Social Question

Snarp's avatar

Do you believe God talks to modern people?

Asked by Snarp (11239points) February 11th, 2010

I realize this has the real possibility of becoming a thread where Christians and other religious folks fight with atheists and agnostics, all the while with me telling them that agnostics mostly are atheists and everybody gets mad. But I’m hoping to keep it focused to the topic at hand: Do you believe that God talks to modern people? Do televangelists, preachers, supposed prophets, popes, and the like actually receive direct communication from the almighty? If so, how do you sort out who’s talking to God and who’s schizophrenic? If not, did God talk to humans in biblical times, and if so why did He stop?

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154 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

He sees dead people too;)

Qingu's avatar

@Snarp, please specify which god you’re talking about.

Because you know some people think God is just the Universe and the Universe speaks to them when they get high and watch a 10 minute video zooming in to the fractal boundary of the Mandelbrot set or whatever. Not that I am necessarily one of those people

ucme's avatar

& boom goes the dynamite.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes he does! And you can too!

phoebusg's avatar

No. I think all references to the imagined entity exist in human heads. If you find that concept helpful, and if you can use it in a positive way to help yourself through life. Without beating it into other people’s heads that do not follow that. Then good, it is well adapted. There is a lot of evidence for that concept becoming mal(latin for bad)-adaptive. So, should you choose that path, just be wary. But, if you’re happy – and you cause no harm. There is no harm.

I believe in mutual respect and cooperation with others, any others.

(Says this ‘spiritual’ atheist, oxymoron? I think not. My position is to relate myself to what we know about the world universe etc etc…)

My thought-replacement is that, if someone can live forever, and always have lived. Why can’t that something be the world itself. As it is.
Another debate/argument. If there is a creator scheme, who is the creator of the creator of the creator——repeat ad-infinitum :)

Snarp's avatar

@Qingu I’ll take any god, really, though I’m mostly thinking of the Abrahamic God, but I’ll specify some focused, conscious intelligence responsible for the creation of the universe and all that’s in it.

Ivy's avatar

The Abrahamic God? I can’t take any god seriously who belongs to a man.

Snarp's avatar

@ragingloli That worked when I told it I lied, but when I told it I coveted my neighbor’s wife it seemed to break it. Some god.

mrentropy's avatar

I don’t know if The Allmighty ever actually talked to a human, but for your last question about “why did he stop?” I think a better question would be, why did He start?

Humankind had been around for some time and had already built up a few pantheons of gods before the Jewish/Islamic/Christian God came onto the scene.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, he only talks to my aunt who’s very traditional.
Seriously, though, since I don’t believe in god, I can’t answer this q.

tinyfaery's avatar

God never talked to people. People who talk to god used to be prophets now their schizoid. I’m going with the prophets were just as crazy.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone was talking to ancient people either. It seems that in human infancy the connection between right and left brains wasn’t as well established yet, so it may have seemed as if there was a “voice” talking to a person explaining morals and other things. It’s also very probable that those that believed in a higher power were more likely to survive due to thinking there is more to life than what we interact with, and thus less prone to suicide and more prone to propagate.

RJulia08's avatar

I consider myself a religious person, however I do not believe in the literal text and stories written in the bible. I feel the people that read the bible and preach these stories word for word, event for event become very narrow minded. I feel that those who live strictly by the book are slowly becoming disconnected with the spirituality of religion, and instead are trying to make it someone more tangible by using the stories in the bible. To me these are just stories, fables if you will, and at the end of ever story there is a meaning, and that is what needs to be taken from the bible the meanings rather than the events that took place within the story. I encourage everyone to think deep about the meaning of religious stories because once you do, you will experience the beauty of spirituality.

Qingu's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre,—I would argue that it’s more probable that most or all of the so-called prophets were just charlatans.

The best charlatans are the ones who convince themselves they’re right.

That said, I’m sure many of them actually thought they were helping the people they were trying to manipulate and control.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

If we assume that the God of Abraham exists and had previously talked to humans, then I see no reason why He would not continue to do so – if not in increasing numbers since the world is so screwed up. The problem is, if any of it were genuine they would be written off as crazy and locked up in Bellevue.

