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My "Faith" is in myself





watersoul
I have never had faith in any god or gods. I have however, learned and researched much about the major religions over the years. A personal journey, if you like, to see what I could be missing in life compared to those with strong faith. None of anything I've ever read or been told has drawn me closer to a belief, as they all boil down to a need for "faith", in something that cannot be proven to me.

I have no real opinion about the existence of any gods, they could be "real" yet unprovable, or they could equally be based on primitive myths and/or tied up in a social control system known as religion. In a sense, the question is almost irrelevant to me and the issues I consider as really important in my life.

Every time my life has been especially challenging, it has been me who fixed it, never a curious coincidence of events that could make me think "maybe that was god".
I slept rough on winter/spring streets for nearly 6 months when I was aged 16. Only my own effort and perseverance got me out of that situation and back under a roof and into work again - plus the meagre assistance available at that time from various government agencies.

I also found the strength to continue my Uni studies only a month after holding my fathers hand in his last dying hours. And again the following year when my oldest brother was suddenly killed, I fought on to improve my life and asked or received no assistance from any deity. That strength came from inside me alone, no celestial feelings of love and support at all, just my own determination, as I have always been responsible for everything I've achieved in life through my own hard work.

I live quite a rich life now, filled with many people who love me, and who I in return feel love towards. The only family I have had within 200 miles to me since aged 16 have been dependant (my Son) and not able to support me. My friends by default are like family, and with many of us in the same situation we all share that sense of family. We live kindly, compassionate lives without the need for a deity to instruct how we should do that. None of my friends believe in any god yet we have a shared love for fellow man and being nice to each other. Not inspired by faith, just simple common sense - the world is a nicer place if everyone is nicer to each other.

I have absolute respect for anyone to have any faith, if that faith harms no others. I will also defend their right to have faith, but I doubt I'll join the party any time soon. I miss nothing in my life that I can see is influenced by me believing in god or not, so I shall continue having "Faith" in my own hard work and decision making skills, including assessing the intentions of other "real" people on my path in life.

If faith helps people get through this one life I personally "know", then that makes me happy for them. If that faith inspires others to tell me my afterlife will suffer because "I don't believe" - even though living a kind loving life which is more caring than some religious folk I know, well so be it. I would happily look the god in the eye and call him/her unreasonable for giving me an intelligent mind able to question things. I cared for the world but wasn't convinced by your existence? Thats my only crime? Sorry god, you should have been a bit less mysterious and cryptic with your message.

This new forum might be interesting to see how other folk came to their own many different faiths of the world, but my interest here is from a more sociological viewpoint and certainly not as an individual "lost & searching for a truth".

*edit*
When I was aged about 10 my Mother gave me this illustrated book: The value of Believing in Yourself and it inspired me more than any faith/religious lesson I ever had. I still have the book now, and it was even in the bottom of my back-pack when I slept rough. I teach this value to my son as I think it's of greater use to him in life than a belief in any deity. I equally teach him what others believe in the world though, and whichever path in life he chooses, I will absolutely repect it as long as it's from a place of kindness & love.

Scan of the inside cover of my old copy of the book, the outside was ruined so I recovered it in white plastic after some years...


...faith in myself has got me where I am today, and my opinion is:
If your faith fits better in your life thats a brilliant thing, as long as it harms no other.
Greatking
First of all the question to ask is that what is faith.

Faith is what drives everyone in life, but faith is given by God so He who give faith is the one that we put our faith in.

The word "faith", translated from the Greek πιστις (pi'stis), was primarily used in the New Testament with the Greek perfect tense and translates as a noun-verb hybrid; which is not adequately conveyed by the English noun. Pi'stis in the New Testament context is a physical action, based upon a mental belief and sustained with confidence.

This confidence you build upon based on what you believe in. The bible says that God has dealth with us according to the measure of faith, meaning that God has given each and everyone the same amount of faith.
Greatking
Ponder over these:



confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.
belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5.
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6.
the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7.
the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8.
Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
Bluedoll
@watersoul
I see it this way. Here is a man. Proud, confident and has firm beliefs in something. He is self sufficient and cares about others around him. These are good valuable qualities. God would never disagree with these qualities, I am sure, but have joy in it.

Here is man, not searching for any spirituality (a truth)? I am not sure about this part. To be healthy, is it not reasonable to continually look for answers to mature questions? This part, I struggled with when I read through the op. I do certainly understand not wanting any of the negative garbage that we can certainly find concerning religion. I guess it all depends on what is agreeable to a person. I mean agreeable in the sense that it is what we desire.

On one hand, if what we find is some heartless pursuit, then that is certainly not healthy. On the other hand, the knowing of what we really need is something, we might benefit from?

I believe in myself too. Part of me is my spirituality. We all have some kind of need. We can try to embellish it or try to squash it like a bad conscience. I think of my spirituality the same way as I think of my conscience, as part of me. We all have one, but if we do not care about it, then we can become dead to it? The op appears to be written by a man that has a clean, clear conscience and well developed. Ever meet someone with an inactive conscience? They can appear kind of cold and not very social? In contrast to that, someone that has taken a little time to develop a conscience results in a personality that is very caring and considerate.

I do not believe that all spirituality must be centered around worldly religions. In fact it can exist all around us, even in ourselves.
watersoul
Greatking wrote:
First of all the question to ask is that what is faith.

Faith is what drives everyone in life, but faith is given by God so He who give faith is the one that we put our faith in.

I agree and perhaps my definition of "faith" can be fluidic, but for the purpose of this post I'm referring to my lack of faith in any deity.
As such, I would have to disagree with the comments in bold because I am honestly unaware of any time a god has helped me out, or a time I've had any faith in a god - even if your thoughts were true though, it would appear that your God decided to miss me out by not giving me any faith in him at all.

Quote:
Ponder over these:


Quote:
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

I can have faith in a persons ability based on previous evidence, but I would never have complete faith in a persons intentions.

Quote:
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

I can have faith in scientific experiments to produce certain results in given circumstances, based on previous observable results. That's evidence based though and therefore an easy faith to have really.

Quote:
belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

This is the faith I have never had and do not feel is at all important to bring a happy fulfilled life. I do however absolutely respect any other persons right to faith if it helps them get through life and harms no others.

Quote:
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

I struggle with this as a faith, to me it's more a common code of values and ethics such as I share with my group of friends.

Quote:
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Again, never been able to pin my flag to any religious mast - needs the "faith" first which I don't have.

Quote:
the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.

Hmm, weakest end of the faith spectrum to me, if I'm expecting something from others, I tend to believe they will do it based on past experience, but not have faith they will.

Quote:
the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.

I have faith that I will give every effort to a cause I believe working hard for, but again this is more related to my faith in myself.

Quote:
Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

Yet again, never had that faith and don't understand how I ever would as there are so many questions that could not be answered to my satisfaction. Add that to my existing suspicion of all old texts translated multiple times, unless a deity presented itself to me directly, I cannot imagine I'll ever have that faith - if however a deity did show themselves to me directly, I would still expect a few witnesses around me to confirm my mind wasn't failing somewhere!

Bluedoll wrote:

Here is man, not searching for any spirituality (a truth)? I am not sure about this part. To be healthy, is it not reasonable to continually look for answers to mature questions? This part, I struggled with when I read through the op. I do certainly understand not wanting any of the negative garbage that we can certainly find concerning religion. I guess it all depends on what is agreeable to a person. I mean agreeable in the sense that it is what we desire.

On one hand, if what we find is some heartless pursuit, then that is certainly not healthy. On the other hand, the knowing of what we really need is something, we might benefit from?


I apreciate the comments Bluedoll, but honestly, I have a very small list of my basic needs in life:

Food in my stomach,
Clothes on my back,
Roof over my head,
People who love me and people who I love.

When I have those I can say my life is rich, with every other good thing added to the list being more of a lucky bonus or something I'll work for - a "want" if you like.

Questions of things that can't be answered are not "wants" in my life. I don't mind being ignorant of any possible deeper spiritual existence. My life is rich with nature, people, love and kindness.
Even just sitting at the shore listening to softly breaking waves, or at a cliff-top facing an onshore gale, those experiences hold more reverence to me than any place of worship ever has.
I've faced many emotional life-issues with the comforting sound of the ocean giving me a calmness of thought that negates the need for a "higher power" in my life. I did search for answers in the past, hence my understanding of many faiths, but I reached a point some years ago where I realised that none of them actually have "the answer" for me and decided to dedicate my life to the beautiful things I know now - nature, people, and the welfare of both.
My "faith in myself" has provided most of the success in my life in sometimes difficult circumstances. If something crosses my path to draw me into a spiritual faith of any sort then I'll keep an open mind as situations arise and ask the same critical questions I always have - until then though I'll keep the only "faith" I "know" I can trust which has even saved my life a few times in the past. Smile
Ankhanu
We have some similar views, watersoul, with some notable differences in perspective. My life's had its ups and downs, but not nearly to the extent you've had, but I've come to a similar position of not requiring any higher power to find comfort and happiness, though I'm a little more certain about the absence of a deity to have faith in Wink

In the end, all we have is ourselves to rely on, we can't expect anyone else, real or supernatural, to take care of us, though they may help. When all the cards are played, we have to get ourselves through whatever adversity we face. We all have the strength to get us through, just some are more willing to find it. I have ultimate respect for those who take responsibility for themselves, their situations and getting through life.
This is where I lose respect for those with interventionist god belief systems; they are, ultimately, deferential and often cannot accept personal responsibility for their situations and reach out to another (even if that other be supernatural) to fix their situations for them (I recognize that there are believers who take responsibility for themselves, I'm talking very broadly/generally here). I respect those who work for themselves, but not those who seek solution through external entities.

This brings me to a question related to the first post: What makes holding faith, in and of itself, worthy of strong respect?
You mentioned many times that you have great respect for those who hold faith, though you do not, based simply upon the fact that they have faith. I find the statement a little confusing and it almost implies to me (I'm cynical) that you're just worried about offending the faithful. I hope that last statement doesn't offend you, as that's not my intent, but if it does, I would be interested to hear you explain why it offends. Smile
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
This brings me to a question related to the first post: What makes holding faith, in and of itself, worthy of strong respect?
You mentioned many times that you have great respect for those who hold faith, though you do not, based simply upon the fact that they have faith. I find the statement a little confusing and it almost implies to me (I'm cynical) that you're just worried about offending the faithful. I hope that last statement doesn't offend you, as that's not my intent, but if it does, I would be interested to hear you explain why it offends. Smile


No offence taken at all Ankhanu, totally valid question worthy of an honest answer.
I do have absolute respect for other views, so long as they do not cause/incite harm to another person, they're not attempted to be forced as "truth" upon another person, and they give some extra feeling of confidence/strength/whatever to the person who believes the particular faith as they travel through life.

As probably figured from my previous posts, I may not agree at all, but I do respect the right of anyone to have a faith that doesn't affect me or others in any way - I'm only concerned when others try to force views as truth, and/or have views which harm others.
Would I defend the right of others to have the belief though? Of course, everytime.

I personally love Voltaire's line: Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. That sums up where I'm at.

It's probably why my faith is in myself...it's not beyond the power of reason for me to believe in myself, but then, perhaps by Voltaire's reasoning, it couldn't really be deemed to be faith in the first place!
Ankhanu
Ok, so it's respecting the right to belief, rather than respecting having belief? Am I reading that right? That I can dig pretty easily, though I don't find belief itself worthy of respect. Well reasoned belief is cool enough, but blind belief is another story Smile I respect questing for answers, if that quest brings you to religious belief, cool, I guess, as long as it's well thought out and can be articulated. I, obviously disagree, but, not everyone needs to agree with me.
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
Ok, so it's respecting the right to belief, rather than respecting having belief? Am I reading that right? That I can dig pretty easily, though I don't find belief itself worthy of respect. Well reasoned belief is cool enough, but blind belief is another story Smile I respect questing for answers, if that quest brings you to religious belief, cool, I guess, as long as it's well thought out and can be articulated. I, obviously disagree, but, not everyone needs to agree with me.


Yep, completely.

I have no more or less respect for anyone having any faith in a deity or not, but I respect their right to have that faith as long as it harms no others. I care only how people act their lives out, not the the beliefs they have.
As someone with just a belief in myself and no celestial entity, my own views are equally unimportant.
What is important though, is whether I treat fellow man with kindness or not, and that's all I care about in other people - if they only care about me because their god told them to do so, well, I don't really mind.
Bikerman
This question of 'respect' is pretty fundamental and I think the notion is widely abused.
Firstly let us agree a working definition of respect.
I take it to mean :
hold in high regard, to show deferrence, avoid challenge to, honour or esteem

Can we agree on that as a working definition?
If so then obviously the statement 'everyone is entitled to expect respect for their beliefs' cannot be supported. If person A believes that Black people are inherently inferior and should all be 'repatriated' to Africa, is anyone seriously suggesting that others should defer to that, avoid challenging it, honour it or hold it in esteem? I damn well hope not!

Stupid/ignorant beliefs are not entitled to respect. In fact I think that those who say that 'beliefs should be respected' are, at best, misguided and foolish and, at worst, deeply immoral and corrupt people. They are essentially advocating that people should uncritically accept any view, no matter how offensive, as valid and respectable.
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
This question of 'respect' is pretty fundamental and I think the notion is widely abused.
Firstly let us agree a working definition of respect.
I take it to mean :
hold in high regard, to show deferrence, avoid challenge to, honour or esteem
Can we agree on that as a working definition?

Agreed

Bikerman wrote:

If so then obviously the statement 'everyone is entitled to expect respect for their beliefs' cannot be supported. If person A believes that Black people are inherently inferior and should all be 'repatriated' to Africa, is anyone seriously suggesting that others should defer to that, avoid challenging it, honour it or hold it in esteem? I damn well hope not!

Agreed again

Bikerman wrote:

Stupid/ignorant beliefs are not entitled to respect. In fact I think that those who say that 'beliefs should be respected' are, at best, misguided and foolish and, at worst, deeply immoral and corrupt people. They are essentially advocating that people should uncritically accept any view, no matter how offensive, as valid and respectable.

But I will respect the right for stupid/ignorant people to hold their beliefs while harming no others Wink
Bikerman
Absolutely. If we change the phrase to read 'People's right to hold beliefs should be respected' then I have absolutely no argument with that.
Actually I go further - I think people have the right to believe whatever they like - regardless of whether those beliefs are potentially damaging. We cannot and should not get into 'thought police' territory.

We can, and should, act when people put offensive beliefs into action. Thus if someone with racist beliefs incites people to commit violence as a result of his/her beliefs then that person should be dealt with using the full force of the law. The problem is that some people are under the impression that beliefs themselves, or statements of those beliefs, are themselves illegal. They are not. It is perfectly legal to be a racist. It is perfectly legal to say 'I believe that white people are superior to black people'. It is, to me, a ridiculous and offensive belief and I will, of course, argue against it, and I certainly will not defer to it, or hold it in high regard (ie 'respect' it).
Exactly the same thing applies to religious beliefs. People have been brainwashed into this notion of 'religious beliefs should be respected'. Offensive nonsense. People have the right to hold whatever religious belief they like, and I will defend their right vigorously, but I certainly will not respect beliefs which I consider offensive, nonsensical and damaging, and I WILL challenge such beliefs (in the appropriate forum, not here).
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
People have been brainwashed into this notion of 'religious beliefs should be respected'. Offensive nonsense. People have the right to hold whatever religious belief they like, and I will defend their right vigorously, but I certainly will not respect beliefs which I consider offensive, nonsensical and damaging, and I WILL challenge such beliefs (in the appropriate forum, not here).


Well said.
Equally, my own faith "in myself" without deities commands no more or less respect than an individuals belief in aliens or complicated trinity type entities.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Equally, my own faith "in myself" without deities commands no more or less respect than an individuals belief in aliens or complicated trinity type entities.
This is well said, but then I have to ask, do we ever really get away from ourselves? Doesn't the faith in God/aliens/deities, etc. equal faith in ourselves? What we don't believe in is also a faith in its own right that defines ourselves more than it does anybody else.
Bikerman
Quote:
What we don't believe in is also a faith in its own right that defines ourselves more than it does anybody else.

Lack of belief is not belief - this has been demonstrated many many times on these forums.
Do you define yourself by your lack of belief in Zeus, Apollo, Ra, Isis...?
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
I have to ask, do we ever really get away from ourselves?

Only through the use of halucinogenics and/or strong opiates etc, I guess. Most of the alcoholics or drug addicts I work with usually have a sad story/experience/memory in "themselves" that they try to get away from by using these substances.

deanhills wrote:
Doesn't the faith in God/aliens/deities, etc. equal faith in ourselves?

I would answer no to this. It could be argued that for some people, faiths in deities and the like is a way of transferring responsibility from themselves and masking a low sense of self belief - "God meant it to happen" "God did not want me to do X or Y thing".
Wanting help from a god could indicate doubt that an individual can succeed alone, any doubt to me is the biggest threat to achievement.

Personally by having faith solely in myself, I "know" I won't be let down ever, and I'll concentrate all my time on making any particular challenge happen without the distraction of hoping it follows a gods will or praying for assistance.
Bikerman
Hmm...I think that we all have 'faith' in others to some extent.* I regard myself as a rationalist and not someone to simply 'believe' what they are told, but when it comes to details in science I have to believe quite a lot because I can't repeat the experiments and observations myself. I would therefore draw a distinction between faith and belief. Faith, to me, means belief without evidence or even in spite of evidence to the contrary.
My belief in scientific theory is based on evidence - even when I have to accept that evidence second hand.

