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comicalmayhem's avatar

Theists: Why do you claim God's existence...?

Asked by comicalmayhem (804 points ) September 25th, 2011

Instead of claiming just the possibility of His existence? I mean yes, life is complex and amazing, but that doesn’t mean it’s the work of a higher power. It could actually mean something that we just haven’t found out yet. Science doesn’t know everything, and religion is its filler. I choose not to use the filler and simply say “we don’t know”.

Do you go as far to claim His existence because:
1. fear of hell?
2. butterflies in your stomach when you feel you do something good (normal), but you felt the same feeling when you accepted God because you were taught by church that it’s good?
3. to keep your morals intact?
4. to celebrate your religion’s holidays?
5. hope because you feel like if you claim His existence, he’ll guide you through trouble even though “God helps those who help themselves”, meaning you help yourself figure things out by talking to God like a child talks to a teddy bear?
6. it just sounds cool like a good story that you wish was real?
7. the majority believes in God?
8. you want to feel like you know everything and understand the world?
9. Christian pride?
10. you don’t know a world without God, because that’s how you’ve been taught since you were born?

Please, I’m curious and do not mean to be offensive. This question could go for ex-Theists too.
For me, an agnostic, it used to be 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, and partially 10, but religion was never shoved down my throat. Just because of 7 (majority believes in God), 10 (don’t know a world without Him) was partially true.

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275 Answers

Mariah's avatar

“Why do you claim God’s existence instead of claiming just the possibility of His existence?”

I’m not a theist myself, but I think a big part of it is that many of them (Christians, anyway) believe in the importance of having faith in his existence. There is not currently any definitive proof that God exists, but a pivotal part of their religion is the belief that He indeed does.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Mariah But why be part of the religion? You don’t have to just because some book told you and other people around you are a part of it.

Mariah's avatar

That’s a different question entirely and one I can’t answer. I’m sure someone else will jump in and explain their point of view to you.

filmfann's avatar

So, my choices are:
1) I’m shallow.
2) I’m shallow.
3) I’m shallow.
4) I’m shallow.
5) I’m shallow.
6) I’m shallow.
7) I’m shallow.
8) I’m shallow.
9) I’m shallow.
10) I’m shallow.

Could it be that there are other answers? Perhaps something using a core belief that there is a higher power responsable for all you see?

comicalmayhem's avatar

@filmfann If that’s how you look at it. I was giving examples. Choices are not limited, unlike how theists think about creation of life and the universe where choices are limited only to current theories and religions.

Facade's avatar

A lot of it for me is #10 on your list, as well as my personal experiences.

lemming's avatar

I used to not believe in God, but then something really weird happened to me, which I have no intention of sharing here. I don’t believe in the typical idea of a ‘him’ up in heaven. I believe in an energy or spirit in the world. I think no.3 comes into it… it may be important to have something to keep childrens morals in check to make sure they grow up into reasonable good people – for millenia it has been God. Now who does it? Santa clause?

comicalmayhem's avatar

@lemming No, not Santa. Parents can create morals for their children.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am going to begin by saying that I know there is no way I am ever going to change the mind of the atheists who speak out in threads such as these. Therefore you may wish to argue with me but I am unwilling to do so. I am unwilling to attempt to convince you that I am not stupid, uneducated, or even ignorant because I believe in God.

Not a single one of the multiple reasons you provide explain why I believe in God. For
instance I am not Christian, I don’t celebrate Christmas (or Hannukah or Ramadan), my
moral code is pretty much the same as it was for the 20 some years I was agnostic, and I could not honestly care less how many people believe in God.

I believe in God because no matter what science can, does, and will explain, nothing plus nothing equals nothing.

Hibernate's avatar

Some question are interesting but some were asked just for your fun. Anyway a world without a God would be in chaos .. the dark ages could be considered good times comapred toa world without a God be it Allah/YHWH/etc.

@comicalmayhem it’s not a bad things when someone creates morals for you. At first you obey but later you can see for yourself if they are good or bad. Habits can always be changed.

comicalmayhem's avatar

I’m not criticizing to the point of conversion or heated debate. I just do not get the appeal behind it.
Keep in mind the 10 things are examples from personal experience and Christians who I know.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse So basically, God for you is a filler which is kind of #8.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I believe in God because that is what feels right for me. I don’t claim God exists but I don’t deny that I believe in Him when asked. I can accept that I may be wrong and I am incredibly interested in science and new discoveries. The two go hand in hand for me.

mazingerz88's avatar

Former theist. Believed God existed as taught but at 10 years of age started questioning why I was kneeling and singing praises to a gigantic cross with a bloody person on it.

Now, with regards to different Gods proclaimed by different religions, I just don’t know who is closest to the true God or Gods if he/she/they really exist in the first place.

The only reason why I think there is something or someone out there is the fact that no one really knows why matter bother to exist. As to who or what started all of these, does he or it even knows that we exist? Human beings could only assume or wonder. That is all. That is all.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Leanne1986 Where do you draw the line between belief and considering the possibility?
Because when asked, I wouldn’t say I believe in God, but I believe in the possibility. And what do you consider yourself? Agnostic Theist?

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem where exactly in my answer do I say God is my filler, that I “basically” believe because of your number 8, or that I feel like I know and understand everything in the world? Um, yeah nowhere.

Are the only answers you won’t argue with ones that don’t fit into your little tiny boxes?

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse
“I believe in God because no matter what science can, does, and will explain, nothing plus nothing equals nothing. As much as science can, does, and will continue to explain,
something had to have put all of this in motion and for me that something is God.”
I interpreted that as a filler. Is it not?

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem it is the reason I believe in God. If you feel better about yourself and your agnosticism by labeling it “filler” have at it. I’m out.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse I don’t mean filler as a bad thing. What else can I call it really?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I suppose I am a theist although I certainly don’t dedicate my life to religion/church. I just happen to believe in God (or some kind of higher power). I don’t draw any line because I don’t feel a line needs to be drawn. I believe in God but this doesn’t mean that I don’t accept and appreciate what science has taught us. Why must I draw a line between the two? It is very possible to believe in God and keep an open mind.

lemming's avatar

@comicalmayhem yeah, parents aren’t omnipresent watching the kids every move and thought. It could be distructive to bring up a child athiest in some cases, and that’s not just my opinion.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@lemming When I have kids, I won’t bring them up as theists or atheists, but freethinkers. They can decide for themselves what to believe in and if to believe.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@comicalmayhem That’s exactly how my parents raised me, to think for myself. That’s what I did.

Meego's avatar

I believe in God. If it weren’t for the bible which to me tells true events. I have also had experiences. But most notably considering this thread this scripture holds true..

(Matthew 24:8). Then, He said, “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (verses 9–13).

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comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego Many books written by man hold true statements. This demonstrates that the Bible may have been written by philosophers, not an actual God.
And experiences, I believe, are just coincidences that religious people use to reassure that they’re not crazy.
I’m not attacking you, I’m just saying why I still do not understand the appeal for theism.

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem did you ask this question to learn the opinions of others or hoping for the opportunity to change the opinions of others?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@SuperMouse nothing plus nothing equals nothing. Would you mind walking me through that? I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean (or rather, what it has to do with faith/religion/spirituality in this instance).

SuperMouse's avatar

@Aethelflaed It is really quite simple. If you have nothing and you add nothing to it you still have nothing. The reality, to me at least, is that something had to set things in motion and to my mind that something is God. I believe what science has taught me and I believe in God. As I have said before however, I do not need science to prove God’s existence in order to believe in God. That is what it is to have faith.

GracieT's avatar

PLEASE understand that I’m not accusing anyone! There have been surveys done that show that very few (I don’t know exactly what numbers) people that haven’t been taught about God turn to Him older. I was brought up Christian, ran away from all of that “nonsense” as a teenager, and came back as an adult.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@SuperMouse Oh, so the nothing part is in reference to how the universe/cosmos came to be?

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse A little of both to be honest. My goals were to see why theists have such bold claims as well as to see if they can recognize the flaws in their bold claims (if there is more to the 10 examples I have given) without converting or changing their opinion.
You can’t expect someone to convert like that. And I didn’t expect anyone to actually admit to any of my 10 examples because, quite frankly, they just make you look silly in the way I wrote them, whether or not they’re the whole truth.

@GracieT What changed your mind as an adult?

GracieT's avatar

@comicalmayhem, my injury changed my mind. You can PM me for details if you want them. It changed my mind about many things, and I’m a very different person for it.

digitalimpression's avatar

I believe in God due to answered prayers which had lottery odds of being coincidental. I believe because of how I’ve seen people with the most vile, disgusting, evil lives turn into believers who would lift their hands into the air and praise God. I believe because science cannot tell me (and indeed will never be capable of telling me) what entity, element, or organism started the chain reaction which led us here. I believe because I have plenty of reasons to doubt mankind is as great as it thinks it is. I believe there is something bigger than us. I believe because saying I believe makes people angry for some reason… the logical reason could be because the bible said it would be like this.

I believe (and some are no doubt tired of me giving reasons already) because in the pursuit of God I have found happiness which goes beyond description. I believe because there was a time when I did not believe.

I believe I could keep going with this.. but hopefully my point has been made.. at least for my perspective.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“If god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.” – Voltaire

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comicalmayhem's avatar

@CaptainHarley Do you claim his existence with that?
I think what 18th century Voltaire was saying that we have no clue how the world works so God must be the answer or we’ll have to create an answer as powerful as God. Which, I know this may hard to grasp, but maybe the real answer hasn’t come up yet. We didn’t know about atoms until the 1600’s or something. Something more complex; creation of the universe and life itself. There could undiscovered forces and reactions and all sorts of things we don’t know about.
In the 19th century, science thought they’ve discovered everything and there was nothing left to be discovered. They were clearly wrong as we’ve advanced so much more. Now, we’re in the same position. People think there’s not much more to be discovered and not much that can. But I assure you, we don’t have all the answers even though religion might make us think we do.

lemming's avatar

I think what Voltaire ment is that God is necessary if he exists or not. Without God, or belief in God, there would be no civilisation – there would be chaos. I can see why someone would not believe in God, it’s not like we are too stupid or diluded to see your argument.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@lemming I don’t think God is necessary for morals right now, maybe just to get them started. If science disproved God tomorrow, the only chaos that would be going on is a war against science.

lemming's avatar

@comicalmayhem Ya I know, now we have laws and people payed to enforce them. But we needed belief in God to build everything.

starsofeight's avatar

. . . and the dark bulb said to the lighted bulb, “But, there is no proof that electricity exists.”

There are higher truths than mere proofs.

The worldly mind limits itself to facts and figures, and measurements of the physical universe.

The illuminated mind includes God because the spirit of man and the spirit of God resonate with one another.

zensky's avatar

PICK ME!! PICK ME!!

I’m gonna go with # 9. Christian pride (#1 religion in the world, baby!)?

Yeah, baby!

Though I’m Jewish. But, yeah – baby!

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem Ok I need to break down your comment to me…
“Many books written by man hold true statements. This demonstrates that the Bible may have been written by philosophers, not an actual God.” I’ve heard this many times before, it’s not true. In addition to the Word of God, the Bible also happens to be a book of history, documenting by eyewitnesses the actual events of that time in history. Clarifying Christianity will give you great evidence if you care to read it!

“And experiences, I believe, are just coincidences that religious people use to reassure that they’re not crazy.” I’m not crazy! I do not need reassurance I know what happened to me but for now I will keep it with me since I for sure know you think I’m crazy if I tell you my experience!

“I’m not attacking you,” You sure are! If you were not attacking you would of read through the answers w/out the need to add your own criticism.

“I found some questions I’d like to ask you:”

If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, why did the disciples go from frightened, timid followers of Jesus before his death, to bold evangelists willing to die preaching his resurrection if they just really made the whole thing up and he was still dead?

Why were the disciples willing to be tortured and killed for a known lie?

Why would they make up the resurrection story if Jesus turned out to be a fraud?

What was their motive?

How do the disciples, 12 ordinary people pull off such a hoax?

Why did the disciples make themselves look bad in the Gospels?

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego So you’re saying that my history text book was written by God? I’ve lost interest – it’s turning into a pointless debate with no outcome that’ll change either of our opinions.

Also, I’ve heard all those questions before, and they serve no point to atheists or agnostics. It’s all biased opinion.
And I’ll briefly answer them:
1. Made the whole thing up? Remember, people like you actually believe this. And especially back then, people were the most gullible. They’ll believe the first explanation they’re told and maybe convert with fear as a factor (hell).
2. They didn’t know it’s a lie, just like you don’t know it’s a lie. (I’m not claiming it is)
3. They don’t know Jesus is a fraud. Nothing in religion anyone knows for certain.
4. Motive? Morals and an explanation for life and the universe.
5 & 6. No idea what disciples are or Gospels, and really I don’t care. But hoaxes can be pulled off.

lillycoyote's avatar

@comicalmayhem From my experience not all theists “claim” that god exists absolutely. They will acknowledge that the unknowable cannot be known absolutely. God’s existence for them is a matter of belief and faith, not absolute certainty. But their belief and faith is strong enough that they won’t generally say that it is merely possible for God to exist.

basstrom188's avatar

Maybe it has something to do with the “boiling frog syndrome”

Afos22's avatar

Since I feel that my Atheistic views are related to this discussion, I will say a few things.
By saying what I say, I am not making any personal attacks on you. I will strictly be addressing specific arguments, and introducing facts, logic, and alternative views so you can better understand the atheistic argument. I will attempt to enlighten you.

Firstly, @Meego You say quite confidently that the bible tells true events. Do you recognize that the bible also reveals false information? If you do not recognize this then you may not believe this specific example of just 1 piece of false information. I will not sit here typing out all of the falsities, but I digress. The bible claims the the earth is only a few thousand years old. This is false and I will tell you why: The earth is several billion years old. This has been proven with strong evidence in multiple ways such as fossil evidence, evolution, telescopic measurements, carbon dating, and even human evidence from hundreds of thousands of years ago. If a book tells at least one piece of false information, to logical humans, it loses its credibility.