However, as I recall even people who did claim that God spoke to them were written off as crazy by the church or society. I am not sure of any Biblical instances of God speaking directly to anyone though.

In respect to televangelists and the like, they have nothing to do with God whatsoever, assuming He exists. They are far too wrapped up in their own wealth and agenda.

This post is devoid of personal belief, so pls don’t release the attack dogs. I was just answering the question.

bellusfemina's avatar

He can speak to your heart- but I haven’t heard of him actually appearing. He uses his angels to deliver his messages. (modern people see agels all of the time)

Snarp's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Well he at least talked to Moses according to the Bible.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Snarp Ah right, on the mountain. 8 years of Catholic school has failed me!

bellusfemina's avatar

I was going to mention Moses and the burning bush, but I was thinking only about modern incidents. :)

OneMoreMinute's avatar

@ragingloli That is pretty cool, that IGOD!!!
I asked “IGOD” how many senses humans have yet to awaken, and instantly IGOD replied, A million!

CMaz's avatar

Do you talk to the cake that is baking in the oven?

Snarp's avatar

@ChazMaz Interesting thought.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

…Does the cake talk back?

Snarp's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Also interesting.

CMaz's avatar

I look at it this way…

You being God. All of creation as the cake. You know how the cake will turn out. You have followed the directions. And, possibly did it before.

There are all sorts of things going on while that cake is baking. Crazy, violent beautiful things. Do you need to check up on it every second? Listening to the sounds it is making? Yes the cake talks. Listen to it next time it is baking. Part of the process.

You (God) might check in on it now and then. I do not think “God” really needs to do that. Everything is perfect. Everything is good to go. God is just waiting for the timer to ding.

We are just a bunch of insecure molecules bouncing off one another.
And, if we were to stop. There would be no cake. And we all love cake.

El_Cadejo's avatar

except for the fact that THE CAKE IS A LIE

Berserker's avatar

I don’t see how televangelists and the like are any different than infomercials merged with silly talk shows. Whether God exists or not, it has nothing to do with those guys.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ChazMaz Then god will EAT US ALL!!! AAAA!

tragiclikebowie's avatar

We’re just a cake, baking in the oven of Life.

CMaz's avatar

He is reading a book (while waiting for the cake to finish) called… “How to Serve Man”

We got that one wrong…

Snarp's avatar

Then is heaven the state of churning in the stomach, or is that sort of like Armageddon and heaven is being poop?

CMaz's avatar

Heaven is the pleasure God has after the cake is done.

We all know God don’t poop. ;-)

Blackberry's avatar

I know you’re a smart guy from the answers of yours I’ve seen and you know the answer haha. God doesn’t speak to anyone, these people are either lying, crazy, or confused to claim that it does speak to them.

stump's avatar

Yes, God talked to the ancients, and he talks to modern people also. It is all in how you listen. God doesn’t talk to any one person more than another. God doesn’t care if you are a pope or a televangelist. And I am inclined to believe those that are most insistant on knowing what God says are least likely to be right.
@ChazMaz God poops. Everyone poops.

DominicX's avatar

Yeah, he talks to Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, and…oh wait…

:\

CMaz's avatar

“God poops. Everyone poops.”

Only mortals poop.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I’m gonna get flushed down god’s toilet now? This is just getting worse and worse.

stump's avatar

If God wants to poop, He’ll poop.

Berserker's avatar

Could God poop out a log so big even He couldn’t flush it- I got nuthin’.

CMaz's avatar

@stump – Yes so true. He is God.

Snarp's avatar

@Blackberry I know my answer, but I’m interested in other people’s answers.

Qingu's avatar

From the positive answers, it sure seems like God speaks in mysteriously convenient ways.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

why the cake thing again? whyyyyy!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

In all seriousness, if there is a god zie has made hirself irrelevant by not helping, communicating, or interacting in any way with creation. Thus god is either, incapable, irresponsible, doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist.

