General Question

jamzzy's avatar

How does one keep his faith in God?

Asked by jamzzy (885points) April 12th, 2009

I’m Catholic. I usually dont go to church, ever. For some reason my mom thinks that going to church on Easter will some how make up for the fact that we havn’t gone to church since….last Easter?

As I’m sitting in church day dreaming (i go to a spanish church, i understand it but i cant just keep with what the guy is saying) I start to just think about the whole Catholic thing…it all sounds like bs to me.

I don’t really know a lot about Jesus and stuff but from what i know it’s all about some book and who we are supposed to believe everything that it says…besides that no one can really prove that any of that ever happened (that i know of). As im sitting there I almost miss the feeling of knowing..God is up there and he is taking care of me…but I just can’t understand why.

I want to feel this way again, but no about the same stuff. I almost want to have a small idea about a greater power.

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81 Answers

Zen's avatar

I hear you, brother.
It isn’t easy.
Keep the faith.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Don’t let religion & ritual get in the way of You and your God!

PupnTaco's avatar

If you believe, you’ll find a way to do that outside of the church.

If you don’t believe, that’s OK too….

iwamoto's avatar

I remember sitting in church and thinking the same thing, then i disavowed it all, my whole faith crumbled in a matter of minutes, and i haven’t looked back since.

For me it was the logical step, i just started thinking about it all, and decided there couldn’t be a god, so, now i don’t believe in anything but myself, i must say it’s a nice way to live as well.

Jayne's avatar

If it doesn’t work for you, don’t bother keeping it. Life as an atheist is just as fulfilling as that of a believer.

Zen's avatar

I believe. It doesn’t define me, nor confine me. I just do. How is another matter entirely; but I do.

Poser's avatar

I’ve struggled with many of the same questions you are describing. The short answer is, only you can figure out how to keep your faith in God. It is something that you have to settle within your own spirit. The truth of the matter is that faith, by definition, can’t be proven. If we could prove the existence of God, we wouldn’t need faith. And it’s our faith that God wants.

I truly doubt that a loving God would damn us for our doubts. Everyone has doubt. Let me repeat that. Everyone doubts. Jesus himself struggled with doubt. So what you are going through is nothing new to God.

The trick is to believe that, despite what you feel, despite your doubts, God is still there. I wrote about my struggles a while back, and, at the risk of self-promotion, you can read it here.

The bottom line is this: your relationship with God is your relationship with God. Just as my relationship with my father is different than my brother’s relationship with my father, so your relationship with God is different than every other person’s. He made you unique, so to expect that your experience would be the same as everyone else’s is ludicris. To thine own self be true.

Good luck.

Triiiple's avatar

If you dont have your faith in the Catholic beliefs or God, why not venture into some other religions?

Look up some other religions that might better suit what your feeling now and how your mind is working, not trying to name any one religion.

Zen's avatar


We’re open.


Triiiple's avatar

@zen im not even religious lol, just cautious

Zen's avatar

I meant, regarding @Triiiple‘s comment, we’re (Judaism/Budhism/Whatchamacallitism/Smatterchewism – open.


fireside's avatar

@jamzzy – I was raised Catholic and around started to have the same feelings that you are having. I saw a lot of hypocrisy between people’s words and actions. I moved out on my own and just spent my time doing other things without really worrying about Church or even God.

This process lasted years but no matter where I went, I still felt some guidance. In fact, it was even stronger without the dogmatic tug of the Church. When I was in college I was exposed to Eastern philosophy in a greater extent. I described this path in more detail in this thread.

After being introduced to the Baha’i faith, I recognized a lot of the truths that I had come to take for granted during my journey. Everyone has their own path of learning. Don’t be afraid to follow it and explore every avenue.

Qingu's avatar

May I ask why you want to keep your faith in the first place?

As an atheist, I don’t believe that there’s a God up there who cares about me. But this idea doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Christian faith either. The god of Christianity is a cruel deity who commands slavery and genocide, “takes delight in your ruin and destruction” and threatens you with hellfire for disobeying his ridiculous, immoral laws. The love Yahweh feels for the world is the love an abusive husband feels for his wife.

