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ETpro's avatar

Theists, how did you decide which god or gods you would worship?

Asked by ETpro (34412points) January 7th, 2013

Let’s be honest. Most of us make the momentous choice quite haphazardly, simply worshiping the god of our forebears. Realistically, had you been born in the Rome of Julius Caesar, you would not be a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, Buddhist or a Jain. You would almost certainly believe that Jupiter and Juno were the king and queen of the gods. You would be certain that Apollo was in charge of music, archery, medicine… You’d be equally confident that Diana was the Fertility Goddess, Moon Goddess, and Huntress Goddess.

There are those who, at some point in their lives, go on a religious quest, dabbling in one after another of the great religions of today’s world before settling on one that seems best to suit them, or perhaps adopting a bit of this and a bit of that, as if sampling all the tasty treats at a smorgasbord. My sense is this is rare, though. And even those who do try on lots of belief systems for size are bound to leave many untapped. Just as surely as most of us in the Western world now grow up to worship Christ, you would have worshiped Hunab Ku if you had been born in the Mayan capital of Tikal in 300 BCE. Yet even for those who conduct a great religious quest today, the chances of them deciding to worship Hunab Ku are considerably less than those of winning both the Powerball and MegaMillions lottery jackpots in the same week.

Man has, over the space of recorded history, worshiped some 3,000 different supreme beings. Most of these creator gods had exclusivity clauses in their worship. If you pledged your allegiance to a particular one, you had to also foreswear worship of any of the other 2,999. Fail to do so, and you lose any blessing from worship of the “one true God” your parents or your religious quest selected for you. See Yahweh’s opinion of Baal for more on this.

So we face this decision of what God to worship. Select the wrong one, and incur the everlasting wrath of the right choice. And you don’t get to find out if you made the right selection till you’re dead and it’s too late to rectify any error.

If the theories of most theists are right, there is no more important decision you will ever make than your selection of the one true supreme being you will worship. And yet virtually nobody devotes much thought to this choice. It would be extremely rare to find a single living soul among Earth’s 7 billion human inhabitants who has carefully evaluated the claims of all 3,000 supreme deities and then selected the one they found most credible. Why do we take such a serious decision so lightly, and yet defend it so vigorously, as if any other choice is utterly unthinkable?

Please. let’s be respectful of each answer. I am not asking this to ignite a debate between different religions or between theists and atheists. I really just want to know how various theists reached their acceptable level of confidence they have selected the right deity to worship and are worshiping Him/Her/It in the way that deity requires.

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51 Answers

bookish1's avatar

Hinduism ain’t got no exclusivity clause. God can be worshipped in the form that makes the most sense for you in your present situation.

Shippy's avatar

Lovely well thought out question @ETpro . I’m an oddity perhaps. My parents were staunch atheists. And got very annoyed with any notion of God, particularly Christian Doctrine. If anything I was raised more toward Buddhism, and Tao. Which I also find very interesting. My family also welcomed Hinduism, as it is one of the oldest, so perhaps truest beliefs. In my life I have also been heavily involved with the Occult And new Age Ideas.I was for a time operating as a Psychic and did Tarot Readings, and had a regular clientele. However the only thing I experienced was Christ. So unfortunately for me, I have to make sense of this. He brings me the most peace, even though I don’t understand most of it, and the Bible is also not well known to me either. But I respect any belief if it makes you a better person. So I fall under the banner of Christianity.

Seek's avatar

This question, posited to myself, is the reason I eventually rejected religion.

zensky's avatar

I’m just going along with the one I was dealt at birth.

Seek's avatar

@zensky Fortunately the luck of the draw gave you the One True Religion, right?

Pachy's avatar

@zensky, no offense intended, but wouldn’t you want at least to consider questioning what you osmossed and were taught as a child?

SavoirFaire's avatar

It’s really quite simple. Thor promised an end to the ice giants, and I don’t see any ice giants around. QED.