* I know that you used the word 'faith' and not 'belief', but I think the point is worth making because the two are often used interchangably
watersoul
Hmm, good point, I did pause a moment before adding the word "solely" in...
Quote:
Personally by having faith solely in myself
...but thought about it and decided it should stay.

I strongly believe that the people who love me in life will not let me down. This is based on observation and experience over the years. I also strongly believe my friends and family will assist me in life as I in turn will assist them.
But whilst I can easily say I have faith in myself that I would always help them/not wrong them, I find myself unable to say I have "faith" in them, just a strong belief based on prior evidence.

To me faith is something I deem much stronger and from what I hear from theists, to them it's a "knowing" of sorts. I separate the two in my mind though, hence the (absolute) faith solely in myself, as opposed to simple "belief" which I retain for anyone other than me Smile
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
Equally, my own faith "in myself" without deities commands no more or less respect than an individuals belief in aliens or complicated trinity type entities.
This is well said, but then I have to ask, do we ever really get away from ourselves? Doesn't the faith in God/aliens/deities, etc. equal faith in ourselves? ...


I don't think so. Particularly in people who believe in an external, interventionist deity/force/entity, belief in this entity does not equate to belief in self. In fact, belief in this entity can easily (and often enough does) lead to reduced belief in self. These people look to their intervening entity for assistance, believing that they are not up to the task of whatever hardships might be before them. They may use this intervening entity to deflect personal responsibility, trusting that it will take care of problems for them, etc. etc.
Even success may be deflected from the self, instead, attributing it to the intervening entity. "I could never have done this on my own, God is watching over me and guiding me through it"

This sort of faith is very much an external thing. When faith is lost or discarded, these people often feel quite alone and discarded, feeling as though their worth is lost... even though any triumphs they may have had in life were theirs, they ARE capable and they are more than they believe.

It's not a trap that all believers fall into, but it is a trap that ensnares far too many.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
Equally, my own faith "in myself" without deities commands no more or less respect than an individuals belief in aliens or complicated trinity type entities.
This is well said, but then I have to ask, do we ever really get away from ourselves? Doesn't the faith in God/aliens/deities, etc. equal faith in ourselves? ...


I don't think so. Particularly in people who believe in an external, interventionist deity/force/entity, belief in this entity does not equate to belief in self. In fact, belief in this entity can easily (and often enough does) lead to reduced belief in self. These people look to their intervening entity for assistance, believing that they are not up to the task of whatever hardships might be before them. They may use this intervening entity to deflect personal responsibility, trusting that it will take care of problems for them, etc. etc.
Even success may be deflected from the self, instead, attributing it to the intervening entity. "I could never have done this on my own, God is watching over me and guiding me through it"

This sort of faith is very much an external thing. When faith is lost or discarded, these people often feel quite alone and discarded, feeling as though their worth is lost... even though any triumphs they may have had in life were theirs, they ARE capable and they are more than they believe.

It's not a trap that all believers fall into, but it is a trap that ensnares far too many.
That deep faith that God is watching over a person however, does come from that person however. People like that can move mountains. It does not make them less powerful at all. Not all theists are really devout. They will defend their belief in God, but you and I know that some of it goes skin deep and that they may have many doubts that they would be too horrified, fearful or ashamed to admit to anyone else. But those who are genuinely devout in every sense of the word, and I have come across many, have a faith that does make them incredibly strong. I still maintain that the quality of faith is relative to faith in themselves. The two are one and the same.
jeffryjon
Faith in self is the first commandment as written is KJB.

Though shalt hold no other gods before me.

Notice the small g in gods and small m in me.

Another commandment with interesting comparison is:

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

This I interpret very differently from the church roughly as follows.

Don't write what you are in 'stone' (engraved) or liken yourself to anything you've seen outside of yourself (animals, fish, birds etc). Don't be subservient to them.

The implication being that 'bowing down' to earthly things dis-empowers us and makes us and our descendents who follow these ways weak.

Faith in self is imperative to success and prosperity in those things that matter to us.
Bikerman
Run that by me again....?
The first commandment (KJV) reads:
I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

The reason for lower case is that it is God who is speaking about itself. (me) and speaking about false gods - hence lower case m and g.
How does that have anything to do with self-belief?

And
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me.

The interpretation is simple. Many peoples of the time had pagan gods - animals in the main. Hence the injunction against anything in the earth or water. This isn't referring to actual creatures but to graven images (idols) which often took animal form (though often composite or mythical animals).

It seems clear to me that the meaning is:
Don't go messing about with images of heathen Gods, because I am your God and not only will I punish anyone who does such a thing, I will punish their children, their children's children and their children's children's children (at least).

How do you make that anything to do with self-belief? It is surelty the opposite - it is tight control, on penalty of unimaginable consequences for your family, long into the future....
You don't give someone self-belief by threatening them and their children.....
Ankhanu
jeffryjon wrote:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

This I interpret very differently from the church roughly as follows.

Don't write what you are in 'stone' (engraved) or liken yourself to anything you've seen outside of yourself (animals, fish, birds etc). Don't be subservient to them.

The implication being that 'bowing down' to earthly things dis-empowers us and makes us and our descendents who follow these ways weak.

Faith in self is imperative to success and prosperity in those things that matter to us.


That's an interesting interpretation... Other than the implication that Bikerman pointed out above, which directly relates then to this one, I hold some objection to the interpretation... well, perhaps not the interpretation, so much as the message it conveys.

To me this is, other than "Don't write what you are in 'stone'", exceptionally arrogant and narcissistic. Likening ourselves to real things is not disempowering, weakening, or what have you, we are not "above" any other creature or natural force. We ARE natural creatures, albeit natural creatures with an affinity for altering nature. Natural forces are much greater than we are. There is nothing weak in identifying qualities.

The message of this passage interpretation is ultimately selfish and a stance that readily leads to destructive behaviours that ignore consequences (for example, climate change denial). It's dangerous... it's amoral.
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:

How do you make that anything to do with self-belief? It is surelty the opposite - it is tight control, on penalty of unimaginable consequences for your family, long into the future....
You don't give someone self-belief by threatening them and their children.....

Absolutely agree there.

Ankhanu wrote:
Likening ourselves to real things is not disempowering, weakening, or what have you, we are not "above" any other creature or natural force. We ARE natural creatures, albeit natural creatures with an affinity for altering nature. Natural forces are much greater than we are. There is nothing weak in identifying qualities.

I personally perceive much more inner strength after half an hour facing the waves of an onshore storm, than a day of praying to anyone. I also have more respect for nature itself than in any unseen and unproven deity that people claim created it.

No god has ever given me my strength, or if they did they kept it quiet. Everything I am is from a mixture of nuture & nature, DNA, life experiences and effort. I'll stick with what I know works best and not waste my time with the distraction of faith in someone who's never shown themself to be helpful to me.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
I personally perceive much more inner strength after half an hour facing the waves of an onshore storm, than a day of praying to anyone. I also have more respect for nature itself than in any unseen and unproven deity that people claim created it.
Different horses, different courses? Must say however that I always feel empowered and good after praying. And it is also amazing when I am out and about and see something of real beauty that a prayer immediately pops up spontaneously along "Thank you God" lines. "Thank you for this magnificent sight"! "Thank you for being able to feel good about it".
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Run that by me again....?
The first commandment (KJV) reads:
I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.


The first commandment starts with "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". What precedes it is a statement, or at least that's how I interpret the sentence " I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." There are many eferences in the Bible to making gods of gold, silver etc and we know that the deification of animals and various other aspects of nature are/have been common in the world. In modern times, we may even relate the statement to 'godifying' institutes, money and people who claim to be better than ourselves in any respect. To me the commandment is directed to the 'inner god' that resides within the 'me' referred to - which would also relate to the 'inner god' residing within all/any 'me' that reads the text. The text was written in a time when it was possibly much more difficult for a person to change status in society and after all, the people of Moses had just broken free from living in slavery and would need a commandment that reminds them that they're now free to redefine themselves as individuals, which is what would be expected when a person/group had a need to develop self-esteem/belief in self.

Bikerman wrote:
And
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me.

The interpretation is simple. Many peoples of the time had pagan gods - animals in the main. Hence the injunction against anything in the earth or water. This isn't referring to actual creatures but to graven images (idols) which often took animal form (though often composite or mythical animals).

It seems clear to me that the meaning is:
Don't go messing about with images of heathen Gods, because I am your God and not only will I punish anyone who does such a thing, I will punish their children, their children's children and their children's children's children (at least).

How do you make that anything to do with self-belief? It is surelty the opposite - it is tight control, on penalty of unimaginable consequences for your family, long into the future....
You don't give someone self-belief by threatening them and their children.....


It's not too long ago that we in Britain lived in a feudal system and many in the world still live in a class/caste structured society. If someone believes they're ruled by the deity of a (let's say) dog and mimicking the limitations and behaviours of a dog, then that is a 'graven' or ingrained image of themselves which goes beyond the literal understanding of statues. The same could be said of someone who is born into a family of streetsweepers, who've had the job of sweeping city streets for generations - a graven image of self would restrict the offspring for many generations to come (possibly to the 3rd and 4th generation). By refusing to have a graven image of self, which more people are able to do today, this pattern can be broken and new possibilities arise. It could also apply to behaviours and habits in the example of 'Well my dad was an alcoholic and so was his dad so I've no chance of overcoming my addiction'. There are many applications for this same commandment once faith in self, as in 'having no other god before me is applied'.

Ankhanu wrote:
To me this is, other than "Don't write what you are in 'stone'", exceptionally arrogant and narcissistic. Likening ourselves to real things is not disempowering, weakening, or what have you, we are not "above" any other creature or natural force. We ARE natural creatures, albeit natural creatures with an affinity for altering nature. Natural forces are much greater than we are. There is nothing weak in identifying qualities.


There's nothing wrong with the 'Strength of an elephant' approach to motivating ourselves whilst it works in our favour, though not writing it in stone allows us to go beyond this to 'say' strength of something more than an elephant. Natural forces are indeed powerful, as you say and so are many things in nature. Man has in many cases learned to overcome their influence though - just look at how the Dutch 'effectively' pushed back the Ocean, which could in times gone by be seen as upsetting the sea-gods. The reference as I see it is to the fact that you are a (hu)man as set aside from any other animal, place in society through class or job structure. In modern times we could say something similar to it's okay to wear a label declaring you can 'do plumbing', but let's not tattoo the word plumber on your forehead and from thereon be called Mr Plumber. You're potential for self-development once you have faith in yourself enough to develop it goes far beyond that.
Ankhanu
I'd responded to you in the "You are Little" thread, but realized that my response had nothing to do with the OP of that thread, and much more to do with the theme of discussion over here, so I deleted it and am quoting what I was responding to here for the response... hope that's not an issue for the theme of the forum, but I think it should be ok.

jeffryjon; from the You are Little thread wrote:
My interpretation of the Bible differs quite substantially from mainstream religion in many aspects. I've found that many statements have layers within layers of meaning. For example things like 'suffer the children to come unto me' as meaning carry the inner child to come unto who you really are. This combined with the commandment to hold no other god before me (lower case me and god), I take as meaning by accessing your inner child you access and promote the inner god. Remember Jesus referring to a script familiar to the people of the time that 'Ye are all gods'. I don't perceive God as merely an entity, though He can be that, but as an entirety in and of which we are all part. The inner child as the modernists like to call it (and don't mean this in an airy-fairy way) is the root of our success.

In short, I believe the context of the Bible meant what I said in the previous post and far more.


My deleted/moved response:
Ya know, your interpretation of the first commandment, with "me", the self, being the highest god is a rather similar position to that of LeVayan Satanism. That's pretty much the entire point of that religion; the empowerment and power of self.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
The first commandment starts with "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". What precedes it is a statement, or at least that's how I interpret the sentence " I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." There are many eferences in the Bible to making gods of gold, silver etc and we know that the deification of animals and various other aspects of nature are/have been common in the world. In modern times, we may even relate the statement to 'godifying' institutes, money and people who claim to be better than ourselves in any respect. To me the commandment is directed to the 'inner god' that resides within the 'me' referred to - which would also relate to the 'inner god' residing within all/any 'me' that reads the text. The text was written in a time when it was possibly much more difficult for a person to change status in society and after all, the people of Moses had just broken free from living in slavery and would need a commandment that reminds them that they're now free to redefine themselves as individuals, which is what would be expected when a person/group had a need to develop self-esteem/belief in self.
Sounds nice but it isn't so. When you read the rest of Exodus and Deuteronomy you find a host of commandments (over 600) which are LAW - ie obey or die. That isn't freedom from slavery - that is just a different master.
Quote:
It's not too long ago that we in Britain lived in a feudal system and many in the world still live in a class/caste structured society. If someone believes they're ruled by the deity of a (let's say) dog and mimicking the limitations and behaviours of a dog, then that is a 'graven' or ingrained image of themselves which goes beyond the literal understanding of statues. The same could be said of someone who is born into a family of streetsweepers, who've had the job of sweeping city streets for generations - a graven image of self would restrict the offspring for many generations to come (possibly to the 3rd and 4th generation). By refusing to have a graven image of self, which more people are able to do today, this pattern can be broken and new possibilities arise. It could also apply to behaviours and habits in the example of 'Well my dad was an alcoholic and so was his dad so I've no chance of overcoming my addiction'. There are many applications for this same commandment once faith in self, as in 'having no other god before me is applied'.
I see exactly the opposite. Firstly, remember that this only applies to the chosen people - the Hebrews. The rest of mankind is excluded. Secondly God simply replaces one set of limitations with another - the ones IT imposes. Many of the pagan religions that preceded Judaism were far LESS prescriptive and didn't say that people who didn't obey the rules should be killed.....
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
The first commandment starts with "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". What precedes it is a statement, or at least that's how I interpret the sentence " I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." There are many eferences in the Bible to making gods of gold, silver etc and we know that the deification of animals and various other aspects of nature are/have been common in the world. In modern times, we may even relate the statement to 'godifying' institutes, money and people who claim to be better than ourselves in any respect. To me the commandment is directed to the 'inner god' that resides within the 'me' referred to - which would also relate to the 'inner god' residing within all/any 'me' that reads the text. The text was written in a time when it was possibly much more difficult for a person to change status in society and after all, the people of Moses had just broken free from living in slavery and would need a commandment that reminds them that they're now free to redefine themselves as individuals, which is what would be expected when a person/group had a need to develop self-esteem/belief in self.
Sounds nice but it isn't so. When you read the rest of Exodus and Deuteronomy you find a host of commandments (over 600) which are LAW - ie obey or die. That isn't freedom from slavery - that is just a different master.


Here's the thing. For me in my faith it IS so and since it's worked for me for over 15 years then that's what it is for me at least. I'm sharing those things in which I have faith and in doing so people can take it or leave it. My faith - as opposed to a 'proven to others' philosophy is without question because it has been proven to me and in these things at least that's all that matters. I read your response with great humour Chris, since you've often opposed religious texts being taken literally, (and especially in the case of the Bible) and yet when it suits you, you continue to dictate that something just isn't so.

In any case the word Jew is derived from Judah meaning to praise and although conventional religion may disagree that means anyone who gives praise to God and his works fits the bill. Israel by the way, is a reference to having struggled with God rather than a particular place on the planet, which is a familiar problem to anyone who has began to walk in His ways - maybe you also have struggled with God and continue to do so making you 'of israel'. As for God being only for the Hebrews, that s a reference for being on the other side of the river - the river that Jacob ( one who had a habit of tripping people up so he could take their place - a man who struggled to believe in God) had a struggle with his inner god/the messenger of his inner god before crossing over to the 'other side'. Jacob was also known to have wrestled with his brother Esau in the womb (the complete one). The river was called Jabbok meaning flowing or outpouring/ a place of passing over to that state. In it's now mystical sense, we can see that those who praise or flow with worship, do so after they've struggled with the whole God thing and realised their mistake in trying to egotistically trip others up (including themselves) about living in faith. As such, in the wider sense of the words, all who truly believe in God are Jews and the restriction of not needing to recruit is that the struggle is a personal one. So am I a Jew - yes - a christian in the sense of having carried my 'cross' - yes - an Ismaist in having surrendered/submitted to God - yes - a Buddhist in having awakened to God - yes.

Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
It's not too long ago that we in Britain lived in a feudal system and many in the world still live in a class/caste structured society. If someone believes they're ruled by the deity of a (let's say) dog and mimicking the limitations and behaviours of a dog, then that is a 'graven' or ingrained image of themselves which goes beyond the literal understanding of statues. The same could be said of someone who is born into a family of streetsweepers, who've had the job of sweeping city streets for generations - a graven image of self would restrict the offspring for many generations to come (possibly to the 3rd and 4th generation). By refusing to have a graven image of self, which more people are able to do today, this pattern can be broken and new possibilities arise. It could also apply to behaviours and habits in the example of 'Well my dad was an alcoholic and so was his dad so I've no chance of overcoming my addiction'. There are many applications for this same commandment once faith in self, as in 'having no other god before me is applied'.


I see exactly the opposite. Firstly, remember that this only applies to the chosen people - the Hebrews. The rest of mankind is excluded. Secondly God simply replaces one set of limitations with another - the ones IT imposes. Many of the pagan religions that preceded Judaism were far LESS prescriptive and didn't say that people who didn't obey the rules should be killed.....