I think the God most Christians claim to believe in tends to have little or nothing to do with the God of the Bible. If that’s the case with you, why bother with Christianity?

I agree with what @fireside says. He came to a slightly different conclusion than I did when I started doubting my faith, but we both believe in something important that gives us hope — progress, the idea that humanity is bettering itself, and that the future can be better than the past. And personally, I find this idea much more comforting than a sky father figure looking down on us

crisw's avatar

I agree with Quingu.

If your faith is weakening, if you can see some of the problems inherent to it, why struggle to keep it? Let it go. There are other sources for experiencing the wonder and awe that our world is filled with; sources that are not tied to believing in a supernatural being. Experience them.

LuvBubble's avatar

Let me first start out by saying that I am not religious at all. I honestly feel that organized religion is nothing but a business that preys on the weak. With that being said, I do in fact believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and that is exactly what “Beliefs” are.

You are the only one who truly knows what your feeling, so just run with it. If you honestly believe everything in the bible, then there should be no question about what to believe. If you do have questions, read up on the subject. Im sure you’ll find more then what you were after.

fundevogel's avatar

I’m godless, but I used to be Christian and there is one thing I really don’t understand about the way people with religion tend to approach their gods. They protect him, or the idea of him from his shortcomings. Looking to restore faith when you see flaws in it is a form of this. Why would you do that? Logically, if this were the great, all loving and all powerful god religious folk claim to worship they wouldn’t need to make up for a gods shortcomings or ignore contradictions. There wouldn’t be any. A true god doesn’t need you to cover up or overlook his goof ups. In doing either you actively reinforce a set of beliefs that can’t even hold water amongst it believers without them sticking their fingers in the leaks. And if you’re busy plugging leaks in a questionable religion you can’t be searching for spiritual truth, which is supposed to be the whole point.

Personally, I think religion is a big deal, too big of a deal to settle for a belief system and a god that I would have to prop up. A worthy god is one you put through rigorous evaluation and study and can’t find a single inconsistency or flaw in. That’s not blasphemy, it’s quality control. Believing in any lesser god shows a certain lack in spiritual integrity and disinterest in the pursuit of truth, spiritual or otherwise.

I have so much spiritual integrity and can’t find any god at all.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – much of what you just said is why I am a Baha’i now. Religion, God and spirituality are all different matters of faith. They just tend to get lumped together by those who don’t really take the time to investigate.

Benny's avatar

You might be interested in The Atheist’s Way. It’s sort of a self-help guide for atheists.

fundevogel's avatar

How does that work with the Bahai’s general acceptance of all world religions? Wouldn’t that mean that you’re not questioning the chinks in multiple religions rather than just one? Not the mention the contradictions that occur between religions when you attempt validate them all.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogelProgressive Revelation is the idea that the prophets had knowledge that would help the people of their age to advance in their understanding of the universal truths. The limitations of the messages given by the prophets are really the limitations of the people at that time.

As we awaken to a universal understanding of the oneness of all things, we will realize that our misconceptions in the past were simply that. Even the Baha’i faith doesn’t purport to be the final step in that advancement.

“These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated.”

fundevogel's avatar

interesting, how then can one sort out what is legit and what is human error if all texts are imperfect?

fireside's avatar

fundevogel – Sorry for the delay, my parents are still Christian, so I’m running around doing Easter errands

Well, the most recent manifestation provided us with the interpretations and knowledge that we need for this age. The primary focus for this period is to recognize the Three Onenesses; the oneness of God, the oneness of humanity, the oneness of religion.

These acknowledgments will give us the unity that will be needed to progress further in the gradual uplifting of human souls.

warpling's avatar


ninjacolin's avatar

“keeping” your faith is not as difficult as it sounds. it’s way harder!
if you have evidence that a particular idea of God makes no sense. For example, if i told you that your pencil was God and it can heal your wounds and raise the dead just by asking it…

right now, you already have “faith” that i’m crazy and wrong about this. but you have you tried it? take any scar you have and ask your pencil to miraculously make it heal up and disappear or any cut and have it heal it. Then, once it works, you’ll have a lot of trouble “losing” your faith in it. if it doesn’t work, you’ll have a lot of trouble “keeping” your faith in it.