@Shippy You say of HInduism that “it is one of the oldest, so perhaps truest beliefs.” How does that make any sense? Why is a belief that people came up with at a time when they knew vastly less about the world than we do now more likely to be true? I’m not saying that it has to false just because it’s old, nor that newer beliefs are definitely true, but the fact that it’s old just seems a strange reason for believing that it might be true.

zensky's avatar

@SavoirFaire True. Which is why Mormons and Scientologists have got it right.

Shippy's avatar

@SavoirFaire They were closer to the beginning. I don’t know that just always made sense to me.

Seek's avatar

The beginning was 14 billion years ago. A few thousand years doesn’t really give a whole lot of advantage in that case.

mazingerz88's avatar

And yet virtually nobody devotes much thought to this choice. It would be extremely rare to find a single living soul among Earth’s 7 billion human inhabitants who has carefully evaluated the claims of all 3,000 supreme deities and then selected the one they found most credible.

Well, for sure not all 3,000 and maybe not even 5…but I think there are more and more people doing such an evaluation and discover there is no need to go through so many supreme deities before reaching the almost inevitable conclusion that they feel was coming. And this ever increasing number of people are the ones we call agnostics and aetheists now.

@Shippy I was raised a Catholic and was faithful until I couldn’t accept anymore the fact that man already had civilizations thousands of years before God sent His Son to save the world. It just did not make sense to me anymore. Supposedly, 500 years before Christ was born, a Chinese emperor already sent an emissary to explore Europe to seek and establish alliances with then still unknown civilizations.

I also ended up thinking that the Judeo Christian religion was exclusively for the Jewish people and if not for the supposed encounter of Paul with God on the way to Damascus, Gentiles would have been excluded.

zensky's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Of course. I was born at the time of the original Star Trek.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@zensky You’ll notice that I didn’t say a belief being newer meant it was more likely to be true. What I said was that “it’s old” seems like a poor reason for believing “it’s true.” Beliefs are to be evaluated according to the reasons and evidence that can be presented in favor of them, not according to their age.

@Shippy Lots of beliefs were closer to the beginning. Alchemy preceded chemistry. Geocentrism preceded heliocentrism.Vitalism, spontaneous generation, and theories about the four humors all preceded modern biology. Before the advent of germ theory, people believed that disease was caused by demon possession. It was even once believed that human settlements caused an increase in rainfall. And as @Seek_Kolinahr notes, a few thousand years is hardly an advantage when the beginning was nearly 14 billion years ago.

zensky's avatar

I still think Spock and Bones are the shit.

mazingerz88's avatar

Actually, Spock is the shit and Bones is the smart ass.

Shippy's avatar

@mazingerz88 I hear you, lot’s does not make sense to me either. I just know what I have experienced, so I have to make sense of it I guess.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve explored several religions, mostly from age 14–21, after many disappointments in Southern Baptist and Fundamental Baptist churches. For me it was exploring until I felt something that felt comfortable and right for me, which ended up being Catholicism, to which I converted at age 17.

After attending several years, and on and off even now, I reasoned that since Jesus kicked the moneylenders out of the church, and most churches now are actually just tax-exempt businesses (in my opinion), I would be better off without attending.

Now my religion is technically Christian-Catholic, but I practice love and kindness and freedom every day of my life, along with random acts of kindness. I can commune with my God while I’m fishing, or sitting on a log in the woods, or talking to children and feel like I’ve witnessed a miracle, which is the miracle of creation by whatever name you choose to give it. Peace.

submariner's avatar

Those of us who are mono theists answer, “Easy. We worship the one and only God that actually exists.”

Either there is such a being or there isn’t. Disagreements about the characteristics of God do not imply that there is more than one entity. It should go without saying that different names for God are even less relevant.

As for polytheism, thoughtful people stopped taking the ancient myths literally long before Caesar was born, but they recognized both the existence of a divine reality and the civic value of religious observance (cf. Aristotle and Plato).

Those who seek God sincerely will find their way to him, regardless of when or where they live, and with God’s help will overcome whatever obstacles their particular culture throws in their way.

There may be 3000 blind men, or 7 billion for that matter, but there is only one elephant.

