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  1. #1
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default Threshold ~ Where do you stop?

    I was reading through those threads you read when your not really looking to converse but are interested anyway and I found this gem of thinking.

    I hope Leenylulu ( ) does mind me using it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    I am religious/spiritual. I don't have necessarily supernatural beliefs, though, because I find that I can't intellectually commit to them. So I commit to the stories as valuable. Maybe it's a cop-out; it probably is, but it's what I can do right now. I yearn for the God that might as well be there, but that probably isn't literally there.

    Things make more sense to me when I go to mass. That's all I really know.
    Now personally I'd never thought of it this way. I too often find myself hoping that there is something more to this existence but I fail to convince my brain that it's something we should engage in. It's like half of me is lifted by the whole religion movement and the other half is repelled. So far the repulsion effect has always won out.

    I should explain that it's not repulsion versus the people or even really their practices. It's just the certainty offends my principles, the whole "group hug" aura makes me want to run and the whole holy word and "you shall do this or burn" only ever produces a mental construct of two fingers saying victory to the person behind me

    Anyhow the thought that occurred to me after reading that quoted section was more along the lines of
    If I were to believe in the divine then why not the supernatural? If God exists then Karma would be his influence.
    What about ghosts? They too could be included.
    Aliens would be an obvious inclusion too as why would a god only produce one experiment to play with?
    If God exists then so too do Angels and Devils, the war between good and evil and all that implies?

    Basically my mind got to a point and then my brain reminds me that this is why we're not religious because it's silly.

    So I guess it's kind of a challenge to those who do believe or just a point to muse over but where do you draw the line? Is there a line to be drawn or are all things true equally?

    I'm wondering how I could believe in God but not the supernatural. I can see it working the other way around but to believe that there's an all pervasive, ever present deity (you can't get more supernatural than that) but not ghosts is not something my brain likes.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  2. #2
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    I'm wondering how I could believe in God but not the supernatural. I can see it working the other way around but to believe that there's an all pervasive, ever present deity (you can't get more supernatural than that) but not ghosts is not something my brain likes.
    There's WAY too much on this subject for me to comment on so I think I'll just come at it as directly as I can and let you infer what you will.

    I've been in church pretty much all my life. Presbyterian, Episcopalian, non-denom, even Catholic. I know what I believe in -- a one divine God, much like the Muslim's Allah. This doesn't mean, even after a life time of pursuit, that I can answer my own questions without raising more in their place that prove to be even more insolvent to reason.

    I believe that time is a fluid, that people die but never quite "go away", that spirits both good and bad exist, and that God is active in the every day lives of the people. I have a man at Duke University who wants to test me for ESP (another long, warped story for another time, perhaps) and I have yet to figure out how it could possibly square with my Christian beliefs, but the dreams still happen, the precognitive visions that come true, the premonitions. It's both scary and stupefying, and it's been happening since I was a child.

    I bring this up because my sister, mother and I were just debating what to do the other night. None of us think we're Abraham Lincoln, or that God wants to exterminate people, or that we're a cheese sandwich with chips. We're perfectly sane, rational folks who honestly want to get on with the business of life -- i.e. fix up the house, save a little money, get married, normal stuff. But we don't get "normal". We get "weird". I frequently look at God as if He's pulling some sort of big prank on me that I haven't figured out.

    Having said that, I've found some help in reading the Catholic mystics, but still, I feel as if I'm really a looney and I just don't know it yet?? I think modern society, which is supremely humanistic (regardless of all that "in God we trust" stuff), compels most people, especially the Rational and Thinker types, to believe that all religion is hokum designed to clutter their brains with arcane superstition. Then again, C. S. Lewis was hardly a crackpot, was he?

    I think I may have just made all this MORE confusing. Apologies.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member helen's Avatar
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    Cool topic. I've been thinking about this lately, and while I'm still unsure of my own thoughts on the matter, am happy to share a few musings.

    I agree with your reasoning that admitting the existence of God involves admitting at least the possibility of angels, demons, ghosts, aliens, and what have you.

    However, to me the difference is one of faith. Faith is not the denial or repression of doubts, but it is a centered act of the whole personality affirmation of the ultimacy of it's ultimate concern (ie, whatever is God to you) in spite of doubt. It is a risk of the whole self that requires courage. Yes, there are good reasons for belief in God. But there are also reasons (perhaps good ones) for disbelief. Faith transcends all of that. This sounds mysterious. Faith is mysterious. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8) So, yeah, I have trouble describing faith, but to move on.

