irrational. It's just nuts. If such a god wanted to end suffering, it may well do something that will not help at all (or even cause suffering), all the while completely convinced that it is helping.

ocalhoun wrote:
Okay, so maybe this God wouldn't want to be proven, but doesn't have any (rational) reason for that.
(Though, of course, we can dig up the old Christian argument about God's reasoning being quite beyond ours, but I doubt you want to hear that! It does make a bit of sense, though. Us questioning God's reasoning might be analogous to a dog questioning your reasoning when you're trying to train it... One could imagine the dog wondering why you want him to roll over, and thinking that your demands that he roll over again are irrational.)

That's a poor analogy, for the reason that we cannot communicate with dogs because - so far as we know - they have no capability to communicate or understand anything at all, beyond the most basic Pavlovian associations (which isn't really "understanding", per se).

Let's say that we could communicate with dogs. Then when you tried to train a dog not to run out in the street, you could explain why - in terms the dog could understand. Even rolling over can be easily explained any one of a number of ways a dog could surely understand: "It amuses me" (surely dogs understand amusement), or "If you can do it on command, it shows people you are trained and obedient, which makes them less afraid of you, and allows you into more places" (surely a dog could understand command - they're pack animals after all - along with fear and being allowed or disallowed from certain places).

To put it bluntly, the whole "God's reasoning is beyond ours" argument is depressingly stupid. Even if its true that God's reasoning is beyond ours, our reasoning is surely capable enough of understanding at least a simplified explanation. What that argument really claims is that God is too stupid to put his plan into human terms... which basically means the argument is self-defeating.
biznacho
I tend to break it down like this...

If you try to argue the existence of God with a person who considers themselves "Godly" or "Christian" or "Spiritual" or whatever label you like (church goers) they ultimately fall back on faith as the foundation of their decision. That's how Christianity was defined when I was growing up in church. You take a "leap of faith" (blind faith) and just accept that God is there and you live your life accordingly. God works in mysterious ways after all, so without any physical evidence to support God's existence, aside from "intelligent design" you are going on faith. Don't tell me the Bible is "evidence" because it's just a book written by humans...

Once I got older and took some Philosophy classes in college, and started questioning things for myself I decided that the other side of the coin, or the absence of God was the absence of that blind faith... Or science... Science looks at quantifiable evidence to support a theory. If there is no evidence to be found the explanation is either A) the theory must be changed so something measurable can support it, or B) our puny instruments cannot help find the evidence needed and time and technological advancements will ultimately help to support the theory in question.

Both sides have their value. Where I think religion ultimately breaks down is the whole judgement thing. The Bible spells out that we will all stand before God on judgement day. I hate the fact so many Christians judge everyone else, especially non-Christians. I don't answer to any person (except my wife!). I have a brother who taught himself Greek to read the original New Testament scriptures rather than rely on a translation. He's the smartest person I know. I wish I were half as smart as him, but he's very wrapped up in the judgement thing. He judges people based on things they say. When he tells me about someone that said something that he thought was short-sited or stupid because the Bible says this or that, I always respond to him that it's ok. Let that person figure it out on their own just like he did, and don't be so judgemental.

I hate the Christian religion now that I'm old and bitter. I hate the way they think they are superior to all other humans simply because they are Christians. I hate the way they preach their superiority and how the world needs to be taught about the life of Christ, as though that will solve the problems of the world.

I think helping people is a moral obligation without needing to tie it to Christianity (or any other religion). I think many of the lessons I learned in my youth from the Bible actually can stand ABOVE religion! Strip out the religion and it's even more pure, even more clean, and even more universal! Do unto others is one example. Muslims can practice that too, or Buddhists, or Jews. It stands above all the rules and regulations of each of them. It's a valuable concept for all humanity to embrace regardless of religion...

I don't go to church. I don't pray. I think we should work out our problems for ourselves, after all we created them. I don't hang with people who go to church because of their blind faith (willing ignorance?). I don't know if I'm an atheist, an agnostic, a heretic, a hedonist, or what... Most likely I'm just heathen, and I'm trying to live my life the best I can, help those I can and leave the world in a better place than it was when I got here. And I think everyone else should do the same...

That is all.
pesttest
Quote:
That is religion which makes us realise the Unchangeable One. He who comes face to face with God, sees God alone in everything.

I would rather have every one of you be rank atheists than superstitious fools. There is no mystery in religion. Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness. These are always signs of degradation and of death. Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet.

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

Brave, bold men, these are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery.

You do not need be belong to any religion to believe in God.

[MOD - thanks Truespeed - I missed it. Posters are reminded that quotes from other sites must be enclosed in QUOTE tags and a source must be given. I also remind you that a posting which is just a quote is not worthwhile and will normally be removed. I let this one stand because it has been replied to before I was alerted to it - Bikerman]
jeffryjon
distantship wrote:
I'm that person. I believe there is a God, or rather, i believe that there is actually is a higher power controlling the law of nature. Does that make any sense at all?

I don't have anything against people different religions, I just think that people with a religious belief tend to rely to much on their religion.

When they want something, they go pray rather than try their best to get what they want. For me, want one thing just go and work for it.

when someone bad happened, they got comfort from thinking it's god will and they got peace and lessen their pain, but i would rather self-heal myself.

so, what do you think i am?


Seems you've answered your own question. I would also fit into a similar category.
truespeed
pesttest wrote:
That is religion which makes us realise the Unchangeable One. He who comes face to face with God, sees God alone in everything.

I would rather have every one of you be rank atheists than superstitious fools. There is no mystery in religion. Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness. These are always signs of degradation and of death. Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet.

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

Brave, bold men, these are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery.

You do not need be belong to any religion to believe in God.