Ria777's avatar

@Dracool: The Abrahamic God? I can’t take any god seriously who belongs to a man.

then you’d best take none of them seriously, because they all do.

Google “Abrahamic religions” if you want to find out what Abrahamic God means.

stump's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre In the Bible, God speaks to many people through visions and/or dreams. People still have visions and dreams. And although these things can be explained as electro-chemical activity in the brain, explaining them does not preclude them being communication with God. Believing something is impossible, like hearing God speak to you, makes it much harder.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stump I won’t debate it with you, because neither of us will be convinced or change our minds. If you’re using the Bible as a source, and I believe that source to be invalid, we really can’t discuss it.
I have no problem with people’s beliefs, and I hope that it gives people what they need. My problem stems from when people’s beliefs are used to decapitate hard science, or to do terrible things – neither of which, I assume, you are doing, so we’re probably cool.

Ria777's avatar

@stump: Yes, God talked to the ancients, and he talks to modern people also. It is all in how you listen. God doesn’t talk to any one person more than another.

if “God doesn’t talk to any one person more than another” then it might as well not matter if “God” does or does not exist since the power of interpretation lies within ourselves. you might as easily conjecture a universe where “God” does not exist and we make choices based on what limited data we have available.

Qingu's avatar

@stump, similarly, in the Bible there is a story about a talking donkey. There are still donkeys. And although the existence of donkeys can be explained by biology, explaining them does not preclude a donkey magically learning how to talk.

And believing it is impossible for donkeys to talk makes it that much harder to believe that donkeys can talk!

Dr_C's avatar

I believe that God (supreme being, higher consciousness… whatever you believe in if you chose to believe) can and does speak to us through nature, and those around us.. but not in any specific way. People can choose to listen or not.

Having said that I believe that people who are convinced they receive a divine message for specific actions or specific commands from on hihg belong in a padded room with lots of happy pills.

stump's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre The Bible is just a book. I don’t believe it is any more divinely inspired than Romeo and Juliet. But the question was about God talking to people, and in particular the Abrahamic God. Thus the Bible. I love science and don’t find any contraditions in modern science and my religion.
@Ria777 Practice makes perfect, and that is especially true when listening to God. And I have found through practical experience that I make better decisions when listening.
@Qingu You are absolutely right. I hope I find a talking donkey someday. And although I am not really looking for one, I will certainly listen if I meet one.

stump's avatar

@Dr_C I agree with you. God speaks through nature and those around us. And I would add in our hearts. And although I don’t believe I have received any divine commandments from on high, I still wouldn’t mind a few happy pills:)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@stump Absolutely – and I find many people can integrate the two seamlessly.

phoebusg's avatar

@Dr_C I think we create meaning, so that speaking is simply our interpretation. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the addition of human meaning to everything in the world.

Ria777's avatar

@stump: ‘kay, well you list magick as an interest of yours. riddle me this, Batman, couldn’t you more accurately say the Holy Guardian Angel (if you believe in the HGA) rather than “God”? or does the HGA act as messenger or…?

Dr_C's avatar

@phoebusg agreed… when that added meaning stemming from human interpretation is based in reality.

stump's avatar

@Ria777 In magick terms, yes, it is the Holy Guardian Angel that speaks to us in our hearts. But angels are always the messengers of God. That is their job. Should I be flattered that you checked out my profile?

Grisaille's avatar

LISTEN UP.

I am the one, true God. I’ve heard your calls and prayers – I have decided to speak to you all here, through this fellow; he is just a vessel.

I ask only one thing from you; devotion. I demand that you announce “Zen is my one true God” here in this thread, right now. If you question my authority, you will burn in Hell. If you question my divinity, you will burn in Hell. I will fry you and your sons for eternity if you do not submit.

Do so now.

phoebusg's avatar

I already followed a zen-like thought before your manifestation ;) @Grisaille

CMaz's avatar

Do you mean?... Zen_Again

BoBo1946's avatar

ummm..Snarp, great question! I’m a Christian, certainly not the best on the team, but I’m a good water boy! But, I think God talks to those that “walk the walk” and lives close to Him.

