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RandomMrdan's avatar

Why do you have faith in religion and god(s)?

Asked by RandomMrdan (7387 points ) March 19th, 2012

I’ll attempt to pre-empt your answer by saying what I actually think the reason is…

Because someone taught you when you were young, and were indoctrinated into a religion. But I would like to hear the reasons as to why you continue to believe.

I find it incredibly difficult to believe, and have recently come to take the jump from agnostic to atheist.

Despite there being absolutely no physical evidence to support a belief in god, allah, or whomever. I have seen enough videos on youtube that point out all the non sense, contradictions, acts of hatred, condoning of slavery, rape, genocide, etc.

I mean, before you know it, every person of faith is in a defensive position trying to justify the words and actions of their god. Which you can’t really do. I mean, why on earth would a god kill innocent people (or have them killed)?!

Some people argue it’s a good way to live a life based off morals. But I live a fine life, and have no faith. Further more, I find it hard to believe fully in something, if you’re just going to cherry pick the good stuff, and ignore the obscene stuff.

Lately I’ve just become so irritated with the illogical conversations I’ve attempted to have with theists (I’m hoping it might be different here), though I’m betting not. People on this site generally strike me as level headed, mostly objective, but I’ve seen those same type of people throw all logic out the window when it comes to this topic.

Many people will say that religion is peaceful, but I don’t see any of the big ones being all that peaceful in any way. And consider them rather oppressive. I think if we as humans ever expect this world to be peaceful, we’re going to have to ditch the religious stuff at some point.

Thoughts?

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98 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I am agnostic. And I will point out to you why I think you are making a mistake.

You declare that lately you have been irritated by the illogical conversations you have had with theists. You admit that you are motivated by emotion.

Until a scientist can explain to you how a fundamental piece of matter is both a wave and a point particle, depending on whether you are looking or not, then science is no more logic based than religion.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I will agree that science isn’t an exact certainty. But isn’t there enough information out there to discredit religion? And undermine the origins of human beings?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@RandomMrdan religion and what is true represent different things in my head.

When Jesus says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could move mountains, and quantum physics says an observer can change the outcome of friggen reality, I see congruence. A heightened awareness shared by Jesus and Schrodinger of how things really work.

I see scientists who follow masters and bishops who follow Jesus as essentially the same class of human beings, wanting to gain value by discrediting other versions of reality.

FutureMemory's avatar

I don’t. I also am an atheist.

Have you ever heard of Pat Condell? He has some great videos on YouTube that center around this topic.

“The truth is that ‘faith’ is nothing more than the deliberate suspension of disbelief. It’s an act of will. It’s not a state of grace; it’s a state of choice.”

I’m curious how you made it to 7k lurve without ever participating in, or at least reading such discussions here before? The way you worded your question, you sound like a new member.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@FutureMemory I loved that video you posted by the way! I’ve actually been a member on this site for quite some time. I’ve gone through periods of high activity, and zero activity.

I phrased the question “I hope these people” because I know there are plenty of new people that I don’t know. But generally speaking, a lot of like minded people to me from what I recall. Those of which I was hoping to have some awesome things to consider. Much like @Imadethisupwithnoforethought. He is agnostic, but does a great job of playing a devil’s advocate. Science isn’t 100% accurate, but give it enough time, and I’m sure we’ll find more and more that helps us understand our origins more. If we had the bible’s way, I’m sure we’d still be calling astronomers heretics, and killing witches still.

whitecarnations's avatar

I have faith, because I don’t know it all like you do.

augustlan's avatar

I’m an atheist now, but I have had times in my life when I believed in a god (not necessarily the God of the bible). I can try to explain why I believed at those times. It wasn’t something I knew in a brain kind of way, it was something I felt. It usually coincided with the feeling of awe, a feeling of connectedness with the world or universe. A higher power felt very real to me at those times.

I still have feelings of awe and connectedness, but I no longer attribute them to a god.

fundevogel's avatar

I am an ex-theist. I was a theist, because that’s how my parents raised me and now I’m an ex-theist because I no longer think parental endorsement = truth and didn’t find any other arguments for faith convincing.

I guess my history gels with your expectations.

Nullo's avatar

My own faith floats on experience and testimony and this one book that you may have heard of.

noraasnave's avatar

Because when times were intensely hard, there were no options, and no one else to turn to God helped me through, he spoke to me and it was enough. All the religious doctrines that used to guide me have been shown to be nothing but the powerful, compelling, controlling words of men. Those words fall to the ground empty when compared with the actual words of God.

ragingloli's avatar

I do not. I am an atheist. You could even say that I am an anti theist.

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RandomMrdan's avatar

I would also like to know what God sounds like. And how I talk to him (or her). I honestly would want nothing more than that to happen. I would love to believe he or she exists. I truly do. Alas, I’ve not heard a single word. Therefore, I have no reason but to disbelieve.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am a lifelong atheist, though I have changed my reasons for not believing. My current understanding is that, in the end, religion is not much more than a way of talking, mostly about what we don’t know. Instead of saying, “I don’t know why that happened,” they might say, “It was the will of God.” God ends up being the personification of our ignorance.

noraasnave's avatar

@RandomMrdan I can empathize with your sincere desire. I felt this same desire and have a very close friend who has the same wish.

I do not understand why God hasn’t spoken to my friend, and I do not understand why God doesn’t talk to you. This has taught me that God doesn’t reside inside the tired ‘box’ of Christianity, they He is by nature outside the box of human understanding, except for, in those special times, when He chooses to reveal himself to a person.

I have tried to find God through the techniques and equations which modern religion teaches…it wasn’t until I reached a place where no Christian dared to go that God spoke to me. I do not understand it, but it was just what I needed.

Out of order, and in response to the question which started this post. I think religion doesn’t grow fast enough to ‘help’ humanity, religion seems to be decades behind at least, and in most cases a century behind.

Life is not about religion, life is about relationships. That is the best investment advice I can give. Be the best brother/sister, wife, husband, significant other, child, parents, grandparent, friend, etc,. you can be.

Perhaps in a distant past religion complimented relationships, perhaps it complimented the most altruistic love, but it has grown old and useless. In my experience, in most cases, it now taxes the love it once supports, it puts too many rules on relationships. The more rules that govern love, the less love can move and act in our relationships.

To relate it back again to randomMrdan’s original question again: Religion becomes an illogical and useless argument blindly guided by loyalty to rules and doctrines which strain to try to apply, but no longer do. I don’t relate all these inadequacies to God.

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Moegitto's avatar

I was raised VERY religious, everywhere I went was some form of religion I was involved in. My immediate family was Christian, my mom is a Seven Day Adventist now, my cousins are Catholic, my friends I used to hang with were die hard Christians and their dad was a minister, and my moms work friend who I used to spend the night over with to play with her kids was a Methodist. I was Christian until I realized, or for a nicer term “felt” that I didn’t need to depend on anybody or thing to get me through life. I was tempted to become an Atheist but most of them are self-centered, so I wisely chose to be agnostic. I don’t act like I know if there IS or IS NOT someone above us, but I just chose to live my life in the now. Death will come when it wants, I’d rather focus on trying to pass this math class I’m in after 10 years out of school.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@noraasnave What religion do you practice?

noraasnave's avatar

I don’t practice a religion. Sorry, blazing my own trail I guess.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@noraasnave That reminds me of how I feel of an afterlife… if there is such a thing. Because I recall hearing in a documentary, or something of the sort. Something about how energy is never destroyed, it’s merely transferred. I still feel as though, there is no god that exists…. but I think it would still be comforting if there was an energy life force that maybe continued on or something.

noraasnave's avatar

@randomMrdan There are so many unknowns in life. If one spends too much time contemplating the unknowns, the known comes and smack us in the face at 45 miles an hour. Make sure you take a break to look around you every once in a while.