evidence dictates what you can and cannot have “faith” in. all you need to keep your faith in god is evidence. it doesn’t even have to be “true” evidence. all that matters is whether you are convinced by that evidence. again, whether you are deceived or not, doesn’t matter.

keeping or losing faith in something is a matter of how your brain interprets the relevant (or lacking) evidence.

ratboy's avatar

Guard it zealously. Place your lamp under a basket, lest someone wrest it from you. By the way—if you’ve lost your faith, mine is available on eBay.

arnbev959's avatar

Try living without faith for a while. You can always go back if you want, but you might learn something by living without trying to uphold something that you aren’t feeling.

mattbrowne's avatar

When you’re sitting in church, it’s also about you. I mean the real person inside you. Remember the last time you had this kind of philosophical day dream? A whole hour for introspection and self-reflection? I’m not saying church is the only place for doing this. There are others as well. But obviously this time at Easter something made you think. Which is great. Maybe it even inspired you. At least it inspired you to post this Fluther question. But I think there was more. Try to find it…

ShauneP82's avatar

My suggestion would be to: first, start saying little prayers; specifically for people you care about

Second, consider finding a small church (perhaps not catholic)and ask the pastor questions about faith and what it really means.

Finally, help people. This maybe very hard to do. I don’t mean just being nice to them. Rather, do some volunteer work. If you see somebody stranded on the side of the road. Pull-over and offer some assistance. (use your best judgement, dont just assume the world is full of scum out to hurt you)

I have recently found that faith comes for in the action of helping people. Something as simple as donating old clothes to your local mission shelter can really bring you spiritually closer to God.

I hope this helps you.

fireside's avatar

I agree that service towards others is the real key, regardless of the religion:

This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.
Hindu, Mahabrata 5:1517

What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary
Judaism, Talmud, Shabbat 31A

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Buddhism, Udana-Varga 5:18

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
Christianity, Matthew 7:12

None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.
Islam, Number 13

Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.
Baha’i, Baha’u’llah

fundevogel's avatar

That is not how I experienced church at all. I felt a tremendous pressure to sit tight, shut up and submit to the group. It was very stressful for me. Maybe the churches you’ve been to aren’t so invasive and demanding as the ones I’ve been to.

Actually the only churches that don’t feel very invasive or pushy to me are Catholic ones. In mass they don’t seem to care much about what you think so long as you stand up, sit down, kneel and cross yourself at the right moments.

mattbrowne's avatar

@fundevogel – Sorry to hear that. No, the churches I know aren’t indeed so invasive. I’m a Lutheran Protestant. And we all enjoy the freedom of religion. You can pick any church or faith you like best. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere in my free time where I feel pressured.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Quingu, I suspect if we knew each other we’d probably get along, and maybe even like each other.
But your statements now and other times about God loving genocide, slavery, and other horrible things and the like is a whole lot out of context. I’m sorry your experience and thoughts of the bible and faith are so very dark. What a shame.

Concerning the question I want you to know I’m a Christian and have been for some time. I’ve been seasoned through time from at one time just relying on my church and the preacher to learning to feed my faith by myself.

If a person really wants to know God as a Christian its very important to read the bible on your own.
And to get right with God according to Jesus is to repent, aske for forgiveness, and also develop one’s faith by talking to God like you would talk to a close friend.

You do not have to feel like you are alone. Even Peter, who became the leader of the new church, had doubts about trust ing the Lord.

When my daughter at such a young age would get hurt she’s run not walk to me her dad. She was a daddy’s girl, and knew who to run to when she was hurting. You can definitely develop your faith outside of just going to church. It takes time and a desire, but if you’d just ask God to reveal himself to you; He really will.

fundevogel's avatar

You can’t disregard Qingu’s comments without disregarding the Bible. Qingu is amazingly well studied in Biblical matters and he always includes his references. You can look up everything he says in your personal Bible and it will be there in plain black and white, (unless you’ve got a red letter Bible, in which case there could be a bit more color).

You really don’t need to advise Qingu to read his Bible, he does, with more dedication and attention than most Christians. Perhaps he should advise you to read your own Bible.