You mentioned TV evangelist, really don’t think some are not very close to God..maybe, their pocketbook! Some of them are shameful..and I should not judge, but just think so many of them are preying on people’s pocketbook. Know that i should not say that, but the way I see it.

Bottomline, think there are people that God talks too…the Billy Graham etc…the people who live a Godly life 7 days a week. The people who are truly servants of God and not their pocketbook.

There are so many things about Christianity that I don’t understand. Personally, I just have to live by faith!

Ria777's avatar

@Grisaille: Zen from Blake’s 7?

Jeruba's avatar

No. Nor to any others.

But I do believe that there are and always have been some who sincerely thought so. And some charlatans who knew better but pretended so.

There will always be gullible believers.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Zen is my one true God.

CMaz's avatar

“Thus god is either, incapable, irresponsible, doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist.”

Or, does not need to.

Nullo's avatar

Yes, I do. Not necessarily in a booming voice from on high, but yes.
@Grisaille Ah, ridicule. Great.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Nullo very good answer…thank you for speaking out your convictions!

liminal's avatar

@Dr_C mmmMMMmmm bacon….. I so want a BLT now, boo boo head :P

SABOTEUR's avatar

From Wikipedia on Conversations With God, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch

The voice of God states in Book 1 that words are not the truth, and thus readers must ultimately take what is being said and consult their own feelings to determine if they are in agreement with it. The voice says this is true of any other book or words we come across.

Though the books bear the title Conversations with God and the author introduces the first book by stating he is “taking dictation” from God, the voice of God in the trilogy explains that the dialogue is God speaking to everyone all the time.

“The question is not to whom does God talk, but who listens.”

This is clarified by the statement that God can communicate with you in the next song you hear, the next breeze that caresses your ear, the next conversation you overhear.

“All these devices are mine. All these avenues are open to me. I will speak to you if you invite me.”

Ron_C's avatar

Many modern people talk to god, others talk to trees, their pets, and their car on a cold winter morning (please start, please start). The common thing is that the only answers they get are in their head. Except for the car, it will sometimes start if you are nice to it.

ChaosCross's avatar

Absolutely. Even though he may not literally talk to you in most cases, I believe he attempts to communicate to anyone who would listen using nature, the world, and events in the person’s life.

Qingu's avatar

@ChaosCross, how exactly is that different from “not communicating”?

ChaosCross's avatar

@Qingu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicate

Words are not really necessary to “talk” with a person. As impossible as it may seem, humans for base up to 80% of their messages given and received from body language. God, depending on how much you think he controls, can “give you his message” in quite a few different ways.

But apart from the whole indirect communication thing, I do think that he talks to us in a real sense as well. Not always with sound necessarily, but hopefully one will notice if they are listening.

Qingu's avatar

So you’re saying if a tree falls over and blocks the road you’re driving on, it could be God communicating you to drive on another road?

Again, God seems to communicate in mysteriously convenient ways.

stump's avatar

@Qingu If you had a vision of an old man with a long flowing beard sitting on a high throne who told you to take a different road, would that be a less convenient, more believable way for God to communicate? Or would you assume you were having a psychotic brake?

CMaz's avatar

Always a vision or a dream. Always in some incoherent state that God appears before you.
Why can’t God just walk into my office and sit down? As clear and as apparent as anyone else walking into my room.
I mean, he is God. Why does he seem to need so much smoke and mirrors to make a point?

I work for one of the largest christian organizations in the world. I have been in this type of environment for a very long time.

I see nothing more then delusional reciprocity.
I am not trying to discredit God with that statement. But if there is a God we lost our way a long time ago.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz If someone walked into your office like you discribe, and told you he was God, would you believe him? I wouldn’t. I would need him to do some miracles. But I have seen stage magicians do amazing things, so I can’t think of anything he could do that I wouldn’t be able to ascribe to either stage magic, or my own psychosis. The only thing in which I could have real faith is God talking to me through all things. I think of God as immanent in the world. The tree in my way speaks more directly to me than a person telling me to go around. No smoke and mirrors. What could be more direct than a tree in your way?