I do appreciate the discussion and contemplation in my morning. Thanks. Lurve for you!

dabbler's avatar

I have no faith in religions. Or, rather, I have faith that religions will continue to be self-serving, manipulative exploitations of peoples’ normal quest for truth and peace in their lives.

I can’t give you a description of God/Goddess/Almighty. That’s beyond my capacity to describe with words. The direct experience of spritual phenomenon is plenty enough for me to believe in them and be grateful for them.

rojo's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Ok, so, if I am interpreting this right, what you are saying is that we are both alive and dead but we won’t know which until Jesus comes back and opens the box?

Cruiser's avatar

You start off by saying it is incredibly difficult to believe why anyone would believe in religion so does it really matter what I or anyone says after that??

You then presuppose conversations with Theists as illogical because I assume their views do not align with yours. And you wonder why Theists might have a bad taste in their mouths over Atheist POV’s.

I also cannot agree with your blanket statement that religions are oppressive. I live in the free world and and free to pick and choose what I believe in. I was raised Catholic, and I have a deep and profound respect for Christian beliefs as well as Judiasm and people like myself who now walk a Spiritual path.

It is my personal belief and opinion that if one cannot believe in a higher power they cannot have faith and a faithless life again IMO is one not worth living.

Rock2's avatar

There is faith without evidence and faith with evidence. That evidence spans the range from a little to a lot. I believe that faith in a God has no evidence. The evidence that religious people cite is not evidence at all.

I believe that the human mind has a propensity to want to believe that there is an “agent” controling every little thing in this world even though there is no real evidence (that’s why they call it faith).

From a logical standpoint, faith in religion is by definition belief without proof. The mere attempt to prove God exists belies faith.

Aside from that Religion has a lot of beliefs are illogical. For instance, if God is perfection and he made man in his own image, why didn’t he give us two hearts so if one fails the other would keep us alive. He gave us two lungs, two eyes, two kidneys, etc. And what about that back design? Why do so many people have bad backs?

Rock2's avatar

@rojo
Good way of putting it.
I would like to have a vote on who comes back and who doesn’t.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I believe in God/higher power but don’t really buy into any religion. I don’t know why I believe but it is something that feels right to me. My family aren’t particularly religious, they’re fairly open minded as am I. I don’t claim to know there is a God and I certainly don’t agree with the many, many crimes committed in the name of religion but I do feel that there is something more, I just don’t know what it is.

Judi's avatar

I am a Christian. (Not a wacky judgmental fundamentalist.) When I was young I saw God as a man on the moon, watching us from above. When I became a rebellious teen, I found myself in a miserable cesspool of my own making. It is hard to explain the divine intervention that took place, but it was like a hand reached down in the slimy pit, pulled me out. cleaned me ff and said, “My rules were not there to limit you, but to guide you, and to protect you from this miry pit. Here, I will make you my daughter and always bbe there for you.”
It changed my perspective, and made my faith personal. Since then (for the last 35 years or so) I have seen my faith through a lens of compassion and redemption. I have studied, and grown, and it is central to my life. It really isn’t an issue of faith, it’s my reality.
I have a friend who is always saying how she admires my faith. I told her that it isn’t me who is faithful, it is her. Even without any real experience of faith, she comes to church and studies, and believes. That’s REAL faith.

Esedess's avatar

I’m gunna take this next bit right off my profile.

I maintain that there’s probably no god. But anyone who says, with absolute conviction, that “there IS” or “there ISN’T” IS narrow minded. In that scenario, both sides have assumed too much on preference, and disregarded possibility. No one really knows one way or the other, and both statements are equivalent leaps of faith.

Now if you’re speaking of religion, and not “god” then that’s quite a different case entirely. Religion is pretty universally inconsistent, illogical, and factually incorrect. For any person of sufficient reason and openness it’s easy to see why religion should be completely disregarded. As I said, it’s just factually wrong in so many ways, not to mention logically and morally. Religion can, and has been disproved again and again. God/spirituality however, have never been touched, except through an attack on religion. It’s just too far beyond us at this point. I imagine that even if religion were to become a thing of the past, it would still be a couple hundred years (and maybe far more at that) before anyone could begin to legitimately presume one way or the other on god/spirituality (as not described through religion).

Ron_C's avatar

I was raised catholic and went to Catholic school, therefore, I’m an atheist. I was a Catholic, then a theist, then an agnostic and finally reached atheism. I did this by reading the bible and studying religion and science. Science trumps religion in all cases. If you are raised by religious parents, you will spend you childhood religious. If you have the opportunity to later meet diverse people and improve your education, you will, in all likelihood become agnostic and probably atheist.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The one thing you don’t get from religion is absolute proof. In fact, the search for proof is discouraged in favor of faith. Faith is believing without proof; through some strange logic, faith and ignorance become virtues. Of course it is easier to lead the faithful than the knowledgeable.

annewilliams5's avatar

There have been quite a lot of very good points made, and I can’t make one that is anything but personal. I am faithful. I have faith in God and man. That being said, I have seen violence and cannot say I’ve seen the worst of it. I have seen goodness and cannot say I’ve seen the best of it. What I believe is what gets me through the day. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think there are good things about the belief that if you are fundamentally good and you do, for others, what is right, then you are faithful to what is right. I do not believe there is 1 religion that is better than another. That is something people choose on their own. It’s based on what we feel the most comfortable with. I don’t believe in God to “hedge my bets”. I simply believe in him. There really is not anything scientific or rational about it. It proves itself to me in the actions of others and in how I perceive the universe. The most important elements are these: Am I living my life the way I am supposed to? Can I look at myself in the mirror, and be sure that my actions are touching others in a way that makes their lives better not worse? Am I living up to my true potential and not hurting others to do it? Would God be proud of me? Would my father, who has been dead since I was 6 months old, be proud of me? Am I proud of myself?
Faith is not something that can be proven to anyone or anything but the soul. I believe in scientific reasoning as well. I believe that when someone shows me an animal, that can survive in a particular environment, I can believe in evolution. I can also believe in the faith that God actually put the animal here, originally. Why can’t I believe in both? There are also some people that have been put here, that have evolved into animals without any thought for their fellow humans other than how they can harm them. I believe in good and evil and have seen both.
My faith is not consistent with how I was raised. My mother and step-father were both inconsistent in my religious training. I found it myself. I’m comfortable with it. When I wake up dead someday, passed on, in the next life, or which ever term is used by each writer, I will find out what is actually the case. Until then… I believe what I choose, as everyone should, based on what they can prove for themselves.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@rojo Exactly. Unless there is someone at the end observing, our wave functions don’t collapse. But it may be Buddha.

flutherother's avatar

You won’t find anyone less religious than God Himself and if you ever get to Heaven you won’t see a single church.

SuperMouse's avatar

This has been discussed ad naseum here on Fluther and the consensus typically seems to be that there is no God, religion is fake, and anyone who believes is either sub-par in intellect, ignorant or just plain stupid. I will attempt yet again to explain why I believe in God and hope that my statements are respected and that I am not told how irrational I am for believing.

Let me begin by saying that I was raised in a super Catholic family by a super Catholic mother and a father who was in the brothers. I was absolutely terrified of God and religion and was convinced I was going to hell.

I fell away from the church in my late teens, spent the next years searching until I became agnostic bordering on atheist. I had all the same issues with religion that the atheists here on Fluther have: how can a loving God hurt His people? Why would God create fallible people then give them a code of conduct that is impossible to live up to? Why is there suffering if there is a God? Religion is really just man’s attempt to control people. I asked all the questions had all the thoughts, and tried really hard not to believe. The thing was, I couldn’t get past the reality that nothing plus nothing equals nothing. I believe in science. I believe science and faith can go hand in hand and do not have to contradict one another. Something had to make all that science happen, something had to set things in motion. To me that something is God.