ETpro's avatar

@Shippy My study of tribal religions of primitive peoples shows that every one of them, as incredibly disparate as they all are, include precepts that make believers better people. They all include principles that promote the common good and heed the Golden Rule. In all of them, failure to live up to those principles requires penance, sometimes sacrifice, repentance and an honest effort to avoid that “sin” in the future.

BTW, most of those primitive tribal religions far predate the rise of Hinduism or any other of today’s newer great religions.

@SavoirFaire It seems to me that extremely extraordinary claims require extremely exgtraordinary levels of proof before they ought to be accepted as truth. If I claimed that I could create wormholes simply via thought, and travel through them backward and forward through time, most people would expect positive proof of such a claim before they would accept that I wasn’t just a lunatic or a liar. A wise man would expect extraordinary levels of proof to rule out any chance that I was using trickery or slight-of-hand to trick him into believing I was poofing in and out of this timespace.

I certainly can’t prove there is no God, but I can definitively state I have never seen any strong proof there is. I can also reason that any God capable of flinging this incredible Universe into existence would find it quite easy to prove Her/His/Its existence to me if such a being wanted me to know of that existence. For goodness sakes, I am far from omnipotent, but I’ve been easily able to convince a large number of people that I exist. Even the Federal Government, through its IRS and its Social Security Administration, appear to believe in me. They send me the bills to prove they believe.

@submariner In actual fact, there are a lot of elephants. Their numbers are dropping due to man’s encroaching on and spoiling their habitat, but there are still a lot of them. Might it be possible that there are 7 billion blind men and some day there is no elephant. There certainly aren’t any wooly mammoths alive anymore. Nonetheless, if 7 billion blind men set out earnestly seeking a wooly mammoth, having in mind a general idea of the description of the beast but not knowing they are extinct, there is a substantial chance that sooner or later, many would lay hands on something they would conclude was a wooly mammoth. That wouldn’t bring actual wooly mammoths back from extinction, though.

You noted, “Disagreements about the characteristics of God do not imply that there is more than one entity.” True, nor do they imply that there is one true entity. There are all sorts of supernatural entities that some have believed in but that I’m reasonably certain you doubt the existence of. Dragons, gorgons, unicorns, mermaids, witches, warlocks, ghosts, werewolves… I could go on and on, but you get the point. The numbers of different supernatural entity types far exceed 3000 when we consider all those held to exist by this or that primitive tribe throughout all of human existence. Yet most of us today think none of the list ever actually existed anywhere but within human imaginations.

That’s important, because selecting any one of the 3000 deities, should that selected one include a claim of exclusivity, which most of them do, means that a random selection has a very high likelihood of being wrong and therefore useless even if one supreme deity does exist; and it has a 100% chance of being wrong if none exists. That’s the fly in the ointment of Pascal’s Wager‘s_Wager.

ETpro's avatar

@submariner How many people at the height of Ancient Rome had intellects the equal of Aristotle or Plato?

Shippy's avatar

@ETpro Possibly because, all spiritual laws are much the same, when they are boiled down. I don’t think for e.g. Do unto others as you would have them do unto is a bad principle? Nor is what you reap what you sow. I used Hinduism as it was respected by my family. I think I said one of the oldest? I was not implying it was the oldest. Although really I am on shaky ground I have no idea. I think the oldest was Animism?

Ron_C's avatar

I was raised catholic, tried evangelical religions and even Wicca. Wicca came closest to what I believe which is that all religions are made of myths. Since I am no longer concerned with Wicca that makes be either a fallen away Wiccan or an atheist.
No matter how I try, I can’t believe in a personal god and especially not the one named Jesus.

tranquilsea's avatar

It has always bothered me that too often the people who are most vocal and vehement in defending their religion (usually against no one) and attacking other’s religion are also the ones who don’t actually read, little own study, the source material. It seem so bizarre to me that you would base your life and death on something you haven’t read.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@tranquilsea That’s because most people treat scriptures like software agreements. They don’t read them. They just scroll down to the bottom and click “I agree.”

