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Thread: Share your spiritual beliefs

  1. #111
    ⒺⓉⒷ Array Eric B's Avatar
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    I believe in God, but it is, and has always been very difficult. I believed when I was young, and nearly all the adults of my grandparents' generation believed, and went to church and taught me the basics of God, Jesus and Satan. (I liked looking at Bibles because of the cool red text in half of it).

    My father stepped in, alarmed at what some of these people were teaching me (such as fighting always being wrong), and then indoctrinated me into scientific naturalism, via nature shows. Then, on my own, in teens, was put off by the politicized Christian Right (and all the attacks on evolution and premarital sex), I turned against religion.
    A few years later, I turned back toward it, due to the fact that it kept bugging me so, and then I came across systems of prophecy that seemed to be proven in certain historical events (which the older type religion I knew did not get into). Thus, it seemed to offer some sort of hope in an often frustrating world.

    But there were still a lot of unanswered questions, and people could pontificate so well on so many doctrines, and "Christian living" principles, but they would always run up on areas where they have nothing but "pat answers" or platitudes, or the old standby of "we'll understand when we get to Heaven/(the Kingdom)". (which is what their forebears, who turned off my parents' generations, were known for).

    So I struggled off and on with it for the past two decades. The biggest thing was "pray, and God will give you His 'Grace', and your problems will not matter as much". Yet if that is true, you would expect some sort of feeling from God when you pray. Yet there is none, and then, they tell you "faith, not feelings". To me, this basically meant "imagine God comforting you". Some teachers would even say "if you're lonely, imagine God putting His arms around you".

    The full post I wrote for this turned out to be long, so I decided I might as well put it in my own blog instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katsuni View Post
    I understand the reasoning...

    The bible's definition of god is one of contradictions; he's a god of war but hates violence and death, he's a god encouraging rape yet abhors coveting another's wife, he's a god that is fine with murder yet commands 'thou shalt not kill'.

    Furthermore, his description is that of a greedy, self centered, egotistical brat with no show of power to back it up, and little common sense, and for one who's supposedly 'infinite' in his knowledge and understanding, as well as seeing past, present and future, he's still made some pretty ridiculous mistakes, like damning all the snakes because satan once was wearing a snake mask that fooled god, and never reversed the damnation despite learning otherwise, or how he screwed up the thing with noah then was like oh yeaaaaah maybe I shouldn't've done that... and invented rainbows to say 'durr I was dum sory'. Jesus got pissed off at a fig tree for not having any fruit on it because it was out of season as well.

    There's just too many situations where god's either easily tricked, doesn't use common sense, or shows he's nowheres near either godlike at all, or doesn't deserve praise in the first place.

    This's just why I refuse to believe in the christian definition of god. Because if that's the god I have to look up to as 'better than me', I think I might just give up and call it quits on religion entirely.
    We aren't the first born of god, nor the first choice; we're second rate failures and he's already tried to kill us all off once for sucking. And even then, the whole flood thing didn't show godly power at all; couldn't he just zap all the people dead without killing all the animals too? Seems kind of a waste to have so much collateral damage... dude yeu're god! >.<

    I dunno, I just think that the bible's description of god is a quick way to make people either give up on god, or the mere concept of a god if they get too depressed from it.

    If god is supposed to be the definition of conscience infinity, then yeu're probably better off making yeur own personal description. Since that's whot was done all through the bible, multiple god descriptions based on the culture at the time. If I can't see god being 'better' than me, why would I worship him? If he's "perfect", then why is he even more flawed than I? It just doesn't match up with their description, so it's better to make my own based on the concepts, not the quotes
    A lot of that has always bothered me as well. One man sins, he gets mad and curses everything, and now all the rest of us born from him have to be in this "fallen" state and held just as accountable even though we did not actually have the conscious choice like he did.

    Some of these objections, the answer goes like God was showing us in the Old Testament what we deserved, but now, after sending Jesus to pay for us, men receive mercy. God saw it better to do it this way, because then we would appreciate mercy more.

    The fig tree thing was to make an illustration.