I believe in God because I have seen Him work in my life and the lives of others I know. I believe that one can have a moral code without God. I do not believe in hell. I do not believe the Bible is the final infallible word of God. Theist does equal uninformed, ignorant, racist, or narrow minded. For me being a theist does mean that I believe in a power greater than myself and that I am part of a greater plan. I believe God spoke to us through His manifestations and gave us a code of conduct in order to make our life on this planet better. I don’t think God expects perfection, I believe He wants us to hear His word and do our best as fallible humans.

@noraasnave, I don’t think it is a question of God speaking to us, I think what matters is whether or not we are listening.

annewilliams5's avatar

@flutherother Well put. Well said.

Eureka's avatar

I am going to skip talking about my belief and instead, offer my opinion as to why people believe in God, and have faith in religion. Will state again – my opinion, only – and no disrespect meant to anyone.

People need someone to blame, when things go wrong, or bad/sad things happen. We, as a species, seem to have a hard time with the concept that sometimes, things just are. We need to have a reason as to why something happened.

As we age, it is hard to accept the fact that the day will come when you simply cease to exist. To admit that when you die that is all there is means you have to admit that your time here is, in essence, wasted – as you are going to leave this plane of existance and that is all there is. So a faith in religion, or heaven, or that you are going to be in the presence of God gives some meaning to the time you spent alive.

I don’t fault anyone for having faith, or a belief in something other than this life. But it is what it is. You live, you die, and that’s it.

annewilliams5's avatar

@Eureka 1st-no offense ever taken, or shouldn’t be taken. I don’t know…depends on the day?
I don’t blame God for evil and bad events. Things happen. People make stupid and sometimes evil errors in judgment. The ripples of what we do to each other have the potential to never end.
Also true, those things we do for others. I can only hope.

digitalimpression's avatar

@RandomMrdan

“Because someone taught you when you were young, and were indoctrinated into a religion.”
I grew up with religion, fell away from it, and have discovered that my life would have been a lot better had I stuck with it. In a way I was indoctrinated into religion, yes. Afterward, I was indoctrinated into being non-religious. I’ve traveled down both paths for decades and have concluded that the former is the wise choice.

“I find it incredibly difficult to believe, and have recently come to take the jump from agnostic to atheist.”
Even intelligent atheistic people allow a percentage of a chance that God exists. (small though it may be)

“Despite there being absolutely no physical evidence to support a belief in god, allah, or whomever.”
Attempting to wrap a deity (a being which by many definitions is far superior to us) into a neat little scientific package doesn’t make sense to me. Using a method devised inside a box to exclude the possibility of the existance of something outside of it doesn’t make sense to me.

“I have seen enough videos on youtube that point out all the non sense, contradictions, acts of hatred, condoning of slavery, rape, genocide, etc. I mean, before you know it, every person of faith is in a defensive position trying to justify the words and actions of their god. Which you can’t really do. I mean, why on earth would a god kill innocent people (or have them killed)?!”
I don’t understand a lot of those things myself. However, I’m not foolish enough to ignore the good to spite the bad.

“Some people argue it’s a good way to live a life based off morals. But I live a fine life, and have no faith.”
The concept of Christianity goes far deeper than basic morality as far as I’m concerned.

“Further more, I find it hard to believe fully in something, if you’re just going to cherry pick the good stuff, and ignore the obscene stuff.”
We (collectively) do this every day. E.G. We enjoy a tasty bacon cheeseburger without thinking of the process that led to that cheeseburger. I think it’s a natural thing to focus on the good things. As I mentioned above, I don’t wish to ignore the “bad” things. I also don’t want to fixate on them and let them override what to me is a very obvious good.

“Lately I’ve just become so irritated with the illogical conversations I’ve attempted to have with theists (I’m hoping it might be different here), though I’m betting not.”
I suppose you’ll find out. I tend to approach conversations as if we’re two strangers who have met in a coffee shop and have struck up an interesting debate. Therefore, I have no qualms with conceding a point or admitting an ignorance. After all, one who insists he is always right… is wrong.

“People on this site generally strike me as level headed, mostly objective, but I’ve seen those same type of people throw all logic out the window when it comes to this topic.”
I doubt you’ll find a better site. There is an abundance of level-headedness on fluther.. (and that’s coming form someone who disagrees with 90% of the members)

“Many people will say that religion is peaceful, but I don’t see any of the big ones being all that peaceful in any way. And consider them rather oppressive. I think if we as humans ever expect this world to be peaceful, we’re going to have to ditch the religious stuff at some point.Thoughts?”
I have enjoyed indescribable and unprecedented peace and joy with my belief in God. It is for this reason that I continue to believe. I don’t fully understand God, nor do I expect to.. but what I have personally found is undeniable, unavoidable, and for those such as yourself.. unbelievable.

noraasnave's avatar

@SuperMouse I hear what you are saying about God is speaking but we (collective) have a problem with listening. I often wonder if that is my friend’s problem, that he won’t let go of the problems, and indeed, his own life long enough to silent his mind and listen. I gave up on controlling my life’s direction and decided to allow myself to be swept away by God’s design. There is no going back from this place.

There are times for me when God speaks over the noise that threatens to madden me, but those times are rare, it is the quiet mind I prepare for Him that He most often whispers His thoughts, His paradigms into.

ETpro's avatar

Simple answer. I don’t.

Mtrencher's avatar

Yes, when I was younger my parents taught me about Jesus and God and all that stuff. I still believe and have faith today because of a couple reasons: 1) Everyone needs something to believe in outside of life it self to give them a purpose for living. 2) I have asked God to help me through a situation and send me someone who can help me through it, and the next day he sent me someone who helped me through the situation.

Moegitto's avatar

A lot of people are answering the question with self-balanced responses. The TC (Topic Creator) is a person who asked a troll question (no other way to put it), one where the Topic asked “Why do you believe” and then posting a highly biased opinion towards it. In a way, it comes off as being self righteous and condescending to anyone that has a differing opinion.

Not attacking anyone, just saying the meat of the topic causes people to reply with a “how dare he” attitude instead of replying with something that a person with a differing opinion can understand.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Moegitto I want to disagree. I came out of the gate disagreeing with him and he was very polite.

There is a difference, in my mind, between people asking a question because they want to work something out internally and people asking a question to belittle others. @RandomMrdan seems to me to be working something out internally.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Thank you for defending me. I am not here to attack anyone. I am sorry for any delayed response to get back on here. I work nights, and it throws me out of wack sometimes.

I recently was talking to some friends, who were trying their best to prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the word of god was truth, and they believed in the “young earth theory”, described in Genesis in the bible. And they shared resources, which despite their glaring biased nature (answers.org, and answersingenesis.com if memory serves), I gave them a full look over, read several articles, and called out the things that didn’t make sense in my mind (which was mostly everything since it quoted mostly scriptures). And I went on to state they made no mention of any sort of scientific findings to account for truth in the bible. Oh, and not to mention it actually had a list of “talking points” to avoid having with evolutionists… I mean come on? Who would consider a source like this in the least bit credible?!

The websites they linked me to were in response to my claim about how the bible can’t explain dinosaurs. The only scientific evidence found on the website, were studies done discrediting the accuracy of “Carbon Dating -14”. Which again, I read the entire page of information, and for a moment, I actually thought dinosaur bones might have been a lot younger than we previously thought (65million years range). Scientists actually date fossils looking for forms of Uranium left in the bones. Which some of the uranium elements, such as Uranium 238, has a half life of 4.4 Billion years! And Uranium 238 half life studies have been done at all kinds of places, to include Standford University, by the United States Military for nuclear weapons, and you can find this same information in the Encyclopedia Britanica. Now,

So, I looked around at non biased sources, and found the same information. Carbon Dating is only accurate to something like 10,000 years… which wouldn’t help the case of dinosaurs being 65 million years. But I was still confused… I thought, why on earth would scientists use a method, they know wouldn’t put them in referenced time frame to make sense of? So I looked around for other methods used for dating fossils. And apparently Carbon Dating -14 isn’t even used for fossils such as dinosaur bones. It’s only used for dating plant life, or human civilizations from within the accuracy it’s good for, 10,000 years or younger.