…knowing Qingu, I bet he uses the translation taken directly from the Dead Sea Scrolls. And if you don’t @Qingu , I highly recommend the Oxford Annotated Bible. Not only is it translated from the Dead Sea Scrolls, it also has the the Apocryphal books.

manoffaith3112's avatar

One more little thing is I don’t blame any one from believeing what they want. That is any one’s perogative. However, the lack of sensativity from other’s who are not people of faith is disappointing.

The other thing is here right now is a person wondering about their faith. This person is at a cross roads right now and in dire straits as far as her faith. Its not fair to point out how rotten you may think the bible is and how fake all of it seems to you. It shows a lack of consideration, and really a certain amount of insult. That really is a negative propaganda. Why would someone who has rejected faith, and seems to resent the bible would think they know any thing about faith or would even want to be involved in such an answer about faith except to put it down? That is a lot of propaganda.

Propaganda that totally blames people of the Christian faith or worse putting down the bible which Christians believe was inspired by God isn’t very considerate. Really. Statements that have been made in more then one questions about faith over and over again is really offensive to any one who is living the life of faith as a Christian. Propaganda like that could go either way. It would be easy to make negative statements towards atheists. But up to now I’ve been patient only to see others blame and mock something important to people of faith. To make blanket statements about men who were atheist and to say they are all pretty much wrong and immoral wouldn’t make you feel so good would it?

What if I said those atheists they really believe and do the wrong things…like to hurt and kill people. Just look at Stalin, a famous atheist, who during his leadership in Russia just kept killing millions. Didn’t believe in any one’s rights. And all those other atheists, just like Stalin, are not only killers, but some kind of psychotic individuals who advocated hurting so many people. When Russia came back against Germany during world war 2 Stalin’s atheist army hurt all those civilians in the war. And they were raping women, destroying people’s homes, and killing even more people who were not military and so forth. All because they were atheists. Should I then say the atheist agenda just hurts humanity?

Is that fair? No its not. Is that really totally true? No, of course not. Its not right either. I will try not to stoop to such foolishness. But its about the same as I’ve read here and other questioins when faith in God comes up. My experience of living as a Christian and like a person of faith has brought out the very best in me and many people many times I’ve seen. Like helping the helpless through Christian organizations, charity, giving food and clothes to the homeless. Plus there are preachers who take little money and visit those in jails and mental hospitals. Helping physically and praying the prayer of faith and seeing others being healed and helped.

Do you just want to promote hostility and arguments because someone has had a very different experience then you? How about every time something like this comes up, and I look up all the things people who are atheists have done wrong? You wouldn’t like it, and I wouldn’t blame you. We all get it you don’t like faith, you don’t like the bible, and you don’t care for Christians much. Is that going to just bring about being mean or hateful to one another?

I do not dislike any one here, but could you ease up on putting down someone’s faith? Or do you just like conflict?

fundevogel's avatar

Whether or not you find a statement or question to your liking has absolutely nothing to do with its quality, relevance or validity.

We’re not trying to hurt people’s feelings here, but a lot of us do have radically different views on things. I think most of us try to conduct ourselves in a way where we can have a smart discourse. No name calling or low blows, just conversation, maybe debate. If you don’t like the direction the debate goes perhaps you should find a website where everyone agrees.

“What if I said those atheists they really believe and do the wrong things…like to hurt and kill people. Just look at Stalin, a famous atheist, who during his leadership in Russia just kept killing millions.”

Stalin Is neither a behavior model (unlike figures in the Bible) nor was his behavior motivated by atheism so there really isn’t any point to bringing him up to criticize atheism.

“Do you just want to promote hostility and arguments because someone has had a very different experience then you? How about every time something like this comes up, and I look up all the things people who are atheists have done wrong? You wouldn’t like it, and I wouldn’t blame you. We all get it you don’t like faith, you don’t like the bible, and you don’t care for Christians much. Is that going to just bring about being mean or hateful to one another?

I do not dislike any one here, but could you ease up on putting down someone’s faith? Or do you just like conflict?”

Perhaps, when accusing non Christians of being inconsiderate of your religion, you should consider whether or not your belief system is considerate of non Christians.

Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

There is really only one way to interpret that and it’s not love thy neighbor. I don’t take kindly people that favor mass murder or rape, or people that compare me to mass murders for that matter. I might not approve of your god or the history of your church, but I’m hardly accusing you mass murder, or rape. Or even picking your nose.

mattbrowne's avatar

@manoffaith3112 – There are intolerant and tolerant atheists. There are open-minded and narrow-minded atheists. There are intolerant and tolerant Christians. There are open-minded and narrow-minded Christians. Don’t let the discussion get to you. You’re doing the right thing which you think is best for you. Others are doing the right thing which they think is best for them. This kind of diversity is very normal in a free society. We should be proud to have the freedom to choose. Saudi-Arabia doesn’t give people any choice. Stalin didn’t give his people any choice. Either you agree or you become a target and have to fear for your life.

manoffaith3112's avatar

May I ask why you want to keep your faith in the first place?

As an atheist, I don’t believe that there’s a God up there who cares about me. But this idea doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Christian faith either. The god of Christianity is a cruel deity who commands slavery and genocide, “takes delight in your ruin and destruction” and threatens you with hellfire for disobeying his ridiculous, immoral laws. The love Yahweh feels for the world is the love an abusive husband feels for his wife.

These kind of statements still are harsh against someone you do not know. Can’t you tell that?
If you want to be an advocate for being anti-God, anti-faith, and anti-bible that is your choice. But why always bring up a disrespectful direction every time about some one and something you don’t even believe is real?

I am so sorry that pure faith, unconditional love, and hope is not what you’ve received from looking up things about God. However, I did find those things to be as real as any thing in this earth. Thats a rotten shame that a person misses the security of faith in the middle of tough circumstances, and experiencing answered prayers.

I will do my best not to ever write the way I did last time. Personally I don’t really love to argue, try to be inflammatory, or tear any thing up. My writing was way too extreme, and I see that now after cooling off. But it was a hard thing to read about someone whom I love, and has been a close friend to be accused of a bunch of lies.

fundevogel's avatar

Why is repeating and discussing the content your holy book abhorrent to you?

Might I suggest, that biblical actions we cite when challenging the morally of God trouble you? That you don’t like or approve of his actions any more than we do? I know when I was Christian I tried so hard to read the Bible and I couldn’t. It didn’t make sense to me. God and the people he called righteous did terrible things, except they couldn’t really be terrible because it was God and his favorite people doing them. But they still were, no matter how you looked at them.

Somethings just didn’t make sense and sometimes the sames stories were told in contradictory ways. I read these things and I was so frustrated. I was so sure that the Bible had to be right, but no amount of reading and re-reading could sort it out. Abram was still raping his slave, and God was still telling the pregnant slave to go back to her rapist master, right before cursing her unborn baby. He even goes so far as to have Abram circumcise Ishmael (the child of the rape), a symbol of a covenant that God has explicitly said he will not hold with Ishmael.

Too much of it was petty, malicious and showed a lack of respect for life.

How could a good loving god, that made everything with love and saw that it was good just five chapters later think everything is wicked and decide to destroy every living thing on the planet? That’s just six pages in my Bible. I respect that there are some genuinely good things in the Bible, but this isn’t about whether or not the good outweighs the bad. This is a holy book, and any God worthy of his title shouldn’t take or condone any immoral action.

If nothing else I think you probably agree with previous sentence. I suppose the question I would ask after that is:

If you substituted a regular person (or maybe magical if miracles are required) for God in every existing Bible story and that person did the exact same thing as God, would you still think that all of person’s actions were acceptable? If it wouldn’t have been a good thing if a person did it, having God do it doesn’t change anything.

You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but I think it’s something to think about.

Qingu's avatar

@manoffaith3112, you can believe whatever you want, but my statements about genocide and slavery in the Bible are not “out of context.”

Slavery is allowed (Lev. 25:45, 1 Tim 6:2) and even commanded (Dt. 20:10) in the Bible. God says that when you conquer a city, the people there must serve you at “forced labor.” In Exodus 21:20, God allows you to beat your slave as much as the Romans beat Jesus before they crucified him. And that may only apply to Hebrew slaves, not the foreign slaves the above passages say are your property forever and can be inherited.