The choosing is done by the individual - there is no exclusion - Jesus himself said that the the scribes, pharisees, temple priests etc were hypocrites an kept people from realising God - and as for the killing, I think the Jews would be the first to admit that they're unlikely to succeed in winning a war of that nature.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
...As such, in the wider sense of the words, all who truly believe in God are Jews and the restriction of not needing to recruit is that the struggle is a personal one. So am I a Jew - yes - a christian in the sense of having carried my 'cross' - yes - an Ismaist in having surrendered/submitted to God - yes - a Buddhist in having awakened to God - yes.
But this is not the meaning of the word as used in the Old Testament. This is clear if you look at Exodus closely:
Exodus 20: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Clearly this is a reference to the Hebrew people exclusively...
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
...As such, in the wider sense of the words, all who truly believe in God are Jews and the restriction of not needing to recruit is that the struggle is a personal one. So am I a Jew - yes - a christian in the sense of having carried my 'cross' - yes - an Ismaist in having surrendered/submitted to God - yes - a Buddhist in having awakened to God - yes.
But this is not the meaning of the word as used in the Old Testament. This is clear if you look at Exodus closely:
Exodus 20: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Clearly this is a reference to the Hebrew people exclusively...


There is no mention that He is exclusively the Lord God of the Jews. If I said Chris, I am the Lord your God who has written this post in reply to you, would this in any way force me to be ONLY your God? Obviously not.
Bikerman
We must be reading different bibles then. Mine has:
Quote:
For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth.
Deuternomy 14:2
and
Quote:
You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities.
Amos 3:2 (Torah)

It is also rather insulting to those of other faiths to insist that the Christian God is actually their God, if they but knew it....
watersoul
I've enjoyed reading the different slants this topic has drifted between, but back to the OP for a moment, there is nothing I've read that could draw me anywhere away from my absolute faith in myself.
I appreciate that some folk do perceive 'strength' from a deity and I do see the possibility of that belief creating a contrived strength, but I do strongly feel that ignoring the deity and concentrating instead on 'what you know as real' will free you up to face challenges based on the confidence you have in yourself.
...knowing that the riches in your life have come from your own efforts makes the riches seem more real to me. I would be unhappy in thinking that a god had made me work like a dog to succeed but ultimately he/she/it had simply 'let' me get the result and still claims the result is his/her/it's through their kind mercy.
Nah, everything I've got in life was 'got' by me - marketing problem again god, should have been less mysterious and not given me a questioning mind Laughing
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
It is also rather insulting to those of other faiths to insist that the Christian God is actually their God, if they but knew it....


or that the Christian church's God is the same as the other religion's God - I didn't claim any religion is superior over another who believes in a supreme being. The Christian/Jewish Freemasons make reference to Shiva and Allah for example.
Bikerman
What are Christian/Jewish Freemasons? Do you mean Freemasons who happen to be Christian or Jewish?

Freemasonry does indeed contain references to Shiva, but I don't see what that has to do with the point in question...
Bluedoll
watersoul wrote:
I've enjoyed reading the different slants this topic has drifted between, but back to the OP for a moment, there is nothing I've read that could draw me anywhere away from my absolute faith in myself.
I appreciate that some folk do perceive 'strength' from a deity and I do see the possibility of that belief creating a contrived strength, but I do strongly feel that ignoring the deity and concentrating instead on 'what you know as real' will free you up to face challenges based on the confidence you have in yourself.
...knowing that the riches in your life have come from your own efforts makes the riches seem more real to me. I would be unhappy in thinking that a god had made me work like a dog to succeed but ultimately he/she/it had simply 'let' me get the result and still claims the result is his/her/it's through their kind mercy.
Nah, everything I've got in life was 'got' by me - marketing problem again god, should have been less mysterious and not given me a questioning mind Laughing
I am interested in the op. I agree, only wish to add something concerning the mysterious point. If God was a puppet master, which God is not, you would not have a choice to run your affairs but be dominated in everything you did. Instead you can have faith in yourself, you can be all you can be and in the end not just obtain the rewards but accept all the credit for it. It is exactly like you describe. God is not what you might read here in this forum. Folks that say they gained strength from that source might be timid and but you do not have to be like them to be an honourable man. God knows this. Having said this, I would caution anyone to get so prideful to denounce God, their time will come too.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
I am interested in the op. I agree, only wish to add something concerning the mysterious point. If God was a puppet master, which God is not, you would not have a choice to run your affairs but be dominated in everything you did.

I've seen many extremes in words and behaviour by people who appear to be dominated by their god/s or religion though. if I were a god I would certainly sort the confusion out regarding allowing brainwashing through unsound religions in my name...burn a few 'evil' temples and the like, a bit of the old testament anger, fire and brimstone, you can imagine the scene. It would absolutely convince me if that was the tactic, but for whatever reason it doesn't ever happen so I remain with my faith in myself.


Bluedoll wrote:
Instead you can have faith in yourself, you can be all you can be and in the end not just obtain the rewards but accept all the credit for it. It is exactly like you describe. God is not what you might read here in this forum. Folks that say they gained strength from that source might be timid and but you do not have to be like them to be an honourable man. God knows this.

That was nicely put Bluedoll and although we differ on the belief side, your standpoint there is pretty reasonable for a person of strong faith.


Bluedoll wrote:
Having said this, I would caution anyone to get so prideful to denounce God, their time will come too.
I appreciate the caution as I assume it comes from a genuine place in your heart, but my gratitude for it is just felt in the same way I feel every summer when non-cliff jumpers warn me and other jumpers of the "terrible dangers" of the sea.
Before making a jump at a new site I always swim underwater first, check for obstacles, clearance, difficulty of climb back up/out, depth of water & clifftop etc, then make a judgement on the safety or not in making the jump. If I follow my own safety checks then I can have faith the jump will be incident free. However, someone elses testimony on the underwater conditions are less reliable to me than my own observations.

Equally when considering my pride or whatever denouncing any gods, or listening to anothers advice on how dangerous that may be, I've checked each of them out first and done my fair share of unanswered questioning prayers in my life. To date though, I've seen no beliefs that make me want to jump in anyone else's direction.
clan4
Quote:
Many of us see faith itself as if it were something you had to do or learn in order for God to love you and save you. Maybe it's right beliefs (orthodoxy), or right actions (orthopraxy). Maybe it's having common cause on the right issues. Some even think we're saved by 'love' -- by which is meant our own meaning of love and our own ability to love. When these ways of trying to save ourselves falter -- and they will -- we look at ourselves as cursed, even damned.

We're starting in the wrong place. The first thing we need is something we can't do for ourselves. We can't make the faith that will help us out of the fix we're in. Only God can create it in us. Luther was furious (as was his way) at medieval theologians such as Duns Scotus who could speak so grandly of an 'acquired faith' that we can get for (or make within) ourselves. He went back to the Bible to show that the only faith that counts is that which is 'poured in' to us by the Spirit. Faith does not spring forth from our inmost self, no matter how much spirituality we practice or how many loving deeds we do. It comes from outside of us and then lodges itself inside of us. It's not our senses which give us faith, but the Spirit through the Word of God, who then lights up and directs our senses and our reasoning. It's not how strong your faith is, but it's who the faith is in. We can't have a right faith by anything we do, but only what is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

God's track record of being faithful to us can lead us to being faithful to God. God's stubborn, and doesn't give up on us or give in to us. It's hard to win the trust of folks who've been betrayed and manipulated as often as today's people. But God's way of doing things -- God's character and stick-to-it love -- is how real trust is built and how surreal cynicism is killed. It is a slowly-built response to true character, and not something one 'chooses' like clothing or brand of cola. It's like, 'how could you not choose to trust someone so worthy of trust?'

Faith is caught like a disease, not taught like a subject. It grasps us, shapes our passions, travels all over our systems, and redefines who we are. In that way, faith becomes truly our own. We open up to it in hope because the Spirit works through other people who live their faith honestly and bear its message to those who haven't grasped it yet. It is done and shown in concrete ways of daily living, and in 'moments of truth' where matters of faith most clearly make the key, mission-critical difference.

Faith trusts God to forgive us. Faith trusts God to make us holy. Faith trusts God to make us effective. Faith trusts God to never abandon us.

Faith is what the Spirit uses to light the fires within you. When the Holy Spirit gets to work inside of you, the Spirit causes an internal revolution. All of your life gets turned in God's direction -- thoughts, aspirations, behavioral standards, priorities, and such. It's not just about how you come to Christ, but how you live your life by way of Christ. The Spirit works overtime to lead us to be obedient (Romans 8:4; Philippians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 3:5). The Spirit does this through faith.
watersoul
clan4 wrote:
The first thing we need is something we can't do for ourselves. We can't make the faith that will help us out of the fix we're in. Only God can create it in us....
I guess he/she/it decided not to create that faith in me then. Yet another example of why I consider this reported god's obvious imperfection:

Matthew 5:16
Quote:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

...why not actually help the people who really do shine in the world, if you truly want your message shared as an example to all?
Ankhanu
watersoul wrote:
Bluedoll wrote:
Having said this, I would caution anyone to get so prideful to denounce God, their time will come too.
I appreciate the caution as I assume it comes from a genuine place in your heart, but my gratitude for it is just felt in the same way I feel every summer when non-cliff jumpers warn me and other jumpers of the "terrible dangers" of the sea.
Before making a jump at a new site I always swim underwater first, check for obstacles, clearance, difficulty of climb back up/out, depth of water & clifftop etc, then make a judgement on the safety or not in making the jump. If I follow my own safety checks then I can have faith the jump will be incident free. However, someone elses testimony on the underwater conditions are less reliable to me than my own observations.

Equally when considering my pride or whatever denouncing any gods, or listening to anothers advice on how dangerous that may be, I've checked each of them out first and done my fair share of unanswered questioning prayers in my life. To date though, I've seen no beliefs that make me want to jump in anyone else's direction.


Beautiful metaphor.
Bluedoll
"If I follow my own safety checks then I can have faith the jump will be incident free. However, someone elses testimony on the underwater conditions are less reliable to me than my own observations." - watersoul

The princess gazed over at the strong masculine knight. She had seen the fearless dive and now longed to touch the clear cool skin of the brave young knight. Afar, she watched from her chambers window.

But alas what is this? Some cruel indecent master at night must have tossed stumbling blocks into the waters below and a young child not understanding a change could come so soon hit the stones crying with hurtful damage.

“You tossed the warning sign of my fathers kingdom into the sea,” declared the princess to the young knight.

Looking over at the knight now the princess was not sure about the knight. Perhaps he had no caring, no code, nothing but that of his own interest.

“Did you not know that one more innocent than you might need this sign?”

“Are you indeed a brave knight or just another cold handed stranger ?”
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Before making a jump at a new site I always swim underwater first, check for obstacles, clearance, difficulty of climb back up/out, depth of water & clifftop etc, then make a judgement on the safety or not in making the jump. If I follow my own safety checks then I can have faith the jump will be incident free. However, someone elses testimony on the underwater conditions are less reliable to me than my own observations.

Equally when considering my pride or whatever denouncing any gods, or listening to anothers advice on how dangerous that may be, I've checked each of them out first and done my fair share of unanswered questioning prayers in my life. To date though, I've seen no beliefs that make me want to jump in anyone else's direction.
But isn't this a question of different horses, different courses? This works for you, and faith my move mountains for someone else? Also, I'm almost certain that most people of faith who are divers, will go through all of the training and checks first, exactly as you do, so that they can dive safely. They would find it ridiculous to assume that they would just jump in with all equipment and trust in God to make all of it function as it should and keep them safe? Smile God only looks after those who look after themselves first?
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
"If I follow my own safety checks then I can have faith the jump will be incident free. However, someone elses testimony on the underwater conditions are less reliable to me than my own observations." - watersoul

The princess gazed over at the strong masculine knight. She had seen the fearless dive and now longed to touch the clear cool skin of the brave young knight. Afar, she watched from her chambers window.

But alas what is this? Some cruel indecent master at night must have tossed stumbling blocks into the waters below and a young child not understanding a change could come so soon hit the stones crying with hurtful damage.

“You tossed the warning sign of my fathers kingdom into the sea,” declared the princess to the young knight.

Looking over at the knight now the princess was not sure about the knight. Perhaps he had no caring, no code, nothing but that of his own interest.

“Did you not know that one more innocent than you might need this sign?”

“Are you indeed a brave knight or just another cold handed stranger ?”


Interestingly said Bluedoll,

My tired mind this evening can only reply in a slightly less lyrical way though.

I've never damaged a sign that says "no jumping" "no climbing" "warning" "danger" etc on any cliff-face.

I've always also taught young people jumping anywhere near me what I think they should consider and check first, even though I don't know them, I care about their safety as fellow human beings. Especially for my own son, I feel confident for him that he has the skills and knowledge to consider most risks and safety margins in life which he will soon be facing without me there to help.

Regarding other faiths I've investigated, I've never damaged a sign that promotes any of them either.

I've always also taught my son of all my experiences and what I think is important for him to check first when anyone tells him "this is the truth", including me, it's OK to question dad as long as it's politely worded.
He knows what I believe but he also knows that I'll defend anyones right to believe whatever they want to, it's up to the people who think differently to coexist with each other, that's the most important thing in my mind.
My lad learns about all major religions at school as well and we chat about his lessons or what his thoughts are on the particular concepts. He absolutely knows that if he was drawn to a particular spiritual path I'd back him as long as his path in life remained one of niceness and kindness to other people. That said, his lessons are not called "Religious Education" anymore, it's "Philosophy and Applied Ethics" these days, so I guess he could end up with a more questioning mind than my own one day.
Who knows? Paramount for me is the honest sharing of experience based knowledge with my son and him making his own mind up if he's drawn to a belief. Only he as others can make their own minds up themselves, but break or damage a sign that could have been helpful to someone if they'd seen it? Never! Smile
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
But isn't this a question of different horses, different courses? This works for you, and faith my move mountains for someone else? Also, I'm almost certain that most people of faith who are divers, will go through all of the training and checks first, exactly as you do, so that they can dive safely. They would find it ridiculous to assume that they would just jump in with all equipment and trust in God to make all of it function as it should and keep them safe? Smile God only looks after those who look after themselves first?


I'm focussing here on the relationship between my faith in my own personal checks at a jumpsite compared to the recommendations of others. Equally, my own investigations into a religious faith compared to the testimony of any believers I may meet.

The "jump" I'm relating to here would be the jump into faith in any religion.
Bluedoll
@watersoul
Matthew 5:16
Quote:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I see a lot of this going on (I mean all over the world). The words are good. If I were able to repeat words and was explicable great would you believe them as the truth anymore if I repeated words and was not?

I know how it works. The janitor in the building is not usually consulted. The guy who attends the AA meetings might not be taken seriously. It is always better to learn the scoop from someone you trust and admire. Does it change the truth however? The words above are the same regardless of who says them. I do not believe in faith in what someone tells another only what exsists in a persons heart.

You live your life with integrity and hurt no one, but you just can not bring yourself to believe in God. God would never be insulted. My belief is we have only one obligation and you have described it perfectly, so it need not be elaborated more. In other words even though God has not revealed himself to you it does not distract from who you are as a good person, to glorify God. (even if someone is not aware that is what they are actually doing)

The lines where you said, "not waste my time with the distraction of faith in someone who's never shown themselves to be helpful to me” simply indicates there is no observable God for you to thank. Sounds reasonable to me and surely, I believe to God. My only question is what if God is just not observable but learnable?

It is only when people really attack God because of this feature, or for whatever reason or even worse go out of their way to convince others to do the same is where all the opposites occur, for all.
Bikerman
Hmm...but remembering the Golden Rule, I must ask:

If you think that people who try to convince others that God does not exist are wrong to do so, then do you also think that people who try to convince others that God DOES exist are also wrong to do so?
Bluedoll
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but remembering the Golden Rule, I must ask:

If you think that people who try to convince others that God does not exist are wrong to do so, then do you also think that people who try to convince others that God DOES exist are also wrong to do so?
In the forum, just one or two days ago in answer to Littleblackkitten when she reminded me that if indeed, I wanted peace, why was I demonstrating so much anger, I agree with her however in doing so the post was removed because it was tagged abusive.

I will not bring the same abusiveness up again or repeat it, other than to make this retraction, here and now, to say, I personally really do not wish to actually remove certain parts of the lower body from anyone in this forum, however due to male ego and persistent taunting, I will however cut off some of the words from the above ‘quote’.

Quote:
If people who try to convince others that God does not exist are wrong to do so, then are people who try to convince others that God does exist also wrong to do so.


I agree that I have become angry in my posts and should try very hard to demonstrate some patience and refrain like a dear little lamb good Christian always should, for that will help me be a good person as well, I am sure. It does not mean however I need to lie down like some little lost sheep and then be lead about. I have too much faith in myself for that! If I fight back with teeth, my concern will not be how anyone on this board might judge me but my concern is for my judge who will be God.

I am always reminded by the words of Jesus Christ to one of his apostles who cut off the roman ear when they came for Jesus, “those that live by the sword will die by the sword”. He was not condemning nor was he commending but saying if this is what you will do, this is what will result.

The golden rule is the same. It is neither condemning nor commending but saying, “do to the other person as you would have them do unto you.” It stands to reason that with every person, this would be applied differently, as we all have different ways in which we wish to be treated. It is not as well, as if, we are breaking a rule and forced to live by some crazy point system, in fact, I believe the ‘rule’ is not a rule at all, but a way to live. The more we can apply these good words, the better life we can lead. Looking at the world and our behaviour from this perspective will improve our life and in turn maintain our faith in ourselves.