I looked at every single verse suggesting the word “dragon” they showed me, and for each verse, I was able to find a huge variation in actual translation…. dragon could mean…. adder, cobra, serpeant, jackal, monster, and more. Which I thought was a bit inconsistent, and really not a reliable answer to making mention of the dinosaur, not to mention some of the verses were post flood era, which would mean, the dinosaurs were on the boat with Noah! And obviously, we have yet to find bones of dinosaurs post flood era, and we have yet to find human remains with dinosaur remains. I mean… the evidence is irrefutable!

Now to the really fun part of the conversation I had with them. At one point, I mentioned a study I recalled reading about. The study suggested that the part of the mind that controls skepticism, is often times almost completely disabled, when a person of faith is listening to a person they believe in (such as a preacher, or another person of faith). And when they take information from a person who isn’t of faith, they completely reject anything they have to say. After making mention of this article, they wanted me to find it. And after some searching, I did. I posted an article that was in a way similar, but I knew it wasn’t the right one. It was in fact an article from a scientific study, that concluded meditation and prayer actually helped people lower heart rate, blood pressure, and some other things. Which would actually have helped their argument about the power of prayer if anything. But instead, guess what happened? They didn’t even read the title of the article I posted. They just continued to argue on and on and on, completely disregarding what I gave them. To which at that point, I posted my original article I made mention of (at this point a couple hours after the original), and thanked them for actually validating the evidence even more. I asked them why they couldn’t at least return the favor of even reading the short articles I had found. And they do nothing but dodge, and refute, and refute.

After I found the Uranium 238 bit, the conversation took a complete twist. They gave up trying to refute my evidence, and instead, turned to re-interpreting Genesis altogether. Which not to mention, contradicts the very position they had originally held previous in the debate! Now they argued that, if God made Adam and Eve with age (fully grown), perhaps God made the Earth full grown (billions of years old). And that’s when I stopped talking to them after a closing statement calling them out on the illogical ways.

Ignorance must be bliss, is the conclusion I’ve come to. Creationists seem to continue only trying to dismiss science using “talking points” that I am now finding in all the rhetoric and propaganda I’m finding on these utterly terrible websites, spreading nothing but mis-information. It truly seems sad to me.

Faith is not a reason. Uttering “because I have faith” only changes the question from why do you believe to why do you have faith. The only difference is that you removed “evidence” from the list of possible answers. Faith is simply believing that something is true, because you want it to be true. That is neither honest, nor is it something to base the decisions you make each day off of.

Thank you all for taking the time to answer. I am now going to review all your responses that I’ve made my findings. If anyone cares to PM me on my conversation listed above, I’d be delighted to talk about it in more detail if you’d like =)

I think I’ve gotten all the information I need for the moment.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Oh, and to the individuals above, who stated something to the effect of “People need answers to the unexplainable”. I think some people do need that to fall back onto. But… think about how that mindset of answering “oh, well god did it” has set back humanity?

And also… I am of the opinion, that even if there is a God, and I am wrong. I will still go to heaven. The reason why? Because he has made me this skeptical, and this curious. He has given me no reason to believe his existence, and I don’t feel he can fault me for that. His word was meant to be clear, but I don’t understand it (nor does anyone I think, and people always re-interpret to fit their views). But, again, if there is a creator in the off chance I am wrong, he cannot fault me for not believing his existence, he hasn’t provided me with sufficient evidence.

@digitalimpression And by the way, I don’t always think about where my bacon comes from… but I do occasionally say things like… “mmm this cow tastes good!”... and I also worry about the effects all the bad food has on my body, hahahaha.

@SuperMouse The fact that you were absolutely terrified of God pretty much reaffirms why I think religion continues. A religion should not be based on fears of the creator. It just feels very, very wrong. I am convinced that religion continues through a form of fear (though not all religions). Much like in the way, if you tell children to be good all year, they’ll get gifts from Santa at Christmas time… and if they’re bad, they’ll get coal. It would seem that the original choice all together is an illusion. Who would choose hell over heaven, and still think they had a choice in the matter?

Paradox25's avatar

I think that the author here has many misconceptions about why people believe in god, or at least a higher purpose. On top of this not everybody has the same view of what ‘God’ even is. Many people believe in a higher purpose due to vivid personal experiences, as any hospice nurse would tell you. Not all theists (like myself) are religious either. I do agree with your argument that religion, especially the more dogmatic ones, can have a very negative effect on people and society in general.

LostInParadise's avatar

@RandomMrdan , Try asking your friends why they chose Christianity. I tried that here, and the usual explanation was faith, which begs the question. Why faith in one religion and not another?

SuperMouse's avatar

@RandomMrdan the key there is that I used to be terrified of God. As I grew I realize that the Catholic religion twists God’s love and uses it as a tool to try to control people’s behavior. @LostInParadise that pretty much explains why I chose the faith I did. Because they do not use dogma or the threat of hell to try to control people. Bahá’ís don’t believe religion should be used as an excuse to hate but can be the catalyst for bringing people together.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, to me it boils down to this: How do you explain the natural laws? And how do you explain the explanation of the natural laws?

There is absolutely no physical evidence that the natural laws can explain themselves. There is absolutely no physical evidence that there’s a multiverse with universes of every possible combination of natural laws. There is logical evidence that science cannot explain everything (simple second order logic will do the trick). There is no evidence that faith in religions requires indoctrination during childhood (some atheists simply make this claim without being able to back it up).

I find it ridiculous that atheist fundamentalists truly believe that most religious or spiritual people are either intellectually retarded or psychologically handicapped and hence in need of the crutch of a big father figure in the sky.

ragingloli's avatar

There is also absolutely no evidence that any form of supernatural entity or realm exists or is even necessary.
I find it ridiculous that you fail to apply that to your religion and god.
You are basically saying “I don’t understand it, therefore god”.

mattbrowne's avatar

I agree, @ragingloli, that there’s no physical evidence for the existence of God. But this doesn’t change the fact that there’s no physical evidence that the natural laws can explain themselves either. I didn’t say, we can’t explain the explanation, therefore there is a god. There is no proof. There is no therefore. All there is, is a belief. And beliefs are not necessarily true. They might be true, but we can’t be sure.

digitalimpression's avatar

“Thank you for defending me. I am not here to attack anyone.”
I would have to agree with @Moegitto that your original question had a biased slant from jump street which can potentially lead to some defensive answers. However, I think everyone has a bias, whether they would like to admit it or not so I wasn’t put off by it.

“I recently was talking to some friends, who were trying their best to prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the word of god was truth, and they believed in the “young earth theory”, described in Genesis in the bible. And they shared resources, which despite their glaring biased nature (answers.org, and answersingenesis.com if memory serves), I gave them a full look over, read several articles, and called out the things that didn’t make sense in my mind (which was mostly everything since it quoted mostly scriptures). And I went on to state they made no mention of any sort of scientific findings to account for truth in the bible. Oh, and not to mention it actually had a list of “talking points” to avoid having with evolutionists… I mean come on? Who would consider a source like this in the least bit credible?!”
There is no such thing as “beyond a shadow of a doubt”. That’s where faith comes in. (And I know that sounds absurd to someone who doesn’t have any.)
John 20:29
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
I understand the futility of quoting a bible verse to a non-believer but I fail to see how it is any different than quoting scientific theories (not discoveries, or reproduceable results, but theories) as evidence of some kind.