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I was brought up as an Anglican and as I kid the only thing I liked about church was Sunday school. I disliked the singing prayers every five seconds, it was weird to me and I didn’t understand it.

We were a strict Anglican church going family until my grandmother died. I guess the only good my grandmother did on a spritual level was introduce faith into my life, it wasn’t the word of God since I had no clue what they were saying in church, all I understood was Amen. And that was even sung on most occasions :/

So when I hit 15 I decided I wasn’t going to have faith in God. My life ended up getting pretty rough until I was 25. God came to me, opened my eyes and helped me understand his word, and he saved me. He hasn’t saved me from all personal tragedies in my life but he has made me understand and has been there when I needed Him. So I am not of any particular religion anymore, but I do believe in God and Jesus. I believe everyone believes in what they want I’m not going to force what I believe down anyones throat, but I will defend my right to an opinion which often ends up in debating… ugh

zensky's avatar

@SavoirFaire That’s because most people treat scriptures like software agreements. They don’t read them. They just scroll down to the bottom and click “I agree.”

One of the best things I’ve read in the many years I have been here.

ETpro's avatar

@Shippy The truth is we have no Earthly idea what the oldest religion was like, or when man first developed religious thought. It happened in perhistoric times, and thus, by definition, there is no historic record of it.

A number of philosophers and would-be anthropologists of the 18th through the 20th centuries tried to approach that question from a reductionist point of reference. All fell victim to the “If I were a horse…” fallacy. They projected their modern, scientific mode of thinking onto early man. This happened with E. B. Taylor and J. G. Frazer with their theory of Animism. It is true of Freud’s psychoanalytic approach to religion, Emile Durkheim’s Sacred Society theory, Karl Marx’s Religion as Alienation, and Mircae Eliade’s Reality of the Sacred theory.

Those thinkers, great though they all were, failed to grasp that primitive people might think in very different ways than they, as Age-of-Enlightenment scientists thought, and yet might think in ways that were perfectly logical and consistent given the assumptions of their time.

We didn’t really appreciate that till social anthropologists quit contemplating primitive man from their comfortable European studies, and instead went to live with primitive tribal societies long enough to fully learn the subtleties of their language and the meanings they saw in their ceremonies. Once that was done, we realized that as human beings thinking “If I was a horse…” we come up with answers a human would find rational, but a horse would never reach.

So if the oldest religion is the truest one, we are truly in the dark. And unless we invent a time machine, in the dark we will remain.

@Ron_C Wiccan. Do tell. That’s fascinating. I’m trying to imagine you and Christine O’Donnell in a coven, and even my vivid imagination is not up to that task.

@tranquilsea Very true.

@SavoirFaire I second @zensky in citing that as one of the all time Great Answers on Fluther.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl I would just caution that no matter what God people adopt, those most immersed in belief “hear” their deity leading them. When the direction leads to disaster, they always assign the failure to themselves. When it works to their benefit, they give the credit to the voice and hand of God guiding them. Thus, no matter what happens, the faith they find essential to their existence is protected.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro Christine O’Donnel and me, that’s a combination that never occurred to me. Besides, I dropped out of Wicca years before the disclaimed being a witch.

Even when I attended Wicca ceremonies, I never considered myself a witch.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@ETpro I’m not sure why you have to “caution” me.

When the direction leads to disaster, they always assign the failure to themselves.

That I will have to politely disagree with. I am capable to know what is or is not my fault and not all disasters are my fault. And although it may seem to you that people do this at the same time everybody’s experience is different.

You can’t judge thru others eyes. If one is color blind things may be a different color but they are still the same and you’ve probably never walked a mile in anyone’s shoes but your own.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C Gee, that sounds bewitchingly like “I am not a witch.” :-) Just kidding, my friend. I have no doubt you are your own person and not at all like Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Fair enough. That’s your answer and you’re certainly entitled to it.

rojo's avatar

@Ron_C Did “They” dress you up like that? And is that your real nose?

ETpro's avatar

@rojo Perhaps a curse?