In reference to the above question. This question has little to do with our faith in ourselves but does address the previous post. Is it wrong to try to convince others, that God, exists? Those that are abusive by forcing some religion onto another person will have to answer for their abusiveness. It is not wrong however to share and is acceptable, if acceptable to the person being addressed. It is definitely wrong, to turn people away from God under certain conditions. The condition lies in the words ‘try to convince’. It is forceful, determined, and presents a cause to go out and purposely persuade others to turn away from a belief. This is why aggressive debates in the courtyards are very dangerous activities in connection with spirituality.

Trying to convince is not the same as conversation. What do you believe? I believe in this or that. Trying to convince to the point of dominating injuriously another humans spirtuality is abusive. It is abusive for a person to try to force overzealous religious beliefs onto another but trying to turn people away by force is far worse.

In closing, let me make this distinction between the two. One that is pushing their religion onto others is stumbling others by association of aggressiveness. It would be better for them if they removed one of their hands or feet than hurt someone like that. However, for someone that is turning people away from God, it would be better that they tie a millstone around their neck and dive into the sea.
Bikerman
Quote:
In reference to the above question. This question has little to do with our faith in ourselves but does address the previous post. Is it wrong to try to convince others, that God, exists? Those that are abusive by forcing some religion onto another person will have to answer for their abusiveness. It is not wrong however to share and is acceptable, if acceptable to the person being addressed. It is definitely wrong, to turn people away from God under certain conditions. The condition lies in the words ‘try to convince’. It is forceful, determined, and presents a cause to go out and purposely persuade others to turn away from a belief. This is why aggressive debates in the courtyards are very dangerous activities in connection with spirituality.
One cannot force someone to believe, just as one cannot force someone not to believe. If it is acceptable for you to share your religion, then it is surely acceptable for me to share my lack of religion. I see no difference in principle there.

There is a BIG difference, however, if we look closer.

If I post something about atheism then I can't force anyone to read it. In addition I don't tell people that they may not question my lack of faith and I certainly don't tell them that nasty things will happen unless they stop believing in God, and I don't make personally abusive comments or personal comments about people's characteristics or character.

Now you can't force anyone to read your posts either - so to that extent there is no difference. However, you do tell people that they may not question your faith and you do say that nasty things will happen to people who don't share your belief in a God. Finally you quite frequently make personally abusive comments and personal comments about people's character and characteristics.

So in so far as it can be said that there is any coercion, force or abuse, then it is not from me, but from you.

Do you not agree?
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
In closing, let me make this distinction between the two. One that is pushing their religion onto others is stumbling others by association of aggressiveness. It would be better for them if they removed one of their hands or feet than hurt someone like that. However, for someone that is turning people away from God, it would be better that they tie a millstone around their neck and dive into the sea.


Very strong thoughts there, hands & feet getting cut off, suggestions of suicide by drowning, my gosh I'm really glad I don't have the millstone of religion tying me down and encouraging me to think of punishments for non-believers.
Yep, I'll stick to my faith in myself a little while longer instead, it seems the more reasoned and compassionate option to me Wink
Bluedoll
watersoul wrote:
Bluedoll wrote:
In closing, let me make this distinction between the two. One that is pushing their religion onto others is stumbling others by association of aggressiveness. It would be better for them if they removed one of their hands or feet than hurt someone like that. However, for someone that is turning people away from God, it would be better that they tie a millstone around their neck and dive into the sea.


Very strong thoughts there, hands & feet getting cut off, suggestions of suicide by drowning, my gosh I'm really glad I don't have the millstone of religion tying me down and encouraging me to think of punishments for non-believers.
Yep, I'll stick to my faith in myself a little while longer instead, it seems the more reasoned and compassionate option to me Wink
I do agree the words come from the Roman time period though, that many not mean much since perhaps we have been in, are in, or going into a time period equal to in hostilities. Be careful to observe the words it would be better though. They do not imply we punish ourselves or anyone else (though it brings to mind some people could) but they indicate we have a choice to make.

If you want to choose to ‘stick to my faith’ I do not see it even as relative to that part. What you do to others is however relative. You would do better to do something ______ is a parody made to show how very stupid it would be to deliberate and set out to hurt people. Are you doing that now? Are you hurting your son? I don’t think so but if you were and did not much care if you did or not, the result would be destructive to both you and your son. (for clarity sake anything I have written is a suggestion you personally are doing anything wrong)

If you told your son to believe in nothing, to go hurt, cause injury generally the opposite of everything you are saying now, then what would the result be? Hence the expression, you would be better to do something injurious to yourself than to do that?

Yes, they are strong words, because it is a very important subject but Jesus did not do anything nor was not saying to inflict any harm to anyone even yourself or to follow a religion that would cause you to think of punishments for non-believers.
Bikerman
The simplest and most sensible advice to give is always the truth. If a young person asks me whether I believe in God then I tell them that I don't. If they ask me whether they should believe in God then I tell them that such a decision is for them to make, not me.

In some contexts (ie not when I am their teacher) I will, if asked, explain why I do not believe in God. In other contexts - ie with my students - then that would not be appropriate, so I will say nothing on the matter.

I don't understand why you conflate two separate issues. Telling someone not to believe in something is not related to telling them to hurt people - the two are completely separate matters.

It is also highly insulting (and hypocritical) to say that turning someone away from God is such a terrible thing. You have quite openly offered to 'teach' people about your version of religion. I suspect it never occurred to you that they might already believe in a different God, or no God at all. What gives you the right to turn them to your God? How is that different to someone else turning a Christian away from your God?
jeffryjon
Having faith in oneself is necessary to accomplish anything and it's something we all have to a greater or lesser degree. At one end of the scale is someone who has so little faith in themselves that they accomplish very little beyond mere existence. On the other end of the scale are people who have an enormous amount of faith in themselves, which can often be confused with having a big ego. I could easily say I have so much faith in myself that I can do/learn to do anything a human is capable of doing, but would also have to accept that this would have to be combined with a large enough 'want' for any of those particular things to go through the steps of learning how to develop expertise in those fields.

It's perfectly possible for both an atheist and a believer in God to become brain surgeons, but if either decided to take the approach of performing brain surgery without taking formal training, they'd need a 100% success rate from the very beginning to avoid formidable resistance. Even then I suspect they'd have a large number of people who'd try to stop them trying to prove the point.

That said, I find strong alignment with Watersoul's OP in that faith in self is essential for attaining anything worthwhile in almost every case, especially if we want to repeatedly succeed and not just put success (whatever that may mean to each individual) down to a flook of luck/God's grace.
Bluedoll
@jeffryjon
I agree with what you said and with watersoul faith in himself. I believe God agrees as well. Having both is not hurtful.

@watersoul
I had this further thought about what you wrote about God being well invisible. You are so right. However, do you not get a sense that sometimes that something is in the works, perhaps? I am not sure if you know what I mean? Take the sea for example, she seems to be alive but she is not a living being in the sense that we think of her as living? Yet, if something like the sea can help us relate to something beyond our limited perception about spiritual matters could there be more? You know, I simply am continuing dialog yet (there are certain forces at work in the forum to silence me, to put me on ignore, to send me away, to label me a troll or much worse – tell me this is not true?) considering all the things centered around the bible for example (what a book that has lasted for the last 2000 – and much longer) might demonstrate just because it is still around that God might just be communicating in ways we have not considered yet?


Bikerman wrote:
It is also highly insulting (and hypocritical) to say that turning someone away from God is such a terrible thing. You have quite openly offered to 'teach' people about your version of religion. I suspect it never occurred to you that they might already believe in a different God, or no God at all. What gives you the right to turn them to your God? How is that different to someone else turning a Christian away from your God?
This is where I need to introduce myself personally because it is a personal question. I differ to say that it is neither insulting or hypocritical to make the statement for which I will give reason for at the end of these paragraphs. I express that I am open to share with others and I have never stated, like you do on a regular basis regarding that I am a teacher nor am I taking on that role here. If you interpret it that way because of your background all I can do is restate my position. I am here for discussion.

I do also (there is so many misunderstandings) not affiliate with any worldly religions. I am aware that different people believe different things but that is what makes it so interesting. I do have rights Bikerman and one of them is the right to expression. I trust if that expression is off key, I will be informed to correct the pitch.

I see your logic. If you can – I can. What I disagree with, is I am not doing what you have described. You are perhaps thinking of someone else.

Pay attention to this paragraph please for this is not my teachings but that of Jesus Christ. “If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him, for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.”

You need to stop and change what you are doing Bikerman. It is totally fine to express what you believe, to debate and to communicate with others in your life and in your online life but not to do so in a harmful way. You would do much better to focus on topics that are of an interest to you. Topics that are not related to God. I am not talking about issues concerning governments or worldly religions. I am talking about how you continue your movement of devaluating God for the purpose of winning your debates. You will not hurt me spiritually but it is possible you could hurt others and there is not really any need for you to do that. Leave what belongs to God alone.
rjraaz
i fully faith on God.

there is something that control us.

silly think but that is mine
Bikerman
I mentioned that I was a teacher/lecturer a long time ago but it has nothing to do with religion. I lecture in IT. The only reason I raised it again here was that it provided an excellent example of context - when it is appropriate to talk about beliefs and when it is not.

I'm certainly not thinking of someone else. I invite you to look back over your postings (and pms) and you will see that you have, several times, put yourself in the role of evangelist for Jesus.
In fact the last paragraph of your previous posting illustrates the point nicely. You seem to think my postings are 'harmful' because I take an atheist stance, whereas your own postings - which, as I've said, are frequently abusive and evangelical - are not.

Nothing 'belongs' to God as far as I am concerned and expressing my opinion does not hurt others. If their faith is built on lies and self-deception then challenging it is absolutely the ethically correct thing to do, and if it isn't then how can my postings harm them? The worst I can do is correct some of the misinformation and uncritical verbiage that is poured into impressionable minds. I do not tell lies about religion or scripture, and I do not misinform people. I give my sources when used and provide links to any materials I've consulted. I don't make unsupported allegations or assertions and I don't make personally abusive suggestions and statements about the other people in the debate.

I have amended the paragraph above because it was pointed out that it contained personal comment, which I apologise for and have removed.
Bluedoll
Bikerman wrote:
I mentioned that I was a teacher/lecturer a long time ago but it has nothing to do with religion. I lecture in IT. The only reason I raised it again here was that it provided an excellent example of context - when it is appropriate to talk about beliefs and when it is not.

I'm certainly not thinking of someone else. I invite you to look back over your postings (and pms) and you will see that you have, several times, put yourself in the role of evangelist for Jesus.
In fact the last paragraph of your previous posting illustrates the point nicely. You seem to think my postings are 'harmful' because I take an atheist stance, whereas your own postings - which, as I've said, are frequently abusive and evangelical - are not.

Nothing 'belongs' to God as far as I am concerned and expressing my opinion does not hurt others. If their faith is built on lies and self-deception then challenging it is absolutely the ethically correct thing to do, and if it isn't then how can my postings harm them? The worst I can do is correct some of the misinformation and uncritical verbiage that is poured into impressionable minds by zealots and wannabe evangelists like yourself. I do not tell lies about religion or scripture, and I do not misinform people. I give my sources when used and provide links to any materials I've consulted (unlike you with your 'quote' above which appears in no bible I have seen. If you want to quote John 12:46-48 then say which bible and verse. Your quote looks like a paraphrase - unless you are using a bible I don't have and am not familiar with), so anyone can easily check. I don't make unsupported allegations or assertions and I don't make personally abusive suggestions and statements about the other people in the debate.
When you can say the same then you can talk about harming people - until then it is hypocritical cant.
I do not have to do anything you tell me.
You are not my instructor.
You have no idea what kind of pm’s I send.
I do not send any personal messages to you.
When I first joined this site a very long time ago, there were a few pm's to you but they had nothing to do with Jesus Christ.

I was posting in this section in regard to the op and in a discussion with watersoul.
There was a post made in this section from Matthew 5:16 by another member
I continued a discussion with this centered around the op.
This is not unusual since it is a faith forum and the bible can be mentioned

I do consider this part of the forum that is not a heavy debate section.
I do not have to supply sources as you are indicating.
I can write anyway I wish
I can approach topics as a discussion and not a debate.


I am not a zealot or a wannabe evangelist
I am not telling lies or using deception
I have no desire to be challenged nor to challenge in this section
I am not regularly abusive in my posts as you say
I do not agree I make personally abusive suggestions and statements
My posts are not hypocritical cant as you suggest


You interjected into this discussion board with a question
Quote:
Hmm...but remembering the Golden Rule, I must ask:


I answered the question in a way I believe was appropriate
I have my beliefs and I state them clearly
My belief is some things do belong to God and God only.
watersoul
I've considered this idea of potentially hurting someone else by either denouncing any god, or by proclaiming that gods are real and spiritually important.

I really cannot recall an instance where someone simply stating "there are no gods" has actually hurt anyone else. I can however think of predatory religious groups who seek out vulnerable people such as the homeless/addicts etc, and whilst offering practical 'help' slowly chip away at the person to make them believe their own faith. All the time never addressing the problem of personal responsibility in themselves, and simply switching a god into the place of the particular drug they depended on previously.

Yes, the individual is helped in the practical sense of rebuilding their lives, but are they any closer to being truly in control of their own life if the crutch/mobility aid of religious belief were to be removed? I think not.
Help someone find faith in themself before you coerce them into faith for an entity who never seems to be there when you need it. Certain local 'Godly' organisations tried that on me when I was a young impressionable homeless 16 yr old many years ago. As soon as I realised that their practical assistance was expected to be followed up with my belief in their faith, I walked away to fix my own life myself. Help with conditions is hollow in intentions - and attempted brainwashing of already vulnerable people is a deeply harmful activity in my opinion.
Bluedoll
There are times, I really think where we all misunderstand the other and other times when we understand the other completely. I understand the op and think having faith in oneself is an admiral thing but like a lot of posts do spawn into other areas, this one is of no exception?


Quote:
I've considered this idea of potentially hurting someone else by either denouncing any god, or by proclaiming that gods are real and spiritually important.

I really cannot recall an instance where someone simply stating "there are no gods" has actually hurt anyone else.


I can relate to and agree mostly with what you are saying watersoul however from another perspective, please allow me to say how teaching others there is no God is harmful. Mind you, I said teach, not simply state what one believes. There is a difference, correct?

Our world is crashing, scientists, politicians, leaders, philosophers will not stop it from happening. Who then? Deny that possibility?
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
I really cannot recall an instance where someone simply stating "there are no gods" has actually hurt anyone else.
Not when you say it like this. There is respect in your tone, you make the statement objectively factual, without any negatives in it. But then if someone should say "there is no god" in order to put someone who believes there is a God down, or want to teach that person that He/She is wrong to believe there is a God, or mock or ridicule those who believe in God, then it definitely becomes harmful and probably would have some or other negative consequence as a result.

I agree completely with resisting conversion attempts, from all directions, including religion, atheism, etc. I don't mind learning what people believe in and why they believe what they believe, but when they try and position themselves as being superior in knowledge, or have answers that I am missing in my life, along the path of they know better, their beliefs are working better, then I resist that too. I have always believed that genius is in simplicity, and I have learned most from those who are unassuming, don't impose their views on others, and who are knowledgeable on their subject, without having to tout their knowledge. I usually learn more from them too especially when they have a light touch and great sense of humour.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
I really cannot recall an instance where someone simply stating "there are no gods" has actually hurt anyone else.
Not when you say it like this. There is respect in your tone, you make the statement objectively factual, without any negatives in it. But then if someone should say "there is no god" in order to put someone who believes there is a God down, or want to teach that person that He/She is wrong to believe there is a God, or mock or ridicule those who believe in God, then it definitely becomes harmful and probably would have some or other negative consequence as a result.
But anyone posting on these boards is well aware that they are for discussion and should, if they think about it, conclude that some people will be taking an 'anti' or an 'a' religious stance. If people choose to discuss religion then they cannot blame anyone but else if they don't like the results.
It is also true that religious people do FAR more proselytising than atheists. I don't get many (any) atheists knocking on my door trying to de-convert me. I get quite a number of Christians. So, by your reckoning, I think you might agree that this sort of evangelising is also harmful and probably has negative consequences.
Quote:
I agree completely with resisting conversion attempts, from all directions, including religion, atheism, etc. I don't mind learning what people believe in and why they believe what they believe, but when they try and position themselves as being superior in knowledge, or have answers that I am missing in my life, along the path of they know better, their beliefs are working better, then I resist that too.
That applies to just about every Christian sect I can think of. It doesn't mean that all Christians act superior, but the essence of their belief is that they DO have an answer and they ARE superior to those who have not 'found' Jesus. They even believe (or many do) that the inferior 'others' will burn eternally for their crimes.
Quote:
I have always believed that genius is in simplicity, and I have learned most from those who are unassuming, don't impose their views on others, and who are knowledgeable on their subject, without having to tout their knowledge. I usually learn more from them too especially when they have a light touch and great sense of humour.
I don't know many geniuses - I would say 3 who could possibly qualify. None of them are 'simple' or 'unassuming'. If you look at obvious geniuses over history - Mozart, Galileo, Bobby Fischer, Wittgenstein, Pascal, John Stuart Mill - that will do as a sample - only JS Mill could be said to be 'simple' - and only in the life he chose to live, not in his expression/thoughts. The rest were highly volatile, very combative and demanding of their audiences. Many of them (Galileo, Mozart, Fischer for sure) had pretty nasty elements to their character..
Bluedoll
Anyone who has posted on this board is very well aware that it is a dictatorship, with unfair advantage from a religious perspective, as active moderators are atheist biased. I do not have a very high opinion of this board presently, in regards to how it is moderated in terms of censorship. On this board I see a great deal of bible thumping and strange as it may seem is being conducted more by atheists. I do have faith in myself not to be intimiated by the false biblical doctrines however.