You also say this: “If it weren’t for the bible which to me tells true events…”
Does this mean that the bible tells everyone true events or only some people? In addition, something that is accepted as true must be proven.

@SuperMouse The term filler that @comicalmayhem has been using seems to me to imply that your beliefs are a “filler” for the gray area that you think science does not cover.
On the other hand, you claim that you believe in god and in science. Science and god are enemies. One can not accept both sets of evidence. One comes from trust in a book, and the other in experiment, discoveries, and testing. Believing in God means that you can not believe in all of science. And, conversely, believing in science means that you accept the fact that science explains the things that god has been used to explain.

You say that “reality, to me at least, is that… ” Are you suggesting that what is reality for you is not the same reality as someone else? Does this mean what is true for you is not true for someone else? or am I mistaken? Something can either be true or false, it can not be both.

You also make a “nothing plus nothing equals nothing” argument, which to you is a reason to believe in god. But, science has explained how nothing = something using the big bang model.

Also, to you @SuperMouse, I would like to share a few interesting facts that realate to your ‘nothing+nothing=nothing’ arguement, that you should really think long and hard about.

A) If one considers that God was the creator of space, because ‘everything had to come from somewhere’, they should also understand that space can not exist without time and time without space. Given this fact, your God could not have existed to create space-time because he/she would not have had the time to exist before creating it

B) Every atom is made of 99.9999999999999% (13 nines after the decimal point) of empty space. Everything that you can see, and touch, and taste. Is 99.9999999999999% nothing

comicalmayhem's avatar

@lillycoyote That would be an agnostic theist which is what I say would be a logical alternative to making a bold claim, being a theist.

@Afos22 SuperMouse means s/he believes religion and science co-op and religion pretty much is a filler for science. At least from how I understand it.
Also, we might not have the actual theory at all of how the universe was created. Religious people think the only options are science or religion. So if they don’t like the big bang or evolution, they turn to God. Hard to believe we don’t actually have all the answers. In the 19th century people thought science was over- no more advancing. But we’ve advanced so much since then. Who says we can’t advance now?

dabbler's avatar

None of 1–10 even comes close because they are all boxed in “thinking”/reasoning.
As I know God, and as attempts to describe God usually note, God is quite beyond ‘understanding’. If the mind can’t deal with it, remind yourself that logic has its limits.

11. Direct experience of a greater consciousness, a few rare times of profound focused connection, but generally a nice background hum of Mother/Father/God/Goddess goodness.

GracieT's avatar

One thing that I do not understand about EITHER side is the need to attack people with beliefs opposite their own. The atheists deride theists whom respond with an attack. It works the other way also. It seems to me that that is exactly the wrong way to persuade people of the inaccuracy of their beliefs and the accuracy of their own. Why would someone be quick to respond positively if they were first attacked? If theists believe, as we do, that we had found the answer to eternal life for what reason would attacking people and quickly gathering into small groups and “circling the wagons” persuade other people
whom do not believe likewise? It seems to me that it would have precisely the opposite
effect. I don’t believe that convincing theists of the inaccuracy of their beliefs is the point
or the effect of derision either.

edit: @Afos22, thank you for so eloquently putting my answer into words. You said what I was thinking, and you asked questions that I was thinking but could not put into words. (I was writing at the same time that you were answering.)

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lemming's avatar

@Afos22:
@SuperMouse‘s view certainly isn’t unheard of…people view God as the original ‘cause’. (every effect has a cause, except for the original cause that set everything into motion.)
@Meego said, I’m sure, that the bible contains true events ’for me’ as not to offend anyone. The bible is a book of religion, it is spiritual – not everything is literal, or even true if that is what is for the best, and I’m sure much of it has been lost down through the generations.

And I’d just like to add, that this was a question asking us to share our reasons for believing in God, and having you @Afos22 attacking us and quite obviously trying to change our beliefs is hideous. We aren’t attacking you. Tolerence of other peoples beliefs – to be Gay, non-gender conforming, transgender whatever really, it would be nice if you stretched it a bit to include traditional ways of thinking too…

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem I will give you the real answers I found to the questions I also found..

1)Remember, before Jesus was crucified, the disciples were, for the most part, cowards. Peter denied even knowing Jesus 3 times before the crucifixion. What event changed them from cowards to courageous? Answer: They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.

2)You don’t need a degree in human psychology to know that people do not die for a cause they know to be false. People do certainly die for false beliefs all the time, but they think they are dying for the truth. If the disciples faked the resurrection, they would know Christianity is a lie. History records they were tortured and killed for their faith, and not one of them said, under torture “okay, okay, we made the whole thing up”? Why is that? Answer: They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.

3) Lies or deceptions are typically done for some selfish motive. Preaching the resurrection of Jesus would not bring them wealth, fame, status or popularity. It would only cause them to be hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, exiled, beheaded, tortured and crucified, as history records, so again, what could possibly be their motive? Just to save face? That’s certainly not logical. No one is going to go through what the disciples went through just because they’re too embarrassed to say “I guess we were wrong”, so what was their motive? Answer: It was the TRUTH. They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.

4) Remember, this “hoax” would trigger thousands of skeptics per day to convert to following their scam as well as redirect the entire world to even eventually change their calendars and establish their hoax character, Jesus as the best known religious figure in all of humanity. How could they pull something like this off without ever getting exposed, offering a death bed confession or even admitting it was a hoax under torture? Answer: It must not be a hoax. They must have actually seen the risen Jesus.

5)Think about it, if you were going to make up a story, wouldn’t you present yourself in somewhat of a positive light? The disciples painted themselves as sniveling cowards lacking in faith. Why? Answer: They must have been telling the truth.

@Afos22 As for the earth being a few thousand years old, I don’t think you quite understand but I can try to clear that up (I’m not a priest or anything)..But the bible never said a word about the age of earth. It is some scholars who predicted based on own judgments and interpretations.

To me whatever you choose to believe is based on your own lifestyle and preference. I’m not trying to attack ppl who don’t believe in God I am just giving what I believe to be the best logical answers to the questions I’m being asked. I am not a bible thumper and I prefer not to become one.

@lemming Thanks for clearing that up about my comment! :)

AdamF's avatar

“You don’t need a degree in human psychology to know that people do not die for a cause they know to be false.”

Then I guess Islam must be true.

Meego's avatar

@AdamF I don’t know anything about Islam, I’m not going to pretend I do. If that discredits it for you then so be it. I cannot tactfully please the likes of everyone.

AdamF's avatar

It’s nothing personal, it’s just from my understanding many religions have miraculous stories, and witnesses, and people dying for their beliefs.

Also, the points your raise seem to ignore the possibility that the people who wrote the gospels (from my limited understanding 30–100ish years after Jesus died?) couldn’t make stuff up or expand on the second hand accounts they were reciting, or simply be unreliable sources.

All we have is copies and recopies of anecdotal stories. I have a hard time understanding how we can take anything from them as “having to be true”.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Meego

If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, why did the disciples go from frightened, timid followers of Jesus before his death, to bold evangelists willing to die preaching his resurrection if they just really made the whole thing up and he was still dead?
Why were the disciples willing to be tortured and killed for a known lie?

This was exactly my thinking before. While attending mass years ago, a Catholic priest asked everyone if they really believed Jesus has risen. Because if not then their faith has no foundation. After the mass, I told him exactly why I think Jesus rose similar to your line of reasoning. Who would agree to be roasted alive if they really did NOT see Jesus risen?

My thinking now is yes, there were people who would agree to be roasted alive even if they did NOT see Jesus risen. We see that kind of martyrdom today. It’s not beyond human capability. And yes, it was written they were weaklings before that got bold in spirit after speaking in tongues and visited by the Holy Spirit. Thing is, we keep forgetting the Bible has been written by great writers and great writers could create drama if they want to. That’s a possibility in this case.

Most likely what happened was Jesus, the genius philosopher, knew he had to die in such a way that it was viewed as a sacrifice, otherwise if he dies a natural death, his teachings ( which were great ) would not be immortalized. I think they so loved his words the disciples agreed to stage everything and knew dying is in the cards. We know people would do that, die with their preachers for all sorts of reason.

They knew they did not have to provide solid proof that he had risen. They just have to release news and through the appeal of Jesus’ teachings, knew it will catch on. Who could prove otherwise down through the centuries? If Jesus knew anything, it was the human heart and he knew he had the perfect words to capture it. Once that is done, there is nothing a person would not believe, see?

I think what they did was heroic, dying so that their teachings would live on. I think a Bible with only Jesus’ words in it would suffice.

blueiiznh's avatar

1. Nope
2. Nope
3. Nope
4. Nope
5. Nope
6. Nope
7. Nope
8. Nope
9. Nope
10. Nope

It is based on belief, not on scientific evidence. Spirituality and beliefs are not always religious in nature either.
IMHO, You really can’t even compare and debate the two as opposing points. I also disagree that religion is a filler. That would imply that the more we learn scientifically, the less we depend on religion?
It is also very personal and you don’t have to provide answers or details on why you believe.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, the “why would they die for a lie” argument is bubkiss because it applies equally to Muhammad’s followers. It also applies to Heaven’s Gate and Jonestown followers.

History is filled with gullible cultists willing to sacrifice themselves—or even kill others—for nonsensical and unproven beliefs.

Qingu's avatar

It’s also not at all clear that any of the disciples “died for a lie” to begin with. The gospels were not written by the disciples, they were written decades after Jesus’ death by unnamed authors who did not sign or date their manuscripts.

It’s possible disciples died for their unswerving beliefs in the ressurection; it’s also possible that these stories about their deaths are legends.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, many conversion stories involve a personal transformation; “I was a terrible and cowardly person before I become a Muslim,” for example.

I don’t really follow your argument that this sort of story implies honesty on the part of the cultist; it actually just seems like good marketing. “Become a better person if you join my cult: just like I did!”

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I believe in God because I have had several experiences (which I will not go into here) that have no possible explanation, other than some “higher power” was watching over me.

Qingu's avatar

Why is it that people who believe in God for “personal experience” reasons never seem willing or able to critically discuss these experiences?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Qingu Personally? Because I have several experiences, they are all very long stories, and I’m so disgusted with trying to “explain” things here that it’s not worth my time and effort. No one will care anyway, they will be picked apart and analyzed, and I will still be insulted because I choose to believe they resulted due to a higher power, instead of some wonky, paranormal scientific reason. And there’s no point in arguing that’s exactly how it would turn out. I’ve been here long enough to know that now.

Qingu's avatar

“Paranormal scientific” reason is an oxymoron

I guess I’m more interested in the general trend than your specific experiences (because I agree this is exactly how it would turn out).

Why, out of all the millions of people who claim to have had some sort of personal experience intense enough to make them become a theist, is there such a reluctance or inability to critically discuss these stories? For my part, if I had a personal experience that led me to believe in a “higher power,” I would do whatever I could to document it and provide evidence to the world.

AdamF's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate If there was a non-supernatural explanation for your experiences, would you want to know about it?

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu I was aware it was written a long time after the death of the disciples. As to how the stories were handed down through those years, no one knows I think. What is more likely to have happened? It’s whatever one wants to believe. That’s all there is really. I found that doubt and faith could never occupy the same space. Doubt was more compelling in my case.

@Meego I maybe wrong about this but I recall reading that the Vatican already admitted that one of it’s long ago councils declared Mary Magdalene a prostitute when they knew it was not true. It seems they were willing to elevate Mary, his mother to a grand status but when it’s a woman who could possibly have a romantic relationship with him, the story was revised. It’s also notable that Biblical writers only wrote things about Jesus that would support the spiritual essence of the movement.

Curious enough is the fact that no writer back then even bothered to follow Lazarus around after he was raised from the dead. Imagine, someone who rose from the dead and no one chronicled that world changing event?

There was this Catholic priest who wrote a book analyzing the Bible as a historical document. In the end his findings was boiled down to one word, Faith. You need faith in order for the Bible to be believed as far as credibility is concerned, it’s flawed. Now whoever came up with the concept of faith is quite the genius. Faith will always be the ultimate proof of any God.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Qingu Not if you believe there is scientific evidence in regards to the “paranormal”, such as telepathy or mediumistic abilities. Some people do.

@AdamF There’s no possible explanation for what I experienced, aside from something supernatural. I’ve picked the various experiences apart myself.

And I’m done with religion for the rest of my Fluther life, as it always turns into “You’re wrong”, “No, YOU’RE wrong!” garbage, even if it’s not in so many words. Y’all have fun.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, I disagree that our understanding of the Bible is necessarily arbitrary. While there’s always going to be some bias and holes involved, we at least ought to try to understand historical sources like the Bible consistently.

For example: if you believe the Bible must be true based on X argument, then how does X argument apply to the Quran? Or the hadith reports that were, like the gospels, supposedly handed down through eyewitness accounts?

How do these arguments apply to the Book of Mormon? Or to any other religious text throughout history? If there are caveats with these other texts that cause you to reject their claims/historicity, why don’t these caveats apply to the Bible?

(It’s worth noting that theists aren’t the only ones who interpret the Bible inconsistently with broader history. Some atheists claim that a historical Jesus never existed based on a supposed lack of evidence… but their standards of evidence for Jesus are much stricter than their standards for other comparable historical figures.)

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu Personal experiences could range from deeply heartfelt triumphant near-death episodes in life to something utterly simple. It’s always life altering and for the better too, I think. Mine was as simple as getting approved on an application that was critical to my future and my family’s. What happened was so improbable I thought, there was no explanation other than there was an angel who whispered in my ear the right anwers. So these unexplainable events trigger faith, see. Question is, if I was not raised Catholic, would I still end up getting the same feeling?

I have a friend who thinks God exists and his proof is his experience of his computer shutting down twice for no apparent reason after he clicks on a porn link. It only started when he said to God right then and there that he will give it up. And the computer started after that. He knew what I would say being agnostic but he related it anyway. For my part, I did not even chuckle or anything. That was his experience.