GracieT's avatar

@Ron_C, I was raised Catholic, but found Wicca when I realized I didn’t believe in the Catholic version of God. Like you I found that Wicca
more closely resembled my beliefs. I don’t know if I ever really believed in Wicca
enough, though. I think that
even if my belief system was
closely aligned to it I never
embraced it fully. After the whole mess with everything
that happened to me I realized
that my belief in the God of
the Christian faiths had returned, just not my belief in the Catholic faith itself.

Seek's avatar

As an atheist, I will plainly say I have no problem with wicca, all things considered.

Wiccans do not proselytize, and do not push their religious beliefs into the public square: such as schools or government lands.

“An harm ye none, do as ye will” – Simply good advice.

If you removed the supernatural stuff, you’re left with tree-hugging pacifist people who meditate occasionally. I’m totally cool with that.

Paradox25's avatar

Not everyone who believes there is a ‘higher power’ of some sorts does so for religious reasons. Near death experieces have transformed the most hardened nontheists into ‘believers’. I’ve never heard of a sceptical person turn theist because of a hallucinagenic trip, if that’s what nde’s really are. Many former atheists were convinced their experiences were real, not some DMT trip. There were quite a few cases where information was given by the unconscious person, even about happenings from far away, so it’s not all about subjective experiences either, and I’ve already posted about several of these cases on other threads on here.

There are other reasons too outside of religion why people are open to the concept of theism. Many hardcore sceptical police detectives have used information acquired from mediums to help them solve cases. There are many cases where the info isn’t always helpful or accurate from mediums, but this doesn’t explain the cases where mediums knew of information that helped solved some of these cases. There is so much more I didn’t post, but all of things do point in the direction of some type of creator in my opinion.

I’ve found that many nontheists who make posts like this usually try to correlate theism with religious dogma. How many of these sceptics have done the research on paranormal occurances: likely not many. Does this mean there is a ‘god’ of some sorts: maybe not and perhaps these occurances are due to basic natural scientific laws we’re not aware of at this time.

On a personal level I don’t worship any god/s, and I’m not even sure how I would define such an entity if one does exist. Personally I’m not claiming that any religion is right, and I’m more of an agnostic theist that takes everything on a case by case basis. I don’t think that anything is outside of science in itself, though I think there are many things that can be outside of the reductionist paradigm of science.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“Not everyone who believes there is a ‘higher power’ of some sorts does so for religious reasons.”

Sure. But no matter what sort of higher power you believe in, it either matches or fails to match the description of any given god. The higher power you believe in is either possibly Zeus or not possibly Zeus, possibly Yahweh or not possibly Yahweh, possibly Brahma or not possibly Brahma. It all depends on the qualities you believe your putative evidence allows you to attribute to that higher power.

“I’ve never heard of a sceptical person turn theist because of a hallucinagenic trip, if that’s what nde’s really are.”

Basic conditional logic: if that’s what they really are, then every non-theist who became a theist due to a near-death experience turned because of a hallucinogenic trip.

“Many hardcore sceptical police detectives have used information acquired from mediums to help them solve cases.”

They may have asked for leads, but there is no evidence that what they acquired counts as information nor that it helped them solve cases better than random guesses or theories generated by people not claiming to be psychics. I’m also curious about your claim that the detectives were “hardcore skeptics” as opposed to merely non-believers. I can only find accounts of the latter.

You also seem to employing a weak inference fallacy. We might call your particular version the “if Jesus, then aliens” fallacy. Granting the existence of one paranormal phenomenon does not validate any of the others. There could be souls and an afterlife even if there were not a creator or any other type of god. Perhaps the world is as the Jainists—who are both supernaturalists and atheists—describe it.

Even if we were to grant the validity of psychics or near-death experiences, then, it would not amount to evidence in favor of the existence of God. To some extent, you seem to agree. You back off on the claim in your penultimate paragraph, noting that the putative evidence for paranormal phenomena may be perfectly natural. Logically speaking, however, you can’t backpedal that much without abandoning the claim found in the last sentence of your second paragraph.