CMaz's avatar

“would you believe him?” If it was God I do not think it would be a stretch to get that impression.

If someone walked into my office and said, “I just crapped my pants.” I bet you without a doubt, I would know that to be a fact.

“But I have seen stage magicians do amazing things”
Knowing all along it was an elusion.

“The tree in my way speaks more directly to me than a person telling me to go around.”
No question there. Makes sense to see God more practical in our lives.

Then we go back to God snapped his fingers and it became a chain reaction. There is no good or bad, right or wrong.
It is a process that needs no explanation except for the apparent on you see out your window.

stump's avatar

What does God smell like? What would God have to look like or do for you to know it was God? Or would you believe anyone who told you they were God?

Snarp's avatar

@ChazMaz, Your metaphors are brilliant. Creation as a cake in the oven and now sensing the presence of God as the smell of crapped pants. Irreverent, but it certainly gets the point across. At least to some of us.

Snarp's avatar

@stump I think the idea is that assuming God is all powerful, you would just know it was him, without any doubt, simply from being in his presence. And if being in his presence alone wasn’t enough, he could just make you know.

CMaz's avatar

@stump – You missed the point.

@Snarp – You got it!

stump's avatar

Okay, I see what you are saying. If God is all powerful, He could just make you know it was him. But he could make you already know what he was going to say to you, so he wouldn’t have to appear. I personally think God did just appear as himself and tell everyone what he wanted them to know. And then he was killed. But a parent or teacher doesn’t give children all the answers all the time. I think God wants us to be able to make good decisions ourselves. I think that is part of the fun and point of creation.

CMaz's avatar

“But he could make you already know what he was going to say to you, so he wouldn’t have to appear.”
So true. The problem is it would have to be unilateral. Us humans being so schizophrenic.

“personally think”
THAT is why you fail. – Yoda

“I think God wants us to be able to make good decisions ourselves.”
Decisions are subjective.

“I think that is part of the fun and point of creation.”
You need to think bigger. Free your mind, the rest will follow. – EN VOGUE

Funny thing, for me. The bigger I think about the big picture. The simpler it becomes to understand.
Complex, but simple.

stump's avatar

Okay, you lost me. Yoda says I fail because I think personally?
Yes, decisions are subjective. Is that bad?
Is that a quote from EN VOGUE? What is EN VOGUE? And what does that quote mean?

CMaz's avatar

Wow, this is a tough audience. lol

I was using humor to make my point.

Free you mind the rest will follow….
Basically, do not be so closed minded.

In the Christian realm. Basically in most religions it is “the bible tells me so”, mentality.
That is such a death blow to be so absolute, and in most cases. They are just putting up a wall. To avoid any other reason.

We certainly do not want to get on Gods bad side. And THAT starts a down hill snowball of contradiction.

stump's avatar

I often miss humor in this forum. Sorry. I am getting the feeling we have talked God to death.
Thanks, Snarp. I was never into R&B.

Qingu's avatar

The Biblical god is not really all-powerful, at least not as he is portrayed in the Old Testament. For example, he messes up creation on his first try and has to press the Flood Reset Button. He is also unable to help his Chosen Ones defeat a rival tribe on the plains because they were using the super-advanced technology of iron chariots.

There is a saying, I believe by Joe Stalin: “Magic is indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced technology.” I think this applies equally to deities. We humans actually have the power, today, to perform pryotechnic “miracles” far surpassing Yahweh’s “pillars of fire” and “burning bushes.” We are on the cusp of creating life from nonlife, and artificial intelligences rivaling humans. Google offers more information and more relevant information than Yahweh ever did in the Old Testament.

If modern humans traveled back in time and took a chunk of our technological infrastructure with us, the Hebrews would probably worship us as Gods. Or else try to construct wooden replicas of our technology to invoke the “magic” we were using, cargo-cult style.

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu: Arthur C. Clarke said it first: “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I can’t imagine anyone but a scientist or a science fiction writer coming up with that aphorism.