Meego's avatar

Is it to my understanding that some of you believe that following Jesus was/is a cult? As far as I’m concerned today’s world is much different, more populated with many different theories going around and ppl who have used religion for profit, evil exists but is much more prevalent in the form you speak of in today’s society, back then life was much more simple minded, that is just my own belief.

Now I have to ask what’s the point of creating a religious following of ppl whom you expect to follow your rules and promise an afterlife to if you won’t even be around to receive pleasure from what you’ve created?

Are you merely suggesting we are all so gullible to believe that we are promised a promotion that we will never get because you believe it to be true?

Also if it is not true, has it harmed me in any way???

I also want to state that the reason I will not add my experiences here is because the thread has already proved to scrutinise so why should we pour our guts out to get skeptic views to what we know as true?

mazingerz88's avatar

@Meego You could always pour your heart out. Personally, I would not ridicule it. I may not believe in your interpretation of what happened but I would not discount its significance of having put you in a better place. To me, it no longer becomes a question of whether God exists or not but a fellow human being out of what maybe the darkest pit of his or her life.
Now if you had to kill a cat…that’s different.

@Qingu Any sacred writing analyzed as historical document…I realized that’s a non-starter in any discussion about FAITH in any God. You could start but there will be no end.

blueiiznh's avatar

I agree with what @Meego stated about not feeling comfortable in putting your heart out when it is likely going to be stepped on. If a person feels their beliefs can be discussed openly in a supportive way, they will. Otherwise, it is up to them.
I also agree it is completely acceptable to feel like there is a “higher power” involved as @WillWorkForChocolate stated.

As many have stated: it’s all a personal experience and subjective really to that person and where they are in their life and what they believe. The rest are all personal opinions.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, doesn’t that beg the question, why would an angel whisper in your ear, but not help the presumably many other deserving people who could have used the lucky break on test questions?

If a soccer player scores an improbable goal after praying to Jesus, is it really responsible to conclude that Jesus made it happen? Why would Jesus be interested in mediating football games or student test scores?

And more importantly, don’t you think this kind of belief is simply counterfactual? We know how statistics work; in your friend’s case we know that porn sites tend to infect computers. Don’t you think it’s somewhat harmful to resort to magical thinking when a real explanation is available, and worth understanding?

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, I don’t use the word “cult” in a pejorative sense. Pretty much all religions started as cults. THe only difference between a cult and a religion, as far as I’m concerned, is size.

As for “why would you start a cult,” — why do you think Muhammad started a cult? Why do you think Marshall Applewhite and Jim Jones started their suicide cults? What about Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese subway gas bombers? What about virtually any non-Christian religious movement in history with members who risked or took their own lives?

This is what I meant about “consistency” — if you think this is a reason for believing in Jesus’ claims (actually his followers’ claims), then why don’t you believe in the claims made by Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, etc?

To answer your question “why do people create cults,” I don’t think there’s any one reason, but in his own lifetime a cult leader does receive payoffs. People like to be in powerful positions, people like to be adored and followed and worshipped. Look at how people today try to get as many followers on Twitter and Facebook as they can. Charismatic people (and cults are almost always started by charismatic folks) especially seem to like the attention and power that a following brings. Is that sufficient to explain what was going through the minds of Jesus, Muhammad, Jim Jones, etc? No—and I’m sure very different things were going through these people’s very different minds. But I don’t really see why it’s so hard to believe that a cult leader would want to start a cult.

Qingu's avatar

As to “why should I tell about my experience when people are just going to bash it” ...

Again: if I had one of these experiences, and it was important enough to make me believe in a god—I would have no hesitation about telling people about it. I would meticulously document all of its details. If there were gaps in my account, I would try to be aware of them, to scrutinize them myself, and to offer them up for criticism and alternate theories. Because it’s not about me or my feelings, it’s about the truth, and sharing truth with the world. If I was to gain a piece of that truth that the world lacked access to, I would do my best to share it as honestly and forthrightly as possible.

And I think it tells a lot about people who claim to have “personal experiences” that this never seems to be their attitude.

Meego's avatar

@mazingerz88 While I sure could just “always pour” my “heart out” I agree with @blueiiznh this is not a support group. As much as I know you need to know it is nothing like your friend with the computer. I goes beyond just a single coincidence into many experiences which I’d rather not discuss due to sensitivity.

@Qingu again you are merely suggesting various selfish deeds. Following Jesus does not include selfish needs, but actually selfless deeds. A true follower of Jesus will not come to your door and open a bible with an activated grenade implanted to prove their point that Jesus rules.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, okay, but you asked what motivation a cult leader like Jesus would have for starting a cult. Since there are many examples of cult leaders, I suggested a possible and common motivation: fame, or something like fame.

I also reject the idea that Christians aren’t motivated by selfishness. Isn’t the primary goal of Christianity to achieve access to heaven and avoid God’s wrathful judgment? That’s pure self-interest. Though sharing it with others is not. But many people share things with others without being motivated by self interest; humans like sharing what we believe.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu Well as long as it’s clear you’re preaching to the choir here…thing is being an agnostic now, I could still imagine people like me ending up going back in believing in “magical” explanations. My take as to the probable reason? Perceived Survival.

As to my friend with the porn/computer experience, I did not even say anything to him like, hey, you’re smart enough to know these things happen. I knew that already so I also knew it was just his conscious decision to interpret it in that way. Why? I guess he needed it.

I also had a friend once who claimed there truly is an afterlife because there were 8 people interviewed and all had similar out of body experiences. So if it wasn’t true, why would they have seen the same things? He said that was clear documentation.

I told him in my view, it was not a documentation but a witness account. Documentation imo would be if one or all of them were able to take photos or videos of their experiences and then showed it to others.

Meego's avatar

@Qingu well actually my wanting to go to heaven doesn’t involve selfishness because it is shared with others like yourself, it is not my problem or Gods problem you choose to ignore that you could also go to heaven..so really it would only be selfish if we were to not include you, but you’ve stepped ahead of us and disallowed yourself the remarkable follow through.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Qingu's avatar

@Meego, my point was not to cast Christians as especially selfish. Everyone, including myself, operates with self-interest in mind. And most people, including myself, also share what we believe and like—which isn’t a self-interested activity necessarily (unless you want to say it’s self-interested because we like doing it, and thus we get pleasure out of it).

But the original topic was, “Why would a cult leader like Jesus want to start a cult if he didn’t actually have magic powers, like he said?” Well, I offered one of many reasons, and you still haven’t explained why you don’t believe in all those other cult leaders throughout history who made the same sort of claims that Jesus made, with the same evidence.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Qingu I don’t think the OP stated anything about cults. Also @Meego did not tie anyone to cults. If anything she is questioning the use of the word cult that seems to be going on.

Meego's avatar

Wow is right..lol. @Qingu I’m not sure what your point is to all this, at first I merely answered the question. At which point my answer apparently raised more questions I’ve tried to the best of my ability to answer the questions but now the entire topic is being derailed!! No matter what answer I give it will still raise questions.

My answer to your question is: I don’t know I wasn’t there, I believe in God but not for any of the top 10 reasons stated in the original question.

Qingu's avatar

The early Christians were a cult in the sense that I am using the word. They were a small, socially-marginalized group based around a charismatic leader (or leaders if you include Peter and Paul).

Since several people claim to believe in God on the basis of the truthfulness of these early Christians, I think it’s worth comparing them and their claims to those of other cults.

mazingerz88's avatar

This particular “cult” is the only one it seems that have amassed such multitude of passionate believers through centuries, intelligent and gullible folks alike and has transformed the world in no other significant way other cult to world religion organization ever did. Now why is that? In spite of it’s flaws? Is it either Jesus was the greatest mortal genius/philosopher/visionary in the history of man or was he truly God?

Meego's avatar

lol. Ok. “Several” people and I are in a cult. Talk about gullible! And I also call this one the logical fallacy of false continuum.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, wait, you actually think Christianity is the only cult that’s done that?

Islam is another example that immediately comes to mind. In fact there are more practicing Muslims than Christians today.

Mormonism and Scientology are other popular examples. Buddhism likely originated as a cult as well, a few hundred years before Christianity.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, ah, good call. I meant “several people in this Fluther thread. Obviously there’s a lot more than “several” people out there who believe that! :)

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu No of course not. But the way Jesus supposedly structured his teachings around words he used and either radicalized or revolutioned the Judaic teachings was quite exceptional. I understand it has legs as much as Islam does but it’s just that the latter came about right after and as sort of a foil, a logical response to Christianity, lest Arabs allow Jesus’ philosophy to dominate the whole of what they perceive the world to be at that time.
How Islam came about was more political in nature in my view.

I also understand, there are supposedly ancient writings much older than Jesus, that quite resembles the 10 commandments and you mentioned the flood stories that could have been adapted by Biblical writers. Those supposedly ancient writings that were recently discovered but debunked since they did not end up in the Bible and reveals information that could turn the whole Christian world into turmoil. True or not, these newly discovered records will never gain attention in today’s world as much as those scrolls which ended up in the Bible a long time ago in the past.

I understand modern people, once great moments in history have established something, they tend to take that as the Truth simply because it’s old, it’s ancient, it speaks to our soul, touches our heart, it gives us comfort so it must be true!

But not enough people are thinking that even before Jesus’ time, Japan and China has flourishing civilizations already. Sure they did not have any sort of religious renaissance but
centuries of wars instead. They did have philosophies. Not as romantic and sentimental and stirring as how Jesus presented his. This difference? This catapulted Christianity to where it is now. The way he created his “brand”.

I find it strange that people today do not think about that when God supposedly sent his Son to save the world from itself, He picked someone from the middle east. Why there? Doesn’t this look more like, Christianity is merely a brilliant Jewish guy’s attempt to change his world for the better. And he knew then he had to go all the way. He had to declare himself son of God. It was just a matter of time after that.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, Jesus wasn’t the first religious leader to restructure Judaism’s teachings; that had been going on for hundreds of years. He also wasn’t the only Jewish messiah claimant by a long shot.

Also, Islam didn’t come “right after” Christianity, it came more than 600 years after Christianity. I also certainly wouldn’t call it a response to Christianity. There were only a few Christians and Jews who lived in Arabia. It was much more a blending of Jewish/Christian theology with the dominant Arabian religion of the time. The Kaaba and djinn are from Arabian religion.

I also strongly disagree with your portrayal of Japanese and Chinese society and religion. I’m not as familiar with Shintoism and Confuscianism as others, but I’m sure scholars would dispute that these are somehow less “poetic” than Christianity. I have studied Hinduism, and I think Hinduism surpasses Christianity in many ways, both in the beauty of its writing and in its moral content. Certainly all of these cultures were familiar with the Golden Rule. You seem to be arguing that Christianity is popular because it is more “stirring and romantic” than these other religious traditions, but I simply don’t think that’s true at all.

I think Christianity achieved widespread popularity for largely the same reasons that Islam did—it was an effective cult and dominant military forces (the Roman Empire, the Islamic Empire) spread it far and wide.

Meego's avatar

Ok I’ve got to add this, I probably should just leave it alone…So if you believe in God He will speak to you through the bible. How? Ask the bible any question open it up and read the first thing you see, usually resulting in your answer…my husband (RIP) didn’t believe me until I proved him wrong.
IE: I’ll ask my bible to give me some evidence for the non believers to help change their minds…..
Answer: Romans 5:4 verse 10
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And still I suppose you would not believe me unless you were here in the room with me.
And no it’s not a psychic reading or a fortune teller, it’s the power of Him through His word..believe it or not most likely you won’t believe it, but I’m not answering questions, because this is majorly off topic.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, I’ve read the whole Bible.

The Bible also says slavery should be legal (Leviticus 25:45, 1 Tim 6:1), that nonvirgin brides should be stoned to death on their father’s doorstep (Deuteronomy 22), that you should kill unbelievers, even if they’re in your own family (Deuteronomy 13:6) and that genocide is an acceptable and even mandatory practice (Deuteronomy 20:16, the entire book of Joshua).

So forgive me if I don’t place much stock in what this book says.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu Obviously I haven’t read any Shinto teachings. I’ll do that. But I remember reading Confucian writings and recalls not being inspired at all, hence the lack of stirring qualities comment. Jesus’ words however, in my experience have transcendent power. So what was that about? Lol. But still not enough for me to stay believing.

True, expansion through domination made it possible for Christianity to spread. Filipinos would probably not have become the biggest Christian nation in Southeast Asia if Spain did not export it. And Indonesia the largest Islamic nation in that region as well.

choreplay's avatar

@Qingu 1 Tim 6:1 is talking about living in a circumstance that was hard but existed at that time. But yet you interpret it as you do. I dont agree

Qingu's avatar

@choreplay, it’s also an explicit affirmation of the status quo. Paul doesn’t tell slaveowners to free their slaves or pay them as workers.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, which translation of “Jesus’ words” had that stirring effect on you? Was it the King James?

Because the original Greek doesn’t actually sound like Ye Olde Lord of the Rings.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Meego My friend and I discussed this thing as recently as yesterday. He told me there is no way the Bible can’t be the explanation of everything that happened and will happen in this world. He said everything that the Bible said when it comes to the Palestinian-Israel debacle has been coming true so far.

I told him the ancients who lived and wrote down the Bible have been through enough life experiences that there is no new idea under the sun that they haven’t studied and pondered. That is why people keep opening the Bible to explain, debunk or confirm everything they want to know and find an answer or the answer.

Sure it could foretell prophecies but is it really hard to predict that Jews would be coming back to Israel and something like the Armageddon might happen for real? Really, his hard is that for someone to predict after knowing centuries of strife over there?

mazingerz88's avatar

@Qingu Well of course it’s King James!

Qingu's avatar

How on earth does the Israeli occupation of Palestinian match up with anything the Bible says?