ETpro's avatar

@GracieT Whatever gets you though the cold dark night is fine by me.

@Seek_Kolinahr Let me give you an amen, sister.

@Paradox25 Since @SavoirFaire has done a fine job of qualifying your assertions, I’ll just add these points. First, I agree that for strictly human behavior, the reductionist approach has its flaws. Humans appear to exhibit free will. Whether we do or not is irrelevant—it certainly “feels” as if we do. We are shaped by all our past experiences, and profoundly by the culture within which we operate—an influence which itself is shaped by the vagaries of other human’s behavior. The result is that the real meaning of a particular action by a human is difficult to discern, and yet must be understood if we are to generalize about it and how it relates to similar actions in others.

As to atheists or skeptics investigating psychic phenomena, ghosts, and the like, I beg to differ. There are numerous scientists who have turned their quite proper reductionist tools toward this exploration. So far, none has found proof of paranormal activity that can stand up to examination and peer review. Could that be because it doesn’t work unless you believe it will? Perhaps. Could it be like observing quantum mechanics, where the very act of observing disturbs the quantum state, collapsing the probabilistic field into a single, static, and non paranormal outcome. Perhaps. But the fact is honest researchers have, and continue to look. And so far, it appears we live in a ALT + F4. Don’t even click what looks like a close link, because that might be a “Agree and Install” link disguised to look like a close button.

GracieT's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, My degree is in Environmental Studies. :*)

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro There were many paranormal events that were researched, such as telepathy and mediumship but however, when ever I post them the conditions surrounding the experiments get criticized by sceptics. I also notice that because many paranormal events do not occur with linearity sceptics tend to use that as criticism. Any decent medium would tell you that they can’t predict the future or guarantee that they’ll be able to contact a specific person at all whom has crossed over, let alone on demand.

To be honest I could easily find many fallacies with the assumptions in your ‘question’ here, because again not all belief in a higher power forms from culture or fear (read my response to SavoirFaire below as an example). In strange way though I feel that me trying to prove that reductionism is wrong, or that there is some sort of creator by using paranormal examples are being hindered in part by many religionists with their rigid beliefs. In a sense I feel that many conservative religionists actually hinder their own agenda, by rejecting secular research into the matter and turning mysticism into a transcendental topic of faith, all because some of these findings may not support their own rigid religious beliefs.

Trying to discredit paranormal research and occurances because of inconsistencies pertaining to these occurances seems to fall under the perfectionist fallacy, which is defined as first assuming that the only two options for action are its perfect success and nothing, and then rejecting anything that will not work perfectly.

@SavoirFaire As you’ve quoted me as stating “I’ve never heard of a sceptical person turn theist because of a hallucinagenic trip, if that’s what nde’s really are.”

and your response to this “if that’s what they really are, then every non-theist who became a theist due to a near-death experience turned because of a hallucinogenic trip.”

I made my point here because I frequently hear from many self-described sceptics that ‘mystical’ phenomenon rarely happens to sceptics, which obviously isn’t true. I also brought that point up because it does amaze me that such hardcore sceptics could turn theist from near death experiences.

Maybe these former sceptics did turn theist because of a DMT trip, but than try telling that to Dr. Eben Alexander, a neuroscientist and former sceptic himself. Here is a quality skeptico blog mentioning how Dr. Sam Harris has evaded debating Dr. Alexander on the topic, and Dr. Harris arguments are full of fallacies.

I can’t give you the great book by Dr. Alexander Heaven is Real here, but I can give you the next best thing here, an account by an expert in the field. This is key to me because our court of laws use expert testimony in cases, and by all accounts Dr. Alexander would be considered to be an expert in his field. Dr. Eben Alexander is far from alone concerning neuroscientists making supporting statements about the validity of near death experiences.