    The "contradictions" are because only God has the wisdom to know when it's right to war, kill, etc. So He tells us basically not to do it, but in some cases in the story of Israel, authorized it. Unfortunately, many Christians tried to emulate this, but I think in the New Testament, there was no longer any divine physical nation, so God was no longer commanding war and such. (He never did command "rape"; men "took" wives back then, including in war, and God was not yet changing the old customs with all the other stuff that was going on).

    But then, I and others try to come up with these explanations and rationalizations, and no one's buying it (unless they are already open to the Bible). So I don't know.
    Even though a lot of these portrayals of God are presented in the Bible, yet God still ultimately says "To whom shall you liken me?" (Isa 40:18, 40:25, 46:5), so what has occurred to me, is that all of these pictures you and all the skeptics are ripping are still imperfect and unclear. It was the best that could be done for something to be both communicated and received by fallible men, who naturally cannot perceive any reality beyond the physical universe he is apart of. ("No man has seen the Father...")
    So I give up trying to refute any of that stuff. In the blog, I explain why I think all of this uncertainty in revelation occurs.

    On the other hand, all of these flaws can be pointed out, but that presupposes that we are capable of determining what God really is by our own values. God shouldn't be this; he should be that. But then that's not a "better God"; that's just the wants and wishes of someone just as fallible as the much scoffed at men who wrote the Bible.

    We weren't even created because 'god loved us, or even for a good reason, according to the bible... we were created because his angels, who were his previous yes-men worshippers, realized he sucked and killed each other off until there weren't enough left to praise him anymore; the only reason humans were made is he was running low on slaves, and he made sure we weren't powerful enough to be a threat unlike the last attempt.
    Where did you get all of this stuff from? What angels killed each other off? Angels are not even portrayed as mortal.
    Most interpreters of the Bible say that we were created for Him to love, hence made differently than the angels.
    Last edited by Eric B; 11-08-2009 at 06:43 PM.
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  2. #112
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    I'm an agnostic who wishes he had the faith to be a Deist*, and is glad he lacks the faith to be an atheist.

    *specifically, a Deist that believes in free will and eternal consciousness after death.

  3. #113
    Senior Member Array cafe's Avatar
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    I believe in God. I assume I believe because of some combination of the way I was raised and the way I'm wired. I don't like the idea of purely material universe. I want there to be mystery and magic and a purpose.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  4. #114
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    honestly, i think this whole god thing is just one big exercise in confusion. i was raised in a non religious environment, where god was only very rarely talked about, and only in a matter of fact way, and so far i have done just fine without him. finding out about the prevalence of religiosity in other parts of the world in my teenage years i was stunned. how could so many people devote so much time to something no one has ever seen or been able to produce any evidence of? the only explanation i can think of is tradition and group loyalty/pressure. there is no way so many people would be convinced about these things if it weren't for the fact that most people in their vicinity already were.

    heres a question for the religious: why do you believe in the god you believe in rather than some other god(s)? why not the norse gods, or those of the ancient greeks?

    and for those with a more diffuse, deist sort of god: why bother? if your god doesn't interfere in life or you can't define him, what difference does his existence make to you?

    but if all your god is is a blanket for comfort, then by all means go ahead. i dont understand the need for comfort.

    sorry if i come off as a jerk

  5. #115
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I spent many years with a strong belief in God. There were two separate layers to the experience. Discussions about religion only address one of these. I belonged to a religion and attended the church and structured my life around some of its rules. That external aspect was not the part with which I felt a connection. That is the aspect that enters into debate and is addressed by people outside of religion.

    The part of my spirituality that meant something to me transcended any sense of label or definition. It was the connection I felt when sitting quietly in nature. No matter what pain or joy my external life produced, there was a place I could go to find strength outside myself. At times of complete isolation, I would find a spot far from my regular life and sit for hours. My eyes would open to the beauty that surrounded me. When looking at the simplest image like a blade of grass, I felt like I was looking into the infinite night sky. It was like glimpsing eternity and something looked back. Sometimes I would more fully comprehend how connected I really was to everything and what compassion actually meant. I understood that any beauty I could comprehend was part of me, and part of everything.