“The websites they linked me to were in response to my claim about how the bible can’t explain dinosaurs. The only scientific evidence found on the website, were studies done discrediting the accuracy of “Carbon Dating -14”. Which again, I read the entire page of information, and for a moment, I actually thought dinosaur bones might have been a lot younger than we previously thought (65million years range). Scientists actually date fossils looking for forms of Uranium left in the bones. Which some of the uranium elements, such as Uranium 238, has a half life of 4.4 Billion years! And Uranium 238 half life studies have been done at all kinds of places, to include Standford University, by the United States Military for nuclear weapons, and you can find this same information in the Encyclopedia Britanica. Now, So, I looked around at non biased sources, and found the same information. Carbon Dating is only accurate to something like 10,000 years… which wouldn’t help the case of dinosaurs being 65 million years. But I was still confused… I thought, why on earth would scientists use a method, they know wouldn’t put them in referenced time frame to make sense of? So I looked around for other methods used for dating fossils. And apparently Carbon Dating -14 isn’t even used for fossils such as dinosaur bones. It’s only used for dating plant life, or human civilizations from within the accuracy it’s good for, 10,000 years or younger.”
I’m not sure what you’re driving at with this but to me it looks as if the whole Carbon Dating thing is sketchy at best. I’ve always marveled at the fact that what is in the Bible is excused as fairy tale, but if it is written in a book and labeled science it is more readily accepted (regardless of the readers personal experience or experimentation with the information inside).

“I looked at every single verse suggesting the word “dragon” they showed me, and for each verse, I was able to find a huge variation in actual translation…. dragon could mean…. adder, cobra, serpeant, jackal, monster, and more. Which I thought was a bit inconsistent, and really not a reliable answer to making mention of the dinosaur, not to mention some of the verses were post flood era, which would mean, the dinosaurs were on the boat with Noah! And obviously, we have yet to find bones of dinosaurs post flood era, and we have yet to find human remains with dinosaur remains. I mean… the evidence is irrefutable!”
I doubt the goal of the authors of the bible had anything to do with scientifically proving anything. I doubt it was intended to assuage those who can believe only what they can see. Therefore, at least to me, it makes no difference which version of the word “dragon” was intended. The bible is a story being recounted and told by various authors… more of a personal account than a scientific proof. I can hear the skeptics crying foul but why would anyone bother to throw science at the dinosaur problem when the bible also contains things such as turning water into wine and parting the red sea? It doesn’t make sense to me to muddle with details when the scope of the story as a whole already transcends the capabilities of modern science. Phrases such as “we have yet to find” certainly do not qualify as “irrefutable”.

“Now to the really fun part of the conversation I had with them. At one point, I mentioned a study I recalled reading about. The study suggested that the part of the mind that controls skepticism, is often times almost completely disabled, when a person of faith is listening to a person they believe in (such as a preacher, or another person of faith). And when they take information from a person who isn’t of faith, they completely reject anything they have to say. After making mention of this article, they wanted me to find it. And after some searching, I did. I posted an article that was in a way similar, but I knew it wasn’t the right one. It was in fact an article from a scientific study, that concluded meditation and prayer actually helped people lower heart rate, blood pressure, and some other things. Which would actually have helped their argument about the power of prayer if anything. But instead, guess what happened? They didn’t even read the title of the article I posted. They just continued to argue on and on and on, completely disregarding what I gave them. To which at that point, I posted my original article I made mention of (at this point a couple hours after the original), and thanked them for actually validating the evidence even more. I asked them why they couldn’t at least return the favor of even reading the short articles I had found. And they do nothing but dodge, and refute, and refute.”
That just sounds like defensiveness. People who are religious are certainly not immune to it. As you mentioned, there are studies that claim all sorts of things.. which studies do we choose to accept and which to deny? Just watch the news.. there is a new study claiming a certain type of food is the greatest thing in the world to eat.. next thing you know they are telling you not to eat it as much. Personally, I cannot blindly except something under the name of “study” any more than I can religion. My belief in God has stood the test of time through trials, tribulations, experimentation, and personal, empirical evidence. This, to me, is much more tangible than something published to the internet with the label “scientific study” slapped onto it.

“After I found the Uranium 238 bit, the conversation took a complete twist. They gave up trying to refute my evidence, and instead, turned to re-interpreting Genesis altogether. Which not to mention, contradicts the very position they had originally held previous in the debate! Now they argued that, if God made Adam and Eve with age (fully grown), perhaps God made the Earth full grown (billions of years old). And that’s when I stopped talking to them after a closing statement calling them out on the illogical ways.”
Once they started getting defensive, all productive interaction was thrown out the window. Christians are human too. Many of them (and I am still learning every day with this myself) lack the ability to converse about, debate, analayze and relate ideas to others. Part of the problem I think is that for some Christians (myself included) the existence of God is so obvious on a personal level that it is maddening that others don’t believe; and by extension cannot unwrap the gift which is before them. Of course the reverse is probably true for you… so it is understandable when these sorts of conversations go awry.

“Ignorance must be bliss, is the conclusion I’ve come to. Creationists seem to continue only trying to dismiss science using “talking points” that I am now finding in all the rhetoric and propaganda I’m finding on these utterly terrible websites, spreading nothing but mis-information. It truly seems sad to me.”
Funny, that’s exactly how I sometimes think of non-believers.

“Faith is not a reason. Uttering “because I have faith” only changes the question from why do you believe to why do you have faith. The only difference is that you removed “evidence” from the list of possible answers. Faith is simply believing that something is true, because you want it to be true. That is neither honest, nor is it something to base the decisions you make each day off of.”
Replace every “you” or “I” in this phrase with your name and I’ll agree 100%. Understand that for religious people (which is a vast number of people on planet earth) there is something beyond the readily observable. There is something that is beyond the natural world.. beyond what can be easily explained. Faith may not be a reason for you, but excluding it as an object of weight (in the face of millions of personal accounts) is a bit naive.

“Thank you all for taking the time to answer. I am now going to review all your responses that I’ve made my findings. If anyone cares to PM me on my conversation listed above, I’d be delighted to talk about it in more detail if you’d like =)”
Oops. I just now got to this part. Should I PM instead?

“And also… I am of the opinion, that even if there is a God, and I am wrong. I will still go to heaven. The reason why? Because he has made me this skeptical, and this curious. He has given me no reason to believe his existence, and I don’t feel he can fault me for that. His word was meant to be clear, but I don’t understand it (nor does anyone I think, and people always re-interpret to fit their views). But, again, if there is a creator in the off chance I am wrong, he cannot fault me for not believing his existence, he hasn’t provided me with sufficient evidence.”
That’s a little Pascal’s Wager-esque. I wouldn’t recommend it as a choice.. by the virtue of the fact that it isn’t one. xD

”@digitalimpression And by the way, I don’t always think about where my bacon comes from… but I do occasionally say things like… “mmm this cow tastes good!”... and I also worry about the effects all the bad food has on my body, hahahaha.”
I could really go for a BLT right now.

LostInParadise's avatar

As long as we are opening up our atheist versus theist debate, here is my basic question I have about religion:

What the heck difference does religion make?

More specifically:
1. Apart from talk and ritual, what does a religious person do that is different from a non-religious person?

2. What actions does belief in God enable us to perform that we could not otherwise perform?

The Medieval theologians were satirized as discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. As far as I can see, all of religion is angels and pinheads.

SuperMouse's avatar

For the life of me I can never understand why these threads always degenerate into someone (sometimes more than one someone) mocking those who believe with talk (in the case of this thread) about how believers think they are somehow afforded magic or other powers because they believe or they are just silly and there beliefs just come down to “angels and pinheads.” What is it about so many atheists here on Fluther that makes them so intent on convincing believers of how wrong they are to believe?

I have no idea what I do differently from a person who does not believe in God other than praying and belonging to a community of faith. I know that my faith enriches my life, that is the beginning and the end of it for me.

As far as I know there is no action that I am able to perform that atheists cannot perform. I know that my faith enriches my life, that is the beginning and the end of it for me.

I do not care one way or another whether anyone else believes in God. I do not judge anyone who doesn’t believe in God. This question earnestly asked believers to share why they have faith. My sharing my reasons was not a way of covertly inviting The Collective to question my faith.