Copy pasted from here.

http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/workbeforeus2.php
jeffryjon
truespeed wrote:
pesttest wrote:
That is religion which makes us realise the Unchangeable One. He who comes face to face with God, sees God alone in everything.

I would rather have every one of you be rank atheists than superstitious fools. There is no mystery in religion. Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness. These are always signs of degradation and of death. Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet.

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

Brave, bold men, these are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery.

You do not need be belong to any religion to believe in God.


Copy pasted from here.

http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/workbeforeus2.php


The principle is not new and I would agree with it - though not using the word atheist - rather phrase it as I've interpreted it 'a non-believer-in-self' - I'm sure there's a posh word for it somewhere - anyone?
deanhills
jeffryjon wrote:
The principle is not new and I would agree with it - though not using the word atheist - rather phrase it as I've interpreted it 'a non-believer-in-self' - I'm sure there's a posh word for it somewhere - anyone?
A deist?
Bikerman
What has Deism got to do with not believing in self?
One who doesn't believe in self is not something I know of a word for - presumably the ultimate cynic/nihilist.
The notion that atheists don't believe in a self is such risible nonsense that it needs no further response.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
What has Deism got to do with not believing in self?
One who doesn't believe in self is not something I know of a word for - presumably the ultimate cynic/nihilist.
The notion that atheists don't believe in a self is such risible nonsense that it needs no further response.

Maybe I misunderstood jeffryjon's question as I did not see anything about not believing in self. I thought he was referring to someone believing in God without following any specific religion. I was looking at this part of the quoted text by jeffryjon, quoted by Truespeed:
truespeed wrote:
You do not need be belong to any religion to believe in God.
Truespeed was quoting it from:
http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/workbeforeus2.php
Bikerman
Quote:
I did not see anything about not believing in self

So you quoted it and replied to it and didn't properly read it? sheesh
It reads:
Quote:
The principle is not new and I would agree with it - though not using the word atheist - rather phrase it as I've interpreted it 'a non-believer-in-self' - I'm sure there's a posh word for it somewhere - anyone?
jeffryjon
Quote:
pesttest wrote:
That is religion which makes us realise the Unchangeable One. He who comes face to face with God, sees God alone in everything.

I would rather have every one of you be rank atheists than superstitious fools. There is no mystery in religion. Mystery mongering and superstition are always signs of weakness. These are always signs of degradation and of death. Therefore beware of them; be strong, and stand on your own feet.

He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

Brave, bold men, these are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery.

You do not need be belong to any religion to believe in God.


Copy pasted from here.

http://www.eaglespace.com/spirit/workbeforeus2.php


Just in case bikerman hasn't clarified enough - the reference was self-explanatory. I interpreted rightly or wrongly that the author of the above had incorrectly used the word atheist and could possible use 'non-believer-in-self' or whatever posh word exists for that - I don't know what that posh word is and obviously neither did the author of the above. I know there are many ways we could describe someone who's a non-believer in self and the resultant lack of confidence and self esteem. Rather, we need a word to use for someone of low feelings of self-worth that can be used to encourage them to take up activities that build their self-confidence and believe in themselves (as something of worth). Apathy could 'lead' someone to become an atheist, though it's not the same thing.
deanhills
jeffryjon wrote:
I interpreted rightly or wrongly that the author of the above had incorrectly used the word atheist and could possible use 'non-believer-in-self' or whatever posh word exists for that - I don't know what that posh word is and obviously neither did the author of the above.
This is a good explanation, thanks jeffryjon. Got it.
Gitesh
Same here ., I dont belive in proposed gods either.,
Instead I believe god is in the following things for me.,
1) the genes or DNA that makes an animal do terrific things / amazing things thats god for me
2) I see God in love of mother towards her child., I dont know where it comes from and how does simple ( or complicated for many) structure of DNA leads to such an awesome miracle.
3) When someone Para jumps I see God in their courage.
4) I see God in Migratory birds.
THere are many more miracles ii name as god.
Bikerman
And you don't think that this is actually insulting to the Para - who jumps because of HIS courage, not some deity? Why would you want to call instinctive behavior 'God'?
You also seem to be a bit selective - why is God only the good parts of the genome? Is God not also the parasitic fluke that burrows into the brain of the mouse, forcing it to seek out the cat which will eat is and thus complete the life-cycle of the fluke?
Hello_World
Of course you can believe in fairytale stuff without falling for the whole story wholus-bolus. My Mum is such a person who generally believes in the Christian God but doesn't like church (not that it stopped her from sending me there for a full year).

I think the majority of Australia Christians are like this. Although most Aussies are Christians (unfotunately), most churches find it very hard to get feet in their door under about the age of 70.

As far as I'm concerned, not believing in self or whatever odd thing you want to believe in, can't be much weirder than the current popular religions.
Dennise
Since 'God' has been shown to mean just about anything to anybody, of course one can believe in his own God without belonging to an organized religion.

Might science together with all it's unknowns be a God to many?
johans
distantship wrote:
I'm that person. I believe there is a God, or rather, i believe that there is actually is a higher power controlling the law of nature. Does that make any sense at all?


well, if your question is based on the subject i can say.. its TRUE.

FOR YOUR QUESTION BELOW..

it make sense.. i agree.. Shocked
Bikerman
I have long been of the opinion that the large majority of Christians don't really know what they believe and can't, when pushed, explain which parts of the standard dogma they understand, let alone believe.*
I have talked about this to many Christians and I would say that about 90% don't even KNOW what it is claimed that they must believe, as a Christian. Most have some vague image of a cuddly Jesus-figure which they fixate on (to the extent that their religion IS actually a large part of their life - which again I would say is very much the minority).
Here's the thing I find the most telling - most Christians are woefully ignorant of the bible. You would surely think that if a person genuinely believed that Jesus was THE man - the most important person ever, and someone who they should love beyond all others - that they would avidly read every word they could find about him, in the same way that they avidly devour the latest gossip on some third-rate soap-star turned celebrity who is currently flavour of the month. But no, ask ANY Christian some detailed questions about the bible and you will nearly always find that they haven't seriously read the ONLY book in existence about their hero. That tells me that their assertion that Jesus is the most important figure in their life is rather hollow and that the truth is more that they have a mental image of Jesus which IS very important to them, but it is a construct of their own which owes little to the biblical character.