As for genocide, Yahweh directly commands genocide in Deuteronomy 20:16. He tells you to “let nothing that breathes remain alive” in the holy land. This is not an isolated statement. In fact, the entire book of Joshua is basically a chronicle of this very God-ordered genocide, led by Joshua, a hero of the Jewish and Christian faith. Much of Judges, Samuel and Kings are also about genocide, and the Hebrews are punished if they do not sufficiently commit genocide.

Invoking the word “context” does not magically make these verses disappear from the Bible. If you feel I’m taking this stuff out of context, feel free to explain why.

Qingu's avatar

And as for “respect,” I grow very tired of Christians who feign a thin skin when their religion is criticized.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t have any respect for a book that condones slavery and genocide, misogyny and ignorant, blind faith. And neither should you.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – Why does God have to condone everything written in the Bible? Those are the words of men who were reflecting the culture of their time. God was not the author, just the inspiration. But like every source of inspiration, it becomes corrupted as it passes through the hands of men who see ways to grasp at a power which was never extended to them.

@Qingu – Do you have the email Yahweh sent when he ordered the genocide? Is there any reason to assume that it wasn’t just military generals who used belief in God to promote their cause?

Qingu's avatar

@fireside, of course I don’t believe Yahweh ordered the genocide, since I believe that Yahweh is fictional.

However, the Bible says he did. Multiple times. Throughout the Old Testament. So either he didn’t, or the Bible is fundamentally wrong. Apparently you believe the latter, but tis isn’t surprising since you’re not a Christian.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Wow, you all sure get stirred up about some one who isn’t there.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Dear fireside You’re not a atheist then.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Maybe you should take a pep pill if you get that tired.

manoffaith3112's avatar

You attack someone who doesn’t exist in your beliefs. Thats doesn’t make much sense.

Perhaps you are all hopeless when it comes to understanding someone who isn’t exactly like yourselves. Your lack of consideration and respect of others is pretty sad.

manoffaith3112's avatar

Perhaps in your mind I’m not a Christian? Thats okay any one who has read this knows you are some jack asses.

fireside's avatar

@manoffaith3112“Dear fireside You’re not a atheist then.”

No, I very much believe in God and am a man of faith. I just happen to be a Baha’i and strive to recognize the cultural influences which are separate from the spiritual inspiration in the writings of most, or all, religions.

Qingu's avatar

@manoffaith3112, I’m not attacking Yahweh. I’m attacking the Bible.

Likewise, the Code of Hammurabi advocates killing children for their parents’ crimes. The Code of Hammurabi, according to itself, was inspired/given by Shamash, the Babylonian sun god of justice. I don’t believe Shamash exists. I do believe the Code of Hammurabi is largely immoral, and should not form the basis for anyone’s religious beliefs.

mattbrowne's avatar

The bible is a product of its time. Some people at the time of its writing were in favor of slavery and the death penalty. Which Christian countries today still favor slavery and the death penalty? Which countries allow you to beat your slave?

And by the way, do you think Jesus would favor slavery and the death penalty?

crisw's avatar

“Which Christian countries today still favor slavery and the death penalty? ”

Well, I don’t know about slavery, but the United States. probably the most Christian nation on Earth, goes for the death penalty in a big, big way!

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, if you believe the Bible is a product of its time, then are all the passages that quote God as commanding slavery and genocide incorrect? Did God never say all that stuff? Because that would mean huge swaths of the Bible are lies.

I have no idea what Jesus would favor because the gospels paint a contradictory picture of him. He does say he has come not to bring peace but the sword, and that he doesn’t want to abolish the old laws but fulfill them—and that we should all still follow them to be called “greatest” in the kingdom of heaven. He also kills a whole bunch of people in Revelation.

And if you believe Jesus is God, then presumably Jesus would be in favor of whatever God advocates in the Old Testament. Unless God is shizophrenic, which is certainly a possibility based on his actions in the flood story.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – You can’t quote God in the literal sense. We’ve had this discussion before. Parts of the bible are indeed incorrect. Parts of the bible have to be rejected. We have evolved. We live in the year 2009. Now one can write a book and foresee all development. When it’s the year 2100 or 3000 the world will yet be different.