Also some of the Bible’s prophecies are just nonsensical. For example, Ezekial 26 predicts this of the city of Tyre:

I will make you a bare rock;
you shall be a place for spreading nets.
You shall never again be rebuilt,

Now, Alexander the Great did indeed lay siege to the city of Tyre. Which Christians often claim as “proof” that the Bible prophecied Alex’s siege (despite the fact that we don’t actually know when Ezekial was written).

But “never to be rebuilt”? Um, search for “Tyre, Lebanon” on Google Maps.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, see, this is part of the reason why I hate the KJV.

It’s not really that it’s inaccurate, as some atheists claim. It’s more that it gives a false impression of the text. If you read the King James Bible you probably think that everyone is speaking in this majestic Shakespearean dialect with “thee” and “thou.” But that’s just not how the original texts are written. It’s an artifact of the 1600s society for which the KJV was translated. in particular, I’m told that the gospel of Mark is really prosaic and not very well-written, especially compared to the writings of Plato.

(It’s also problematic for the first part of Genesis, when God speaks in first-person plural. Because of the KJV, lots of people get the impression that God is speaking in the “royal we,” like kings did back in the day. He’s not! There was no “royal we” in the original Hebrew—God is actually talking to other heavenly beings in these passages.)

Meego's avatar

Deuteronomy talks about the forbidden practice of the occult and obeying God. Moses didn’t want ppl to forget the importance of obeying their God, and he didn’t want them to forget that disobedience caused a whole generation of Israelites. God judging sin is not genocide..the book Moses called Deuteronomy has been appropriately called the book of remembrance and Moses reminds the new generation that their parents all died in the wilderness without receiving God’s promises, because they refused to obey.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, are you saying it’s acceptable to kill every man, woman and child of a rival culture so that their religious practices do not influence your own culture?

That’s the reason given by God for his commandment to commit genocide in Deuteronomy 20.

Meego's avatar

How can I answer when you’ve loaded the question that way? No it is not acceptable for you or I to judge. Again it is not genocide when God is judging sin….you or I or anyone else alive are not God, so no it is not acceptable.

Meego's avatar

Oh btw 36:26 really means that God does not want remodelled hearts, not a reform in character but a new spirit that loves to do His will. He wants transformation, not mere accommodation.
It’s nothing to do with rebuilding actual land.

Qingu's avatar

I guess that’s the difference between us. I have no problem saying that a book which commands genocide is morally repugnant and should be thrown into the trash bin of history. But you refuse to judge because the book says that the commandment comes from God.

This, more than anything, is proof of how deeply religion strangles morality.

(What book are you referring to with 36:26?)

Meego's avatar

I’m referring to your previous “Ezekial 26 predicts this of the city of Tyre:
I will make you a bare rock;
you shall be a place for spreading nets.
You shall never again be rebuilt,”
And no that’s not the difference between us. My morales are completely intact. I know the difference. The bible does not command genocide! Again the book of Dueteronomy is about remembering…I answered this above. And I refuse to judge because that is not my place.

Edit: I just wanted to add that if you were the ruler of the universe you could reprimand the way you so desired.

Qingu's avatar

So you are not interpreting Ezekial as an actual prophesy? Well, okay.

And the Bible absolutely does command genocide.

Deuteronomy 13:12
If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in, that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’, whom you have not known, then you shall inquire and make a thorough investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you, you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it—even putting its livestock to the sword. All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt-offering to the Lord your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt.

Deuteronomy 20:16
But as for the towns of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord your God.

In fact, the Bible is the only religious text that I know of that commands genocide. And notice that the first passage is not “historical”—it’s a standing order.

Meego's avatar

Why did God order genocide?

Explains it much better than I ever could.

Hibernate's avatar

@Meego nice ^^

@Qingu let’s not take it like that. A lot of bad things happened and we don’t always understand how God works. [I’ll spare you the mysterious ways]. Not to mention not everything God said was respected to the letter. He was “mad” [if I call it that] and sometimes retaliated against His own people but still.

Qingu's avatar

The website author says the same thing I did. He suggests that genocide is morally acceptable as a means to an end—namely to prevent a rival culture’s religion from influencing and harming yours.

I find this argument despicable. It’s also the same logic that motivated genocidal campaigns against Native Americans by Christian Europeans, or against the Jews by the Nazis.

Hibernate's avatar

@Qingu for the “Christian Europeans” you need to get your things straighten out a bit. First Europeans that were sent over to the American colonies were people that were taken out of prisons because they were full. Second others who wanted to “migrate” were sent too. Don’t blame all Europeans for what some people did and never forget we did not kill them all, that’s what they did people who stayed and lived and who became Americans. But let’s not throw blame here or there since a lot of things aren’t that known for this subject.

Qingu's avatar

@Hibernate, um, obviously not every single Christian European tried to commit genocide against the Native Americans. But some did. And yes, so did the Americans (Manifest Destiny was partly genocidal).

mazingerz88's avatar

Wow, can’t help to think of those humans who got sliced by swords because the one who created the stars felt a need to get rid of them that way. And that is understandable? What kind of God is this?

Meego's avatar

Thanks @Hibernate :))

@Qingu ok so supreme high being creates rules which you either choose to follow or not. If you choose not to then He can reprimand. The relationship should really be thought of as a parental figure. Rules, boundaries and limits. The genocide you speak of does not nessacarily mean God was ok with it.

Qingu's avatar

@mazingerz88, this is probably the biggest reason I have trouble respecting the Bible as a “great work of literature.” Especially when compared to Hindu religious texts. In the Hindu texts, there were great and violent wars… but killing women and children would have been considered an offense against the gods. And the “bad guys” in these wars were even treated respectfully. The stories were complex and realized that both sides in a conflict can have good and bad.

Even in the Ramayana, where the opposing army is literally made up of demons, the heroes treat their adversaries with respect and honor. Compare that to how the Hebrews treat the Canaanites.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego what kind of parent commands his children to commit genocide?

Plenty of religions have parent-like gods with rules you’re supposed to follow; but this is the only religion that actually has the god commanding genocide.

Earlier you expressed disbelief that your god could have ordered genocide. Now you’re struggling to make it seem like it’s okay that he ordered genocide. I truly hope you stick with your original moral convictions. Because I think you’re clearly a much better person than the bronze-age savages who wrote the Bible.

Hibernate's avatar

@Qingu sometimes when I look back at history I wonder if [after the fall of the Roman Empire and the start of the dark ages] the dark ages really ended. Some might say they did but when I look at history I still see “crusades” for a lot of nonsense supported by a lot of morons [I can’t call them otherwise since they don’t even know what they stand for].

Qingu's avatar

Well, genocide is still very much with us. But I do think things have gotten a lot better since World War 2 ended. Of course they could always get a lot worse.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego “They must have actually seen the risen Jesus”
Or they could believe just like you without seeing Jesus rise. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to witness him rising. Dead-ringer I suppose? Either way, I’m highly skeptical and I believe jumping to a conclusion is ignorant.
You seem to be arguing “Why would they create a religion if it wasn’t true?” no one knows it’s true. Religion was created before science to explain the world. Religion lasts to this day as science hasn’t advanced enough to explain the world completely.

@WillWorkForChocolate What I don’t get is the “no other possible explantion” part. Science advances and provides new explantions with time. To me, it seems ignorant to jump to conclusions.

@blueizznh I know it’s a belief. But are you not willing to think about why you believe or admit to the reasons? If you don’t have a reason to believe, I’d argue the belief is blind and out of pure hope.
I mean it’d be nice to live after death (oxymoron, btw) and it sounds cool having a foreshadowing character for your life stories (God).

@ATHEISTS ARGUING – God is undefinable. He may be not all good if at all existent. So I don’t know why you’d argue unethical things in disasters in the world. It seems like a scapegoat argument to me.
Plus this: “If I said, there’s a leprecaughn (sorry can’t spell that) on my shoulder, would you believe it’s there?” The difference is people believe in God for a reason (explanations). The leprecaughn would serve no purpose to believing so. In conclusion: People will believe what they wanna believe.

Qingu's avatar

@comicalmayhem, the word “God” may be undefinable, but some people on here are talking about a specific god, as defined as the character in the Bible.

comicalmayhem's avatar

Also, stop having a massive cry over my question. Consider the other side’s opinions.
I also wrote this question for theists to be honest about the 10 reasons, not dismiss them because they sound silly. I respect those who admit to the reasons more than those who dismiss it and just say “belief, not science!”

@Qingu We’re addressing all theists, just not christians.

Qingu's avatar

@comicalmayhem most theists believe in a specific deity as outlined by a holy text.

I also would hesitate to call someone a “theist” if their god was functionally indistinguishaable from my universe, or an unknown physical law that governs my universe.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Qingu That would be an ignostic theist. One who believes in God, but believes that He is undefinable and there are many different interpretations to consider.

Meego's avatar

@Qingu I actually take offense to that! If you read my profile you will see I have a brain injury which makes me struggle through a lot of these questions. I’m trying my hardest to make sense and to be honest it makes complete sense to me..I don’t have all the answers, but I feel like you are picking me out of a crowd for my beliefs. At which this has turned more into a graffiti page on opinions than the actual answer to the original question.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego I have yet to see you give a reason other than “Uhh why would religion exist if it was wrong?” so you haven’t made me see why a theist is a theist.

Are you 100% sure it’s not part of any of those 10 reasons in any way? Or do you not have a legitimate reason?

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem oh really!!

I have answered the question a couple of times!

“I believe in God. If it weren’t for the bible which to me tells true events. I have also had experiences”
“My answer to your question is: I believe in God but not for any of the top 10 reasons stated in the original question.”

What kind of answer do you want? Because really the entire thread is giving me a headache. Fluther is not about confrontation, but my original answer for whatever reason became the focal point for discussion.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego Because it’s not very logical to say “true events” when the only thing backing that up is the Bible (and arguably, it’s followers). And every single experience I’ve heard does not suggest a higher power had anything to do with it, rather they like drama and stories as we all do, and they felt like adding a foreshadowing character, God.

The reason your answer became a focal point for discussion, is you’re making bold claims (God definitely exists) based off bias evidence; The Bible and it’s followers. That and the lack of explanation for experiences in your life.
I have those feelings too like “God must’ve done- oh wait, it definitely could have been something else.” I have times when I consider God’s existence, but then I step back and realize that it’s really illogical to base God’s existence from a silly experience or something complex without explanation.

choreplay's avatar

A book written by an former atheist, call God The Evidence focuses on a handful of major points. First the Anthropic Principle, second intuitive experiences that circumvent both time and explanation, and also life after death experiences.

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem oh ok well how about asking anyone else who hasnt why they haven’t answered the question properly?

I’m not basing my experiences on anything silly.

If you are questioning God and looking for answers here I don’t think you find them.

@choreplay gives an awesome answer of more towards the answer your looking for.

I don’t believe in God for any of the reasons you stated. I believe because of my experience with death if you really need to know. But I am not ready to talk about it.

choreplay's avatar

@Afos22 this post.

So you don’t suppose the age of the earth thing is a mis interpretation thing and not a, how did you say it, falsity?

You state with such authority regarding what the bible says. If your wrong here is it possible that all you beliefs about the unreliability of the bible are misinterpretations?

Are you sitting down? The bible doesn’t say the earth is 6000, or anywhere close, years old.

choreplay's avatar

The Gap Theory is not a new idea, invented simply to accommodate the theories of modern science, but an ancient interpretation of scripture based on the *Hebrew text of Genesis 1:2 (which, according to a footnote in the New International Version, can be translated “and the earth became formless and empty.”)
.
.
From the Wikipedia Encyclopedia:
The most common “gap theory” assumes that a chronological gap occurs between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, during which vast spans of geologic time are presumed to have elapsed. It is thus postulated that the Earth was initially created in the distant past, and that all geologic events pointing to an old Earth (and perhaps even evolution) transpired before some event that reduced the Earth to a state of formlessness or chaos as described in Genesis 1:2.

Qingu's avatar

@Meego, honestly, I didn’t know that about your brain injury. I’m also not trying to single you out or be mean to you. I’m only responding to you the way I am because you’re the most religious person here. I’m also very argumentative in general, especially on Fluther. So I really hope you don’t take it personally.

But I meant what I said. I don’t think you’re a bad person; in fact I’m assuming you’re a good person (most Christians I know are extremely nice and wonderful people). I just think the book you believe in is horrible, and it doesn’t make sense for a good person to hold up the book as sacred.

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Meego's avatar

@Qingu Well thanks for the clarification, as I have to admit I was taking it personal :/
I love Fluther. I try my hardest to answer questions many times I get lost and can’t find words no matter how hard I try which leads me to take hours to answer some questions, sometimes I go on rants, and sometimes I go completely off topic. I am used to being singled out, getting looks and so on for that which I cannot help. The quirks of me.

@lemming :/ I was actually feeling like that…

@choreplay TY ;0)
and some ppl think there is no God! I’m living proof but actually I guess we all are.

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comicalmayhem's avatar

@lemming Because he believes them to be false and ignorant based on given reasoning. And honestly, so do I.

@Meego “I’m living proof” what??? Someone living isn’t proof that God exists. It’s only proof that they exist. Anything could’ve created life on Earth. Have you looked into other religions or theories? Have you considered that maybe we haven’t come up with the answer to begin with? Faith isn’t a necessary quality. I believe faith just closes our minds because we can’t live our whole lives without believing an answer. But once you accept there isn’t an answer, you actually feel more at ease. That’s just my opinion.

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blueiiznh's avatar

i applaude @Meego for standing and defending her belief here. It feels like many attacking her as opposed to having an open constructive conversation on the topic.
Nice job @Meego on all your points.

Meego's avatar

TY @blueiiznh!