    Which God would that have been? The debates about this god vs. that god become irrelevant in the context of such an experience. Any attempt to label and define can only diminish. At this point I don't even know if the label God is necessary. It was strength and insight for me. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the help I found in those moments, and my wish is that there is something that can receive that gratitude.

    Edit: Since I was taught some unfounded ideas in the context of the religion itself, it is now especially important to me to separate perception from fact. I am especially cautious to not hold anything as "true" that can't be proven. I also don't dismiss everything that cannot be measured. The above experience means a great deal to me, but I don't use it as a means to generate facts. I consider myself agnostic especially since I don't label such experiences.
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  6. #116
    lackluster primate Array Night's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    Moved more posts to the Spillover thread.

    As I've already mentioned, this isn't a thread designed to facilitate debate on the logistics of spirituality.

  7. #117
    Allergic to Mornings Array ergophobe's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    Conflicted -- secular humanist/agnostic, currently leaning more towards secular humanism. I find the idea of universal human values very attractive . Being an idealist, I'm driven by ethical values central to secular humanism -- integrity, fairness, compassion. That's all I need to govern my life.

    Organized religion brings with it so much baggage. It also provides people with so much comfort. These are contradictory ideas I can't reconcile. I acknowledge and respect the role religion plays in many peoples' lives including some I hold dear. Reason makes me skeptical of the human conceptions of a higher power. Surely, if one exists, it must be greater than what our limited minds can imagine and put into these neat boxes.

    For me, religious experiences have involved being affected by nature, struck by how immense and stunningly beautiful it is. Music has that affect too. Other than that, I can see the great figures in world religions as spiritual guides. I enjoy the cultural aspects of religion - festivals/holidays, families coming together to celebrate, to remember...all this is good. I'll support and participate in religious practices for family and friends across religions but likely won't seek a place of worship myself. The only exception would be as a sanctuary, associated with the Catholic school I attended. The chapel was always so quiet and a great place to hide away for a bit. As Night said, spirituality is very personal.

  8. #118
    Self sustaining supernova Array Zoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    For sure, I wasn't trying to tie in the existence of a deity to meditative states reached in places of solemnity. I just wanted to explore a different tangent of thought (meditative states, and setting(s) perhaps, needed for such). No commentary on diety/no diety.

    I like this statement very much, and agree deeply with it.
    Oh. Well, we're in a thread on religion, so what ye said sounded like an alternate theory as to why I feel connected in those places. Your actual meaning is now understood, however.

    To the second part: thankee!

    Meditative states are interesting, and though I most likely have experienced at least two different kinds, I have never studied the subject. I would say that silence can certainly assist in focussing and reaching certain types of states, but that an excess of stimuli can also trigger (or help one reach) another variety, wherein one blocks out the world and goes inward instead.

    I have heard a description of this type of state applying to professional athletes, (some of) who in the middle of screaming stadiums of people and flashing cameras go to a silence, a stillness of being right before they put explosive exertion into something (a pitch, a fight, etc).

  9. #119
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    I'm working through the my beliefs currently.

    I try to seek the Creator through his creation... I try to contemplate the "Mysterium Magnum" or great mystery through the beauty and harmony of the world through things like geometry and other mathematics. This has been a slow process as I try to purge myself of all prejudices I have towards religion and like things. I have realized that I can only hope to have faith through reason.

  10. #120
    Senior Member Array millerm277's Avatar
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    Hmm. Well, I was raised in Reformed Judaism, my mother is formerly Roman Catholic, and her whole side of the family still is. My father's side is all Conservative or Reformed Jews.

    I like the people, the traditions, and of course, the food. However, I have absolutely zero faith in the actual religion, and identify as as an agnostic that leans pretty far toward atheist.

    The reason for this is both simple, and complex. I find the concept of god to not make sense, and be illogical. The idea seems as plausible to me as a young child's imaginary friends actually's not happening, it's not real, it's just a nice dream. I don't believe in god, an afterlife, the supernatural, reincarnation, or anything else.

    As for my spirituality? Not sure if I have any. The closest thing I have would probably be my love of nature, and just being outdoors, and relaxing there.
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