* If anyone thinks this is wrong, by all means prove me wrong. HERE is a quiz on the bible. Specifically it has one question from each of the books of the bible, Old and New testament. There are 20 mutiple-choice (4 choices) questions. You need 15 or more to pass and so far nobody has got a passing score.
truespeed
I got 3 / 20,all guesses.
Bikerman
Yes, I didn't say it was easy Smile
The truth is, though, that if this were a quiz on (say) a biography of Robbie Williams then there would be LOADS of his fans scoring very highly. I find it telling that, apparently, few, if any, Jesus fans can manage the same Smile
tingkagol
7 / 20

I don't know jack. Smile

Is this the same quiz you made a few years ago?
Bikerman
No, this is harder. I took a lot of these questions from existing quizzes on Christian Fudy sites. I rank my own knowledge of the bible at about 4/10 (where 0 is knows nothing and 10 is knows it by heart). I actually tried one of the quizzes which I cribbed some questions from and scored 13/20. I reckon that is about the score I would achieve with this quiz. That's about the standard I wanted. On a good day I might JUST have passed it myself, so anyone who DOES pass it can claim to know the bible better than I do. I have to say, though, that even the most 'blowhard' Christians we have seen on these boards haven't impressed with their knowledge, and I'm betting that a few of the anonymous scores I see in the results section are from similar evangelical types Smile

To-date you have the fifth highest score (from 20 attempts recorded). The highest is 12 and there is one 10, one 9 and one 8.
Ankhanu
I scored either a 5 or 7, can't recall which, yesterday. Lots of stuff I've never read on there Smile
nhojlop
I'm really open to hear words from the bible but I do not see any point going to church because our body itself is the temple of God as based on the Bible..that's why I'm wondering, could it be possible that you are just open to hear things about God but do not want to be bounded on church??
Bikerman
Your body is the temple of God eh?
So when Matthew writes that
...Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

He meant that Jesus went into 'your body'? You think?

I can find you probably about 50 references to the temple of God in the bible, in similar terms.
It seems, however, that you prefer to base your entire understanding of this matter on a couple of letters written by someone who never met Jesus (Paul), and was, in these letters, trying to push a particular agenda in support of his political control of the early Church against other power-bases? The words 'dodgy dossier' spring to mind.... But you think not? Really?

Well, you are the Christian, so I guess you should know what you are talking about.....seems odd to me, but I'm not a member, so what do I know?
coolclay
As you well know Bikerman it's all based upon interpretation. 100 people can read the same passage and think it means a 100 different things. So take a book as large as the Bible and well you get my meaning.

That may be one of the best and worst parts about Christianity and self awareness in general is that as long as it is true to you it is the truth.
Bikerman
I can see how that could be the worst thing, but I don't see how it could be a positive. The notion that something can be 'true to me' is a crock. A thing is true or it is not. We can talk about degrees of truth, because our perceptions are partial and in many situations we will only get part of the overall picture, but the notion that something is true because I believe it to be, is purest bollox.
Believing the world is 10,000 years old, for example, is not 'a truth' - it is a delusion.
Blummer
It's been months I've found out I've just been idle from any religion for years and years. I do think I believe in something existing above or around, but I finally say I'm personally not religious and I'm happy about it. As they say, faith helps where religion fails.
Bikerman
I can't agree. One of the major charges I would make against religion is that it turns faith into a virtue. Some take this to mean that believing something, in spite of evidence to the contrary, is a good thing in itself. It isn't. Ever.
Do you want a pilot flying your plane who has faith in his abilities to fly, or one who has evidence that he CAN fly? Do you want to be operated upon by a woman convinced of her own surgical abilities, or one who has convinced experts and thus gained evidence in the form of accreditation?
Faith is the last resort, when there is no evidence available either way, and even then I think it is better to simply reserve judgement rather than commit to a position with no good reason.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Faith is the last resort, when there is no evidence available either way, and even then I think it is better to simply reserve judgement rather than commit to a position with no good reason.

I would put it a lot stronger than that. I would call faith idiotic, and i would even lean toward actually calling it morally reprehensible, except in very limited circumstances.

You should never, ever take a position on something that doesn't satisfy the weight of the empirical evidence or logical reasoning, unless all of the following conditions are true:
  • There is absolutely no evidence - empirical or logical - against the position.

    It's not good enough to say "you shouldn't believe without evidence". You have to back that up with the corollary "and when there is evidence - no matter how little - and the weight of that evidence contradicts what you want to believe, you must not believe it".

  • There are no consequences to anyone else of you taking the position.

    If you want to believe something without evidence or reason, that may be fine for you... but if there is any interaction between your belief and the rest of the world, it is absolutely wrong to hold that belief.

    Note, i don't say negative consequences, i just say "consequences", and i mean that. Even if there are (or appear to be) positive consequences to others if you believe something without evidence, it's still wrong. (It's like saying you can divide 16/64 by cancelling the 6s... you get the right answer, but for the wrong reasons.)

  • There are positive consequences to you for taking the position.

    In theory, you should never, ever believe something just because the consequences of the belief, or believing it, are good... you should only believe something if it is true, not if you'll be rewarded in some way for believing it. But in reality, there are cases where it is not only harmless to believe a lie, it's actually beneficial. The placebo effect is an example.