Although, I can agree while watching the odd evangelizing program on the telly that there are some way off base preachers out there publishing, I do not see many spreading hell damnation or stating that they are superior. I know, I certainly do not believe in that. Even the occasional door bell ringer simply is placing literature that I can recycle or read. Is there harm in this, no not for me, as I have choices.

I do notice in the world there is however presently a movement of anti-christ atheists in many circles. They go out of their way to convert people to a Satanic Atheism for political or social agenda. In terms of issues, I have no conflict with unbelievers. An issue could be something like abortion or education in schools. Everyone in this world has a right to say how it should be. I do have an issue with preaching to others about God however for this is exactly what this kind atheism is about with strong ties to Satan. They have ties to Satan because whether they believe it or not they follow the exact same theology.

This action can be extremely harmful for everyone.

_____________________________________


Know the truth and it will set you free
Bikerman
LOL.
So you see lots of Satanist Atheists (a contradiction in terms by the way*) converting people, do you? Funny, I've never seen a single one. I see a few atheists on these boards, putting their point of view across - just as I see theists doing the same. That is hardly surprising, though, since the boards are here to discuss religion, amongst other things.

I've never been stopped in the street by an atheist trying to convert me, or had an atheist bang at my door, trying to induct me into the 'atheist sect'. I can't say the same about Christians and other religious folk. It must be quite a strange place you live in to have all these 'Satanist atheists' prowling around. Have you tried letting the Police know about it?

You must also have a special TV that doesn't receive the 'hell and damnation' programmes. My TV picks-up loads of it - in fact there are whole channels which have little else...

So I take it, from what you say below, that preaching about God is fine as long as you believe in it. If you don't then you shouldn't say anything bad, eh? Well, sorry but aside from leading to boring conversations, that isn't generally how it works in democratic countries. You need to go back in time a couple of centuries and you will then find a world more like the one you apparently wish for. Good luck with that (if I were you, I should pack some antibiotics, some soft toilet paper and a few other 'comforts' before you jump into the time machine)...
Quote:
Everyone in this world has a right to say how it should be. I do have an issue with preaching to others about God however for this is exactly what this kind atheism is about with strong ties to Satan.


* That is, if we are talking about the Satan of Christianity. THAT Satan was 'created' by God, and since atheists don't believe in God then it follows that they don't believe that God created an Arch Angel who later rebelled and became Sh'aitan or Satan. It is perfectly consistent for an atheist to believe in some sort of 'devil' figure or supernatural 'demon' (not that I do), but not the Satan of Christianity methinks....
Bluedoll
watersoul wrote:
As soon as I realised that their practical assistance was expected to be followed up with my belief in their faith, I walked away to fix my own life myself.
This works for yourself but I have a question here. If you eliminate those other people from the equation and consider that you are in a world that will affect you, how will you fix the world if it goes out of your control? Who can you turn to if it is out of your power and who will fix your problem if the world is going to destroy your future or the future of your child? I hope you understand this question.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
There are times, I really think where we all misunderstand the other and other times when we understand the other completely. I understand the op and think having faith in oneself is an admiral thing but like a lot of posts do spawn into other areas, this one is of no exception?

watersoul wrote:
I've considered this idea of potentially hurting someone else by either denouncing any god, or by proclaiming that gods are real and spiritually important.

I really cannot recall an instance where someone simply stating "there are no gods" has actually hurt anyone else.


I can relate to and agree mostly with what you are saying watersoul however from another perspective, please allow me to say how teaching others there is no God is harmful. Mind you, I said teach, not simply state what one believes. There is a difference, correct?

Our world is crashing, scientists, politicians, leaders, philosophers will not stop it from happening. Who then? Deny that possibility?

Of course this post was bound to 'spawn' into the area of my belief that 'there are no gods, it's in the Faith Forum and I made my views pretty clear at the start.

As far as wondering what I 'teach', or 'state' to other people, including my child, I think the post I made previously explained it quite well - here's a quote from it:
watersoul wrote:
I've always also taught my son of all my experiences and what I think is important for him to check first when anyone tells him "this is the truth", including me, it's OK to question dad as long as it's politely worded.
He knows what I believe but he also knows that I'll defend anyones right to believe whatever they want to, it's up to the people who think differently to coexist with each other, that's the most important thing in my mind.
My lad learns about all major religions at school as well and we chat about his lessons or what his thoughts are on the particular concepts. He absolutely knows that if he was drawn to a particular spiritual path I'd back him as long as his path in life remained one of niceness and kindness to other people. That said, his lessons are not called "Religious Education" anymore, it's "Philosophy and Applied Ethics" these days, so I guess he could end up with a more questioning mind than my own one day.
Who knows? Paramount for me is the honest sharing of experience based knowledge with my son and him making his own mind up if he's drawn to a belief. Only he as others can make their own minds up themselves




Bluedoll wrote:
watersoul wrote:
As soon as I realised that their practical assistance was expected to be followed up with my belief in their faith, I walked away to fix my own life myself.
This works for yourself but I have a question here. If you eliminate those other people from the equation and consider that you are in a world that will affect you, how will you fix the world if it goes out of your control? Who can you turn to if it is out of your power and who will fix your problem if the world is going to destroy your future or the future of your child? I hope you understand this question.

Certainly not any god. I've never received any 'divine' help to my knowledge in my life, ever, or if I have I'd have to suggest that the god concerned was too discrete about it for me to notice.
If I was absolutely desperate and it was a life or death situation I could certainly see myself pretending to believe whatever any religious group wanted me to (if it was a condition attached to their assistance), but thankfully so far I've been able to rely on my own efforts in life without having to do that.



Bikerman wrote:
I've never been stopped in the street by an atheist trying to convert me, or had an atheist bang at my door, trying to induct me into the 'atheist sect'. I can't say the same about Christians and other religious folk. It must be quite a strange place you live in to have all these 'Satanist atheists' prowling around. Have you tried letting the Police know about it?

That made me laugh! Sorry Bluedoll, but linking non-belief with satanism is going a bit far in my mind. I don't believe in any gods, but that's through reasons of having a practical questioning mind (which you, I assume, believe your god gave me) - it has nothing to do with this idea of satan.

Bikerman wrote:
It is perfectly consistent for an atheist to believe in some sort of 'devil' figure or supernatural 'demon' (not that I do), but not the Satan of Christianity methinks...

Totally agreed.
Bluedoll
Quote:
That made me laugh! Sorry Bluedoll, but linking non-belief with Satanism is going a bit far in my mind. - watersoul


Actually, I am not linking non-belief but atheism, as not all a thie sm is inactive in religious activities. I am not linking but stating by identification. In plain words, religious atheism is what it is, whether you believe this or not? When one engages with religion, it is religious action.

You are not understanding my question however, this is not as personal as you might be taking it, I think but there is a personal component. You are saying you believe in yourself and teach your child values. I am commending you on this. That is so great really but it not my question.

Your child will grow up into a world that will be changed regardless of what you believe. The question is, do you believe the world is in serious trouble or it is just fine ? The next question is who will fix it?

Why would you want to laugh off the possibility of a God that might give your child a better world or even a world to live in? Your child could still agree and cherish all the fine values you gave as long as they are good.

How can you turn your back on your child if you think the world is in trouble? Do you think it will be just ok (this planet earth) because Bikerman is going to have all the solutions? Poor logic that would be, I would certainly want to think, you would not go that route.

I am not asking you to change your beliefs but only consider something. There were generations before you who had similar beliefs. The question here is what does Jesus Christ believe and what does Satan believe? Certainly not the same. Which will work?
Bikerman
Bluedoll wrote:
Quote:
That made me laugh! Sorry Bluedoll, but linking non-belief with Satanism is going a bit far in my mind. - watersoul


Actually, I am not linking non-belief but atheism, as not all a thie sm is inactive in religious activities. I am not linking but stating by identification. In plain words, religious atheism is what it is, whether you believe this or not? When one engages with religion, it is religious action.
So using the same logic, because you are engaging with atheism, that is an atheist action?
Quote:
Your child will grow up into a world that will be changed regardless of what you believe. The question is, do you believe the world is in serious trouble or it is just fine ? The next question is who will fix it?
False dichotomy. There are many states between 'serious trouble' and 'fine'. The simple fact is that the more religious the world, the more serious the trouble. Look back over history. Or look at the world today....where are the most problems? In the middle-east, across the India-Pakistan border, in Afghanistan, in parts of Africa. What do they all have in common? Religiously inspired hostility.
Quote:
Why would you want to laugh off the possibility of a God that might give your child a better world or even a world to live in? Your child could still agree and cherish all the fine values you gave as long as they are good.
Religion has never given people a better world - just the opposite. Science is what has made this world better to live in, not people chanting gibberish. We KNOW what the world looks like when everyone is deeply religious. We call it the 'Dark Ages'. I, for one, can do without that sort of world.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
Your child will grow up into a world that will be changed regardless of what you believe. The question is, do you believe the world is in serious trouble or it is just fine ? The next question is who will fix it?
Our world never has, or ever will be perfect. There will always be people suffering, and some people who gain from that suffering. For example, there is currently talk in mainstream news of a coming 'food crisis' where our western society is worrying about possible price rises which will 'hurt' consumers etc. It's almost a grotesque complaint/worry in my opinion, when a probable billion of us on the planet eat far too much food anyway, while millions are malnourished at the same time.
I'm afraid I don't see any gods fixing that though, just the many tens of thousands of (human)itarian workers with altruistic intentions.

Bluedoll wrote:
Why would you want to laugh off the possibility of a God that might give your child a better world or even a world to live in? Your child could still agree and cherish all the fine values you gave as long as they are good.
I've never laughed that possibility off, I just don't believe it myself. As I've said, if my son finds a faith for himself (which is based on love and kindness) then I'll back him up, and his right to believe that - even if I'll disagree with it. All I can ever do is educate him on 'what other people believe', because it would be dishonest of me to direct him toward any particular religious view when I am drawn to none myself. Equally, for every person who might champion a Christian belief there will be as many others championing their own. Just because I was born in a mostly Christian country does not make that belief any more valid and believable to me than Islam is to an average Joe in Iran or Indonesia.

Bluedoll wrote:
How can you turn your back on your child if you think the world is in trouble? Do you think it will be just ok (this planet earth)
The planet will survive as long as the sun allows it (a good couple of billion years or so as science understands it so far), that's assuming some other massive body in space doesn't smash in to us, or something like that.
If you're talking about society being in trouble, well we have people involved in politics to try to change that, and we can also do the same ourselves if we're lucky enough to live in a 'democracy'.
If you mean environmental trouble then yes, certainly some areas of our planet are suffering now, and we're all contributing to some of it through our heavy energy intensive society. Again, there are good humans (people, not gods) who are involved in science to identify the problems, activism to create awareness, and then politics to produce the changes needed.
As far as turning my back on my own son goes, I assume you mean in a spiritual faith sense? I teach him about what is good and kind and what we should all concern ourselves with to try and make the world a better place. I also teach him about the many different mechanisms of our world, politics, society, environmental etc, and feel strongly that giving him the knowledge of how he could make some of those practical changes himself is far more useful than advising him to 'pray to a god' and everything should be fixed for us.

Bluedoll wrote:
I am not asking you to change your beliefs but only consider something. There were generations before you who had similar beliefs. The question here is what does Jesus Christ believe and what does Satan believe? Certainly not the same. Which will work?

I've considered this throughout the day at work while 'day-dreaming' to myself.
What do Allah, Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesha, Ahura Mazda etc think as well? There have been generations before me with many beliefs of differing and similar views, and there will be many more in the future. Which do I pick? Spin a bottle? Draw straws? Every religion I've ever investigated has always boiled down to an element of 'blind faith', so who's faith is more real than the other when there are so many to choose from?
As long as there have been religions, some people have thought there is imminent danger of the 'sky falling in' and I'm sure in December 2999 there will be folk saying it's 'all doomed' etc.
If I'm wrong and there is a god in charge of everthing, well there's not much I can do about it, and I'd argue many points with the god concerned to establish why I was given a questioning intelligent mind which was bound to end up unconvinced by the scant evidence the god offered me.
I can however ignore those things I cannot change and devote my attention to the practical 'realities' of my time on this planet, championing the causes of kindness and sensibility, while helping everyone I can who crosses my path in life.

*Edit* And as I stated in the OP, I will continue doing all of the above with an absolute faith in myself to get every job done that needs doing in my life. My own skills, knowledge, judgement, and ability to change or adapt to whatever life throws at me is what I'll rely on, because for me, it's worked well so far...and far more obviously better than any prayer I may have uttered in my spiritual searches over the years.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Bluedoll wrote:
Why would you want to laugh off the possibility of a God that might give your child a better world or even a world to live in? Your child could still agree and cherish all the fine values you gave as long as they are good.
I've never laughed that possibility off, I just don't believe it myself.
I don't believe it either Bluedoll. What I do believe is that God wants us to help ourselves, there is no paradise on earth. What counts is not how bad or how good things are, but the quality of the choices we make for our lives. Like God dealing us a hand of cards, we take stock of both the good and bad in the hand that was dealt to us, and make decisions that fit our Christian code.

watersoul wrote:
As I've said, if my son finds a faith for himself (which is based on love and kindness) then I'll back him up, and his right to believe that - even if I'll disagree with it.
I was brought up the exact same way. My dad was an atheist, so was his dad. It always puzzled me that they were atheists, but it was never something that needed to be changed or judged. I was not judged. I was given complete freedom to be who I was. I think that freedom was my dad's greatest gift to me. I can never recall making a choice to be a Christian. I always was. I must say that I always thought atheists would be like my dad and grand dad were. But really got a surprise in this Forum. Atheists seem to be preaching religion much more than those who are religious do. And seem to be much more knowledgeable about the subject than theists are supposed to be. I can't help but get the feeling at times that the lady doth protest too much.
jeffryjon
Bluedoll, as someone who believes in God, but questions religions of all kinds, I can see many valid points made by those who claim to be atheists. I can't see any link between atheism and satanism, except in that satan is defined as being a deceiver and (often ) subtle in the ways he deceives. In that sense and that sense only, I would say there are some atheists (and some theists) who are deliberately working in a deceptive manner and as such, knowingly or unknowingly doing the work of (the Christian defined) satan. Even further, regardless of belief/non-belief in God, each one of us are responsible for keeping ourselves in check to ensure we're not misleading others - this even when we do it unintentionally.

If an atheist or someone who chooses to follow a different religion, (or equally if someone has an individualistic belief in God) chooses to do so, it's only fair to accept that promoting that faith to others leaves us open to others raising doubts or questions. Whether we choose to pursue those questions is a personal choice. Some choose a path of blind belief and others choose a gnostic route - and certainly the gnostics accept that a question raised, may warrant investigation until an answer is found. I can only see how atheism and satanism (strictly in the sense of as I've defined satanism here), could in certain cases be promoted by the same person - though in the same breath I'd say, when religious persons deliberately share only those religious teachings that serve their personal agendas, these same people could be termed as teaching that religion in a satanic way.

If satanists posing as atheists came knocking at the door, then we 'could' choose to see that as a personal test - according to the Biblical scripts even Jesus Himself was tested in such ways. Why should we be any different?
Dialogist
I've read through your post, watersoul and it seems extremely well thought out and delivered and I appreciate the honesty of it. There's just a few things which leaped out at me that are maybe worth some consideration. You can completely disregard them if you wish. Your faith is your own business...

watersoul wrote:

None of anything I've ever read or been told has drawn me closer to a belief, as they all boil down to a need for "faith", in something that cannot be proven to me.


Is this not the whole premise of faith itself? With evidence would you need any and would it still be faith and would it be worth anything? Would it tax you? Would it have any value?

Secondly, allow me to bold the interesting parts...

watersoul wrote:

None of anything I've ever read or been told has drawn me closer to a belief, as they all boil down to a need for "faith", in something that cannot be proven to me.


This contradicts itself slightly. What it says is that you have never been drawn closer to a belief. Has it not drawn you closer to this belief? It has drawn you closer to a belief that faith in a God is not beneficial to you. This belief doesn't really have evidence to support it as a valid 100% fact. It is merely just a belief. Just like a faith in a God. The irony here, as you probably already saw coming with bells on, is that this belief of yours requires a certain level of faith to believe.

You can have faith of your belief in yourself to believe it, but your reasoning for not having faith (due to lack of evidence) of a theistic nature sort of invalidates your faith of your belief in yourself. Or in the very least, holds it accountable to evidence that circumstance and deduction thereof doesn't really provide you with.

As I say, these are just my observations. You can do whatever you like with them. If your faith in your belief in faith of self is strong enough to disregard them as illogical, then you are already more faithful than certain theists that I know.

wrote:

When I was aged about 10 my Mother gave me this illustrated book


Ah yes, Louis Pasteur. He single-handedly still bolsters the faith of many theists. Do you know why?

Hint: It's to do with Darwin, ponds, milk and life itself.
watersoul
Very interesting and well considered slant to my postings Dialogist, here are my intitial instinctive thoughts

Dialogist wrote:
watersoul wrote:

None of anything I've ever read or been told has drawn me closer to a belief, as they all boil down to a need for "faith", in something that cannot be proven to me.
Is this not the whole premise of faith itself? With evidence would you need any and would it still be faith and would it be worth anything? Would it tax you? Would it have any value?
I suppose that's where religious faith lets me down a bit. I don't see the value of taxing myself through unanswered prayers in a faith that doesn't seem to get any results.