@comicalmayhem I am living proof if you are like me and believe in God then God gave us life and we are His living proof. That’s pretty simple. Nothing to go overboard on.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego Alright, I see what you believe, but I still don’t see the rationality. Let’s just leave your reasoning at that.

choreplay's avatar

@comicalmayhem how old are you? Are you still in High School?

filmfann's avatar

Regarding the question of genocide in the Old Testament:
(and I am by no means an expert here)

I seperate the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is really setting the groundwork for Jesus’ arrival. The New Testament clearly says several times that Jesus changed the Law.
Take, for example, the eating of shrimp.
Leviticus clearly outlaws it. This was probably to stop them from getting very sick during that time. I don’t believe it applies anymore, though I don’t know that there is anything in the Bible saying “Shrimp is cool, now, but in moderation”. Anyway, I do eat shrimp.
The genocide of the enemies of Israel was ordered, though often not carried out to completion.
I think it was necessary at the time, but it is something God wouldn’t want now.
The stoning of women who are not virgins when they marry is clearly changed by Jesus.
The two Testaments really need to be examined in different context.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@choreplay 15. But if you were to hold age against me, that’d be weak. Would it not? To stereotype that all high schoolers are stupid and their decisions and opinions don’t matter as they’re ‘uneducated’? That their questions don’t matter?
I don’t think a high school education has anything to do with it as they do not preach religion or anything more than let you know the top religions in high school unless you go to a religious school. I made my opinions on my own through critical thinking and the internet’s information as well as debate.
I used to be ‘protestant’ but I found myself as a skeptic every time religion came up. I was always agnostic at heart.

blueiiznh's avatar

@comicalmayhem noboys has stated any such thing. It is clear however that you are intent on projecting throughts that are not there before anyone says anything….

me thinks though dost protest too much

choreplay's avatar

It adds some context to the tone of your original question, but I am overall impressed with your intelligence.

More than age I believe the less someone needs God, independent of whether he exist or not, the less apt they are to believe. Also having your own children is a strong context for understand love, more than any other time up to that point.

Therefore age kind of plays a part but not how your suggesting.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@blueiiznh “how old are you? Are you still in High School?”
That implies choreplay would be trying to use age as an argument.

@choreplay Alright, I’m glad you didn’t make age an argument. I don’t think understanding love would persuade me to believe in God. Love is a strong feeling and emotions get in the way of intellect. Therefore, it would be weak and oblivious even to have your emotions persuade your opinions on how the world works. Not your opinions in general like on morals and love and appreciation, but how the world works.

blueiiznh's avatar

@comicalmayhem As you stated, age does not matter in this thread, respect does…

choreplay's avatar

Love is the core, it is everything. If you had to live without it, you would realize how cold life is.

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem you asked the question..you should not diss ppl for their views, this is supposed to be an open minded site, not close minded.

choreplay's avatar

I promise you will be floored at how much you love, when you hold your first child. You have no idea. Anyone with a heart experiences this. It is the beginning of an understanding of God.

blueiiznh's avatar

@choreplay GA. And a true miracle…

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Afos22's avatar

I wish all these moderated answers were not moderated. I would like to see what they had to say.

augustlan's avatar

@Afos22 Pretty much, they all involved someone calling a huge swath of people “ignorant”, and then the responses to that.

cookieman's avatar

after Jane being called an “ignorant slut” all those years ago, how can anyone pretend that word is not an insult?

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Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem So in this case since you have clearly picked me out of the crowd your saying I am irrational and that my claims come from an ignorant spot? You did read my comment as to why I sometimes don’t make sense right? It’s also in my profile.

Writing what I state and thinking what I state <- thats an example right there I know it’s wrong but I don’t know how to fix it. It’s the brain injury. And the things I say aren’t always going to make sense to everyone but it does to me, but that’s ok if you so choose to reprimand me and be my moderator when clearly there is a moderator doing their job for your question in regards to helpfulness of answering your question. If I wasn’t clear let me tell you again for a third time..

I believe in God, for none of the reasons you stated but because of my own personal experience with death which I’m not ready to talk about..how does this not make sense and why is it ignorant??? And no it’s not because I believe there is a guy in the sky, it’s because I feel him all around me which gives me not you or anyone else circumstantial evidence that he is indeed not a hoax.

Afos22's avatar

@Meego What does god feel like?

choreplay's avatar

@Afos22 Unconditional forgiving love, like the most beautiful wonderful moments life has to offer times ten over. No guilt, no shame, ultimate acceptance, infinite hope, peace, void of anxiety, respite from fear. If you have ever loved anyone truly you have experienced to a small degree what God is like. To boot he is always available and it is always without condition or cost.
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Let me respond to what I expect might be a response to this. I have heard unbelievers say, well I don’t give credence to a being that wants to be worshiped.
.
If you are floating in the ocean about to perish and a ship comes along and rescues you. The captain reaching his hand to you and pulling you out, would you complain about him being captain and expecting appreciation? While growing up did you take issue with your parents wanting respect and appreciation?

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem who decides whether the reasons people believe are rational or irrational?

dabbler's avatar

@comicalmayhem You asked why people claim God exists, that is not the same as prove it to you which you seem to be expecting. And noted by several people your list of ten possibilities doesn’t contain the answer for us.

Your question did not require a ‘rational’ answer, in particular one that would prove it to you. If that’s what you wanted you mis-wrote your question and are wasting everyone’s time. Folks are giving you their real answers. And you are substantially mistaken if you think unrational is the same as ignorant.

If you asked me to explain fire but forbid any reference to fuel and heat and oxygen because you don’t know about that kind of thing, and accept only answers from list of ‘possibilities’ that don’t have anything to do with fuel and heat and oxygen, then I wouldn’t have an answer for you.

People have the direct experience, of what they call God, that transcends any rational process. They have been the witness of that (amen brothers and sisters!) That’s a fact.

Qingu's avatar

@choreplay, your analogy doesn’t work that well considering the captain not only created the ocean but threw you in it.

I also don’t agree that Yahweh’s love is “beautiful.” This is the god who says he will “take delight in your ruin and destruction” if you don’t obey his every law (Deuteronomy 28:63). When Christians speak of how this character is loving, I am reminded of the love that battered wives believe their abusive husbands feel towards them.

choreplay's avatar

So are you putting, everything we do, everything we fail at and every failure of love’s standard under the cause of God? Explain this to me without losing tract of free will please.

Meego's avatar

Wow guys those answers totally transcend on what I was saying! It makes so much more sense when someone else explains what I’m feeling in my discombobulated head..God is love and He shows me love everyday, for that I’m grateful..and another reason why I know he exists :)

Qingu's avatar

@choreplay, I don’t understand your question.

choreplay's avatar

It’s ok. I don’t think either one of us is going to make a positive impact on the other with this circular dance.
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You also speak of abuse and yet here we all are verbally kicking the crap out of each other and trying to fix the other person and get them straight. I don’t know about you but I need to take a long hard look at myself.
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By the way there is a difference between the old and new testaments. Do you know the difference between the old and new testament?

Qingu's avatar

@choreplay, there are many differences between them. But if you’re trying to argue that the Old Testament bears no importance whatsoever for Christians, remember that Paul said the law is “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12) and Jesus said that people who follow all of the laws of the Old Testament and teach others to do the same will be called “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17).

I understand that Christians no longer have to follow the Law since Jesus’ sacrifice gets them a get-out-of-jail-free card. But that’s very different from saying we shouldn’t follow the Law. In fact Jesus explicitly says we should try to follow the Law.

choreplay's avatar

I got nothing to add to that. Ahh ya. The get out of jail free card is more like I am saving a child but other than that I think you understand.
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@Qingu your pulling me into a bible lesson here and tempting me to whip out bible verses, not cool, I try not to do that.
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Regarding the law, that’s right the law is not abolished but fulfilled or rather changes it’s purpose. It is no longer used to condemn but to use understand we are human and can’t keep it. Read the second sentence in Romans 7:13. Do you know what the greatest commandment/law is from the New Testament. Even Jesus broke the law when it stood in the way of love.
.
Hey while you were over there in Mathew 5 did you happen to read verses 11–12? Am I racking up some points hanging around fluther or what.

Qingu's avatar

I guess I’m not sure what your point is. I know Christians aren’t expected to perfectly keep the law. But are you saying it would be morally wrong to follow God’s law?

comicalmayhem's avatar

I, the asker, have an opinion. That opinion is that the reasons I’ve heard are irrational.
@SuperMouse I’m not ignorant enough to say my opinions are fact.

comicalmayhem's avatar

End it here, guys. I don’t see a point because it’s pretty clear to me no one is converting or de-converting any time soon. Unless you have a new answer to add or you really want to argue, don’t keep posting.

blueiiznh's avatar

@comicalmayhem I thought the point of the OP was curiosity, not to convert or de-convert.
Thanks for “splainin” that.

dabbler's avatar

@comicalmayhem “the reasons I’ve heard are irrational” So what,and of course they are.
You didn’t ask for the logical train of thought that led people to claim God exists, you asked us why.

About a logical train of reasoning to prove God’s existence, probably a lot of us would say…. “logical train of thought? there isn’t one. Who said there was one? Why would you expect one?”

And plenty of smarty pants’s have taken on the game including St Thomas Aquinas .
“Understanding” that will inherently blow your mind, like any proper koan. But, big deal, the mind is limited, we know that. How able is your mind to experience things that are not rational? Right. It can’t, except to witness that something’s going on that’s beyond it. The best the mind can do at that point is Not Panic. Sit back and witness.

And actually not-rational would be the correct term. “Irrational” is something that fails to be rational. The answers you find irrational were never attempts to be rational.
It’s clearly a quintessential intellectual conceit to explain God, since any definition of God that’s more serious than “dog spelled backwards” will include the aspect of being beyond human comprehension.

Besides that there are plenty of facts available for reason.
People have powerful experiences related to what they use the word “God” to attempt to mean. Those experiences are real and that’s a fact.
Ken Wilbur describes (as well as any I’ve read) his experiences resonating with the divine on a regular basis in One Taste
It’s not a rational proof of God’s existence, it describes the man’s direct experiences of God presence in his life.

It’s even completely reasonable to define “God” as that which one experiences a bit of in that transcendent time.
That’s plenty rational. That’s the way the rational mind uses words, whether or not it’s inherently difficult to communicate, that’s the best the words can do.
If you don’t know what a jack fruit tastes like there’s no way someone’s going to be able to use words to tell you what a jack fruit tastes like so you’d _know what they mean._

“I don’t see a point because it’s pretty clear to me no one is converting or de-converting”
So, your point was “converting or de-converting” ? Sorry you missed the conversation.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@dabbler not-rational may be more of a euphemism for irrational, but they have the same meaning.
And I didn’t see a point to the argument, because it seemed as though people were trying to persuade one-another through argument. The purpose of the question was for my own curiosity. And yes, as the OP I decide what’s rational and irrational to me with the given arguments. Don’t try to turn it around on me.

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Meego's avatar

@blueiiznh IS NOT WEAK!! @comicalmayhem Why do you think asking a question makes you in control of the outcome? Fluther does not work that way. What gives you the right to pass judgment because the argument was started by the doubters, I merely answered the question, rational or not you didn’t ask for a “non rational” view.
Not cool!

Ephesians 4:29–32
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Luke
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem resorting to ad hominem attacks such as calling someone weak, when you are out of arguments is not going to move this conversation forward. Lighten up a little bit here. It is really cool for you that you think many of the arguments you hear are irrational, now here’s a question. What is your purpose in saying so? Are you trying to promote civil and intelligent discourse? If you ar,e calling the folks you are trying to discuss this with irrational and weak is probably not the best way to go about it.

P.S. If I am to assume that you are following your directive in this post it would be rational to conclude that you really want to argue.

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comicalmayhem's avatar

DISCLAIMER:I AM NOT TRYING TO CHANGE THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS, I’M ONLY TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THEM, AND SIMPLY REPLYING REASONS WHY I DON’T UNDERSTAND. THE INTENTION OF THE QUESTION WAS TO UNDERSTAND OPINIONS OF OTHERS SO I WOULDN’T KEEP THINKING THEISTS ARE ‘IGNORANT’.
YOUR POSITION IS UNIQUE, YOU’RE THE ONE PERSUADING MY OPINIONS, NOT OF GOD’S EXISTENCE, BUT OF THEISTS’ LOGIC.

Meego's avatar

@comicalmayhem

~That’s the point! If you think theist’s are ignorant, there is no changing your view. You are looking for solid non irrational proof as to why we believe what we believe. Skepticism cannot be swayed unless the facts are proven to your liking and I’m sorry I don’t have Polaroid pictures of God.

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem if you believe theists are ignorant why in the world would you value their opinions? Also, there is really no need to shout.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse I only believe theists are ignorant because I haven’t seen their rational reasoning. I didn’t know they only had irrational reasons.
And I’m not looking to become a theist, I’m just looking to clear my ignorance of what a theist really is and why they are a theist instead of agnostic or someone that only considers the possibility.

I have come to the conclusion that theists are theists because people will believe what they want to believe to the point where they actually believe it. Meaning they may or may not be skeptics at first, but then their beliefs become solid.
Though you can add onto or correct that if you have any other reasoning.
Just remember The Bible isn’t reasoning. Agnostic Atheists don’t believe the Bible is rational just as some Theists don’t believe logic is rational.

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem first, what is irrational and/or ignorant about the belief that 0+0=0? Second thanks for the reminder about the lack of reasoning in the Bible, unfortunately I do not look to the Bible for the tenets of my faith.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse Or any other book, but I’m not saying all theists look to the Bible. I’m saying some, such as Meego, do.
0+0=0 isn’t an ignorant statement. But if you apply that to claiming that God is definitely real, I think it’s ignorant that you are just accepting that God is the definite true explanation for our existence when science isn’t even at it’s full advance yet.
Agnostic Atheists, such as myself, don’t argue that 0+0=/=0, but they argue that we really can’t know God was the reason to create the universe. We don’t say the universe spontaneously appeared, we just don’t claim to know how it appeared and accept that we don’t know yet.