Qingu's avatar

Really? I could have sworn it was Stalin. One of his many famous “stalinisms.”

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Qingu “Google offers more information and more relevant information than Yahweh ever did in the Old Testament.”
That’s because google is god

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu: Google the phrase.

Qingu's avatar

Obviously the internet is a revisionist history conspiracy against a great source of quotations.

Ria777's avatar

@ChazMaz: In the Christian realm. Basically in most religions it is “the bible tells me so”, mentality.

two answers. one, “Bible tells me so” as a phrase comes from Christianity. two, you have apostates and disbelievers of the enlightenment to thank for the idea that you could question the Bible.

I recently watched a video of a lecture by Stephen Fry in which he pointed out that once you had people put to death for owning a copy of the Bible in English.

http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=70330

basically you say that Christianity exemplifies the values that Christian leaders fought hard to suppress.

Trillian's avatar

I cannot deny that there are misguided people out there who do /have done terrible, inexcusable things in the name of Christianity.
That is because people are fallible. Christianity, like any other faith, gives people a set of guidelines by which to live their lives. I think if people could leave it at that, we wouldn’t have so many problems. I think the problems start when people want to force others to share the same views, and hurt others for not sharing the same views. I’m pretty sure that neither thing was the intent of the man named Jesus, or a man named Siddartha (spelling), or even Mohammed. Not positive about the Islam thing as I lack familiarity.
My point being that it’s ok and even possibly a necessary thing to believe in something larger than oneself, whatever label you want to put on it.
Maybe we could all just try to leave it at that. If we can’t just discuss and say “Oh, you feel that way about it? How interesting. Here’s how I feel.” Why do we keep wanting to deride another person for having a faith that they cannot adequately explain to you? Perhaps lacking the vocabulary, or even a reason you would consider to be a “good one”. Faith in something unseen is not in and of itself a bad thing. I have no problem with someone who believes implicitly in the tenets of his faith until he tries to force it on me. Or hurt me for not sharing that faith. I feel no need to force how I feel on anyone. I have no desire to take responsibility for another persons spiritual well being and I certainly don’t want to shatter the faith of anyone.
For the record, I believe in the Big Bang, but I also don’t think that this rules out God. If God were to create the universe, it seems logical that he would determine the physical laws of that universe and operate within the parameters of said laws to bring about “His wonders to behold.”
It stands to reason that early people would explain the origins according to what they knew about their world. Like the Greeks, the Babylonians, Native Americans. They all have differing stories about creation, the seasons, the natural world… Does this lessen the validity of their tenets?

Ria777's avatar

@Trillian: I didn’t put that last post to offend you or to condemn Christians but to put some historical perspective on what @ChazMaz had posted earlier, especially since he implicitly made it out as inherently more liberal than other religions. (he actually has a point. except that you’d find that a number of the eastern religions got there before the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment.

your post does have an inaccurate statement though. Mohammed expressed his faith by leading successful military expeditions to spread his religion. in one of those expeditions he took over Mecca by force from nonbelievers.

Trillian's avatar

@Ria777 Well, since I had disqualified myself from making a firm statement about Islam, ”..or even Mohammed. Not positive about the Islam thing as I lack familiarity.” I’m not sure how you can call what I said inaccurate.
I was not offended by what you or anyone else wrote. Only a bit dismayed that we seem to lose perspective when we discuss religious beliefs, whether we have faith or not. I knew a minister whom I respect greatly for his academic achievements. He speaks Greek, Latin, Aramaic and Hebrew, and can tell the most amazing things about biblical times and events. He also has references. He does not therow out statements that he cannot back up. On top of that he’s a genuinely good man. He spent several years in Israel and as a scholar was a part of a community of scholars of many differing faiths. They would get together and argue various points of theology and doctrine. He said the arguments were stimulating and though voices were sometimes raised, no one ever called another “wrong” or “foolish” or “Stupid” or any of the spoken or implied names I’ve seen here. they all had respect for the others belief system. this included atheists, by the way.