Dialogist wrote:
Secondly, allow me to bold the interesting parts...
watersoul wrote:

None of anything I've ever read or been told has drawn me closer to a belief, as they all boil down to a need for "faith", in something that cannot be proven to me.
This contradicts itself slightly. What it says is that you have never been drawn closer to a belief. Has it not drawn you closer to this belief? It has drawn you closer to a belief that faith in a God is not beneficial to you. This belief doesn't really have evidence to support it as a valid 100% fact. It is merely just a belief. Just like a faith in a God. The irony here, as you probably already saw coming with bells on, is that this belief of yours requires a certain level of faith to believe.
Absolutely right there, it would appear a contradiction of sorts, but I have proven to myself many times in life that I can overcome most things without the aid of any gods who never seemed to help when I needed them. My emotional fortitude and strong will, with intelligence and adaptability where needed, has beaten any deeply evoked prayer I've said hands down. As such, I can easily have more 'faith' that I will provide whats needed other than any gods.

Dialogist wrote:
You can have faith of your belief in yourself to believe it, but your reasoning for not having faith (due to lack of evidence) of a theistic nature sort of invalidates your faith of your belief in yourself. Or in the very least, holds it accountable to evidence that circumstance and deduction thereof doesn't really provide you with.
I see your reasoning there and perhaps my use of the word 'faith' in myself is innapropriate to an extent. As far as any belief of mine goes though, I have proven much more to myself that relying on my own thoughts/actions is likely to fix any problem than wasting any extra time and energy calling for help from a god.

Dialogist wrote:
As I say, these are just my observations. You can do whatever you like with them. If your faith in your belief in faith of self is strong enough to disregard them as illogical, then you are already more faithful than certain theists that I know.
I see the path of logic followed in your comments, but it was never likely to influence my position at all. Appreciate the reply though Smile

watersoul wrote:

When I was aged about 10 my Mother gave me this illustrated book


Dialogist wrote:
Ah yes, Louis Pasteur. He single-handedly still bolsters the faith of many theists. Do you know why?

Hint: It's to do with Darwin, ponds, milk and life itself.


Lol, I was wondering if anyone would bring this up. I know, it's almost strange that I'd use such a strong theist as Pasteur as inspiration for 'belief in oneself', but the book I read as a child dealt with the basics of him overcoming scientific criticism from his peers in the search for 'germs'. If he hadn't believed in himself then he probably would have given up. I do wonder if he ever got any tangiable spiritual help or was it just his belief in God that gave him a perceived strength to carry on?
Of course, he was absolutely slated for his work to prove spontaneous generation was a crock, but he was absolutely right all along. We've kind of moved onto abiogenesis these days though, so it puzzles me a bit how a strong theist looking for 'back up' for their claims would mention Pasteur today.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
If he hadn't believed in himself then he probably would have given up. I do wonder if he ever got any tangiable spiritual help or was it just his belief in God that gave him a perceived strength to carry on?
I sometimes wonder whether the two are one? The stronger our faith in God the stronger our faith in ourselves? The two can't really be separated from one another?

In addition, whether theist or non-theist, sometimes our natural gift for researching a particular area of interest can be so interesting that it can drive us to the point of becoming so obsessed with it, that our whole life's work get invested in it. We get to be driven by the passion for our subject where it is completely inconceivable that we would ever give up on it.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
If he hadn't believed in himself then he probably would have given up. I do wonder if he ever got any tangiable spiritual help or was it just his belief in God that gave him a perceived strength to carry on?
I sometimes wonder whether the two are one? The stronger our faith in God the stronger our faith in ourselves? The two can't really be separated from one another?
Ooh, I'd have to say not in my case for obvious reasons, but I can see how a strong theist could perhaps feel a stronger belief in themselves, and the challenges they have to face in life, if that faith in the god helps them focuss their thoughts, maybe?

deanhills wrote:

In addition, whether theist or non-theist, sometimes our natural gift for researching a particular area of interest can be so interesting that it can drive us to the point of becoming so obsessed with it, that our whole life's work get invested in it. We get to be driven by the passion for our subject where it is completely inconceivable that we would ever give up on it.

Agree completely there, we do best at what interests us for sure.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
If he hadn't believed in himself then he probably would have given up. I do wonder if he ever got any tangiable spiritual help or was it just his belief in God that gave him a perceived strength to carry on?
I sometimes wonder whether the two are one? The stronger our faith in God the stronger our faith in ourselves? The two can't really be separated from one another?
Ooh, I'd have to say not in my case for obvious reasons, but I can see how a strong theist could perhaps feel a stronger belief in themselves, and the challenges they have to face in life, if that faith in the god helps them focuss their thoughts, maybe?
No maybe here, definitely, and they don't see it as a god focussing their thoughts either. They may be divinely inspired and motivated as well as feel that in their connection with others. I thought Dialogist put it very well however, this faith is not that dissimilar from your own. Faith is faith.
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:

I suppose that's where religious faith lets me down a bit. I don't see the value of taxing myself through unanswered prayers in a faith that doesn't seem to get any results.


Seem? I understand this. It is a logical presumption to arrive at but then somebody may ask, was it really faith or just trial and error? And were its terms and conditions subject to a prize?

watersoul wrote:

I have proven to myself many times in life that I can overcome most things without the aid of any gods who never seemed to help when I needed them. My emotional fortitude and strong will, with intelligence and adaptability where needed, has beaten any deeply evoked prayer I've said hands down. As such, I can easily have more 'faith' that I will provide whats needed other than any gods.


watersoul wrote:

As far as any belief of mine goes though, I have proven much more to myself that relying on my own thoughts/actions is likely to fix any problem than wasting any extra time and energy calling for help from a god.


And more power to you. It still sort of puts faith in it being a single effort though (a lot less, granted) but nobody ever claimed to pray for money either. Point being, a man has to get up and go and actually do the thing. Most theists would agree with that. The faith requirement of believing in being guided (without or without request) is similar to that of believing that you were/are solely responsible (without or without request) for your own achievements/fortunes/overcoming of adversity. You seem to be a very moral person, why wouldn't a theist suggest that a God is helping you anyway? Wouldn't "Because I did myself" commission the same level of unknown perspective?

watersoul wrote:

I see the path of logic followed in your comments, but it was never likely to influence my position at all. Appreciate the reply though Smile


I'm the last person to try to evangelize you to something I'm not an ardent follower of myself. However, that "path" of logic meets with perfect logic once we remove this whole "God thing" further complicating the logic with implications of convictions and personal identity. Let's just take it apart and put it back together...

We both leave the room. A third party places an upturned cup on the table and then decides if a key is placed underneath - or not. That person then leaves the room saying that the winner/the one who is correct wins a car. We both reenter the room: I say, "I believe there is a key under that cup", and you say, "I believe there is no key under that cup". We both share a faith, not based on evidence, that either one of our beliefs/guesses is correct.

Now let's put it back together: Your non evidential (baring suppositions of circumstantial experience/belief) beief of non theism is just as illogical as a belief in theism - due to faith.

This is my only point in here. It's why I came in here. I'm not interested in making you change your position, just offering some food for thought. As I say, you can digest it or give it to the dog, but I'd rather you put it in the fridge Smile I do so because I often read complaints from non-theists who "believe" certain things. Particularly those who refer to the rationality of science to "believe" certain things. Science deals with facts, not beliefs and does not validate faith - or indeed, the belief of non theist belief, nor the paradoxical faith of not having faith!

watersoul wrote:

Lol, I was wondering if anyone would bring this up. I know, it's almost strange that I'd use such a strong theist as Pasteur as inspiration for 'belief in oneself', but the book I read as a child dealt with the basics of him overcoming scientific criticism from his peers in the search for 'germs'.

We've kind of moved onto abiogenesis these days though, so it puzzles me a bit how a strong theist looking for 'back up' for their claims would mention Pasteur today.


Haha, because from a neutral point of view, it seems to be just a childish point scoring from theists. That was one of the few times that theism had a notable triumph over science. Or better yet, "a defensive block" against science. It's notable because it used groundbreaking science to debunk a theory, as opposed to the traditional age-old normality of the shoe being firmly on the other foot. It may, or may not have damaged Darwinian theory in the very conception of its being, the one thing that Darwin dreamed of, had faith in, wanted, the embryo of his fetus denied. It may or may not highlight the faith required in believing that something you cannot observe in your own lifetime as being just faith. Whatever it says about abiogenesis, I'm not learned enough to comment, however the faith in believing that science will ever create a new life form requires a whole different level of faith entirely. I fully support it. Most scientists should and most theists should too. I don't see a conflict or competition. From a theistic point of view, I agree with St. Athanasius: "God became man so that we might become God", putting a slightly different spin on "faith" huh? Whereby, he gave us all this potential and intellect to kneel dumbly and obsequiously to worship his glory? Maybe so. I guess it's what you define by "worship" isn't it? After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

watersoul wrote:

If he hadn't believed in himself then he probably would have given up. I do wonder if he ever got any tangiable spiritual help or was it just his belief in God that gave him a perceived strength to carry on?


It's an excellent point here and I'm glad you raised it. Theistic motivation certainly didn't hinder Sir Issac Newton either. What we have here is some great work done, not even requiring a deity to actually exist - conceptually, for faith in one to be exalted, being that the practitioner believed in whatever they believed in. It agrees with philosophies that good begotten through faith is living evidence that the faith was valid. It's like somebody bringing you in an item, an artwork, a body of work or an artifact and you saying, "Wow! That is brilliant! Now...where is it from?" Does it really matter? Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies, brother.
Bikerman
Quote:
We both leave the room. A third party places an upturned cup on the table and then decides if a key is placed underneath - or not. That person then leaves the room saying that the winner/the one who is correct wins a car. We both reenter the room: I say, "I believe there is a key under that cup", and you say, "I believe there is no key under that cup". We both share a faith, not based on evidence, that either one of our beliefs/guesses is correct.
Another false analogy. Firstly you are comparing theism to STRONG atheism. The atheist would say - I have no reason to believe the key is under either cup, though I take it that it is under one, therefore this is just a guess.
More importantly, the implication is that the existence of God is a 50-50 chance. That is something that many theists would like to believe is true but it isn't.
A better analogy:
A third party presents you with an assertion that there is an invisible pink unicorn that is responsible for creating the world. You say 'I believe that is true', the atheist says 'I do not believe that is true unless you can provide some convincing evidence to support the assertion'.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Firstly you are comparing theism to STRONG atheism.
I don't understand why people need to have "strong" atheism? Isn't atheism atheism? Absence of belief in the supernatural? If it is strong, then it means that it can be weak as well. So is atheism then still atheism when it is weak?
Ankhanu
Does this really need to be explained again?
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
Does this really need to be explained again?
If you argue this way Ankhanu, then there would be no need for this Forum. How many times have we debated the existence of God, how many threads have been created along the same theme? How many quotes have repeately been made from the Bible to prove God is allegedly a Monster.

I'm asking why there is a need to refer to strong atheism. Either atheism is or is not. Why does it have to be qualified? Perhaps we should start a new thread on that?
Ankhanu
Strong and weak atheism, as has been explained to you specifically a few times now, are fundamentally different beasts. Strong atheism is more akin to faith-based theism than it is to weak atheism. While strong and weak sit in a similar position, the nature of that position is very different.

Personally, I find great value in maintaining the information that is presented for education even across threads, forums and even media altogether.
watersoul
Ankhanu wrote:
Does this really need to be explained again?
It shouldn't need to be really, but if only to explain myself, I'm kind of at the weaker edge of atheism. A standpoint where I don't say there are no gods, but instead, I don't know if there are or aren't, and I don't really mind either way ...for all the reasons in my OP and later.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
Strong and weak atheism, as has been explained to you specifically a few times now, are fundamentally different beasts. Strong atheism is more akin to faith-based theism than it is to weak atheism. While strong and weak sit in a similar position, the nature of that position is very different.
The better and more simple explanation at that time was that strong atheism asserts there is no God, and weak atheism asserts that there is no proof of the existence of God.

And if I did not understand what it meant, I could have looked it up on the Internet as well.

My point is that either atheism is or is not. If it has to be qualified, then there has to be some doubts somewhere.
Ankhanu
I'm going to use an analogy. Defining atheists by characters of strong atheists is kind of like:
1) Defining Christians based on the Westboro Baptist Church
2) Defining Islamics based on Osama Bin Laden and suicide bombers.
While these groups/individuals are of their religions/philosophies, they're not representative of what is typical.
deanhills
Ankhanu wrote:
I'm going to use an analogy. Defining atheists by characters of strong atheists is kind of like:
1) Defining Christians based on the Westboro Baptist Church
2) Defining Islamics based on Osama Bin Laden and suicide bombers.
While these groups/individuals are of their religions/philosophies, they're not representative of what is typical.
Right, but that then just brings up another anomaly, as atheists contend that atheism is not a belief system. It is not a "religion". "A" theism means no religion, no God. So you can't really compare atheism with religion. When you do, then atheism will have to become some of that which it says it is not?
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
My point is that either atheism is or is not. If it has to be qualified, then there has to be some doubts somewhere.
So what about the doubts? I keep an open mind for any eventuality, but I won't hold my breath waiting for some, including the Christian God and Bible being anything other than part of a very old population control mechanism. I won't however say I know it's a crock...because I don't.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Ankhanu wrote:
Strong and weak atheism, as has been explained to you specifically a few times now, are fundamentally different beasts. Strong atheism is more akin to faith-based theism than it is to weak atheism. While strong and weak sit in a similar position, the nature of that position is very different.
The better and more simple explanation at that time was that strong atheism asserts there is no God, and weak atheism asserts that there is no proof of the existence of God.

This has been explained many times and has nothing to do with 'proof'.
Atheists do not believe in God. They may or may not assert that God does not exist.
Ankhanu
Nit-picky point, I would really prefer to see the Bible capitalized; it is a proper book title Wink

Like any analogy, it is imperfect, but you're missing the point by pulling in outside minutia. I did not claim that atheism was a coherent religion or belief... I'm sorry that that was apparently, inadvertently implied. My entire point was entirely the folly of judging any group/division based on fringe minorities.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
...but that then just brings up another anomaly, as atheists contend that atheism is not a belief system. It is not a "religion". "A" theism means no religion, no God. So you can't really compare atheism with religion. When you do, then atheism will have to become some of that which it says it is not?
Is that because most atheists hold their views without any organisation to formally 'guide' them?
There are folk with faith/belief in god/s, and folk without faith/belief in god/s, but also very many variations in strength of belief throughout both camps.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
We both leave the room. A third party places an upturned cup on the table and then decides if a key is placed underneath - or not. That person then leaves the room saying that the winner/the one who is correct wins a car. We both reenter the room: I say, "I believe there is a key under that cup", and you say, "I believe there is no key under that cup". We both share a faith, not based on evidence, that either one of our beliefs/guesses is correct.
Another false analogy. Firstly you are comparing theism to STRONG atheism. The atheist would say - I have no reason to believe the key is under either cup, though I take it that it is under one, therefore this is just a guess.


The purpose of removing the deity and the theist and atheist from the analogy was to remove the politics involved. The reason I introduced the car is the same reason you introduced the creating of the world.

But still, if the theist says "I believe there's no key under the cup" and the atheist says "I believe there is a key there", then my analogy still works: It serves to illustrate that without evidence, two people are making a blind guess based on faith that they can win the car. There's nothing manipulated here about that, if that's what you presume.

If that is what you presume, then I could similarly take both men out of the room and suggest to just one of them, that, "the key placer is best friends with the other guy", "they have a winking system similar to the masonic handshake", "The key is a loaded object", "probability says 50/50 is not accurate due to the pessimistic nature of the key placer", "His girlfriend left him, he's not credible to make a positive decision", "The cup is fine china owned by the key placer, he would probably want to prevent any erosion or chipping", "You have a car, don't gamble for a 50% chance of attaining something you cannot lose anything by doing (my favorite)" or "This is a game of pure chance, it's no business for scientifically, rationally minded gentlemen like you to get involved with".

And then say nothing to the other man at all. Let them both come back in a let psychology do its thing.

That's ^just a reverse what you did. I'm still sticking with a guess not based on hard evidence and both having faith on being right, because that's exactly what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.
Bikerman
Dialogist wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
We both leave the room. A third party places an upturned cup on the table and then decides if a key is placed underneath - or not. That person then leaves the room saying that the winner/the one who is correct wins a car. We both reenter the room: I say, "I believe there is a key under that cup", and you say, "I believe there is no key under that cup". We both share a faith, not based on evidence, that either one of our beliefs/guesses is correct.
Another false analogy. Firstly you are comparing theism to STRONG atheism. The atheist would say - I have no reason to believe the key is under either cup, though I take it that it is under one, therefore this is just a guess.


The purpose of removing the deity and the theist and atheist from the analogy was to remove the politics involved. The reason I introduced the car is the same reason you introduced the creating of the world.

But still, if the theist says "I believe there's no key under the cup" and the atheist says "I believe there is a key there", then my analogy still works: It serves to illustrate that without evidence, two people are making a blind guess based on faith that they can win the car. There's nothing manipulated here about that, if that's what you presume.
I don't 'presume' anything. I state that it is not analogous in any significant way to atheism and theism. The theist KNOWS that the key is under one particular cup. The atheist knows that he doesn't know and is therefore guessing.
The theist is wrong, even if he picks the correct cup, because he didn't KNOW - and the atheist is correct - even if he guesses wrong, because he KNEW that he didn't know.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:

I don't 'presume' anything. I state that it is not analogous in any significant way to atheism and theism. The theist KNOWS that the key is under one particular cup. The atheist knows that he doesn't know and is therefore guessing.
The theist is wrong, even if he picks the correct cup, because he didn't KNOW - and the atheist is correct - even if he guesses wrong, because he KNEW that he didn't know.