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem the problem here is that you are confusing my belief in God for my trying to convince the world at large that God is definitely real. There is no way I would be so bold and arrogant as to try to convince anyone that God is definitely real. I am not arguing that God is “the definite true explanation for our existence”. Let me lay it out for you as I did upthread:

I believe that science and the idea of God do not have to be in opposition of one another. I believe science. I believe the Big Bang Theory, I believe dinosaurs once ruled the earth. I believe the Theory of Evolution. I believe science. I believe in using science and the scientific method to look for answers for life’s greatest questions. I also believe that something had to have set all of that science in motion. That 0+0=0. For me that something is God. Why do I believe this even though science doesn’t prove it? It is not because I am ignorant. It is because I have faith. Whether or not you or anyone else believes in God is of no consequence to me. I won’t call you ignorant because you are an Agnostic Atheist. I won’t try to fit you into a box of my creation that in no way encompasses what you believe. When asked I will share my beliefs and opinions with you in the hope that you can open your mind to ideas that you don’t necessarily agree with and maybe see that there are more ways than just yours. Maybe you’ll see that even though certain beliefs may look irrational to you, they make perfect sense to the person who holds them and just because they look different than yours they are not necessarily ignorant. The point of all of it isn’t to change your mind or convert you (or anyone else), it is just to expose you – per your request – to beliefs that are different from yours.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@SuperMouse I’m not confusing that. I was stating that you think God is definitely real, not that you’re trying to persuade others.
Faith is pretty much believing what you wanna believe.
Disregarding attacks and…
The reason I asked this question was to open my mind to theists’ reasoning. And I think “faith” is the answer, even though I don’t accept faith myself. (To explain better, I accept that you have faith, but I still don’t have faith).

SuperMouse's avatar

@comicalmayhem I’m done with you and this conversation. I have lost all faith in this thread. The Mouse has left the building.

Meego's avatar

And wherever they go @Meego.

Afos22's avatar

@comicalmayhem The answer is there is no logic and reason with faith. If you try to bring up the point of logic and reason, theists get upset.

dabbler's avatar

“The answer is there is no logic and reason with faith” correct.
“If you try to bring up the point of logic and reason, theists get upset.” incorrect, they’ll just say those have nothing to do with it.

Mocking peoples’ answers might have something to do with any upset seen above.
And the term “ignorant” is the height of projection, since it’s used just because you can’t fit the answers into your little box of thinking. That’s declaring your willful ignorance.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I believe because it’s my choice. Nuff said. But just because I chose to believe, doesn’t mean that is anyone else’s problem or business the WAY I choose to believe.

Afos22's avatar

@dabbler Whom is the second portion of your response directed towards?

dabbler's avatar

@Afos22, if you imagine that theists got upset because logic and reason came up, you are included because you are incorrect. @comicalmayhem definitely included for mockingly ignoring the answers that were given, merely because they don’t fit in the little box of “reason” he would recognize.

People gave all kinds of valid answers to the original question. If a reason-based answer was required then the OP should have been careful about wording the question. The question is in General and was answered as posted.

But it turns out it’s a “gotcha” question since @comicalmayhem clearly has no interest in the answers and only wished to show off a shallow contempt.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@dabbler Thank you for your personal attack based on emotions. Don’t jump to my little “box” as I am not limiting your reasons to the box, but if I see fit in your reasons, I will simply point it out. And pointing it out seems to make people upset.
I haven’t ignored your reasoning. I’ve responded and didn’t find it reasonable. Not everyone can agree with everyone.
So we can agree to disagree, right? Or should we end this with personal attacks because you don’t seem to like how I think of theists and it frustrates you that theist reasoning (suprisingly) doesn’t sound logical to that of an agnostic atheist (me – not all agnostic atheists).

dabbler's avatar

@comicalmayhem
“frustrates you that theist reasoning… doesn’t sound logical” You’re funny, that wouldn’t frustrate me because I never intended my answers to sound logical to you or anyone else.
Read the answers people gave you, that’s stated clearly about my and others’ answers.

Is there a reason you continue to expect people’s answers about “God” to sound logical?

What is the strong appeal of “sound logical” religion to you? You have such a strong faith in it.

Meego's avatar

Geez @comicalmayhem this is just my opinion but you seem to have a chip on your shoulder for the religion thing. Your looking for the impossible answer, considering your question everyone has given you their own reasonable opinion based on their own belief system.

You did not ask us to try to soothe you by trying to give you an answer that you think is reasonable. In fact my belief or their belief system has nothing to do with making you feel better so get of your high horse.

lillycoyote's avatar

”...there is no logic and reason with faith” ??? Have have you looked up the definition of the word faith in the dictionary lately? And what makes anyone of you think that people of faith have some kind of, or any obligation whatsoever to explain and defend themselves to you?

Blackberry's avatar

@Afos22 That was hilarious lol.

Meego's avatar

66 arguments. Bound to have your answer in at least 1 of those! lol.

I choose:

#34

ARGUMENT FROM FREE WILL (II)
(1) If God gave us evidence of His existence, we wouldn’t have free will to believe in Him.
(2) That would be bad, and we would lose the need for faith.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

Blackberry's avatar

@Meego I hope you weren’t seriously choosing one. They are comical because they show the ridiculousness at which theists go to prove gods existence.

Blackberry's avatar

ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
(1) If there is no God then we’re all going to not exist after we die.
(2) I’m afraid of that.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

I laughed out loud.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Meego That doesn’t line up to God definitely exists. It’s really a choice as to if you want to draw the conclusion, not if it’s logical.

@Blackberry haha

Hibernate's avatar

IN the end remains only this. We don’t really need to prove His existence because we feel it [theists]
IN the end remains only this. You spend too much time trying to prove He doesn’t exist and end up miserably [atheists]

dabbler's avatar

@comicalmayhem You got that logic religion going again.
Does nothing exist for you if you don’t have iron-clad facts on hand to completely explain it?

That is certainly not a scientific approach, Science starts with phenomena we perceive and makes its best attempt to explain using those iron-clad facts on hand.

Science does not deny an experience or phenomenon just because there is not a thorough explanation for it. The experience or phenomenon is a fact in itself.
It is a fact that many people experience something they chose to call “God” as @Hibernate and others aptly point out.
To ignore that is, well, intentional ignorant.

choreplay's avatar

@Hibernate, great answer. That is the long and short of it, but would you consider changing one word, change “feel it” to “experience it”. The experience of miracles, the experience of a congruity in life that results in ultimate good for us (those that open our heart to God) independent of good or bad, the experience of hearing God through our hearts, which too often to deny results in direction or revelation that circumvents time and human understanding and finally the experience of peace, ultimate love and forgiveness.

Hibernate's avatar

@choreplay you are right. I’m sure the others can read that statement with this “adjustment”.

dabbler's avatar

@comicalmayhem ref “That doesn’t line up to God definitely exists” I’m sure you can’t point to anything that “definitely exists”, It will be easy to poke some ‘logical’ holes into whatever ‘proof’ you may present that whatever exists. Your ‘proof’ will ultimately rest on a premise/assumption/experience that is no more valid than some theist’s experience of God.

Do you demand as much ‘logical’ rigor about the existence of anything else? Your ‘belief’ that anything exists is no less a leap of faith than those you are dismissing/ignoring.

Mariah's avatar

In @comicalmayhem‘s defense, he said he is an agnostic athiest, which usually implies (correct me if your personal views vary from this) that he currently rejects the idea of a god on the grounds that he considers there to be no strong evidence of one, but that he is open to changing his views if strong evidence arises.

The athiest will never be proven correct because there is no way to disprove the existence of anything. The closest we could ever come is if we managed to develop theories, and find large amounts of supporting evidence for those theories, that explain how everything works and how it all came to be, thus eliminating the need for a god to explain things we don’t understand. This still wouldn’t prove, however, that a god hadn’t set it all in motion in the first place, or that a god wasn’t observing it all. Demanding that athiest prove his claims, therefore, is a futile task.

On the other hand, it looks like @comicalmayhem will only accept theists’ beliefs if they have proof, which is futile too, because there is currently no definitive proof of the existence of a god. If there were, all logical people would believe, no? So theists have other reasons why they believe, and we can choose to accept these reasons, as many have in this thread, or we can choose not to, as @comicalmayhem has. Either choice is valid. Especially when articulated with respect, imo.

The burden of proof does rest on the believers, which is, I think, the reason why @comicalmayhem feels unfulfilled by the answers he’s received. And we can choose to believe that absence of proof is proof of absence, or we can choose to believe that God has reasons for not wanting to explicitly reveal himself, and either choice is valid.

And finally, @Hibernate, I just want to point out that it’s not accurate to say that athiests are all miserable.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate Did you really just say that? Is it that simple for you?

dabbler's avatar

@Meego Good essay. I also like a bit from the first commenter : there is absolutely no reason to jump from “there must be an infinite cause” to “it’s the Christian God who answers prayers, judges souls and inspires holy books.” – although I’d say that’s the good, right path for some people.

Presuming logic is capable of explaining everything that is true, either puts a false limit on the extent of truth, or claims for logic a domain of relevance that it would not claim for itself.

Hibernate's avatar

@Blackberry is it that hard? You can’t make me doubt God like I don’t try to prove He exista to you. I feel and experience Him. You don’t. Does anyone lose here? Maybe you because you can’t feel this joy. There’s nothing else.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@Hibernate Thanks for that attack on Atheism. We don’t try to disprove God. I know it cannot be done. I’m trying to justify God. (not prove, justify).
I don’t believe in God, but I don’t deny the possibility of a higher power. (agnostic atheism)
I think it’s ignorant to say He definitely exists out of a butterfly feeling in your stomach when you finally accept Him, just because you were taught that it was good. (Or some different feeling of that nature).

Hibernate's avatar

I did not say I feel butterflies or similar things. I did not attack atheism just because I am a Christian. You can take my reply as something personal, take it like an attack take it like whatever you want. It wasn’t that. And the above reply .. I believe it had a person to whom I was talking to. Are you his/her lawyer now?
As for your comments. i wasn’t taught anything I became to know Go from other things not from what people said.

Let’s take things from another point of view. I am ignorant because I choose to believe in His existence. I can rely to that. But you can’t expect me to believe this world [as perfect as it is] came from nothing. Once upon a time there was a cosmic goo and then the world got created. Why only Earth can sustain life? Explain to me how can the nature be so beautiful, the human body work in perfect harmony and have no creator? Goes against the logic doesn’t it?
I didn’t try to prove atheist are/were/will be wrong. I said in the end it doesn’t really matter. We as believers are beyond this.

Take it or leave it. Don’t try to add anything here please.

Mariah's avatar

@Hibernate

“Why only Earth can sustain life?” It’s not accurate to say only Earth can sustain life. There are planets all throughout the universe, many of which might have conditions suitable for life, or might even have life on them that we don’t know about yet. We’ve only just begun to study planets outside our solar system. As for our solar system, there is evidence that there used to be liquid water on Mars and therefore possibly life. It is no coincidence that Earth’s conditions are perfectly suited for our needs: evolution explains that we have adapted to our surroundings. It might seem an amazing coincidence that we are here at exactly the time and place that is capable of supporting life, but that argument is nonsense because of course people are only around to ponder this fact at times and places where human life can be sustained.

“Explain to me how…the human body work in perfect harmony and have no creator?” Evolution. Creatures whose bodies don’t work harmoniously tend to die before being able to reproduce and pass on their genes, so those “designs” that don’t work well tend to get phased out, leaving the ones that do work to populate the Earth. Furthermore, many human bodies don’t work in perfect harmony at all – did God create disease, and why?

I’m not saying you’re wrong; I just want to show you that the athiest viewpoint is logical; we do have explanations for these things you think we don’t.

Meego's avatar

@Mariah, that is what you as an atheist believes. I happen to believe that us humans along with Science don’t have all the answers. They may seem to give us the most logical answers at that time pinning them as “truth” but even science cannot prove any theory to be true. They may think up a thousand totally different tests to try to disprove the theory, and it may pass every one. Does that mean it is “true”? No, because the 1,001st test could prove it false. While scientific theories are never supposed to be considered to be absolute truth, some have passed so many tests that they are called “laws.” For example, we will learn Kepler’s laws, and Newton’s laws. A scientific law is like a theory that has been inducted into the “Science Hall of Fame.” But even then it might have to be modified. Einstein found some corrections even for Newton’s laws, but they are normally far too tiny to even be able to measure.
~Fact or Theory

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
~Max Planck, Scientist

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
~Max Planck, Scientist

So yes there is an idea that maybe we can live on other planets but it doesn’t mean that’s how it was meant to be, and considering all the planets around us have nobody living on them that’s the answer. If we move onto mars it will have to be done through artificial means, would that make us the gods of mars?

Diseases are not brought on by God they are brought on by humans who add artificial substances, toxic substances to food and the environment. Chernobyl would be a great example of that and ironically with all the radiation the land still thrives, but is inhabital to humans while animals thrive there and have various deformities because of it. And I still believe in God and everything I’ve given you here our side is also logical.

Blackberry's avatar

@Meego What about diseases, germs, and virus’ that were here before humans? Or before humans could “create” them as you claim?

Also, just because there are no planets right now, in the solar system, with life does not mean that is the same for everything else outside of the solar system and galaxy, so no, that’s not the answer. Also, moving to another planet isn’t something anyone takes seriously right now. Where did that assumption come from? And what is this “gods of mars” stuff? Did anyone claim we’re gods of earth?

Mariah's avatar

@Meego

“that is what you as an atheist believes. I happen to believe that us humans along with Science don’t have all the answers.” “And I still believe in God and everything I’ve given you here our side is also logical.” Right, my reply was not meant to attack the theist position. I have already said several times in this thread that the theist position is valid and one that you can hold and I can respect that. @Hibernate was asking how athiests explain certain things, and my response was merely an attempt to show that athiesm does have answers to those questions, and is also a valid position.