LostInParadise's avatar

Okay, along the lines of why you have faith, could you tell us in what ways your faith enriches your life? Can you give examples? I don’t question your faith. I am maintaining that it is all words, something along the lines of a motivational speaker. Prove me wrong.

ragingloli's avatar

It is simple really. You would not get away with unfounded claims about any other topic either.
If I claimed that I had a 2 tonne diamond buried in my garden, I would be, and rightly so, be called out on that, and if I responded to that with “that belief enriches my life”, you would, rightly so, think that I am crazy. The label of religion does absolve anyone from criticism.

SuperMouse's avatar

@LostInParadise first, I am not invested enough in you or what you do or do not believe to try to prove you wrong. Second I could wax poetic for hours on end about how my faith enriches my life and the people in these threads who assert that it is not only their right but their responsibility to tell me how ignorant I am to have faith would read through my words, dismiss them, then go on about their business of telling me how wrong and deserving of criticism I am.

Now, go ahead and call me out for not being willing to share. This isn’t my first religious rodeo here on Fluther and I would expect nothing less.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@mattbrowne I think you may like this video. I won’t claim to understand it all, but it goes into detail about parallel universes.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@SuperMouse you’re right, the key is you “used” to be scared. Which in a way brings more truth to the idea that fear is what continues to spread religion.

Upon more interesting reads, of old earth creationism, and progressive creationism, I’ve started to think that Darwinism isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. However, I still think religions are wrong. But I thought it was great in this documentary called “Expelled”, trying to find out why intelligent design was taken out of science. One of my favorite points was when Ben Stein asked Dawkins to try and fit Intelligent Design into the theory of darwinism. And he did, and it fit rather well… despite darwinism not being entirely factual. He stated that an intelligent life started somewhere else, followed the rules of darwinism, and became highly advanced to the point they could create a self replicating cell. And then they placed it here on earth… which would be Intelligent Design without the existence of God. Which I found to be interesting. Which made me then realize, Intelligent Design isn’t necessarily about God, but often times, it takes a twist that direction.

@digitalimpression Carbon Dating some might consider sketchy at best, but I think it’s because the lamen don’t always understand it. As I don’t even fully understand it. But, if you can find a constant at which something decays, and there might be a slight variance to account for environmental attributes. It makes sense, and one can imagine, you have several different elements you can test for, putting them into reference of age, based on the element you test and it’s half life.

I still cannot agree with any single religion. And I will not practice them in any way, shape or form unless I experience divine interaction with our creator(s). Also, in the event of having to meet a god, I would have a few questions… “Why the hell did you make yourself so mysterious?” “Why didn’t you make yourself known to me?”, or anything similar to those two.

ragingloli's avatar

@RandomMrdan
If that designer evolved itself, it defeats the entire point of intelligent design, which claims that certain things can not evolve by themselves. Then you can skip that designer altogether and say that life evolved on earth without a designer, if a designer can evolve without being designed itself. Occam’s Razor.
If you really want to know why Intelligent Design was kicked out of class rooms, watch this documentary by PBS instead a propaganda piece by a dumb hack like Stein.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@ragingloli I’ll take a look at it. And point well put. But, the underlying point I think in the documentary I watched, was no one can explain how inorganic suddenly became organic life… but hopefully one day, we can create life in a lab and replicate exactly how life came to be.

annewilliams5's avatar

I know it’s been said, but religion isn’t based on faith. Religion is an organization of beliefs. Faith is that which one has in the unseen, the unproven. I choose the organization of beliefs, religion, that I am most comfortable with. It’s up to each individual.

flutherother's avatar

We are the dust of reductionism caught in the light of God.

Ron_C's avatar

@SuperMouse “do not care one way or another whether anyone else believes in God. I do not judge anyone who doesn’t believe in God. This question earnestly asked believers to share why they have faith. My sharing my reasons was not a way of covertly inviting The Collective to question my faith.” Even though I’m a atheist, I agree with your conclusion.

I read the question and answers to find out why people have those beliefs. I am like Thomas, I can’t believe by faith alone. I need proof and think that if there really was a caring god out there he’d supply at least a modicum of proof to help those of us, that are lacking, to believe.

digitalimpression's avatar

@no1inparticular As a parent, I don’t expect my kids to get hit by a car before they believe it’s a bad idea.

Putting forth that sort of “ultimatum” (one in which you demand things from a deity) towards a divine being is silly.

@SuperMouse You have said very well what I could not. I appreciate it. Great answers. It makes no difference what personal experience you bring to the table in the form of a personal account. Skeptics, it seems, will accept nothing less than God appearing before them and turning their laptop into a glowing ember which speaks… I bet even then there are some who would claim it was an optical illusion or a magic trick of some kind.

@RandomMrdan Well you see the problem I have then. You don’t fully understand Carbon 14 dating but you are willing to accept it. I don’t fully understand God but I am willing to accept Him. What’s the difference?

Everyone believes in something.

dabbler's avatar

Knowing isn’t all science and provability. Knowing is an internal experience. Lots of knowing transcends description with mere words. Real knowing often involves no external ‘evidence’. That’s not something you can prove, but it’s real anyhow.
And just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s not real either.

Yet the rationalist religion runs strong in some folks, and in their belief system it is not possible for themselves or anyone else to ‘know’ something that is not provable. They can’t prove you don’t know what you know, but they sure as hell believe you don’t know. Go figure.

LostInParadise's avatar

How do you use your knowledge? What can you do with it?

dabbler's avatar

Enjoy it, relish it, experience it. Maybe even share it with someone who has had a similar experience.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@digitalimpression I don’t fully understand, but for the mere fact that scientists do. And there is concrete factual evidence to support the rate of decay. You cannot refute that.

@ragingloli Very good documentary. Upon watching it, it was quite obvious that Intelligent Design was merely Creationism in disguise (which I realize, it would lead to a god discussion if taught anyways). But, I did think it was interesting in the movie “Expressed” that if under darwinism, a far more advanced race very well could have created us, but, that isn’t what Intelligent Design is… ID suggests creatures were suddenly in full form, no evolution at all. Which I cannot get behind.

I continue to have faith in no religion due to lack of evidence, and continued faith in science, from actual evidence, and the continual findings of new evidence. Also, in the documentary @ragingloli linked, it made a point, that no findings of any kind have actually contradicted evolution in 150 years… which considering the leaps technologically we’ve made in that time, I find quite remarkable.

I was talking to a friend today at lunch, and his views made since to me, and I can go along with his ideas. Not that we have a heaven and a hell, but maybe there is something after, but we don’t know. Perhaps is has something to do with energy. I remember, reading something about energy somewhere, something about “Energy is never destroyed, but merely transfers into something else”, something of the sort at least… I’m a little vague, but it’s what came to mind.

Also, it pointed out that Intelligent Design doesn’t actually have anything it’s tested, and it cannot be tested to be proven, therefore making it… not a theory. I take that back, they did have a test they COULD make, but didn’t. It was putting some single celled organisms into a petry dish, and allowing them to live for thousands of years, and to see what develops…. to which they were asked, have you done so? And they said no. Which is why it wasn’t allowed to be taught in science class, it is completely baseless. Not to mention the infringement of the 1st amendment, and it violating the “Establishment Clause” which would advocate a particular set of beliefs.

Anyways, I’m off to watch “Hunger Games” with some friends. Good night all =)

RandomMrdan's avatar

For anyone still following this, you might also be interested in this question I asked as well…

http://www.fluther.com/141951/have-there-been-any-wars-that-can-be-argued-had-absolutely/

digitalimpression's avatar

@RandomMrdan So “scientists”, then, are your “God” yes? Because as you mentioned, you don’t fully understand what it is they are doing.. but by virtue of the fact that they are scientists it is undoubtedly credible?

I won’t make any claims about Carbon 14 dating .. If I met a girl named Carbon 14 I probably wouldn’t date her anyhow.