Biologically speaking, it doesn’t make any difference if Jesus is seen as the son of God, a prophet, or an exceptional human being. From a natural science point of view, Jesus Christ had a biological father and a biological mother. To see him as the son of God has a symbolic meaning based on a particular religious or philosophical view. Muslims see him as a prophet. Even some atheists see him as an exceptional human being.

Qingu's avatar

This just begs the question: do you even believe the Bible is a special book? In a way that, for example, the Mahabharata and the Quran are not special?

If you don’t believe that, I don’t really get how you can say you have “faith” in Christianity. It seems more like you just believe a lot of what this guy Jesus supposedly said. You presumably believe the same about Socrates or John Stuart Mill.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – Of course I believe the bible to be a special book. I’ve told you before understanding it requires intellect. Other books are also special to me. Why not.

Qingu's avatar

But if you believe it’s special only in the same way the Mahabharata is special—that is, as a historically important, human-written book—then why call yourself a Christian? If you are simply a “fan” of some of Jesus’ philosophy in the same way that I’m a fan of John Stuart Mill’s philosophy, that doesn’t strike me as having anything to do with religion.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – Because I don’t follow your definition of a Christian.

fundevogel's avatar

@fireside My view of the Christian god at the most basic is this. If he were the wise, loving and all powerful god that Christians talk about his love would mean that he would want us all to succeed, to find him and his love. And as an all powerful God he would be able ensure that each and every person would be able to find his message, pure and without adulteration. The Bible however cannot be the product of all powerful, loving god. Even if you assume that the Bible started out as a perfect volume of God’s teachings the rampant contradictions prove that it no longer is God’s perfect volume.

That God would allow his only concrete means of communicating his teachings to his people indicate that he cannot be both loving and all powerful. Either he is unable to ensure that his true teachings reach his people or he is unmotivated to get his true teachings to his people. Either way, at the very best the Bible is a deeply and fundamentally compromised document and more likely just a collection of various man-made texts with various man-made mistakes.

I don’t believe he exists, but even if he did, he doesn’t seem to be such a cracker jack guy to me.

You can pretty much expand this reasoning to any supposedly loving anthropomorphisized interventionist god. It exempts Deist gods, but then again I don’t think Deist gods would give a shit what I think anyway.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – Um, ok. I’m a Baha’i. Not sure why you directed your comment towards me. I don’t think the Bible is God’s only concrete means of communicating his teachings.

I also don’t see God as interventionist, but thanks for your thoughts.

cdwccrn's avatar

Look around at all the ways you have been blessed. You have been blessed. Those blessings come from God. Look for God and you will find God. Your life will be richer for it.

fireside's avatar

@cdwccrn – Now that I do agree with.

Qingu's avatar

@cdwccrn, which god? Did Marduk bless me?

fireside's avatar

Qingu – Merriam Webster defines the capitalized version of God as, “the supreme or ultimate reality”

Why is your definition so limiting?

Qingu's avatar

Because that definition is completely useless. It could refer to the universe itself, which is what I believe in as an atheist.

As religious people believe in different gods, it’s essential to specify which god you’re talking about when you invoke that word. Obviously cdwccrn doesn’t believe your wishy-washy Unitarian-style God/The Force blessed everyone. She believes Yahweh did—the angry dude from the Bible who requires blood sacrifice to appease.

fireside's avatar

So what? Does it offend you that people have different ideas of God?
Just because you have no need for faith in your life doesn’t mean you need to disabuse everyone you interact with of their notions. It seems like a pretty sad way to live your life.

Qingu's avatar

It doesn’t “offend” me (nothing really does). I’m just pointing out that those different ideas of God are mutually exclusive. You cannot simultaneously believe that Zeus and Yahweh and the Unitarian Force are the supreme ontological reality.

As far as having a sad life, if you haven’t been able to tell, I quite enjoy arguing with people on the internet. More fun than going to law school, at least.

fireside's avatar

Ah, a lawyer. No wonder you just like to argue. Whatever floats your boat.

jamzzy's avatar


fundevogel's avatar

@fireside I know your Baha’i, but you asked me about what I thought about god’s relationship to the Bible.

a non interventionist god isn’t the contradictory mess an interventionist one is, but besides using him as a first cause I don’t really see much usefulness in a god with no active presence in the world.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – “no active presence” depends on how you feel about the soul. I view the soul as an extension of God. Though I view God as an immovable creative source, I don’t view God as an entity that works specifically for one person or another. More as a goal of perfection for our souls to reach…but it goes a lot deeper than that too…hard to put into words what you view as beyond human conception.