“even science cannot prove any theory to be true. They may think up a thousand totally different tests to try to disprove the theory, and it may pass every one. Does that mean it is “true”? No, because the 1,001st test could prove it false.” Personally, this is something I love about science – that it doesn’t declare itself to be right about everything, that it admits mistakes when it finds them, that it finds new theories to adjust to changing information.

“considering all the planets around us have nobody living on them that’s the answer.” We don’t know for sure yet that none of the other planets in our solar system have life, and even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean that other planets outside our solar system don’t.

“Diseases are not brought on by God they are brought on by humans who add artificial substances, toxic substances to food and the environment.” Some diseases are, sure, but not all of them. Some are genetic and not a reaction to artificial substances in the environment at all. There was disease long before there were artificial chemicals.

Meego's avatar

@Blackberry
That’s the problem there many unanswered questions. About moving to other planets the US claimed mars no? We just don’t live there. But you can’t claim that no one wants to live on other planets, so that why I say if we evolved a liveable mars would we be the gods of that planet?

As for the diseases & germs, what makes you think they were here before us and if they were maybe they were ‘dormant’? So why couldn’t things we have done solely on our own ‘awakened’ them. So to say.

Blackberry's avatar

@Meego Who knows? There would probably be a hundred year war to establish whose property it is. In my opinion it doesn’t matter because it’s not a viable option with our limited technology and society.

Germs, viruses, diseases etc. are living organisms. Some were here before, and some weren’t. Some were created, and some could have been floating around until they found a host, and were passed around, yes.

Meego's avatar

Im not here to change anyone’s mind. I actually feel like the theists have answered the question over and over again but the atheists have a certain hunger that us believers in God will never be able to fulfill. Life goes on just the same. I stand by my quote above:

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
~Max Planck, Scientist

That to me seems the most logical answer of all.

Blackberry's avatar

@Meego Thanks for sticking with us, instead of getting all emo lol.

Hibernate's avatar

@Mariah No. Science doesn’t have all the answers. It just thinks it does. And science is all about suppositions and things that can be proven at that moment. Look at the way we used the light’s speed for several decades as being the fastest in the universe and yet recently others proved that neutrino is faster than the light. Yeah, I’ll add that there’s something even faster in this universe. They reply I receive to a pray. I only have to think of God and He already knows what I want and he replies. It’s too complex to reply. This is a hard lesson to learn.
And no. Humans did not adapt. Humans adapted the earth to suit their needs. Humans do not like to adapt [unless at a work place yet even there they change how things should be done] but they like to adapt the environment to be the best for them. We wouldn’t have that many deserts [I’m not talking about Equatorial area, I’m talking about places were used to be forests and humanity cut the trees off because they wanted more space].

This is a difficult subject and we’ll never agree.

Mariah's avatar

@Hibernate I never said science has all the answers. It certainly doesn’t, not yet anyway. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t non-theistic explanations for things. We just don’t know yet.

The discovery regarding neutrinos (which has yet to be confirmed, by the way) does not represent a failure in science. Theories are constantly changing to accomodate new evidence. When observations contradict current theories, we revise our theories and make them better.

The ability to adapt the world around us to suit our needs is itself an adaptation.

Listen, I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong. I fully admit that a theistic view of the world is a perfectly viable one. I just want to show that an athiestic view is also a valid view to hold. I’m not saying you have to agree with it, just understand it doesn’t have as many holes as you seem to think it does.

Hibernate's avatar

I never said an atheistic view has too many holes, even the theistic view has a lot. But till you start judging one or another think of it another way. Where does science comes from? Did it came from human or from someone with unlimited capabilities? Just think.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate I was only referring to this quote: “You spend too much time trying to prove He doesn’t exist and end up miserably [atheists].”

And to clarify this: “Where does science comes from? Did it came from human or from someone with unlimited capabilities? Just think.”

We created science to explain the universe (and some that was already here before us). It has worked extremely well for us, and it also has a track record of helping discover things we thought were never possible and simply didn’t know when the answer was right in front of us.

Mariah's avatar

Okay, from the way you were asking questions like “how does science explain _____” it seemed you were trying to indicate that such things couldn’t be explained without a god. I just wanted to show that they can – not that we know that such explanations are right, just that they exist. If I misunderstood your intentions, I apologize. I’m not sure why you’ve come to the conclusion that I have never thought of things from the theist’s point of view. I have put a great deal of thought into both possibilities and I have made my decision (just as I’m sure you have, and both decisions are perfectly valid). In fact, I’m not even an athiest, I am an athiest-leaning agnostic because I don’t claim to know anything about the true nature of the universe.

Hibernate's avatar

@Mariah & @Blackberry I was trying to prove out that science was created so man can explain things. And you know it’s true. For now we can’t explain some things but in a few years we’ll come up with terms to explain everything. What does this mean? That humans want to be independent and not tied with a higher power.

And we’ll never be able to understand the universe. It offers unlimited possibilities.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate Of course it’s true. What did you think that we thought science was? Pretty much everything has terms already. No one knows what god is, but we have a term for that, so what’s your point? And so what if people don’t want to be tied with something there’s no proof for.

I agree we probably won’t be able to understand the entire universe in this lifetime, but you don’t know that we’ll never figure it out.

Meego's avatar

@Blackberry “And so what if people don’t want to be tied with something there’s no proof for.”
What’s the harm in life to believe? If you truly believe it is said we get promotion to eternal life. In your case if it happens to be true you have consciously made a decision to void yourself of eternal life I guess that’s ok for you so what for other loved ones in your life who believe and get eternal life. I prefer to void my life of sin so I can live an eternal life with loved ones that have passed on. Ironically it is all written exactly the way it is happening, religion will be stripped from everyday living and the ones left who do believe will be looked upon in judgment.

digitalimpression's avatar

I know this question is a little “played out” and I’m jumping in way down the line but..:

For me, 1–10 can be answered with no. To me, those reasons sound like they are coming from someone who doesn’t believe.. so they are biased and slanted from the jump.

I don’t claim God exists, I simply believe that he does. I believe for all of the reasons I’ve typed several times on fluther.

One such answer:

“I believe in God due to answered prayers which had lottery odds of being coincidental. I believe because of how I’ve seen people with the most vile, disgusting, evil lives turn into believers who would lift their hands into the air and praise God. I believe because science cannot tell me (and indeed will never be capable of telling me) what entity, element, or organism started the chain reaction which led us here. I believe because I have plenty of reasons to doubt mankind is as great as it thinks it is. I believe there is something bigger than us. I believe because saying I believe makes people angry for some reason… the logical reason could be because the bible said it would be like this.
I believe (and some are no doubt tired of me giving reasons already) because in the pursuit of God I have found happiness which goes beyond description. I believe because there was a time when I did not believe.
I believe I could keep going with this.. but hopefully my point has been made.. at least for my perspective.”

Mariah's avatar

@Meego Okay, now you’re getting into Pascal’s Wager. The trouble with Pascal’s Wager is it’s a false dichotomy. My only choices aren’t “be a Christian” or “be an athiest.” There are many other possible gods, many of whom consider it bad form to believe in any other gods, and who will punish me if I choose the wrong god to believe in. What if the Muslim god is real and he’s mad at you for believing in the Christian god? There’s a saying I like. Athiests and Christians aren’t all that different: athiests just believe in one god fewer.

Besides, I like to think a benevolent god would judge me on my actions and the way I live my life, rather than in my beliefs.

Hibernate's avatar

One God more or less is the difference between monotheism and polytheism and one god too short means an atheist.
It would be really great if any god would judge us based on our actions only… to bad a god can see in our heart the true intentions. TO bad we don’t always act according to what’s in our heart. I can feel hate for someone else and yet act really friendly toward him but in my mind and heart I can be really bad. Should take this into consideration sometimes.

Blackberry's avatar

That’s completely normal. Humans aren’t robotic love machines, we’re animals. Our actions do matter, but one can always try to change their thought patterns as well.

Meego's avatar

@Mariah I guess you misunderstood me then..I know there is other choices, but I’m speaking from what I know..I know nothing about other religion but my own.

Jesus Christ is the most highly recognised iconic figure so that is who I am speaking of. And yes of course you are judged on your actions but not on action alone and you can’t just be without sin and not believe in God and expect to go to heaven the bible tells you the rules.

The bible is a pretty good book of accounts from the past which many ppl say are just made up and why anyone would do that is beyond me, but then again we live in a world now that is filled with drama, mistrust and connartist type people taking advantage of other people so it is something we could imagine now. If there is nothing in the afterlife living my life now under Christ has not hurt me and in fact has made me a more honest, caring, giving, kind and forgivable better person. No harm done here.

Mariah's avatar

@Hibernate

“One God more or less is the difference between monotheism and polytheism and one god too short means an atheist.” Yes, of course. The quote is meant to be lighthearted and highlight that Christians can play nice together, an idea I like because I by no means consider Christians to be “enemies.” You agree with athiests about the nonexistence of Zeus, Allah, Ra, Odin… the list goes on and on and on. We only disagree on the Christian god. Not so different after all, huh? :)

“It would be really great if any god would judge us based on our actions only… to bad a god can see in our heart the true intentions.” I know this completely goes against Christian teachings, but I like to think that a benevolent god would accept people to heaven even if they have a few flaws. All humans have flaws. But if somebody lives their life in a generally good way, I like to think they’d be worthy of heaven. I know Christianity teaches that only someone completely absolved of sin can get to heaven, and that all humans sin and therefore we need to accept Christ in order to have our sins forgiven, and maybe that’s true and I’m going to hell. I don’t know. I have to think God wouldn’t like me that much if I converted just out of a fear of hell though, you know?

@Meego “I guess you misunderstood me then..I know there is other choices, but I’m speaking from what I know..I know nothing about other religion but my own. Jesus Christ is the most highly recognised iconic figure so that is who I am speaking of.” Oh, okay. The gist of your reply seemed to be about how it can’t hurt to be a Christian, but it can hurt to be an athiest because you might go to hell, which is the basis of Pascal’s Wager, but I’m sorry if I misunderstood. I understand you were speaking from experience but I have to point out that other religions could be a reality even though they’re not part of your reality. No religion is part of my reality so I have to treat them all as being potentially true. Jesus is the most highly recognized figure here in the US where Christianity is very common, but if we lived in the Middle East we’d hear a whole lot more about Mohammad and Allah.

“If there is nothing in the afterlife living my life now under Christ has not hurt me and in fact has made me a more honest, caring, giving, kind and forgivable better person. No harm done here.” I think that’s great, and that’s why I don’t have any problem whatsoever with the vast majority of Christians. I think the Bible teaches some really great lessons, such as the Golden Rule. The only times I have any trouble with Christianity is when people use it as an excuse to hate gay people, things like that. I understand though, of course, that such people are extremeists and don’t represent the true spirit of Christianity. And also, and I’m sure you already know this, but it’s perfectly possible to be honorable, empathetic, honest and kind, without being Christian. Many athiests are very good people just because it’s the right thing to do.

I know no harm would come from me converting, but the thing is that I can’t just choose to believe. I can’t just make myself believe in something that I don’t believe in.

Meego's avatar

@Mariah

“The only times I have any trouble with Christianity is when people use it as an excuse to hate gay people, things like that.”
First and foremost if you encounter ppl who use this as an excuse then they are judgmental and if they are a follower of God they should know that it is not their place to pass judgment.
Second I myself am actually going to be in my BFF’s wedding this weekend, he is getting married to the man of his life….not every God fearing person is judgmental I respect that you have a problem with those few but judgments are passed daily regardless of faith and religion. Any God fearing person knows that it is God who will pass judgment on them in their time and that it is not our place.

This article is written by a former atheist and in it he raises some awesome points I encourage you to read it, #6 answers the point you brought up about all other religions..

It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.

Hibernate's avatar

@Mariah no. Atheists agree with us about the non existence of other mythological gods.
Another thing. Islam condemns even more gay people. It’s a blasphemy for them :) For them it’s a crime and is punished in most Islamic countries.
You do not know that being a Christian means or what Christianity teaches about God looking for the man’s heart not the appearance.

1Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Reconciliating with God is EASY. Accept that you are a sinner, accept Christ as the only savior, accept the Bible as being the truth, accept to continue living your life fearing God and obeying His law. This is what Christianity is about. Doing so you end up in Heaven. Though there’s one catch there. You can have your reward for following His way or you just end up in Heaven with no reward. [there a lot more to being a Christian but some other time]
I strongly encourage you not to start debates about things you do not know. I don’t say you don’t have a clue about them I just know someone only explained 1% of what Christianity means .
And we don’t “hate” only gay people. We hate a lot more but people only like to mention gay people. I already told this in another thread and I’ll repeat.

1 Corinthians 6 9–10
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

They won’t inherit anything, this means God doesn’t accept them, doesn’t like them. He wants them to change their ways but He leaves it to their will.

You need to remember that there are extremists for every religion or even atheists have their own.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate

“Reconciliating with God is EASY. Accept that you are a sinner, accept Christ as the only savior, accept the Bible as being the truth, accept to continue living your life fearing God and obeying His law. This is what Christianity is about. Doing so you end up in Heaven. Though there’s one catch there. You can have your reward for following His way or you just end up in Heaven with no reward. [there a lot more to being a Christian but some other time]”

If you would like, could you please explain why you think this is true? Also, do you feel you know this is true? Or is this just your opinion?

Mariah's avatar

@Meego

“First and foremost if you encounter ppl who use this as an excuse then they are judgmental and if they are a follower of God they should know that it is not their place to pass judgment.” Right, I know. I said that I know that those people are extremists and don’t represent the true spirit of Christianity. Like I said before, I have no problem whatsoever with the vast majority of Christians.

As to your article, in order to accept argument #6 you reference, I have to accept that the Bible is telling the truth when it says that Jesus raised the dead, healed people, and walked on water. I am sorry, but I don’t believe that that is true. I’m 100% fine with the fact that you do. It’s just not something that I personally believe.

