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  1. #41
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beat View Post
    All I'm saying is that I'm not capable of believing simply because I want to, because I do want to. I'd love to be secure in the idea that there's a force above us all, that is looking out for our welfare and that there's a happy place reserved for me, eternally, after this life on earth. I could scrounge around to find teachings or place myself in the company of wise men who do believe, and that might reinforce the notion of this God, but at my core a legitimate faith would be lacking because I haven't experienced him personally.

    It would take some personal act on God's part to convince me. He'd have to reveal himself in a way that computes with me. If he's all-powerful and all loving, why would he withhold? Beats me. People that I talk to who are believers want to tell me I'm doing something wrong. That all the clear signs and revelations are RIGHT THERE, but that I'm not trying or open to accepting it. Yeah, whatever.

    All that to say, it's God's move. "The ball is in his court", so to speak. I'm not resistant, just extremely skeptical. I don't think that's a flaw on my part.


    It is frustrating talking this subject with others for the reasons you have stated. I agree. I usually try to avoid it. I can't say exactly how I arrived at this mentality that I've got, but I'm here and it's pretty firmly held. What's a boy to do? I'm as lost as the next guy.
    I dont believe that God exists to be invoked, that said your experience of faith is not uncommon, its also an age in which belief is much, much more difficult that disbelief (I dont consider that to be simply in the case of God or religion though).

    I certainly dont believe that means that you're shut off from God, deserving of punishment, less of a person etc. Its strange to be that anyone, least of all Christians, would think or say so.

    There are some signs and wonders perhaps, although I understand what you mean, you are desirous of something more than the mundanities of signs taken for wonders on a daily basis, perhaps you want a personal apparition or something? The thing is that it could all be taken for a delusion if it where even experienced, for the believer no proof is necessary, for the non-believer no proof will ever be enough.

    I hope you dont think I've disrespected you or your beliefs. Cheers.

  2. #42
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I hope you dont think I've disrespected you or your beliefs. Cheers.
    Oh not at all, and I don't mean to sound contentious in my posts.

    I certainly dont believe that means that you're shut off from God, deserving of punishment, less of a person etc. Its strange to be that anyone, least of all Christians, would think or say so.
    Well, the Bible states that in order to be saved, you must profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior and the only way to God. That seems like pretty clear and plainly put criteria to me. So what of us who haven't/don't/won't do that for the reasons that we simply can't take a leap of faith on the matter? If you consider the nature of God when he's described as being loving, merciful and gracious, you wouldn't think he'd condemn someone such as me... There seems to be a discrepancy here.

    There are some signs and wonders perhaps, although I understand what you mean, you are desirous of something more than the mundanities of signs taken for wonders on a daily basis, perhaps you want a personal apparition or something? The thing is that it could all be taken for a delusion if it where even experienced, for the believer no proof is necessary, for the non-believer no proof will ever be enough.
    You're absolutely right.

  3. #43
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I highly recommend not wanting signs and wonders in one's life.

    Scary stuff.. doesn't jibe well with the whole "sanity" thing. Do you REALLY want it confirmed to you that God exists? It's not pretty. It's always better to start with some faith first... to butter you up, basically.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beat View Post
    Well, the Bible states that in order to be saved, you must profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior and the only way to God. That seems like pretty clear and plainly put criteria to me. So what of us who haven't/don't/won't do that for the reasons that we simply can't take a leap of faith on the matter? If you consider the nature of God when he's described as being loving, merciful and gracious, you wouldn't think he'd condemn someone such as me... There seems to be a discrepancy here.
    Its not the only one, I could rhymn you off a list of things which in a literal interpretation of the bible would condemn me to hell or at least prevent my inclusion in any elect, for one I'm no of the Jewish ethno-national racial group, I eat animals which have been strangled/arent bled to death, I eat lots of foods that arent kosher, I'm not circumcised, I dont even know the hundreds of sabbath laws which the law givers had created by the time of the life and ministry of Jesus.

    That's even before you consider the higher criticism of the bible which probably did more damage to Christianity than Darwin's theories given over as most of the non-RCC Christian world where to post-reformation solo scriptura by then. If you want a more recent and interesting book on this theme there's The Year Of Living Biblically. Good read.

    There's only one passage in the bible which actually deals with judgement by God in it no mention is made of race or other theories of election, all that book of life/mark of cain nonsense, neither belief, nor leaps of faith, nor knowledge of the gosples or scripture or even tradition, nope, Jesus seperates people out on the basis of whether or not they did anyone a kindness when it was within their powers to do so stating that if they did right or wrong by their fellow man they did right or wrong by him.