Faith: The confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing.

Know: To be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information. To be absolutely certain or sure about something

Theist: Faith
Atheist: Faith

Neither "Know" and certainly not in block capitals. "Knowing" arguably makes the theist a scientist that the atheist should trust the opinion, there of.
Bikerman
Of course the atheists knows. He is 'absolutely certain' that he does not know which cup contains the key, because he has no way to know.
Theist : Faith
Atheist : Knowledge
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:
Of course the atheists knows. He is 'absolutely certain' that he does not know which cup contains the key, because he has no way to know.
Theist : Faith
Atheist : Knowledge


For a start there's only one cup, the key is under it or not. I know that's irrelevant...

To the point:

Bikerman wrote:

Of course the atheists knows. He is 'absolutely certain' that he does not know


Amusing. I admire your persistence. Allow me to alter your quote a little for the sake of demonstration?

Bikerman wrote:

Of course the theists knows. He is 'absolutely certain' that he does not know


Theist : Knowledge of Faith
Atheist : Knowledge of Faith

haha, atheist - knowledge of faith! See, we can both be comedians.
jeffryjon
Seeing that we changed from cup to cups in the argument, the probability of knowing is increased regardless of faith. The human senses can pick up many things that we haven't consciously acknowledged, though it still creates a 'sense' that something is or is not. Presuming each cup is similar enough, we 'may' subconsciously recognise a difference in resound/echo of the sounds of the room and notice a very subtle difference that we have no explanation for which prompts us to pick the cup covering the key. Since we haven't made a hard-wired evidence-based conscious recognition of the meaning of the change in subtle sound, we may be still be guided by faith that it's enough to choose one cup over the other. Some may choose to call this faith in intuition, some faith in guidance from God and others faith in oneself to perceive without proven evidence. If the experiment happened to be repeatable with success an atheist 'may' call this an educated guess which more often than not proves right where another person may term this as faith of some sort or other.

Myself, it would be hard to say, as I've been in many situations where there's just a feel that I should act which happens too quickly to consciously recognize or process but acting upon it has aided me greatly and at times saved my skin. I'd term this faith, because it's based on a recognition of a certain type of event/required action before the consciously recognized evidence appears - faith in self/or faith in God in these situations is hard to say in the moment, but certainly faith - for others luck - for others educated-guess. In my experience though educated guess requires at least a a second or two delay whilst processing takes place, so until/unless I know otherwise, it's faith
Dialogist
jeffryjon wrote:
Seeing that we changed from cup to cups in the argument, the probability of knowing is increased regardless of faith. The human senses can pick up many things that we haven't consciously acknowledged, though it still creates a 'sense' that something is or is not. Presuming each cup is similar enough, we 'may' subconsciously recognise a difference in resound/echo of the sounds of the room and notice a very subtle difference that we have no explanation for which prompts us to pick the cup covering the key. Since we haven't made a hard-wired evidence-based conscious recognition of the meaning of the change in subtle sound, we may be still be guided by faith that it's enough to choose one cup over the other. Some may choose to call this faith in intuition, some faith in guidance from God and others faith in oneself to perceive without proven evidence. If the experiment happened to be repeatable with success an atheist 'may' call this an educated guess which more often than not proves right where another person may term this as faith of some sort or other.

Myself, it would be hard to say, as I've been in many situations where there's just a feel that I should act which happens too quickly to consciously recognize or process but acting upon it has aided me greatly and at times saved my skin. I'd term this faith, because it's based on a recognition of a certain type of event/required action before the consciously recognized evidence appears - faith in self/or faith in God in these situations is hard to say in the moment, but certainly faith - for others luck - for others educated-guess. In my experience though educated guess requires at least a a second or two delay whilst processing takes place, so until/unless I know otherwise, it's faith


Interesting case you present for faith of instinct/self/perception etc. I would probably attribute this kind of faith to both men regardless of their beliefs because it seems to be of an intrinsic personal nature specific to the individual. It actually aids my point very well in a way that I hadn't envisioned. In stripping both men of their theistic uniforms, my goal was to take it down the bare root source of a human belief. I broke it down to cups because I feel like "pick god or not" is already a loaded question full of preconceptions and politics. I was not trying to remove the rationality involved. I was merely trying to illustrate both beliefs, not based on hard evidence as answerable to the faith of a guess. Once you pile all the luggage back on top of that, we have what we have currently. A lot of information flying back and fourth influencing and often confusing the truth.

You do not know there is God.
You do not know there is no God.
You believe that there is God.
You believe that there is no God.

Both require faith to maintain.
Bikerman
I thought the point was to draw an analogy with theism/atheism?
If so then the theist has a position based on faith - he believes the key is under the cup. The atheist has no faith position - he knows that it is 50/50. The difference is, I would have thought, trivially obvious.

The idea that atheism requires faith is silly. I do not believe that there is a small teapot in orbit around Jupiter. That isn't a faith position, it is simply a logical position based on a lack of evidence for said teapot. The same is true of God.
Another important difference between faith and logic is that the position based on logic/rationality will change in light of evidence, whereas a faith position will not.
Thus if evidence for said teapot comes to light then I will change my position.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:
I thought the point was to draw an analogy with theism/atheism?
If so then the theist has a position based on faith - he believes the key is under the cup. The atheist has no faith position - he knows that it is 50/50. The difference is, I would have thought, trivially obvious.


He doesn't know anything pertaining to which correct assumption, Bikerman. Which is the whole point. Likewise, the theist, doesn't know anything pertaining to which is the correct assumption. As much as you would like to paint the atheist as the rational, logical, thinking, scientist, the theist and atheist share one common thing in this scenario: Neither one of them knows that their guess is correct. You can zip both men up in body bags, put them in a barrel, spin them around and bring them back out again and stand them up and do the same experiment. One shouting his muffled option and the other shouting the other and without being able to determine who is who, the same result is achieved: Two men making an assumption.

Bikerman wrote:

The idea that atheism requires faith is silly.


No more silly than you presuming that you are 100% factually correct about atheism with no hard evidence to confirm it to you. And you may say, I do not believe that I am 100% factually correct, confirming the level of faith required in your confidence of your belief being valid to you.

Bikerman wrote:

I do not believe that there is a small teapot in orbit around Jupiter. That isn't a faith position, it is simply a logical position based on a lack of evidence for said teapot. The same is true of God.
Another important difference between faith and logic is that the position based on logic/rationality will change in light of evidence, whereas a faith position will not.
Thus if evidence for said teapot comes to light then I will change my position.


You know there is no small teapot in orbit around Jupiter, or at least you think you know that. You haven't really had it confirmed or completely over ruled with hard evidence. There was a time when before the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet was caught in orbit, we couldn't fully observe parts of Jupiter's atmosphere as the collisions caused eruptions of material from the layers normally hidden beneath the clouds. All the logic in the world gave us insight to presume what was beneath them layers, but we did not know. When Galileo first set his lens upon Jupiter, he did so with faith that he would see something. He didn't know if he would find anything interesting and he didn't know he wouldn't. Ganymede is a result of that initial faith. The chain of craters upon it, again, we have absolutely no clue about how they got there. Buzz Aldrin claims that when he was cleaning the sidereal shaft in 1969, he did indeed lose a teapot.

The analogy was theism and atheism stripped down the root essentials. The subject of belief. The simplified workings of it attempt to show how lack of hard evidence in either belief involves faith. I think it does that successfully.
Bikerman
It does nothing of the sort.
The analogy is silly because it precludes evidence, but even if you go with it, you state it wrongly.
Yes, neither have evidence. The theist makes a choice based on belief -'I believe the key is at x'.
The atheist doesn't - hence the atheist doesn't make a choice based on the expectation that it is correct. The atheist will, as I said before, know that it is a guess and that the odds (all else being equal) are 50-50. If the theist thinks the odds are 50-50 then there is no basis for faith in their choice.
watersoul
If I might jump in here for a moment please chaps - @Dialogist, please excuse my confusion but I'm unsure about the point you're trying to make regarding 'beliefs' of atheists?

Using myself as an example:

I do not believe in gods (because I've experienced nothing to ever sway me otherwise), so by default that puts me in the atheist camp.

I do not believe 'there are no gods' either though, again because I've experienced nothing to sway me into that line of thinking. I think it's probably unlikely, but keep an open mind to the possibility of there being this mysterious figure hiding in the background all along. I have no 'belief' either way as I simply don't know.

If I approached a cliff face near my home and found a rope hanging which had been tied at the top by unseen and unknown person/s, I could not believe the rope was secure and safe to climb, but equally cannot believe it is not. It is an example of a situation where there is not enough evidence to make a call with confidence. The same as my position regarding any gods.
Dialogist
Bikerman wrote:

The analogy is silly because it precludes evidence


It doesn't preclude evidence. It works with the evidence already in place that an atheist has to assert his belief to himself.

None.

Bikerman wrote:

The theist makes a choice based on belief


One man makes a choice based on a guess.

Bikerman wrote:

The atheist doesn't - hence the atheist doesn't make a choice based on the expectation that it is correct.


Another man makes a choice based on a guess.

Bikerman wrote:

The atheist will, as I said before, know that it is a guess and that the odds (all else being equal) are 50-50. If the theist thinks the odds are 50-50 then there is no basis for faith in their choice.


Both men made a choice based on a guess.

Both men didn't know because they had no hard evidence and thus, a guess was the only action possible. Both men wanted to be right to win the car. Both men had faith in their guess being the correct one.

Both men guessed at something which they had no evidence for.
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:
If I might jump in here for a moment please chaps - @Dialogist, please excuse my confusion but I'm unsure about the point you're trying to make regarding 'beliefs' of atheists?

Using myself as an example:

I do not believe in gods (because I've experienced nothing to ever sway me otherwise), so by default that puts me in the atheist camp.

I do not believe 'there are no gods' either though, again because I've experienced nothing to sway me into that line of thinking. I think it's probably unlikely, but keep an open mind to the possibility of there being this mysterious figure hiding in the background all along. I have no 'belief' either way as I simply don't know.

If I approached a cliff face near my home and found a rope hanging which had been tied at the top by unseen and unknown person/s, I could not believe the rope was secure and safe to climb, but equally cannot believe it is not. It is an example of a situation where there is not enough evidence to make a call with confidence. The same as my position regarding any gods.


Excellent post, about the rope. It's interesting that somebody found some kind of foothold to attach it there in the first place though isn't it? Maybe it was somebody of extreme faith? Maybe it was a complete lunatic who is a danger to himself and others? See the atheistic thing to do would be not climb because it's unsafe. The theistic thing to do would be to scramble up it like a child. The agnostic thing to do would be to stand staring at it pondering its possible or otherwise stability.

watersoul wrote:

I do not believe in gods (because I've experienced nothing to ever sway me otherwise), so by default that puts me in the atheist camp.

I think it's probably unlikely, but keep an open mind to the possibility of there being this mysterious figure hiding in the background all along. I have no 'belief' either way as I simply don't know.


I will never tell you what I think you are, or are not. You are what you say are. But my girlfriend would love you. She is agnostic. She shares your exact outlook.

My cup thing was just to show atheists that because their belief is not based on hard evidence, it warrants faith to maintain. Some of the ones who arguing blindly against the logic of this broken down to its most simple possible form are displaying some incredible faith that I think should serve as inspiration to theists the world over.

I am sorry to "jack" your topic, watersoul. If that has been the case. Perhaps what I posted was controversial, but I never meant to steer the topic off course.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
...about the rope. It's interesting that somebody found some kind of foothold to attach it there in the first place though isn't it? Maybe it was somebody of extreme faith? Maybe it was a complete lunatic who is a danger to himself and others? See the atheistic thing to do would be not climb because it's unsafe. The theistic thing to do would be to scramble up it like a child. The agnostic thing to do would be to stand staring at it pondering its possible or otherwise stability.
That was quite funny Smile

Dialogist wrote:
My cup thing was just to show atheists that because their belief is not based on hard evidence, it warrants faith to maintain. Some of the ones who arguing blindly against the logic of this broken down to its most simple possible form are displaying some incredible faith that I think should serve as inspiration to theists the world over.
Hmm, I still struggle with that although I do kind of see where you're coming from. No-one can know there are no gods so it would have to be a belief that there are no gods, and of varying strengths depending on the atheist. If you are going to consider it as any kind of faith though, it's more likely to be reasoned and based on observation than the faith of theists perhaps.
Dialogist wrote:

I am sorry to "jack" your topic, watersoul. If that has been the case. Perhaps what I posted was controversial, but I never meant to steer the topic off course.
Hey, no worries, it's actually been quite an interesting and entertaining read so far, with you and Bikerman debating some finer points within the restricted constraints of the 'faith' forum.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
Hey, no worries, it's actually been quite an interesting and entertaining read so far, with you and Bikerman debating some finer points within the restricted constraints of the 'faith' forum.
I'm enjoying the debates too, but did not get a sense of anyone being restricted or constrained. I'm curious, if you say restricted constraints, what is the evidence for it in this thread, and if this thread had been in the Phil&Rel Forum, how would it have been different?
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
Hey, no worries, it's actually been quite an interesting and entertaining read so far, with you and Bikerman debating some finer points within the restricted constraints of the 'faith' forum.
I'm enjoying the debates too, but did not get a sense of anyone being restricted or constrained. I'm curious, if you say restricted constraints, what is the evidence for it in this thread, and if this thread had been in the Phil&Rel Forum, how would it have been different?


For a start, I think a few well read philosophical folk on the forums would have skillfully ripped some things mentioned in this thread to bits, including some of my own for sure. Also, one of the most important rules of the Faith forum hasn't been broken here yet, where trashing the OP as rubbish etc is not allowed.
Dialogist
I think he was being sarcastic in that, the "faith" forum has unwillingly become the Science forum too.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
I think he was being sarcastic in that, the "faith" forum has unwillingly become the Science forum too.

Science is bound to be included at times when there's theistic/atheistic discussions going on though. It's almost a counter-balance, and I'm happy for it to continue if used as relevant to the debate.
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
For a start, I think a few well read philosophical folk on the forums would have skillfully ripped some things mentioned in this thread to bits, including some of my own for sure. Also, one of the most important rules of the Faith forum hasn't been broken here yet, where trashing the OP as rubbish etc is not allowed.
I don't know whether you have notices Watersoul, but most of the robustness that was a trade mark of the Phil&Rel forum for a while, seems to have been edited out of it over the last two months. Whereas in the Faith Forum, the discussions have not been entirely without an element of robustness in them. Which makes the two almost on par with one another. One could argue that the restrictions or level of freedom of speech is almost the same in both Forums.

For a more objective opinion, perhaps we could ask a fairly newcomer like Dialogist, whether he sees a difference in debate between the two Forums and whether he feels more restricted in expressing his points of view in this Forum than in the Phil&Rel Forum?
Dialogist
deanhills wrote:
Dialogist, whether he sees a difference in debate between the two Forums and whether he feels more restricted in expressing his points of view in this Forum than in the Phil&Rel Forum?


I forget which forum I'm in without looking the links -> links at the top. The robust nature doesn't bother me. I quite welcome it in the sense that, replies and activity are forthcoming. People care, and that's a good thing. I take your point that there doesn't seem to be a dividing line of content or posting 'behavior' for want of a better word, but I think in wanting a 'softer' forum, you'd be conceding more than you gain. I think certain threads should be moved out of faith that are currently here as they seem best suited elsewhere. I also see a case for certain posters wanting a haven of sorts, away from aggressive debate. I don't know, I'm fairly new and in no position of authority to propose changes - But do agree with what you say.
egbe
Faith is a substance, not seen though but felt, an evidence of the reality of things hoped for coming to pass. It encompasses the ability to foresee things we desire in the positive come to pass in the reality before the actual time we expect it to happen. There are level of faith depending on your standard of belief. Faith makes life go in the positive. Above all without faith no man can please God and without pleasing God life is worthless. This is my little quota on "Faith". Thanks for the privilege given.
watersoul
Dialogist wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Dialogist, whether he sees a difference in debate between the two Forums and whether he feels more restricted in expressing his points of view in this Forum than in the Phil&Rel Forum?


I forget which forum I'm in without looking the links -> links at the top. The robust nature doesn't bother me. I quite welcome it in the sense that, replies and activity are forthcoming. People care, and that's a good thing. I take your point that there doesn't seem to be a dividing line of content or posting 'behavior' for want of a better word, but I think in wanting a 'softer' forum, you'd be conceding more than you gain. I think certain threads should be moved out of faith that are currently here as they seem best suited elsewhere. I also see a case for certain posters wanting a haven of sorts, away from aggressive debate. I don't know, I'm fairly new and in no position of authority to propose changes - But do agree with what you say.

I disagree there, as I think it forces some of the more philosophically aggressive types to carefully place their arguments, while allowing people to state claims about their beliefs which would otherwise be shot down in flames for lack of evidence.

At least in the faith forum someone can express 'why or what they believe' and enjoy a discussion instead of an interrogation. I tend to shy away from Phil & Rel because although I understand many concepts and theories of 'life' etc, I didn't study philosophy when I was at uni so might sometimes use the incorrect term or label for something in my posts. As such, it leaves me open to attack by folk well versed in the the philosophically correct 'terms' who then choose to ignore the substance of the message, focussing instead on the minor wording error.