Moegitto's avatar

@RandomMrdan I also take night classes so I’m late getting back to answering my answer. I wasn’t saying you WERE being condescending or anything, just it seemed like it. Your point was strong, and in turn a lot of people were responding strong. People completely missed my point, I’m Agnostic so I kinda don’t choose either side. I just know that people respond to things in the way they “perceive” they heard/listened to it. I agree with your point, religion is forced on humans at a young age, a age where you have no choice in the matter. Human beings tend to stick to patterns, even people that don’t go to church still claim some form of religion. For a small time I was Atheist but most of the ones I met with were the same as religious zealots, their way was the only way and your trash if you don’t think their way. Being Agnostic allows me to sit back and study both sides of the story, PERSONALLY I think religion is forced on us to keep a form of “control” over humanity. Without religion humans would not have a reason to act civil, murder, burglary, rape, and other crimes would be a constant way of life instead of a random incident. But at the same time, as a African-American born and raised in Washington DC and serving 9 years in the US Army, the fact that the bible has a whole chapter dedicated to praising slavery and saying it’s right to subjugate another man, beat him, and trade him like livestock should ring an alarm inside my head. But because I’m smart enough (not being mean) to understand that the bible is a book of madness in itself I can easily overlook that part, especially since churches go out of their way to NOT preach that part. There are 3 stories in the bible that aren’t preached about Jesus Christ that would make that book awesome, but because it portrays him in a “different” light churches got the stories removed (Jesus vs a Dragon, Jesus and the Puddle, and another one I can’t recall). Why select stories that were written about him to take out and leave in only the “good” parts? Control methods at work. I’m too stupid to prove there is no God but I’m smart enough to know I don’t know how we all got here, but I can say because I practiced Christianity, Catholicism, Methodism, and Seven-Day Advent-ism I can say without a doubt that religion causes more problems than they solve, regardless of WHAT the true meaning is.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@digitalimpression Scientists are far from gods. Of course I can’t understand fully on all levels the math that goes into what they are able to prove. But, the one pattern I’ve recognized with all the people I’ve had try and convince me their god was right, and science was wrong, merely tried to undermine science (with mostly faulty claims, and blanket statements meant as talking points). But they had nothing to contribute to their own case. And yes, I find scientists highly credible (much more so than a preacher telling me about the bible). Because they are learning from evidence that we can test, time and time again. Do I go to a church to worship them? No, that’s absurd. I don’t have faith in them either (because faith is believing with lack of evidence, to which they actually have). I do agree with them, but not on all accounts. Not like I’m reading and believing every single word they’ve ever said.

I agree with dating a girl named Carbon -14 though… sounds like bad news to me.

@Moegitto I know what you’re saying about morals… I think some people need them. But I don’t think that society would plummet into the dark ages through chaos and killing if it slowly went away… slowly that is. You can’t just outright ban religion. That would be chaos. You can take a look at any country in the world today who’s population is mostly atheist. And when you take a look at crime rates, murder, infant death, or any other spectrum of bad stuff, they’re usually the lowest. Switzerland for example. Something like 80% atheist country, and it has by far the best standards in regard to crimes and things of that nature.

Moegitto's avatar

@RandomMrdan Religion does have great morals (not killing and the likes), but there is always an extremist view on something. This country views the Westboro’s protesting of military members funerals as constitutional, meaning it is their right to do that (they actually won a case against a family pressing charges on them and the family actually had to pay THEM damages). If they are so “Christian” based they would A:) Not protest a humans final moments and B:) Know that there is a passage in the bible that talks about wars between nations being ok in Gods eyes. Religion faces the same problems as Black people, there’s good ones and bad ones. 63% of the worlds scientists don’t have an opinion on religion because it doesn’t affect them. I think if we all took that attitude (Atheist’s and Religious alike) then there wouldn’t be arguments, people would just accept that someone doesn’t share their same thought process. I’ve read the bible A LOT and I’ve haven’t seen anything in there that could ever be taken so serious as people actually do, I did read that you should love your neighbor. And for some reason something so simple is overlooked. And that is where conversations like this come from. It’s easy to understand why someone may not believe in a higher being, but it’s easy to see why someone would put faith in something too. The problem comes from people REFUSING to see the others perspective, people are flat out denying another persons opinion. Like I already stated I’m in between, so I can understand both sides. That’s why it amazes me some of the reasons people tell ME why I don’t believe in a solid God (You haven’t heard the word, God hasn’t had a reason to talk to you yet, etc.) instead of listening to what is coming out of my mouth. My mom tries to push stuff on me all the time because she refuses to believe her son doesn’t believe in her God. I identify with Christianity because I believe that is a good way to live, but I see no reason to go inside a building, get on my knees, and pray for someone or something to change something in my life. I create change myself, the reason why we’re on this planet is to create an impact.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@LostInParadise Why should @SuperMouse have to “prove you wrong” or justify her belief that her faith has enriched her life to you? She has already said that she doesn’t care who does or does not believe in God.

Belief or lack of should be a personal thing. It’s not something that should have to be justified providing it is not being forced onto other people.

LostInParadise's avatar

I have no problem discussing those things that have enriched my life. If @SuperMouse declines to do so, that is of course her option. I was just providing an opportunity to refute my claim that religion is nothing but word and ritual.

digitalimpression's avatar

@RandomMrdan I think that the farther science advances the more proof there will be of God.

ragingloli's avatar

In all the history of science, not a single piece of evidence for god has been discovered.
On the contrary, things and events claimed by religion have again and again been utterly disproven.

SuperMouse's avatar

@LostInParadise I know better than to try to refute the claim on anyone here on Fluther when it comes to atheism. The thing is that no one here could care any less than they already do about how my faith enriches my life; they just want to hear what I have to say so they may try to debunk it. In case that sounds like complaining or whining, let me assure you it isn’t, it is just reality based on every thread of this kind ever in the history of Fluther. Maybe slight hyperbole there, but you get the picture. Thanks for the opportunity but as I said before, I am not invested enough in your claim to be the least bit interested in refuting it.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@digitalimpression I’d really like to know what proof you’re referring to. Because I find that statement to be the opposite.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@ragingloli In the history of science, it has been clearly established that cause doesn’t really follow from effect, time has no universal consistency, and that no mathematical model can be a complete and consistent set of axioms for all of the mathematics it contains. Oh, and you really can’t know where exactly anything is if you know exactly how fast it is going.

It seems odd people would assume it is the true interpretation of reality, because occasionally it can embarrass other thought systems, under terms and conditions it sets up as definitive.

LostInParadise's avatar

There will always be things left to be explained in science. You can continuously ask why and at some point will reach an end to what can be proved. If and when quantum mechanics and relativity are unified by a theory of everything, there still remains the question of why this theory of everything is true.

However, the limitations of science is not cause to believe in religion. That is the old god of the gaps trick. Science provides a means for determining the consequences of our actions. If you do such and such you will get such and such result, perhaps in a probabilistic sense.

There is nothing comparable in religion. It tells us nothing. For the sake of the argument, I will assume that whatever holy book you use is the absolute truth. My question is, so what? What difference does it make if God exists and behaved according to your scripture? How does that alter my behavior. Go ahead and tell me that you are only good in order to attain eternal bliss, and I will give you my condolences. Tell me you believe in the power of prayer and I will provide you with counter-examples. Governor RIck Perry and a stadium full of his supporters prayed to end the drought in Texas. If volume of prayer makes a difference, Texas should have received bountiful rainfall. Nothing of the kind happened. So I issue once again the challenge. Tell me what difference religion makes. So far nobody here has offered an explanation.

digitalimpression's avatar

@RandomMrdan I’m not speaking of any current proof, I’m only suggesting that science and religion are not necessarily at odds with each other.

mattbrowne's avatar

@RandomMrdan – I know these videos. I’m also reading Brian Greene’s recent book “The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos” right now. I’m familiar with Tegmark’s ideas. This still doesn’t mean there’s evidence for all postulated parallel universes, let alone conclusive evidence. The only good hypothesis is the many world interpretation to explain the double slit experiment. But this interpretation isn’t about a multiverse with an infinite number of variations of natural laws. And even such a multiverse requires some ultimate explanation. An explanation we cannot prove.