In the very, very rare situations where there is no evidence against the belief... and the belief doesn't effect anyone else in any way at all... and having the belief (whether it's true or false, which you can't know) does benefits for you... then and only then is okay to believe something without empirical or logical evidence.

I find the whole premise of this thread - and the many others like it - a little seedy. What it is, ultimately, is people looking for a way to hold on to their religious beliefs without having to be associated with all that icky stuff that is being pinned on religious organizations. It is (for example) wanting to stay "Catholic", or something very like it, without being guilty by associate for all the horrible crimes and intolerant attitudes of the Catholic Church.

But it's just a fraud. It's just as dishonest as saying "well, yeah, i don't like black people and i want them all out of this country, but don't associate me with the KKK - those guys are jerks, but i'm a good person!" Bullshit. Even if you don't have a membership to the organization, if your beliefs are the same as >>the beliefs that cause<< that organization to do evil shit, you are just as much responsible for those sins as the organization itself is.

And i put all that extra highlighting around the "cause" bit because i just know someone is going to deliberately misinterpret what i said. I did not say that you are responsible for every little damn thing the organization does. If you're a Catholic, obviously you're not responsible for raping a child, duh. Why not? Because being Catholic is not what caused those creeps to rape children. There is nothing in the Catholic belief that says it's okay to rape children. The beliefs of Catholicism did not cause those rapes, so Catholics at large are not guilty for them.

... HOWEVER...

Belief in the sanctity and righteousness of the priesthood did allow those rapes to happen as widely and for as long as they did. And that belief is part of the religion. That is why, even though Catholics are not all rapists, they do all bear responsibility for the rapes. Every Catholic should be ashamed and embarrassed by what went on, and the fact that it was covered up for so long, and should be diligent about making amends and making sure nothing like that ever happens again. The same is true for every religious belief - freaking take responsibility for the crimes caused by that belief, and take steps to make sure the crimes stop... don't just shrug and say "not my problem - we may have the same beliefs, but i'm not those guys".

Claims like this - that your beliefs can be essentially the same as the beliefs of an organized religious group, but that you're totally insulated from what that organized religious group does in the name of the beliefs that you both share - are just shady and dishonest attempts to shrug off responsibility for the consequences of your beliefs.
Bikerman
Yes, I have to agree with that. I can see how blind faith is a necessary thing - for children. If a child is heading for a cliff-top and you yell STOP then scepticism is not a survival trait. This is why, incidentally, I take most particular and strong exception to the whole idea of 'religious education' for children UNLESS that means 'education in the religions of the world' - which I would make compulsory. The more general understanding - more honestly called indoctrination - is how religion manages to maintain large memberships. Take away the childhood indoctrination and watch religions wither.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, I have to agree with that. I can see how blind faith is a necessary thing - for children. If a child is heading for a cliff-top and you yell STOP then scepticism is not a survival trait.

I don't consider that an example of faith at all. Faith is belief without reason - empirical or logical. A child has many very good reasons to heed an adult who tells them to stop what they're doing immediately, without argument and without question. A child knows that their knowledge of the world, their perception and understanding of it, is quite limited, and almost certainly less complete than an adult's. Indeed, a child would be foolish to ignore the request.

That is what makes religious indoctrination so abusive. Children are not only more vulnerable to it, they have to be more vulnerable to it - there's no way they can possibly protect themselves against it - because they have to be willing to trust what they're told by adults for their own safety. Abusing that trust to cram bullshit into their brains is a violation of the trust between the child and the adult.

But there is no faith involved - at least at first. The child naturally and quite logically trusts that things will make sense when they learn more... and when they don't - when they get older and have to start doing mental gymnastics to hold on to what they were taught - it sparks off a struggle in the child where they have to either accept that they were mentally raped by adults they loved and trusted, or keep holding out hope that what they were told really is true so that they can hold on to that love and trust. And as victims of child abuse usually do, they start to believe that since the adults can't be evil, the problem is with them. That's when faith begins.
SpaceInvader75
ocalhoun wrote:
Ophois wrote:

To me, trying to prove the existence of God is an enormous waste their time.

Only if you fail. ^.^ If you actually succeeded in at least proving it to yourself (even if nobody else believes you), you'd probably consider it the best-spent time of your life... (Because if God is real, then heaven and hell are probably real as well.)

As I said earlier, I don't think you'd succeed like that, because I don't think 'God' as the Abrahamic religions define Him exists. But who knows?


This is an interesting thought. But what if you spent your life trying to prove the existence of God (Of course, if you didn't believe in god, why would you spend such so much time?) and then you actually found "evidence" that you really believed. Now, if you discover that God, Heaven, and Hell are all real, that might be the scariest thing of all, because you would know that an all-powerful being is going to decide whether you go the Heaven or Hell. Now, I know people are going to say that it's your choice, but it's disturbing enough to me that an all-powerful being would decide that you made some (or one?) mistakes in your lifetime so it is necessary to punish you (or anyone) for eternity?

Now maybe one would not assume the above perspective, and that perhaps is another topic. Does anyone really deserve to go to hell? But it's definitely a scary thought to me that there could be such a being. And I think that was the intention (by man, who I believe made up Heaven and Hell). That's my opinion. Smile
SpaceInvader75
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, I have to agree with that. I can see how blind faith is a necessary thing - for children. If a child is heading for a cliff-top and you yell STOP then scepticism is not a survival trait.

I don't consider that an example of faith at all. Faith is belief without reason - empirical or logical. A child has many very good reasons to heed an adult who tells them to stop what they're doing immediately, without argument and without question. A child knows that their knowledge of the world, their perception and understanding of it, is quite limited, and almost certainly less complete than an adult's. Indeed, a child would be foolish to ignore the request.