    I refuse to (knowingly) exercise faith towards anything less than God. So while believing in God forces one to at least acknowledge the possibility of other supernatural phenomena, I need not believe in them unless I have good reason, any more than any secular agnostic does. My attitude towards them is basically one of skeptical indifference. If I saw a ghost or an alien, I might believe in them. Or I might decide that I was crazy or having a hallucination. IMO, it's not of ultimate concern and doesn't much matter.

    Ghosts and such phenomena can't really be disproven. You can disprove individual instances, but not the possibility, no matter what your philosophic outlook is, although they may seem more or less likely to you depending on your frame of reference. I don't think it needs to be the deciding factor when it comes to matters of faith in a deity. In fact, I think it may be almost irrelevant.

    Could be totally wrong about all of the above. But that's my current perspective.

  4. #4
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    I'm of the belief that we are in the middle of a war between good and evil; however I find love is my greatest weapon - not hate.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Helen makes a good point about faith. It's something you believe in without having physically seen. Like Lewis said, if someone were to tell you there was a tiger next door, you might feel fear or anxiety. If someone were to tell you there was a ghost next door, you wouldn't feel the same way you would about a tiger, because a tiger is something fully grounded in this world and something you've seen. A ghost is not. You don't have to believe in something for it to exist or exert a force on you. I believe Lewis called that not-fear-but-not-pleasant feeling, the numinous, an unbidden response to the sacred.
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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  6. #6
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    I am a person of faith. I believe the Bible is true. I believe there is a benevolent God who is stronger than the evil devil. I believe there are angels and demons. I believe in Heaven and Hell. I believe every human has an eternal soul. I believe ghosts are demons taking the form of a dead human. I don't believe in aliens though. Of course, I may be wrong about that.

  7. #7
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkPiranha View Post
    especially the Rational and Thinker types, to believe that all religion is hokum designed to clutter their brains with arcane superstition.
    That's a valid criticism in my case. I'll explain later in this post the thoughts this lot of replies produced.
    Quote Originally Posted by helen View Post
    Cool topic. I've been thinking about this lately, and while I'm still unsure of my own thoughts on the matter, am happy to share a few musings.
    Thanks. This kind of thing of faith, spirituality and superstition has been on my mind for years but this is kind of the first time it's starting to make sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by helen View Post
    However, to me the difference is one of faith. Faith is not the denial or repression of doubts, but it is a centered act of the whole personality affirmation of the ultimacy of it's ultimate concern (ie, whatever is God to you) in spite of doubt. It is a risk of the whole self that requires courage. Yes, there are good reasons for belief in God. But there are also reasons (perhaps good ones) for disbelief. Faith transcends all of that. This sounds mysterious. Faith is mysterious. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8) So, yeah, I have trouble describing faith, but to move on.
    It's not denial that's confusing me... again I'll explain further down.

    I gave up trying to disprove faith many years ago. Partially because I realised that I was harassing my mate Dom for no reason other than religion was giving me the willies.
    Quote Originally Posted by helen View Post
    Ghosts and such phenomena can't really be disproven. You can disprove individual instances, but not the possibility, no matter what your philosophic outlook is, although they may seem more or less likely to you depending on your frame of reference. I don't think it needs to be the deciding factor when it comes to matters of faith in a deity. In fact, I think it may be almost irrelevant.
    To me though faith in things with no proof that they do exist is confusing and contradictory to my nature. I guess that's the prime reason why I have difficulty with faith.
    Quote Originally Posted by PinkPiranha View Post
    Helen makes a good point about faith. It's something you believe in without having physically seen. Like Lewis said, if someone were to tell you there was a tiger next door, you might feel fear or anxiety. If someone were to tell you there was a ghost next door, you wouldn't feel the same way you would about a tiger, because a tiger is something fully grounded in this world and something you've seen. A ghost is not. You don't have to believe in something for it to exist or exert a force on you. I believe Lewis called that not-fear-but-not-pleasant feeling, the numinous, an unbidden response to the sacred.
    See now my thinking is that if I choose to believe in a God then why do I not believe in the bogeyman? Why do I not believe in father Christmas or the tooth fairy? Do I not believe in these things because there are not large groups of people who also believe in it? That to me is irrelevant. Of course I am interested in what other's believe. After all to ignore what others think is only to invite oversight and miscalculation but I am not the type of person who surrenders willingly my own evaluation for someone elses.
    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    I'm of the belief that we are in the middle of a war between good and evil; however I find love is my greatest weapon - not hate.
    But I'm an NT. Hate is my armour You're snubbing my armour!!