@jamzzy – So, did you get anything out of this thread? Apparently some people feel this is a debate forum rather than a place to provide answers.

fundevogel's avatar

I have no reason to suspect the existence of an immortal soul. Evidence supports that the nature of a persons character is wholly linked to the hardwiring in their brains and ceases with the death or destruction of the the brain.

Check out Phineas Gage or any of the neurologist Walter Freeman’s unfortunate patients.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – well, then you wouldn’t be interested in religion or faith, so why bother everyone when the thread is asking about how you keep faith?

Instead, you seem to be answering the question of “Can anyone help convince me that faith is useless?”

That’s not what was asked, go play debate team somewhere else.

fundevogel's avatar

My comments to you are not beyond the range of reasonable tangent, and they aren’t even as confrontational as my comments to Manoffaith, which were in no way hostile or aggressive. I have a feeling this is more about your discomfort with my opinions than relevance or lack of it. I think you’re uncomfortable with me raising questions that are difficult to answer.

But if they weren’t difficult questions I wouldn’t have need to discuss them. We can handle easy questions on our own. The difficult ones can bear a lot of discussion. That’s the whole point of fluther.

You challenge my interest in religion: I am interested in religion because I was raised in a religious family and live in a religious world. It has an a significant effect on my life whether or not I take part in it or agree with it.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – first off, you are not raising any difficult questions as far as I can tell, at least not difficult to me anyways. Your links above were meaningless in the context of this discussion, but if you want to talk about the brain we can do so. The brain is the central control mechanism for the body, is there any reason to assume that is not the case? Did I ever imply otherwise?

Just as in your last post, you seem to be making blanket assumptions and then projecting those onto me. I have no discomfort with anything you are raising, I just don’t see how it applies to the original poster’s question.

It’s like seeing a question on computer repair and starting to debate about Macs versus PCs. Not relevant to the question at hand. If you have what you think are difficult questions, please post them and create a new discussion. If I somehow miss the thread, PM the link to me and I would be glad to jump in. Don’t just take over a different thread when someone is asking how they can build their faith.

fundevogel's avatar

You engaged me in conversation. I’m sorry if you don’t like what I have to say.

fireside's avatar

@fundevogel – you’re probably right, I did encourage the discussion. I just don’t see the relevance of directing me to a link about a guy whose attitude changed when he got a post stuck in his brain. Or the point of making false assumptions about my comfort level.

Why do you think some people feel the need to come to conversations and just contradict people who are responding to the question posed? It seems to happen a lot with these types of threads.

Like your thoughts on the Bible, I find much of it to be petty, malicious and lacking respect.

fundevogel's avatar

ok, I can see where you’re coming from. I made the comfort level comment because to me, your previous post sounded a lot like you well telling me to shut up. Which, had it been intended that way probably would have been a comfort issue.

I think we all just have opinions that are important to us. I personally feel that if an affirmative opinion is expressed a challenging opinion is just as relevant. It doesn’t matter which is right or wrong, just that they are both represented. It’s a matter of no one demographic or ideology having a monopoly on expression. It’s also a pretty boring discussion if everyone just nods in agreement with each other. Although I suppose that rarely happens here.

Maybe we should all take a day and try to represent the other perspective.

fireside's avatar

I understand the desire to express your point of view so that it is out there.
The part where it goes overboard is when that changes from expressing your point of view to challenging others. Especially when that person expresses no desire to engage in debate and you begin questioning their motives for not wanting to debate. That’s no longer a discussion.

Nobody seems to like it when others start questioning their motives and analyzing their patterns of behavior. It just seems to invite contentious arguments rather than expressing a point of view to be sure that the wealth of ideas are expressed.

benjaminlevi's avatar

I had that problem (well I was never chrisitan, but the losing faith in god problem) when I was about 10. My solution to that problem was to become an atheist.

PupnTaco's avatar

“I’m a Christian, you bunch of jackasses” LOL

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