That is what makes religious indoctrination so abusive. Children are not only more vulnerable to it, they have to be more vulnerable to it - there's no way they can possibly protect themselves against it - because they have to be willing to trust what they're told by adults for their own safety. Abusing that trust to cram bullshit into their brains is a violation of the trust between the child and the adult.

But there is no faith involved - at least at first. The child naturally and quite logically trusts that things will make sense when they learn more... and when they don't - when they get older and have to start doing mental gymnastics to hold on to what they were taught - it sparks off a struggle in the child where they have to either accept that they were mentally raped by adults they loved and trusted, or keep holding out hope that what they were told really is true so that they can hold on to that love and trust. And as victims of child abuse usually do, they start to believe that since the adults can't be evil, the problem is with them. That's when faith begins.


This is exactly what happened to me. I remember the moment when I finally asked myself "Do I believe in God just because my parents taught me?" By that time I had learned that they certainly weren't perfect, which of course is not a requirement for a good parent. I'm not even really saying my parents weren't good parents (at least I didn't drown in the tub). But in my opinion this brainwashing (at least that's how I see it) can cause psychological effects for the rest of the child's life. It is not a very good feeling to believe in Heaven and other nice things (like being able to see your relatives again) and then have to come to the realization that those are just dreams. Well, we all have a choice, but I've said this before; it is similar to the red pill and the blue pill. I can see why people would have difficulty accepting what I feel is the truth.

Once when I had an experience on entheogens, it ended up being very scary, for reasons that are probably difficult to explain, but basically I had a vision of what I rationally perceived is something impossible, and had difficulty integrating this into my world view. When I voiced my concerns on a spiritual forum (giving them my religious history) somebody called Christianity "mind raping". I was quite offended then, but this has been at least 10 years, and I have slowly started to understand why that phrase was used.
Bikerman
It is insidious and almost impossible to do anything about. Oh certainly in the extremes we (society) can act. So if a JW couple deny their kids lifesaving treatment then social services can, and should, intervene - if necessary removing the kids.
But most parents love their kids - religious or not - and I don't see any way to stop them indoctrinating them which I would be happy to see implemented the society I live in. That is why school is so important in this regard. It is, and needs to be, the one place that some kids actually get a relatively undistorted picture of reality when it comes to science, religion and differing world-views. We need to teach religion - absolutely - and we need to teach ALL of the big ones - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism. When kids get a proper understanding that their faith is just one of many, and that it has no more justification for calling itself 'the one true faith' than any other, then we start to lay some foundations which are actually solid rather than sand. Parents indoctrinating their kids at home, though....I really don't think I can do anything, as an educator, other than take any opportunity to resist religious education proposals, speak against home-schooling for most children, try to engage those religious parents who will allow it, and stand firm against any proposals to deliberately vandalize the curriculum, as the Christian and Muslim fundies both want.
Pippo90
Yes, it is possible. It is called Deism.
SpaceInvader75
Bikerman wrote:
It is insidious and almost impossible to do anything about. Oh certainly in the extremes we (society) can act. So if a JW couple deny their kids lifesaving treatment then social services can, and should, intervene - if necessary removing the kids.
But most parents love their kids - religious or not - and I don't see any way to stop them indoctrinating them which I would be happy to see implemented the society I live in. That is why school is so important in this regard. It is, and needs to be, the one place that some kids actually get a relatively undistorted picture of reality when it comes to science, religion and differing world-views. We need to teach religion - absolutely - and we need to teach ALL of the big ones - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism. When kids get a proper understanding that their faith is just one of many, and that it has no more justification for calling itself 'the one true faith' than any other, then we start to lay some foundations which are actually solid rather than sand. Parents indoctrinating their kids at home, though....I really don't think I can do anything, as an educator, other than take any opportunity to resist religious education proposals, speak against home-schooling for most children, try to engage those religious parents who will allow it, and stand firm against any proposals to deliberately vandalize the curriculum, as the Christian and Muslim fundies both want.


If you taught all major religions, that would definitely be more balanced, but it seems like it could be even more confusing. lol
spinout
Somehow the idea of a god is in the genes of human, and probably hard to avoid. But apart from that - if there is a god then it is always present and must have an affect down to particle levels. This sound like yoga-crap I suppose but the universe seems to expand more than shrink (at the present), so if a god is present it must be atleast "within" us.
Bikerman
SpaceInvader75 wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
It is insidious and almost impossible to do anything about. Oh certainly in the extremes we (society) can act. So if a JW couple deny their kids lifesaving treatment then social services can, and should, intervene - if necessary removing the kids.
But most parents love their kids - religious or not - and I don't see any way to stop them indoctrinating them which I would be happy to see implemented the society I live in. That is why school is so important in this regard. It is, and needs to be, the one place that some kids actually get a relatively undistorted picture of reality when it comes to science, religion and differing world-views. We need to teach religion - absolutely - and we need to teach ALL of the big ones - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism. When kids get a proper understanding that their faith is just one of many, and that it has no more justification for calling itself 'the one true faith' than any other, then we start to lay some foundations which are actually solid rather than sand. Parents indoctrinating their kids at home, though....I really don't think I can do anything, as an educator, other than take any opportunity to resist religious education proposals, speak against home-schooling for most children, try to engage those religious parents who will allow it, and stand firm against any proposals to deliberately vandalize the curriculum, as the Christian and Muslim fundies both want.