I’m only going to address this topic for now, because I want sceptics to concentrate on comments concerning a nueroscientist regarding near death experiences for now. Again though I agree with you about correlating theism and what is known as mysticism, but this still doesn’t mean that what is dubbed as the paranormal must have a typical reductionist explaination either. My entire point here is that the basis for theism may not be as rudimentary as assumed in the OP.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Paradox25 I know why you made your point. My point was that the way you stated it is nonsensical. Your response is almost as bad. The claim that “skeptics” rarely experience “mystical” phenomena cannot be overturned by pointing to a few who putatively did experience such phenomena. “Rare” doesn’t mean “no occurrences,” so pointing to a few occurrences proves nothing. Moreover, the claim about rarity is about the relative likelihood of someone interpreting an experience as involving “mystical” phenomena. It would require much more to show that “skeptics” do not (claim to) experience “mystical” phenomena far less often than non-“skeptics.”

The bit about Harris also just seems like pointless ax-grinding. The guy is a complete hack, he isn’t to be taken seriously, and no one has invoked him on this thread. What, then, is the point of complaining about him here? And what is the point of talking about Alexander? Do you really think he would fail to understand the simple logical point that if all X’s are Y’s, then his X is also a Y? That’s all I said, after all. There was no assertion within the miniscule portion of my post to which you chose to respond that says all X’s are Y’s. The point I made was about conditional logic.

Finally, you seem to be overly fixated on reductionism. I am a non-reductive physicalist. That doesn’t mean I have the slightest sympathy for Alexander’s position. Reductionism is not the problem your view faces.

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 I’m not sure what parts of the OP you are taking issue with, or feel are filled with fallacies, as you do not identify them. Feel free to point them out and I will be happy to review the OP and see if you are right. I don’t want to base my question details on flawed logic. If I have done so, at least give me the chance to correct the error.

I did take the time to specifically state that the point was about the choice of supreme deities, though . So mediumship, telepathy, and spirituality are not a part of this question. I also stated that I was not looking for a debate on whether there is or isn’t a supreme deity here, or which of the 3,000 or so putative ones is real. I’ve entertained that debate elsewhere, and will be happy to do so again in the appropriate question.

It seems to me that Dr. Alexander’s story doesn’t get to the subject of this question—at least the question I actually asked—rather than the question you are trying to take issue with. Dr. Alexander’s experience could have to do with realities completely separate from The One True God, could it not?

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 Since you are interested in Near Death Experiences, why not craft a question about what we can and can’t draw from them. I find the subject interesting, and would be sure to chime in. I’m sure there are plenty of other Jellies, both spiritualists that think it’s the other side and skeptics who insist it’s all a product of the brain.

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro You devoted a large portion of your question to correlating theism with religious mythology, so I felt there was a slant when you asked how us theists came to choosing the god of our choice. Also, your suggestion about asking a question about near death experiences on here would fall flat since I’m the only jelly on here that would give an alternative response on a site full of sceptics. I’ll answer them if another jelly asks about them.

@SavoirFaire I’m not sure what is difficult to understand about my response, and frankly I find your use of word games and semantics to be nonsensical. Etpro asked how us theists came about our beliefs, and I gave him my answer, which didn’t ride on religious beliefs but because of the various phenomenon I’ve mentioned, and Alexander’s experience was just one example. I could also say that I don’t have the slightest sympathy for the sceptical position to Dr. Alexander’s near death experience, and I’ve found many flaws within the sceptical camp as well. Excuse me for actually attempting to answer the question.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Paradox25 What you are calling “word games and semantics,” the rest of us call “logic.” It is a basic element of rational conversation, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it. The thing about publicly answering a question is that it opens you to questioning and counterarguments. That’s just a fact about the norms of assertion (another basic element of rational conversation). If you don’t like it, you are free to keep your opinions to yourself. Alternatively, you can get a blog if all you’re interesting in is monologuing. Fluther, however, is a place for dialogue.

In any case, I did not say that your posts were difficult to understand. My claim is that they don’t make sense—logical sense. You have already admitted that your data does not support your conclusion, and for some reason have decided to focus on the rather minor point I made about conditional logic. You are the one who chose to reply only to that—and, indeed, to highlight the fact that you would not be replying to the rest. As for your sympathy for the skeptical position, it is both evident and irrelevant. You seem to think it’s a clever way of responding to my stated lack of sympathy for Alexander’s position, but it only serves to demonstrate that you missed the point of that part of my reply (which was that one can reject both reductive physicalism and Alexander’s position).