    I do agree about the weapon choice though.
    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    I am a person of faith. I believe the Bible is true. I believe there is a benevolent God who is stronger than the evil devil. I believe there are angels and demons. I believe in Heaven and Hell. I believe every human has an eternal soul. I believe ghosts are demons taking the form of a dead human. I don't believe in aliens though. Of course, I may be wrong about that.
    I see. Your faith is defined and closed in a way which prevents the ideas of aliens (sticking with the present example) being particularly possible. The Bible defines what is and what is not possible (though not a set of hard rules as I think you'd agree). It constitutes kind of a guide which is cool. I was always the one to argue with the books. I guess it's the whole my rational > anyone else's.

    I'd like to thanks you guys for responding btw. I realise that this involves things close to your heart and I'm grateful that you chose to share.

    The thinking which persists in me is if I let go of rationality to accept something like faith then what stops me letting go of it for more things? Also if it is my choice to desert my normal approach of logical process and critical thinking then is it all real? AM I creating the faith within myself by "making space"? Am I holing out an area by taking my rationality and criticism out of it to give faith a chance to bloom?

    It's been concerning me that I don't have any faith. None whatsoever. But still I have yet to find that spark that seems to find others so easily.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #8
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Faith really isn't that easy to find, so you don't have to be so hard on yourself.
    We're at the mercy of God really - a benevolent God, thankfully.
    The Bible says faith is a free gift from God. There's no other way to get it.
    I think it has to start with a bit of humility on our parts - which is hard.

  9. #9
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    That's a valid criticism in my case. I'll explain later in this post the thoughts this lot of replies produced.

    Thanks. This kind of thing of faith, spirituality and superstition has been on my mind for years but this is kind of the first time it's starting to make sense.

    It's not denial that's confusing me... again I'll explain further down.

    I gave up trying to disprove faith many years ago. Partially because I realised that I was harassing my mate Dom for no reason other than religion was giving me the willies.

    To me though faith in things with no proof that they do exist is confusing and contradictory to my nature. I guess that's the prime reason why I have difficulty with faith.

    See now my thinking is that if I choose to believe in a God then why do I not believe in the bogeyman? Why do I not believe in father Christmas or the tooth fairy? Do I not believe in these things because there are not large groups of people who also believe in it? That to me is irrelevant. Of course I am interested in what other's believe. After all to ignore what others think is only to invite oversight and miscalculation but I am not the type of person who surrenders willingly my own evaluation for someone elses.

    But I'm an NT. Hate is my armour You're snubbing my armour!!

    I do agree about the weapon choice though.

    I see. Your faith is defined and closed in a way which prevents the ideas of aliens (sticking with the present example) being particularly possible. The Bible defines what is and what is not possible (though not a set of hard rules as I think you'd agree). It constitutes kind of a guide which is cool. I was always the one to argue with the books. I guess it's the whole my rational > anyone else's.

    I'd like to thanks you guys for responding btw. I realise that this involves things close to your heart and I'm grateful that you chose to share.

    The thinking which persists in me is if I let go of rationality to accept something like faith then what stops me letting go of it for more things? Also if it is my choice to desert my normal approach of logical process and critical thinking then is it all real? AM I creating the faith within myself by "making space"? Am I holing out an area by taking my rationality and criticism out of it to give faith a chance to bloom?

    It's been concerning me that I don't have any faith. None whatsoever. But still I have yet to find that spark that seems to find others so easily.
    We're open to you on this. No sincere question will pass unanswered to the best of the ability of those here. I admire your willingness to be vulnerable on this matter.
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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    Dramatic>Sensitive>Serious

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sandy's Avatar
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    Default My story of faith...

    .
    Last edited by Sandy; 11-27-2007 at 12:31 AM.
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