If you taught all major religions, that would definitely be more balanced, but it seems like it could be even more confusing. lol
That depends on how good the teacher is. Some of it IS confusing. I still don't have any deep understanding of how otherwise sane, intelligent people can profess belief in gibberish they clearly don't even understand. I understand some of the mechanisms in play - peer pressure, tradition, fear of death, habit, pot-commitment* - but the operation of the religious memeplex is really complex and quite remarkable. It is able to selectively disable critical thinking, for example, in a way that nothing else I can think of can do. I know scientists who are paragons of the scientific method and would refuse to tell you the time unless they had first verified their watch reading with 2 independent data sources, replicated the results in another location and had it peer-reviewed. Yet these same people believe - and I know them well enough to know they are being sincere - in a God for which the only evidence is a set of documents which are full of errors, describe (at best) a God with serious issues, and which in any other circumstance they would discard as worthless. How the religion memeplex (combination of different beliefs/ideas) manages to so thoroughly and so selectively disable their scepticism is still mostly beyond my understanding.
As an example, one of my friends works in a physics university lab and is a model of scientific scepticism, yet he is a practising Catholic who tells me that concepts like the Trinity are true, even though he cannot explain them -and he KNOWS - as well as I do - that they are illogical constructions which violate the most fundamental laws we have - the laws of logic. He KNOWS that the Trinity violates the law of identity**, which is absolutely fundamental to ALL reasoning

*Pot commitment is a poker term which is useful in this context. It basically means that you have put sufficient into the pot to mean that when another player raises the stakes, you should call him/her (ie stay in the hand), even if it might wipe you out and even if you suspect your hand is not the best.

The law of identity simply states that “each thing is the same with itself and different from another”. It is one of the 3 fundamental 'laws' which underpin EVERYTHING else Without it you cannot have any sensible discussion because equivocation is inevitable (ie you will be using words to refer to different mental concepts with no way to standardise).
Bikerman
spinout wrote:
Somehow the idea of a god is in the genes of human

I doubt it.
I think it is mimetic not genetic - ie it is a complex of ideas which reproduces via language and culture, not via genes.
Quote:
But apart from that - if there is a god then it is always present and must have an affect down to particle levels. This sound like yoga-crap I suppose but the universe seems to expand more than shrink (at the present), so if a god is present it must be atleast "within" us.
Sounds like unsupported assertion and gibberish to me - yoga-crap if you like, but I'd leave out the yoga.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
That depends on how good the teacher is. Some of it IS confusing. I still don't have any deep understanding of how otherwise sane, intelligent people can profess belief in gibberish they clearly don't even understand. I understand some of the mechanisms in play - peer pressure, tradition, fear of death, habit, pot-commitment* - but the operation of the religious memeplex is really complex and quite remarkable. It is able to selectively disable critical thinking, for example, in a way that nothing else I can think of can do. I know scientists who are paragons of the scientific method and would refuse to tell you the time unless they had first verified their watch reading with 2 independent data sources, replicated the results in another location and had it peer-reviewed. Yet these same people believe - and I know them well enough to know they are being sincere - in a God for which the only evidence is a set of documents which are full of errors, describe (at best) a God with serious issues, and which in any other circumstance they would discard as worthless. How the religion memeplex (combination of different beliefs/ideas) manages to so thoroughly and so selectively disable their scepticism is still mostly beyond my understanding.
As an example, one of my friends works in a physics university lab and is a model of scientific scepticism, yet he is a practising Catholic who tells me that concepts like the Trinity are true, even though he cannot explain them -and he KNOWS - as well as I do - that they are illogical constructions which violate the most fundamental laws we have - the laws of logic. He KNOWS that the Trinity violates the law of identity**, which is absolutely fundamental to ALL reasoning


I think it would be a mistake to even try to explain religious belief in a basic course - either on a religion's own terms or in terms of a scientific study of relgiion. Any course taught on religion at the high school level or below should just be a survey course. The syllabus should be something like:

  • Definition of religion

    Just a set of definitions of the terms involved to set up the limits of the discussion. If there are multiple plausible candidates they can be mentioned, but one will have to be chosen for use in the course itself. It can also be mentioned that many religious traditions try and have tried to define themselves as nonreligious, and many belief systems have tried to "elevate" themselves to the status of religion.

    The teacher should take great care to make it clear that the definitions imply no judgement wrt truth, and that the same definitions are used by deep believers and nonbelievers alike.

  • Survey of religious traditions

    A quick summary of at least six different religious traditions, comparing and contrasting them using clearly defined characteristics (such textual, ongoing prophesy, positions on creation, eschatology, and life after death). In each case, the founding of the religion should be covered - both as explained within the religion and by secular research - its history, and some of its historical and contemporary practices and beliefs.

    The teacher should never give any indication of preference, or of their judgement on the truth value or aesthetics of any religious tradition. Beliefs should be presented as neutral statements of fact describing what adherents believe, with no attempt made to describe or explain contradictions or challenges to rationality.

    The big five (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Shenism, Buddhism) should be covered under three categories (Abrahamic, Dharmic, Taoist), and at least one locally-relevant religion should be covered as well. (In Canada that could be Sikhism or one of the aboriginal religions.)

  • Interactions between religion and society

    A quick summary of the ways religion has interacted with society in general, including legal (laws banning religious practice, laws enforcing religious practice on others, balancing (eg, Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions for sick kids), social and cultural effects (how historical religious belief has affected the way we eat, dress, holidays, and other things). It should be stressed how minority religions are and have been vitally important in making laws and culture more tolerant and accommodating. This is the only part of the curriculum where non-belief/secularism/atheism should be discussed, and then only in the context of how religious belief interacts with it.

    Any relevant current legal or cultural issues involving religion could be mentioned, but only in a non-judgemental way.

  • Project

    Students should do independent or group projects to research and describe other religious beliefs, either broadly or going into some detailed aspect. Students should be told that they must only describe what adherents believe/do, and not offer their own opinions. Students should be strongly discouraged from doing a report on their own beliefs (though if another group is doing a report on their beliefs, they should be encouraged to act as consultants).