ETpro's avatar

@Paradox25 I have stated things in the OP which I believe are demonstrably accurate. If I erred in the premises of the question, feel free to point out my error/s. However, if I have not erred but my statements make you feel you have no place in this debate, then it’s time to look at your own premises. Beliefs that cannot stand before facts are likely erroneous beliefs.

I’m no authority on the beliefs of other Jellies, but I can assure you that there are people here on Fluther who believe just as much in Alexander’s position as you do.

rojo's avatar

@ETpro Wish I could help you out on this one but being an Apatheist I do not feel comfortable answering.

Now, if you had asked what god or gods I do not give a crap about…...

ETpro's avatar

@rojo Ha! I certainly wouldn’t trouble a confirmed Apatheist to offer an opinion one way or the other here.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Ten-plus years of Catholic school had very little effect on me. Mostly, I think, because it was Catholic-lite—not like the hard-line, fire and brimstone that I understand is taught in the NE schools—and the time and place in which I graduated (northern California, 1970). After HS graduation I just went on and lived life without much thought of religion of any sort. My first girlfriend out of school was a 23 year old Sufi. That ended when I drove her north out of SF to a Sufi gathering at a commune near Healdsburg where she turned to me, kissed me on the cheek, gave me the title to her ‘55 Chevy (which we were driving at the time), and walked into the arms of her guru. She lived on Camel non-filters and a head of lettuce a day. We met when many of us were renting our little rooms in an old Queen Anne near Golden Gate Park, and she threatened to throw her iron skillet at me from across the communal kitchen for using it to fry up a Porterhouse. I was a fuckin meateater. But she had the finest little body and taught me things, an older woman. About half the people I knew at the time had something spiritual going on. I think I’d become so inured by rites and rituals that none of it phased me one way or the other. I liked yoga because it made me feel good, but there wasn’t any enlightenment involved. I sold grass from my Norton 750 and got laid a lot. And went to school. That was what was important to me.

Not until 30 years later while working a hospice unit did I begin to examine the possibility of anything beyond this plane. I was never even curious. Very mundane existence and happy with it. But talking to more than 120 dying people in 18 or 20 months got me thinking.

I’ll cut to the chase: I’ve decided that there is something spiritual that links all of us and enables us to connect through love, empathy, conscientiousness, etc. We, the healthy ones, can feel the pain of others—even the ones we ourselves hurt. It’s a nice mechanism; it prevents us from doing too much damage to each other. It’s not exclusive to just humans, either. Plenty of evidence of that on YouTube, which also shoots Social Darwinism all to hell as well, IMO.

So, long story short, I figure we all come from one big soul of which we all have a piece. Sometimes this soul can be damaged as in the case of child abuse and it takes a lot of work to heal. But this is what i think it’s all about. Real simple. No logic. I have no evidence that makes this explanation of things any better than any other explanation. Can’t even call it a theory. Strictly faith-based, I guess. But it comes without a shitload of mythology and religious filigree. I don’t need any that.

When I want a good show; solemn pagentry, ancient ritual with incense and gold performed by people who believe in the beautiful magic of such things, I can go to my local Buddhist Temple, or enjoy a fine midnight mass complete with an amazing choir in an old cathedral. Or simply climb to the top of a jungle-engulfed Mayan temple late at night under moon and stars (there are still an unguarded few). It feels good. It’s romantic to me. And I like the history of it all. Even the really, really bad stuff. It is us. We humans. And I believe we have these souls that connects us. And therefore there is hope. For me, it’s as simple as that.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus We may well find that through quantum entanglement, the entire Universe is a vast intelligence and every living thing in it is connected through that.

VenusFanelli's avatar

My parents taught me their religion since I was born, and they discouraged me from questioning it. I have some friends from other religions and some atheist friends too. I listen some to all of them.

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