    That is what is meant, if you ask me, by all the cryptic messages about "way, truth and life" or "no one comes to the father except through me". So, no, I dont see your stated beliefs as condemning you to hell, nor do I see belief, prayer, worship or church attendence or sacraments or mysticism or meditation or diet or observing sabbath laws or fidelity to traditions or authorities as guaranteeing anything either.

    Fundamentally the only people who will be condemned to hell are those who have forcefully shut themselves of in this life from God and are likely to continue doing so in any other. Its a choice with consequences and perhaps its own sort of consolations if you're that embittered by the alternative or that possessed by disbelief but its still a choice.

    In the same way that many of the teachings of Jesus, even if you have a purely naturalistic philosophy this is true, point up the way to a good life and the obsticles people place in their own way to that good life (Jesus hasnt ever been taken seriously as a philosopher because he was too soon deified by his followers but there have been other philosophers who where deified less successfully by their followers).

    I see the messages and good news of the gospels to be about that, its not about damnation, its basically a message of relax and recognise all good things are here for you and do not be menaced by fear of Gods wrath. This clearly is not the message of the evangelists, its not the message of many within my own church too, to be honest I think that much of this is about motivating their supporters to spread earthly religion. It bothers me, I've seen good people crack up under the stress of attempting to get me to abandon the faith of my fathers, honestly believing that it would mean I was condemned to hell.

    Its no apparition but perhaps this conversation could make you think, why would our paths cross just now when you're thinking like this? Although I think it could be coincidence.

  5. #45
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Can a religion really be observed without worship or rituals or even prayers, no active participation (whether alone or social), but simply through passive belief?
    Worship, ritual, and prayer are not the only forms of active participation in a religion. There is also study and teaching of doctrine and sacred writings, and as Halla mentioned, acts of service.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    I'm an ESTP though, and we are notorious for being ranked the lowest of all MBTI types with regard to "spiritual awareness" or whatever it is referred to as. I'm a man of action, yet I believe in God, and am more comfortable connecting with him by trying to do his work here on Earth than participate in ritualistic, organized religious services. But I'm not at all syaing that my way is better than anyone elses, it's just what works for me.

    Totally. We must all find a way of "doing" that makes sense to us personally. That is the ticket, that is the key. If you believe in God (or higher power of any kind), find a way to connect in a manner that is complimentary to your understanding, and you will no doubt experience a synergistic effect that multiplies the strength of your convictions far beyond what either form can do on their own.
    Yes. There is no "one size fits all" approach to religion. To me, worship and ritual are empty if they are not accompanied by meaningful action in the world. At the same time, monks often considered service, and even the most menial of jobs, a form of prayer in themselves. Some work is actually very meditative in quality. Ritual itself, at least good ritual, engages the senses on many levels, incorporating layers of symbolic meaning into actions and things that somehow pull the participant beyond the physical to gain mental/emotional/spiritual insight. Mind, body, and spirit working together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    You seem to say that worship is valuable because it's a way of sharing the religion. But how is, for example, praying by yourself an act of sharing the religion?
    Right, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. In that situation, could you justifiably call yourself "religious"? Or at that point, is it just your own private philosophy, which happens to have a theory constructed like a certain religion?
    If one's solitary prayer is similar to that of others who follow the religion, it is still a form of sharing, of commonality.

    As for religion vs. "private philosophy", this gets into the distinction between religion and spirituality. I see spirituality as more individual -- what each believer believes, and how they walk their spiritual path. If this is sufficiently similar to an established faith community (a religion) they might join that community and follow its rituals and customs. If it doesn't, they can still act upon their individual spirituality, outside a community or established tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    But basically, you can walk the walk even if you don't believe. You can pray even if you think no one is listening, and go to church and ask questions even if you think the answers don't make any sense. It's very hard for me to think that you won't have a breakthrough, because that is one very basic promise we're given, Luke 11:9-10
    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
    Yes. The key is to keep an open mind, and not to overdetermine the solution. When our answer finally comes, it may take a form we would never have expected, and would have missed entirely had we confined our search too narrowly.

  6. #46
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Ritual itself, at least good ritual, engages the senses on many levels, incorporating layers of symbolic meaning into actions and things that somehow pull the participant beyond the physical to gain mental/emotional/spiritual insight. Mind, body, and spirit working together.
    YESSSSSSSS... agree 100%
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

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