    Projects that attempt to make any judgement on the truth value or aesthetics should not be accepted. Projects that focus on controversial or negative aspects of a particular religion should not be accepted.

But i don't really believe such a course is practical. It is inevitable that religious teachers will use the platform to proselytize, or at least that they will give strongly preferential treatment to their own beliefs or beliefs they are sympathetic to.

Whenever religion is involved, adults act like spoiled children; i don't really believe we can trust them to behave professionally in such a course. Not to mention there will be plenty of parents priming their kids to come in and spoil the whole thing.

It would be wonderful if we could teach a survey course on religion to high-school or younger kids. But the topic is so toxic it might be better to wait for college. There will still be shenanigans, but they'll be a lot easier to deal with at that level.

spinout wrote:
... if there is a god then it is always present and must have an affect down to particle levels.


That's 2 completely unsupported assertions with absolutely no plausible logical connection in less than 20 words. This kind of thing is why debating believers is such a pain in the ass. Whenever God or religion comes up, believers just throw out things that "must" be true about God (or other things)... but most of the things they say just have no foundation.

For example: "... if there is a god then it is always present....". Why? Why must that be true? Why can't it be true that God has set up the universe in such a way that it's totally automated, so he can take a vacation when he gets tired? (And, in the Abrahamic traditions at least, we KNOW God gets tired and takes breaks. It's right there in the beginning of the book.)

Imagine i've set up a complicated and powerful computer simulation that simulates an entire universe down the quantum level, including intelligent lifeforms. At any time, I can go into the guts of the simulation and read any data I like or change any parameter I please - I can even shut down the simulation and reload it from a "snapshot" of a past point in time knowing what's going to happen as the simulation runs, giving me prescience. I am, in effect, the god of that simulated universe.

Now tell me why i can't just leave the simulation running and go off to take a nap? If it runs in a way i don't like, i can simply shut it down and reload from where it started to go off-track... but if it runs according to my desires, i can just leave it. I don't need to be watching over it 24/7.

And then there's this: "... if there is a god then it... must have an affect down to particle levels.". Why? Why can't it be true that God merely controls the broad strokes of the universe and has no say over the detailed sub-atomic mechanics?

Again, imagine i'm the god of a simulation. It doesn't necessarily need to be true that i have personal control over every single variable in the simulation. I could have only very coarse-grained control, and still be able to accomplish godly feats. To use an analogy - you don't really need to have precise control over the timing of your engine valves to make a car go wherever you want and however you want.
Bikerman
Yes, I'm sure that is correct, even though it reflects badly on my chosen career. Here we do have courses which are supposed to be pretty much what you describe. They are generally taught as part of what it called PSE (Personal & Social Education) - generally one or two 30 minute sessions per week for the years 10 & 11 (15 & 16yr old). They will do a number of 'life-skills' type units and one or more will be comparative religion.
Unfortunately, as you suggest, they tend to reflect the dominant local religion. In some areas, like parts of Birmingham, that means Islam - in some of the schools involved in the recent 'trojan horse' controversy up to 90% of the intake are Muslim kids - normally 2nd generation brits.
In most of the rest of the country it will be C of E which is the best of evils in this regard - the C of E is as close to atheism as any Christian sect, though they do have a fundy/evangelical wing on the one extreme, balanced by the Roman/High Church wing on the other end of the scale. We have far too many religious schools in general, though, and way too many Catholic schools.
Our recent victory means they are now not going to teach creationism even in the looniest of the new academies, because WE WILL BE WATCHING.
The majority of the blame for our mess of religion in schools lays firmly at the feet of the creature formerly known as Tony Blair. Blair not only screwed up the middle-east, he screwed up education with his 'I'm relaxed about the teaching of creationism' line. The man really is an utter shit and I wish him significant pain in his future - which is, I think, a first for me.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
If anyone thinks this is wrong, by all means prove me wrong. HERE is a quiz on the bible. Specifically it has one question from each of the books of the bible, Old and New testament. There are 20 mutiple-choice (4 choices) questions. You need 15 or more to pass and so far nobody has got a passing score.


Dear, Guest! You have Passed quiz 'Bible Test'.
Quiz Result
Result : 17 / 24
Percentage : 70.83 %
Passed : Passed
Start Date : 2014-08-18 04:55:20
End Date : 2014-08-18 05:04:35
Spent Time : 9 min 15 sec
Passed Percentage : 15.00 %
kaysch
distantship wrote:
I'm that person. I believe there is a God, or rather, i believe that there is actually is a higher power controlling the law of nature. Does that make any sense at all?

To me it doesn't as I see no evidence for a higher power, but as long as it does make sense for you, that's fine.

distantship wrote:
I don't have anything against people different religions, I just think that people with a religious belief tend to rely to much on their religion.

I find that too general. It depends on how much one relies on his faith.

distantship wrote:
so, what do you think i am?

Just another human being. I think your views are pretty common, although I don't necessarily share them.

Oh, and here are the results of my bible test: Result : 17 / 24
Percentage : 70.83 %
Passed : Passed
Start Date : 2014-08-18 08:56:56
End Date : 2014-08-18 09:06:41
Spent Time : 9 min 45 sec
Passed Percentage : 15.00 %
Good that for every question there is the passage in the bible where one can find the answers Wink
spinout
I was thinking of a darwin treat of god on our genes. Those who gang up on the idea of god lived on and it is therefore in the genes.