In short, I can't be arsed arguing with people who actually know full well what message I'm trying to convey, but pick a statement to bits (like a dog with a bone) because they see a small error in terminology.

egbe wrote:
Faith is a substance, not seen though but felt, an evidence of the reality of things hoped for coming to pass. It encompasses the ability to foresee things we desire in the positive come to pass in the reality before the actual time we expect it to happen. There are level of faith depending on your standard of belief. Faith makes life go in the positive. Above all without faith no man can please God and without pleasing God life is worthless. This is my little quota on "Faith". Thanks for the privilege given.

First of all, welcome to the forums, I look forward to reading your posts here.
Regarding your comments above though, it's an interesting statement, but if you've read my original post (and many replies) you will surely understand that I completely disagree with most of what you said. If believing in God makes your life feel more worthwhile then I'm happy for you, but equally I feel no loss in my life due to my own lack of faith.
Bikerman
Quote:
I tend to shy away from Phil & Rel because although I understand many concepts and theories of 'life' etc, I didn't study philosophy when I was at uni so might sometimes use the incorrect term or label for something in my posts. As such, it leaves me open to attack by folk well versed in the the philosophically correct 'terms' who then choose to ignore the substance of the message, focussing instead on the minor wording error.
Ahhh...I'm assuming that Indi has worked you over?
Smile He worked me over a couple of times in days of yore - we had a some memorable and pretty intense debates (and I have to be honest and say that on balance I would have to concede defeat to the better philosopher).
You should not be put off by that - you can learn a good deal from Indi. I regard him as a very valuable member of the boards because you know that you will get a considered and honest opinion, with no bull, even if you don't like or agree with it.
I don't have a problem being bested - I actually find it educational, and there are no grudges held, even after the most intense exchanges.
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
Quote:
I tend to shy away from Phil & Rel because although I understand many concepts and theories of 'life' etc, I didn't study philosophy when I was at uni so might sometimes use the incorrect term or label for something in my posts. As such, it leaves me open to attack by folk well versed in the the philosophically correct 'terms' who then choose to ignore the substance of the message, focussing instead on the minor wording error.
Ahhh...I'm assuming that Indi has worked you over?
Smile He worked me over a couple of times in days of yore - we had a some memorable and pretty intense debates (and I have to be honest and say that on balance I would have to concede defeat to the better philosopher).
You should not be put off by that - you can learn a good deal from Indi. I regard him as a very valuable member of the boards because you know that you will get a considered and honest opinion, with no bull, even if you don't like or agree with it.
I don't have a problem being bested - I actually find it educational, and there are no grudges held, even after the most intense exchanges.


Lol!
I actually have a huge amount of respect for Indi's knowledge of philosophy, and have learned a lot about some of the finer details from his posts. It is clearly his field and he's obviously spent a lot of time and effort studying to gain that knowledge. I also agree he's a definite bonus to the forums and he'd be one of my first choices to PM if I had a philosophical issue that I needed help pointing in the right direction. I don't hold any grudges either, if something I've posted has been misinterpreted because I used the wrong words, or failed to stress a particular point, then I'm 'fair game' in Phil&Rel! Call me a coward perhaps, but it's certainly safer playing in the 'Faith' sandpit for sure Wink

Say if I was a farmer talking about how pests had decimated my crops this growing season, then someone says 'No! You only lost 8% so you can't say decimated, thats an incorrect use of the word', the issue at hand would really be the loss of the crops but the focus then changes to how it was described etc.
I absolutely agree that it would be factually correct to point it out, but personally I find it sometimes tiring to have to spend more time explaining a point that was pretty much understood by everyone, but technically incorrect through the use of wrong terminology.

I know my limits and as said earlier, I didn't study philosophy, so don't really stand a chance in Phil&Rel, as the terminology is already defined by scholars of the field - and I'm still learning it!
Bikerman
Fair enough, but don't be put off posting if you see a thread you want to contribute to. I might even ride shotgun and split Indi's fire with a decoy run Smile
watersoul
Cheers for that BM Smile I will certainly contribute in Phil&Rel when a topic interests me, but only when I'm completely sure I've chosen my words especially carefully.
I must say though, when I have been 'shot' by Indi's 'philosophical rifle of knowledge' in the past, I pretty much walked into the shooting range with a self-painted target on my back because I didn't carefully consider or 'preview' my words in advance - totally my own fault really, and as you said, it's always educational, so in hindsight that can only be a benefit to me!
Dialogist
watersoul wrote:

I disagree there, as I think it forces some of the more philosophically aggressive types to carefully place their arguments, while allowing people to state claims about their beliefs which would otherwise be shot down in flames for lack of evidence.


We only disagree that we're in disagreement!

watersoul wrote:

In short, I can't be arsed arguing with people who actually know full well what message I'm trying to convey, but pick a statement to bits (like a dog with a bone) because they see a small error in terminology.


jeffryjon wrote:

I read somewhere that Jesus said something along the lines of "God is for the living and let the dead bury the dead".
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
.... but don't be put off posting if you see a thread you want to contribute to.
Totally agreed. If the Faith Forum seems to be preferable for Watersoul, it could be because of avoidance of the Phil&Rel Forum, rather than higher standards that are imposed in the Phil&Rel Forum. Right now I don't see a very high standard of discussion in the Phil&Rel Forum of the kind that should make one feel one is not up to the task any way. Ironically some of the better discussions are happening in the Faith Forum right now.
riderwear45
First, the question is that what is to be believed.

Faith is what drives all of life, but the faith given by God, that He who gives faith is what we put our faith in

The word "faith" has been translated into greek πιστις (pi'stis), used mainly in the New Testament greek translates as the perfect time and as a hybrid noun-verb, which is not properly transmitted from the English noun. Pi'stis context of the New Testament is a physical action, based on spiritual faith and the enduring.

The confidence you build based on what you believe in the Bible says that God has dealth with us after the measure of faith means that God has given each and everyone the same amount of faith.




Spam Links Removed. -ocalhoun
bukaida
The heaven and Hell, both are within us. Both God an Satan lives side by side inside us. We get our reward and punishment both within our mortal life for our deeds. This is said by an ancient Saint of India.
deanhills
bukaida wrote:
The heaven and Hell, both are within us. Both God an Satan lives side by side inside us. We get our reward and punishment both within our mortal life for our deeds. This is said by an ancient Saint of India.
Bukaida, if I may ask, who is he? Question
surekha1976
Yes friend you are right faith is start from heart and ourselves. But God is a source without god you cannot do anything. I God wish is with you then you can face each and every problem. But yes I know positive thinking is a key of success so I want to suggest all my friends should be positive.
Bikerman
surekha1976 wrote:
Yes friend you are right faith is start from heart and ourselves. But God is a source without god you cannot do anything. I God wish is with you then you can face each and every problem. But yes I know positive thinking is a key of success so I want to suggest all my friends should be positive.

Au contraire - I have been without God for over 30 years and I do pretty well, thanks.
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
surekha1976 wrote:
Yes friend you are right faith is start from heart and ourselves. But God is a source without god you cannot do anything. I God wish is with you then you can face each and every problem. But yes I know positive thinking is a key of success so I want to suggest all my friends should be positive.

Au contraire - I have been without God for over 30 years and I do pretty well, thanks.


It's over 20 years without any God for me and I've got quite a nice little life going on as well.

...I'm definitely sticking with faith in myself, it's much more reliable in my opinion Wink
Bluedoll
I am not sure I agree with “without god you cannot do anything”, as I am not sure I understand what surekha1976 meant. I have been more inclined to think in reverse, if you do something evil it will have a bad ending but if you do something good (general term) then it will be successful (faith in myself). As far as God is concerned I do not think anyone is with God but that God is with them though ‘with’ is general term as well. Looking at it from this other perspective then, God could be with someone regardless of where their faith is. However just a question about ... “faith in myself, is much more reliable”

Quote:
I have no real opinion about the existence of any gods, they could be "real" yet unprovable, or they could equally be based on primitive myths and/or tied up in a social control system known as religion. In a sense, the question is almost irrelevant to me and the issues I consider as really important in my life.- watersoul
If it is irrelevant, then why consider which is more reliable? (not being sarcastic, just trying to understand your rational)
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
However just a question about ... “faith in myself, is much more reliable”

Quote:
I have no real opinion about the existence of any gods, they could be "real" yet unprovable, or they could equally be based on primitive myths and/or tied up in a social control system known as religion. In a sense, the question is almost irrelevant to me and the issues I consider as really important in my life.- watersoul
If it is irrelevant, then why consider which is more reliable? (not being sarcastic, just trying to understand your rational)


It was a throwaway comment in response to what I thought was a rather silly statement:
surekha1976 wrote:
But God is a source without god you cannot do anything

...and to be fair, I was actually being sarcastic myself with the reliability line, there really is nothing for me to consider when I haven't seen any evidence to indicate that a God has ever helped me in challenging times.
I did of course consider it at length before reaching my current opinion though, and the existence (or not) of any Gods is still quite irrelevant to my day to day life and/or plans.
deanhills
Bluedoll wrote:
Quote:
I have no real opinion about the existence of any gods, they could be "real" yet unprovable, or they could equally be based on primitive myths and/or tied up in a social control system known as religion. In a sense, the question is almost irrelevant to me and the issues I consider as really important in my life.- watersoul
If it is irrelevant, then why consider which is more reliable? (not being sarcastic, just trying to understand your rational)
I think we've been around that block before haven't we? He's an agnostic.

I guess we all have to have faith in ourselves, but our sources are a little different.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
I think we've been around that block before haven't we? He's an agnostic.


The agnostic atheist hat has a much more snug fit on my head Wink

Quote:
I guess we all have to have faith in ourselves, but our sources are a little different.


Something along these lines perhaps?

Strong theist in a challenging situation:
"I know God will provide the inner strength and/or resources to succeed"

Me in a challenging situation:
"I know I've got the inner strength and/or resources to succeed"
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I think we've been around that block before haven't we? He's an agnostic.


The agnostic atheist hat has a much more snug fit on my head Wink
Last we discussed you were firmly on the agnostic side of things? Does it mean that you have changed your opinion and that all agnostics are atheists by default? As far as I can remember you thought that there was a difference between agnostics and atheists?
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I think we've been around that block before haven't we? He's an agnostic.


The agnostic atheist hat has a much more snug fit on my head Wink
Last we discussed you were firmly on the agnostic side of things? Does it mean that you have changed your opinion and that all agnostics are atheists by default? As far as I can remember you thought that there was a difference between agnostics and atheists?


I haven't really changed how I feel for many years Dean, I'm probably just using more appropriate terminology these days since reading into the words generally accepted meanings a little more.

I don't think God/s can be proven to exist or not, although at the same time I wouldn't say it could never be proven either way in the future (my agnostic bit)
I have never seen a scrap of evidence to indicate God/s are real so I don't hold that belief, although at the same time I wouldn't say they don't exist (atheist bit)
Bluedoll
Quote:
I haven't changed how I feel for many years Dean, I'm probably just using more appropriate terminology these days since reading into the words generally accepted meanings a little more. - watersoul
Sure hope you do not mean you have accepted some words in this forum because some of the words concerning atheism are ______. Twisted Evil
Quote:
I have never seen a scrap of evidence to indicate God/s are real so I don't hold that belief (atheist bit)

Nor did Thomas the apostle believe until shown evidence and he was a follower of Jesus so I think that is not unreasonable. It was Judas that was the traitor.

I do not think it was a silly statement for surekha1976 I think he was being genuine. If agnostic means open to possibility then maybe there is another possibility. Even though God did not supply evidence, it is possible a gift of some kind was given anonymously. Have you ever encountered that situation from another person sometimes even a stranger? I know I have. People help others out and do not even stick around for a thank you or any kind of gratuity. It is just something they do. Kind people with a willingness to give without seeking rewards. No thank you needed. Perhaps then it is a reasonable thing for us not to bite anyone for non-reason in return.

My view is not exactly the same it is "I know I've got the inner strength and/or resources to succeed," I thank God for that, if I falter or weak I am comforted in the knowledge God does cares. God provides ... then I am indeed fortunate.
watersoul
Bluedoll wrote:
Quote:
I haven't changed how I feel for many years Dean, I'm probably just using more appropriate terminology these days since reading into the words generally accepted meanings a little more. - watersoul
Sure hope you do not mean you have accepted some words in this forum because some of the words concerning atheism are ______. Twisted Evil
Quote:
I have never seen a scrap of evidence to indicate God/s are real so I don't hold that belief (atheist bit)

Nor did Thomas the apostle believe until shown evidence and he was a follower of Jesus so I think that is not unreasonable. It was Judas that was the traitor.

I do not think it was a silly statement for surekha1976 I think he was being genuine. If agnostic means open to possibility then maybe there is another possibility. Even though God did not supply evidence, it is possible a gift of some kind was given anonymously. Have you ever encountered that situation from another person sometimes even a stranger? I know I have. People help others out and do not even stick around for a thank you or any kind of gratuity. It is just something they do. Kind people with a willingness to give without seeking rewards. No thank you needed. Perhaps then it is a reasonable thing for us not to bite anyone for non-reason in return.

My view is not exactly the same it is "I know I've got the inner strength and/or resources to succeed," I thank God for that, if I falter or weak I am comforted in the knowledge God does cares. God provides ... then I am indeed fortunate.


If your faith in a God is beneficial to your life then I say good luck to you if it doesn't harm anyone else, it's just something that would make no tangiable or positive difference to my life.
If surekha1976 was being genuine then good luck to him as well, but I had to point out how incorrect his statement was in relation to my own life which is without any belief in any god.

*edit* If he'd said he believed it instead of choosing to make a statement of fact, I'd have ignored it - I'm interested in hearing whatever someone believes, but we should all be careful of stating ones own truth as everyones truth?
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
watersoul wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I think we've been around that block before haven't we? He's an agnostic.


The agnostic atheist hat has a much more snug fit on my head Wink
Last we discussed you were firmly on the agnostic side of things? Does it mean that you have changed your opinion and that all agnostics are atheists by default? As far as I can remember you thought that there was a difference between agnostics and atheists?


I haven't really changed how I feel for many years Dean, I'm probably just using more appropriate terminology these days since reading into the words generally accepted meanings a little more.

I don't think God/s can be proven to exist or not, although at the same time I wouldn't say it could never be proven either way in the future (my agnostic bit)
I have never seen a scrap of evidence to indicate God/s are real so I don't hold that belief, although at the same time I wouldn't say they don't exist (atheist bit)
Sorry, perhaps I did not formulate my question right. There was a discussion a while ago where most of the atheists were firmly of the opinion that an agnostic is an atheist by default. I seem to remember that you thought differently at the time. Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, I was just wondering whether you had changed your opinion. I.e., in addition to agnostic or religious atheists there are agnostics who are neither theists nor atheists. They prefer to stand separate from both.
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
Sorry, perhaps I did not formulate my question right. There was a discussion a while ago where most of the atheists were firmly of the opinion that an agnostic is an atheist by default. I seem to remember that you thought differently at the time. Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, I was just wondering whether you had changed your opinion. I.e., in addition to agnostic or religious atheists there are agnostics who are neither theists nor atheists. They prefer to stand separate from both.


No sorry needed fella, I'm kind of stuck in the middle with my opinion:
I don't believe gods exist so I'm clearly not a theist, which then seems to default me into the atheist camp.
However, I don't believe that deities do not exist because there is no evidence to convince me either way.
I am certain that we are unable to dis/prove the question with our current scientific methods though, and also believe it's unlikely we ever will, so that hoists my flag on the agnostic mast.

I'm sure there are far more learned folk in this field on Frihost who would confidently place me in a particular pidgeon-hole, but I'm happy to leave it to them - as I said before, any gods existence or not is quite irrelevant to how my life develops, I simply don't know, cannot know at present, and don't really care either way as long as I'm in control of my own existence.
Bikerman
But that last sentence is surely revealing? If there IS a God (particularly a Christian God) then you clearly are not in control of your own destiny, since that God knows what you are going to do....
Smile
watersoul
Bikerman wrote:
But that last sentence is surely revealing? If there IS a God (particularly a Christian God) then you clearly are not in control of your own destiny, since that God knows what you are going to do....
Smile


Lol, I've controlled my own destiny for many years now, if any god is involved in my life then he/she is a shady underhanded character who hasn't got the courage to show themselves!

...I would happily discuss the failings of any God face to face if they ever had the balls to go public Rolling Eyes
deanhills
watersoul wrote:
No sorry needed fella, I'm kind of stuck in the middle with my opinion:
I don't believe gods exist so I'm clearly not a theist, which then seems to default me into the atheist camp.
However, I don't believe that deities do not exist because there is no evidence to convince me either way.
I am certain that we are unable to dis/prove the question with our current scientific methods though, and also believe it's unlikely we ever will, so that hoists my flag on the agnostic mast.

I'm sure there are far more learned folk in this field on Frihost who would confidently place me in a particular pidgeon-hole, but I'm happy to leave it to them - as I said before, any gods existence or not is quite irrelevant to how my life develops, I simply don't know, cannot know at present, and don't really care either way as long as I'm in control of my own existence.
OK, that's the exact same position you held before, except I did not get the part about atheist. Exactly as per your explanation above of not wanting to be pigeon holed, which I think many agnostics feel the same way. The not wishing to be pigeon holed is why some agnostics insist they don't belong to either the atheist or theist camp. Not a big deal however. Very Happy
watersoul
deanhills wrote:
Not a big deal however. Very Happy

...just nice honest discussion Wink
Bikerman
PS - the stuff about the 'atheists' thinking agnostics are atheists - bunkum, of course.
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