@Hibernate

no. Atheists agree with us about the non existence of other mythological gods.” That is exactly what I said. Did you misunderstand me?

“Another thing. Islam condemns even more gay people.” Did I ever say that I approve of Islam any more than I approve of Christianity? I am an agnostic, not a Muslim.

“I strongly encourage you not to start debates about things you do not know.” And what makes you think I don’t know anything about Christianity? What did I say that was wrong that leads you to say that? I know plenty, thanks.

“And we don’t “hate” only gay people. We hate a lot more but people only like to mention gay people. I already told this in another thread and I’ll repeat.” How is that supposed to make me feel better about Christianity? I hate hate.

“You need to remember that there are extremists for every religion or even atheists have their own.” I know. I said that only extreme Christians hate gay people and those are the only Christians I have a problem with.

I really think you need to reread my response.

Meego's avatar

@Mariah

“As to your article, in order to accept argument #6 you reference, I have to accept that the Bible is telling the truth when it says that Jesus raised the dead, healed people, and walked on water. I am sorry, but I don’t believe that that is true.”

That’s where I’ve got to ask you with all the evidence how could you not believe?

Origin of the Bible All this evidence how could you not?

God came to me and spoke to me at a time in my life when I called to him, I’m thankful for the Footprints

One night I had a dream
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
“I don’t understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
“When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
~Mary Stevenson

Mariah's avatar

Do I really need to explain why it’s difficult for me to believe that somebody walked on water and raised the dead? I don’t believe everything just because it’s written in a book or on a website.

It all comes back to one of my original points: the burden of proof is on the believers, not the nonbelievers. There isn’t proof right now, so you can either choose to have faith or not. I am 100% okay with the fact that you have chosen to have faith; my choice is different and you have to respect that. We’re not getting anywhere with this discussion, so I’m out. Thanks for keeping it cordial, @Meego, it’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Hibernate's avatar

@Blackberry it’s not my opinion it’s how Christianity works. It’s as simple as that. Don’t believe me go ask the REAL preachers around your neigborhood. Take it or leave it.
And we’re not here to discuss about the flaws in the major religions like Catholics or Orthodoxes where they say you have to make good deeds to be accepted by God. That’s not true and they know it but they work on TRADITION and not by what it’s written in the Bible.
When you want proof you can touch is hard to accept anything. I’m beginning to question your believes in science with this .. how can you believe it when not everything is tangible with that.

And @Mariah NO. The burden of proof is on the nonbelievers. I don’t need a proof of God existence. I experiment Him every day. Unlike you or any other nonbeliever who wants a tangible proof of God or else they don’t believe. For us it’s called FAITH.

Hebrews 11 1–2
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
For by it the men of old received divine approval.

Some receive proof and some don’t. It’s much better for someone and when he believes without a shadow of a doubt and without a proof. Or else it’s not faith it’s fear.

@Meego nice site but it’s only per general. A lot of books were not added to the Bible :P books like the one written by the prophets Nathan, Ahi’jah, Iddo etc or like epistles written by Paul towards La-odice’a . But this suits more in another question not in this one. Anyway that site is rather nice organized for someone who wants to get a proof :P

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate Maybe this will help you understand why this is confusing:
That’s not true and they know it but they work on TRADITION and not by what it’s written in the Bible.

But then you say:

Reconciliating with God is EASY. Accept that you are a sinner, accept Christ as the only savior, accept the Bible as being the truth,

Which one is it? Also, I know enough to know that one book does not give you knowledge no one else has. I would really like to know what makes you think “They won’t inherit anything, this means God doesn’t accept them, doesn’t like them. He wants them to change their ways but He leaves it to their will.”

Please, give me your wisdom. Do you think this is correct solely because of the bible? Or did god tell you this? Why would you tell me not to debate stuff I don’t know, when you can’t even explain why or how you know?

And, how is it hard to “accept anything” just because science doesn’t explain everything? There’s explanations for the entire planet and almost everything on it, the solar system, as well as almost everything surrounding it. That excuse may have worked when humanity didn’t even know how to cure sicknesses. But not today.

We are aware we can’t explain everything. We admit this. So we look for answers, instead of assuming we know them.

Meego's avatar

@Mariah I meant no disrespect :/
And in today’s world we want to know why, how and when, I get it. But there’s just something I cannot let go of when I feel the Lord talking to me, and guiding me. No you cannot see it, no I cannot show it to you, but I know I am not crazy, I also know I am not crazy because others have experienced this as well, there is always going to be the unknown.

Back when Jesus was alive the burden of proof was not in a scientists hand, but rather in observation of the ppl that lived in that time.

The bible is the accounts of what happened at that time that and it is my proof.
The Shroud of Turin is my proof.
And the accounts in the bible that say Jesus was crucified wrapped in linen and resurrected is my proof that the events that unfolded do not coincide with a clever hoax.

I’m sorry @Mariah you thought I was being disrespectful.

This question is more about debate then recieving an actual answer because as I’ve said in the beginning even when we believers give a reason as to why we “claim his existence” the answer was never good enough.

And yes @Mariah to accept God you do have to accept all the things you mentioned you cannot. But it is definitely not like accepting the events of a magician like Criss Angel or UFO’s these things don’t give you anything in return and they gain from tricking ppl. What does Jesus gain from someone accepting him?

@Mariah I wish you the best of luck on your journey in life. And I’m sorry I can’t give you the definitive proof you want.

Mariah's avatar

@Hibernate

“NO. The burden of proof is on the nonbelievers.” You can insist that all you want, but it doesn’t make it true.

“For us it’s called FAITH.” I have already told you a million times already that I am fine with the fact that you choose to have faith. Until there is proof of God’s existence, though, you have to accept that other people will choose not to have faith and that that decision isn’t invalid. I am sorry that I don’t agree with you but I have every right not to. I am not trying to change your mind.

@Meego, I have never found your answers disrespectful. Yes, religion debates are a bit of a moot point; neither side has proof that they’re right so it all comes down to our decisions as to what we want to believe. I respect your decision to have faith and I hope you two can respect that I have chosen differently.

Thanks for the debate.

Hibernate's avatar

@Blackberry I was talking about Catholic and Orthodox churches where tradition comes before the Bible. They pray for the dead [nowhere in the Bible it’s stated we should do this and help the decesed .. on the contrary we are told the man dies and the he pops at the judgement]. They use graven images and need “priests” to mediate between them and God when the only mediator between humanity and God is Jesus. Catholics even sell indulgences and say God forgives them if they buy them… TRADITION and things not accurately taken from the Bible.
I never brought up the dark ages into discussion when the Gospel was used as an excuse for wars .. the times when we didn’t had a cure for illnesses.

You do have an explanation for the entire solar system? Did we came from cosmic goo? Did we evolve from monkeys? I am sure I didn’t but I’m not sure about the others.

I did state “I have all the answers”. I said some of atheist answers are not very accurate. In one hundred years the world will evolve even more and then what? You guys will use other answers and accuse of of being outdated yet we are here for two thousand years and we’ll still be around no matter what :)

@Mariah believers are governed by faith. We cannot give a proof if God doesn’t want to show Himself to you guys. If it was that simple everybody would ask a believer to pray and move a mountain and when the mountain they’d convert because of this “power” they’d receive.

@Meego it’s true. No matter what we’ll reply they will claim that thing can be explained through science. I’m sure science can explain how people with terminal illnesses were cured. I’d want to see that too.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate I was referring to physical motions, such as the movement of planets, germs, disease etc. Things like the formations of mountains etc. We do not have an answer to abiogenesis. I should not have used the terms I did. I should have said we know much more than we used to.

Please read the numerous evolution threads on here. They will help you understand the process, so you don’t ask questions like “Did we evolve from monkeys?”

Also, Hibernate…....Longevity does not equal veracity. Do you not see the fallacy in this claim? This is like saying we should still enslave people because it’s in the bible and the bible is really old, so it must be right.

Yes, some answers may be different and some may change entirely in the future. This is how progress works. This why you can use a computer. This is why we don’t die at age 40 anymore. Why is this so difficult to grasp?

Also:

I was talking about Catholic and Orthodox churches where tradition comes before the Bible. They pray for the dead [nowhere in the Bible it’s stated we should do this and help the decesed .. on the contrary we are told the man dies and the he pops at the judgement]. They use graven images and need “priests” to mediate between them and God when the only mediator between humanity and God is Jesus. Catholics even sell indulgences and say God forgives them if they buy them… TRADITION and things not accurately taken from the Bible.

What does this mean to you, then? Does this mean these people should only follow the rules of the bible? Does this mean their tradition is wrong? If so, which are wrong and which are right?

Meego's avatar

@Mariah

Yep I was done with this debate myself awhile ago, and then I got pulled back in. It’s one of those things I’m interested in and because it is debatable makes it much harder to answer properly.

I cannot change anyone’s mind solely based on the fact that I myself believe in God and have my own proof…sometimes I’m pretty sure that if God himself descended from the heavens and showed himself to us there would still be ppl out in the world who would not believe it. And actually when Jesus walked the earth not everyone believed him either.

Unfortunatley not everyone gets to go to heaven that won’t be my problem.

Hibernate's avatar

@Blackberry I never said things don’t evolve or they don’t change. I am all for progress because we need it. But at some point science CANNOT explain how humanity came [they either use the cosmic goo theory or the Darwin theory from monkey evolution]. Anyway this is beyond the point here. I don’t ask how humanity was formed because I am all for Creation.

And what’s wrong with tradition? When tradition comes before The Law of the Lord then it’s wrong. It’s what Jesus told to the Hebrews then and it’s what happening now. Tradition comes before the scripture for them. They are the modern Pharisees, All in all they are wrong.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate Are you an adult?

Hibernate's avatar

This is pointless.

Blackberry's avatar

I just can’t believe you said anything that came before christianity was wrong. How asinine.

Hibernate's avatar

OMG You are totally reading whatever you want from what I post. If I’ll state “Christianity isn’t false” you’ll just read “Christianity is a fake”.

It’s a waste of time to continue this discussion with you or any other [ just with you] for that matter.

God bless you my beloved child ^^

Blackberry's avatar

“When tradition comes before The Law of the Lord then it’s wrong.”

What does that mean?

Hibernate's avatar

Doesn’t really matter. Make up your own interpretation. I’ll just unfollow this question.

Afos22's avatar

I think the problem with a discussion between atheists and theists is this. A lot of atheists know and understand all of the theist arguments, stories, and explanations. A lot of atheists were raised as theists. A lot of theists do not know all of the explanations that science offers.
Atheists argue because they have nothing to lose. Theist argue because they have everything to lose. Atheists get aggravated because they can’t easily convince theists that they are right. Theists get angry because they don’t want to be wrong.

Blackberry's avatar

@Afos22 Seems accurate, to me at least.

Everyone knows the notion of god itself is not wrong, but when people make claims that involve applying knowledge from the bible to society as if it’s fact, or claiming there is some link between religion and god, I just want some evidence.

Then we look like douchebags if we suggest someone may just be being intellectually dishonest or willfully ignorant.

comicalmayhem's avatar

The classic theist argument seems to be “well it didn’t come from nothing”.
And to that I say, it doesn’t have to come from a creator. We may have not even thought of it yet. If you believe in God, then go ahead, but where are you getting all this Jesus performs miracles and a whole set of religious stories? Why not just call yourself a plain old monotheist?
I never argued we came from nothing. I never suggested that God came from nothing because he’s God. I never argued science has no flaws. I simply argue that we don’t know, so why are you acting we do?

choreplay's avatar

@comicalmayhem to answer your question I have to give you questions.
.
Do you have parents that love you?
.
Do you know that because you experienced that love?
.
Because you know the dimensions of their love for you can you trust them?
.
Because you trust them, do you have to have everything proved or do you take some things they say in faith?
.
Of coarse this will lead to responses of no one is perfect and no one should be trusted completely and many parents are imperfect abusers. But, what have you experienced?
.
Let’s suppose your parents have been top rated, consider my questions in that context.
.
If my experience with God has been perfectly loving and I have found this intuitive interaction to by worthy of utlimate trust and love, I am going to have faith in even the things I don’t understand or can’t prove.

And that all blossoms out of my personal experience, so in the end I’ve got nothing that will prove anything for you. If you really, really want to know, than open your heart, you don’t have to close your mind, but open your heart and seek, truely seek. Seek out any knowledge you can about Jesus and open your heart to what you find.

Paradox25's avatar

Personal experiences that resembled other people’s experiences (as a former sceptic myself). Is it possible that what is referred to as ‘paranormal’ phenomena can just be a part of science without the god factor? I don’t know.

There is one thing that I am convinced of and it is the fact that nothing can be outside of science, but we probably don’t even know the answers to the smallest fraction of phenomena related to what we refer to as ‘science’.

The OP here seems to think that everybody that believes in a ‘god’ does so due to religious traditions, fear out of being referred to as an atheist, brainwashing or Pascal’s Wager. To me none of these reasons come even close to describing how I came about my own beliefs. Personally I disassociated myself with my parents version of orthodox Christianty at a very early age. I don’t even have a religion or belief system to be honest. My views are not rigid and I’m always open to the fact that I could be wrong myself.

lemming's avatar

Because a world where everybody believes in God is a hell of a lot better than one where nobody does…excuse the pun.

Blackberry's avatar

@lemming Riiiiiiight…. I’ll just leave this here.

lemming's avatar

@Blackberry those guys didn’t believe in God, they just used it for power. But I’m not getting back into this.

AdamF's avatar

@lemming “Because a world where everybody believes in God is a hell of a lot better than one where nobody does…excuse the pun.”

Really? Mind explaining why.

Afos22's avatar

@lemming Since is no possible way that you can prove that everyone associated with the inquisition did not believe in god, it is not a legitimate point. It can not be used, respectably, as a valid rebuttal to @AdamF ‘s piece of evidence: That the inquisition happened, proving that many people believing in god can lead to seriously devastating consequences. And would not be “better” at all.

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