And god on the particle level was plain logic, yoga or not. A corelation to the big bang theory, if there is a god they atleast it must be from the inside. And if it controlling bottom-up then god atleast must be working with particles. And that corelates to a filmistic idea like the matrix, hm the particles /subparticles is the matrix.
Bikerman
spinout wrote:
I was thinking of a darwin treat of god on our genes. Those who gang up on the idea of god lived on and it is therefore in the genes.
That is an example of circular reasoning.
The question is whether religion is genetically based. You then assume it IS, and explain that would lead to it being selected for.
Logical fallacy.
Quote:
And god on the particle level was plain logic, yoga or not. A corelation to the big bang theory, if there is a god they atleast it must be from the inside. And if it controlling bottom-up then god atleast must be working with particles. And that corelates to a filmistic idea like the matrix, hm the particles /subparticles is the matrix.
Drivel.
There is no reason a God must be inside creation - the analogy with BB is false. It also demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic physics, since the BB produced energy, not particles - far too hot for that. The correlation with the matrix is also duck-soup - the matrix is the illusion which is a conscious state produced in the brain - not a particulate universe.
spinout
Well argued.
Hm, wheather it is in the genes it is tricky, much like I got the freight of patterns. Where did that come from? I read some research on just the freight of patterns and it is an instinct to secure me not to go near a poisonus snake. Somewhere in my genes that is stored, just like the common freight of heights. So the logic can't be much different even if it is circular.

On to the drivel, or dravel as say in Swedish; well the matrix idea is not so far fetched if you correlate it to some kind smallest distance. If a distance don't get smaller then you have a grid. Atleast assymetric.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, I'm sure that is correct, even though it reflects badly on my chosen career.


I think it's less a reflection on the career and more a reflection of the toxicity of religious belief. It's not just the teachers - or even mostly the teachers - who will foul up the endeavour. The parents and even the students themselves will be actively undermining even the best efforts of teachers. Not to mention the churches interfering from the outside.

Bikerman wrote:
We have far too many religious schools in general, though, and way too many Catholic schools.


Frankly if i were in charge i'd flat-out legislate that religious schools have to teach about other religions in a course like the one i described or the PSE one you described (assuming i couldn't mandate religious schools out of existence completely). I am actually a fairly strong proponent of religious freedom - as atheists go - but i draw the line at "freedom" to abuse kids. And imposed ignorance is abuse.

If you want to run something that can be called a "school" - especially if you want it to be recognized as an actual school by the secular education system - then you damn well have to run a school... ie, an institution that educates. Religious schools could be free to run their own hours (eg, they can take prayer breaks if they please, and have different holidays), they could be free to specify their own uniforms (yes, even burqas for the girls), institute their own rules (gender segregation if they want it, and the teachers have to be straight and circumcised or whatever), and even teach their own shit (i'm even fine with them teaching a class on creationism, so long as they also teach the proper, standard curriculum classes on real science, and teach them properly). But underscoring all of that is that if they want to be a "school", they also have to teach the mandated educational curriculum, and if they refuse to do that properly they simply won't be recognized as schools... rather they will be recognized as places where kids are kept hostage and unable to go to real schools, which effectively means they will be shut down in short order.
Bikerman
The really annoying thing is it isn't really even a matter of religious freedom. The simple fact is that most of the religious schools are what we call 'grant aided' - which in essence means they are state funded just like non-religious schools. The government can stipulate what goes on as part of the funding contract. This is, in fact, the way that the 'don't teach creationism as fact' clause has been added to existing and future schools - via the funding contract.
The problem with moving to the next logical phase of the battle, having won this one, is that the government devolved responsibility for the teaching of Religious Education down to the Local Authorities (one-tier down from the national government level)

rayval
I do believe in some sort of life force. I don't pray in any conventional way, but I do my best to have a positive impact on whatever and whoever gets around me.

I don't link this with any specific religion. Most of them tell you to do good and as long as you do this you should have about 70% chance* to get into whatever religion's Heaven sorta thing.

*I don't have any evidence for that, sorry.
Bikerman
So you believe in something with no evidence? I think that is dumb....we generally call it being 'gullible'. It is certainly not something to take any pride in.
LxGoodies
Why is that dumb ?

Would it actually be required to accept any god, or believe in a reward (heaven) in order to have a "positive impact" on your surroundings ? Or be kind to others ? To me it sounds like an independent choice I can recognize.. and appreciate in its own right.
raaeft1
Why not!
jajarvin
Freedom of religion: you can believe what you want.
This is how easy it is.
Indi
jajarvin wrote:
Freedom of religion: you can believe what you want.
This is how easy it is.

Yet another person repeating this brainless crap.

No, people, everyone can NOT just "believe what they want". That is ridiculous and impossible. Some beliefs are PLAIN WRONG, and some are dangerous... they kill people. They cannot be allowed to exist, and no one can be allowed to hold them.

Refusing to acknowledge that some people's beliefs are dangerous and wrong is the most disgusting kind of cowardice, and it's almost always done for selfish reasons. The people spouting this crap are usually the people who want to believe stupid things without having to deal with other people pointing out how stupid those things are. To keep their own stupid beliefs safe from criticism they throw out this "everyone can believe what they want" nonsense. Unfortunately, that also makes really dangerous beliefs safe from criticism, too. The people who promote this "everyone can believe what they want" crap to protect their own silly beliefs are actually helping dangerous and crazy people harm others. That is utterly unconscionable.

It is not pleasant - and it is certainly not fun - to tell people that their beliefs are stupid and/or dangerous... but if their beliefs really are stupid and/or dangerous, you have to tell them. And you have to try and convince them to drop their stupid/dangerous beliefs. You are morally obligated to do so. Not telling them is immoral, because they might go and hurt themselves or someone else because of their stupid/dangerous beliefs... and you could have prevented that if you hadn't been such a selfish coward.

It's not easy at all, but it needs to be done - people are dying because of stupid and dangerous beliefs, and we cannot allow that to continue.
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