Keep also in mind that only a subset of religious people make unfounded claims such as “it’s absolutely true that God exists”. The vast majority of people outside of the bible belt talk about beliefs. They also understand the concept of metaphors such as Jesus walking on water or Jesus talking about people to be salt.

Again, the attempts of overzealous atheists depicting believers as unintelligent will fail.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@mattbrowne I’ve seen several videos on the double slit experiment. It’s quite interesting to say the least. Very strange, as if the electrons knew they were being watched during the experiment, and acted differently.

@digitalimpression I can’t think of any proof that proves the existence of god either. In fact, I’ve noticed that each time science does make a profound discovery to the extent that it would undermine Genesis, or something else from the bible. Religious individuals will take the time to consider the readings again, and rationalize in their minds how it all can still make since. I feel I have to disagree with your statement that “they aren’t at odds”.

digitalimpression's avatar

@RandomMrdan

1 Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

If you try to use a whisk to eat your cereal, it’s going to take you longer than someone who has a spoon.

mattbrowne's avatar

@RandomMrdan – Yes, it is. But it’s still not a conclusive proof of the many worlds interpretation.

Bill1939's avatar

I wish questions and their responses included the date that they were submitted. Given how many responses RandomMrdan’s question received, I am likely very late in offering my answer.

I began my religious education as a Roman Catholic. However my mother’s practice when I was little was mostly limited to high holidays, though she made me attend every Sunday. Father, on the other hand, was a silent agnostic/athiest. So my indoctrination was limited to what children younger than seven receive. We moved to California when I was seven and my only contact with religion was the Baptist Bible Bus that came to our trailer court to provide Christian teachings to the court’s children.

I was eleven when the family moved back to Chicago, and attended catechism classes Wednesday afternoon. We would march the dozen or so blocks from the public elementary school to the neighborhood Catholic Church. I got into a bit of trouble there because I would ask questions of the nun teaching the class that frustrated her. For example, one day she drew a circle on the black board to illustrate God being eternal and I pointed out that she had to start the circle. That got me sent to the Priest’s office where we argued the question of whether the story of Adam and Eve could be true in the light of evidence of early humans’ existence—his answer was devolution after the fall, but I still had my doubts.

I wasn’t baptized until I was thirteen, but the Church required my parents to be married before they would allow it. They were married, of course, but by City Hall. Not every child gets to watch their parents wedding. I’m not sure that the ceremony was completed as when it came time for Mother to say “I do” she fainted. But my sister and I were baptized, and a few weeks later I received First Communion.

I really wanted to believe. I attended Conformation classes and received this sacrament when I was sixteen. However, the hoped for transformation from a doubting Thomas to a True Believer never happened. I then went looking for another Christian Church that might provide the emotional bond that I felt lacking in Catholicism, but found none that I could connect with. A high school friend said his church’s group was going to visit a church that I had not seen, so I went along. The service was pretty much the same as all the others I had seen, but afterwards we met with the elders and other church members and I heard the kids asking questions that I had been asking. The group was LRYers, and I found a home in the Unitarian Church.

I was twenty-five when I attended college. My beliefs at that point were more agnostic than atheistic, yet I could not give up believing all of the essential tenants of Christianity. Studies of Eastern religions and their philosophies provided perturbation. Still, I tried to integrate the divergent perspectives. Being the late sixities, “New Age” notions were popular and Baba Ram Dass was a key figure in my attempt to find my spiritual perspective then. This was followed by a score of years when I was drawn into what some consider the occult beliefs. I became adepts at reading Tarot and the I-Ching, doing divinations for other and practiced “magnetic healing” and other esoteric activities. I even attempted to rationalize astrology by trying to link the movement of gravitational fields to explain why information derived from astrological charts seemed accurate. During this time I was also active in the Liberal Catholic Church.

My spiritual evolution has lead me away from traditional Western and Eastern beliefs. The closest to what I feel to be true are some of the aspects of Buddhism, though I would not consider this to be my religion. I still believe myself to be a follower of Christ, but different from most Christians (eschewing original sin, dying for my sins past and future, etc.). I would like to consider myself a “Saint in Training” though the notion seems rather grandiose. I deeply believe that one can find purpose by increasing understanding and compassion, learning to recognize opportunities to ameliorate suffering and developing a willingness to act. My mantra is open mind, open heart.

Ron_C's avatar

@Bill1939 Amazing journey, GA!

ragingloli's avatar

“Saint in Training”? “Open Mind”? “Open Heart”? Are you testing me, Satan?
Are you not all entitled to your half-arsed musings on the divine? You have thought about eternity for twenty-five minutes and think you have come to some interesting conclusions.
Well Let me tell you, I stand with 2000 years of darkness and bafflement and hunger behind me. My kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants, and I could not give a ha’penny jizz about your internet assembled philosophy.

augustlan's avatar

@Bill1939 If you hover your mouse just to the right of “Flag as” (right below an answer), you’ll see a red paragraph symbol. Hover over that, and it’ll tell you when the answer was posted. Also, @ragingloli claims to be an alien, so… :)

Bill1939's avatar

ragingloli, if the God you believe in created souls to be harvested by “your kind,” then as far as I am concerned your God is not God. I suspect that “your kind” was born into the kind of suffering that warps perspective, and I feel for you. I wish I could do something to mitigate the damage your life’s experiences have caused you, and caused you to damage the lives of others. However, I know your needs are beyond my abilities.

You should have observed from what I wrote that my understanding of creation had been largely formed before we had access to an internet, and even before personal computers were available. However, from what you wrote, I gather that the facts are irrelevant when they do not support your beliefs. I hope you find peace someday.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Bill1939 , After all that eschewing, I am not sure what there is of a religious nature that remains. I am trying to form a secular spirituality group. Care to join?

Bill1939's avatar

Yes LostInParadise, I would like to join such a group. I did not intend to write nearly 700 words on this topic, and probably said too much. However, I did not exhaust my thoughts about spirituality. For example, I have come to believe that maybe we are born physical creatures in order to evolve into spiritual creatures (definitions of terms would require a separate topic), or that in the distant future the existence consciousness might not require a physical existence. Call me wishy-washy, but no matter how much supportive evidence I am aware of will ever prevent me from entertaining doubts about anything that I think I know.

LostInParadise's avatar

You mention “willingness to act,” That is what it comes down to. A good person is someone who does good things. It does not matter to me what reasons you may have.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualaikum(may peace be on you)..

I was born in a Muslim family. And since my childhood I heard from my parents, relatives and learned scholars to believe that there is no God but One God Almighty..I also used to hear about the day of judgement that will take place in an appointed time and all the Human beings will have to answer as to what they did in the world…and told me not do anything bad because I will have to answer for that….these things scared me,not all the time but some times…and some times it made me to act in a good way…....

Later on just a couple years from now I started reading the Holy Quran(which we Muslims and many believe is the last and final revelatioin from God Almighty to Human kind)... then I realized what really Islam is…and why did God Almighty created us for etc…and my faith became more firm in the Quran and in God Almighty…

In the same revealed book I read ”

Allah(God Almighty) created the entire Humankind with the “fitrah”...

As Allah says in the Quran:

“So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the ‘fitrah’ of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.”(30:30)

Fitrah – The Fitrah is the natural state of disposition towards which all human beings possess in believing in only One God. The Qur’an says that all souls had been gathered in Paradise and we all agreed that we would worship none but Him (7:172). So it is referring to this consciousness of the Divine (Taqwa).

So every human being is born with a Fitrah i.e, God consciousness….in other words it can be said that every Human being is born as a Muslim (Please Note:- One of the Meanings of Muslim is “one who submits his will to Allah(God Almighty))
It is later that they convert to other beliefs and follow what their families follow….

Allah’s(God Almighty’s) message to the humankind :

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.”(Quran 4:1)....

Further Allah says :

[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving -(67:2)

…..................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................

Salaam.

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