Qingu's avatar

@Trillian, the Bible contains many commandments—allegedly from the Christian god—that, for example, allow slavery, order the killing of unbelievers, and treat women as property. Holy war is spelled out as a doctrine in Deuteronomy and celebrated in the next six books of the Bible.

You seemed to imply that doing such things would be “misguided” and “horrible” in the name of Christianity. When it seems to me that it’s just following the commandments that the Christian God supposedly gave us. The ones that Jesus said we should all try to follow and teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:17), that Paul said were just, holy, and good (Romans 7:12) and that God himself said would be a light unto nations (Deuteronomy 4:2).

Also, I would argue that the fact that the Bible, the Enuma Elish, the Rig Veda, and the Quran are pre-scientific documents that contradict known reality does invalidate them. It means they weren’t actually handed down by gods, which is one of their central claims. It means they were written by men—and I do mean men, not women—pre-scientific men, from a pre-scientific, bronze-age culture. Which is why, for example, you find endorsements of slavery and misogyny in all of these ancient texts—par for the course for ancient cultures, but certainly “invalid” for ours.

Qingu's avatar

Also: while I do have respect for religious people, I simply do not have respect for many religious books. I’ve read a number of them and with few exceptions they are largely cultish vestiges of another era.

They are fascinating. They are a part of our history. But I have no respect for the moral claims they contain, and I think most of their factual claims are wrong.

My opposition to any person’s religion, then, is proportional to the extent to which these books inform their worldview. Certainly for many Christians (including some on Fluther) the Bible may as well be the Iliad, and they call themselves “Christians” on the basis that they happen to agree with some selection of Jesus’ moral statements while denying the entirety of the factual and moral claims elsewhere in the Bible.

Trillian's avatar

@Ria777 You mix the old and New Testaments, and Chrstians know that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ mean that they are no longer bound by old testament law, but are under a new covenant. I was actually referring to the inquisition when I said horrible things, but you could also classify biblical based excuses for lynching black people as under that category. People love to take things out of context and twist them to suit their own purposes, as you may or may not be doing here. If Jesus said to “teach”, he certainly did not say “force” and anything done in his name should be done with love. That does not include shouting and bible thumping, picketing abortion clinics or any of the myriad other things that overly enthusiastic Christians do n their misguided sense of right. So again, the mans intentions and what is being done in his name….The Nazis used the bible as an excuse for the Holocaust. the Catholic church did not speak out against it. You can’t blame that on the bible itself, or the man Jesus Christ. Do you see? It is people who are the problem.
You misread what I wrote. I said; “It stands to reason that early people would explain the origins according to what they knew about their world. Like the Greeks, the Babylonians, Native Americans. They all have differing stories about creation, the seasons, the natural world… Does this lessen the validity of their tenets?” This means, in other words, that I am fully aware that the explanations they have of the natural world are incorrect. I don’t know any other words to use to get that sentiment across. I said that just because they did not have the correct scientific explanation of the world does not lessen the validity of their tenets.

Main Entry: te·net
Pronunciation: \ˈte-nət also ˈtē-nət\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, he holds, from tenēre to hold
Date: circa 1600

: a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true; especially : one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession

Do you see? For instance, a Buddhist philosophy is that all life is sacred. Because the Siddartha didn’t know how the universe was formed, does that lessen the validity of this ideal? I think you completely miss my point because of a personal prejudice. I could be mistaken. Do you see? I do not argue the validity of the universal creation stories, I argue for the validity of the tenets, the beliefs such as “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. Do you see the difference?
So what I would ask of you then, is to temper your initial revulsion and adversarial reaction and actually either listen to what people have to say if it differs from your philosophy, or at the very least don’t keep ahhhh, do what you want. I give up.
I just think that it is not well done to demean someone for their beliefs, especially if they haven’t exhibited any of the negative behaviours that are so often associated with Christianity.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu
Yer just mad because we don’t share your idea of what’s right and wrong.

Trillian's avatar

Doh! I meant to address that to @Qingu! Sorry people! I really need to go back to bed. Guess I will.

laureth's avatar

@TrillianMatthew 5:17–20.

@Nullo: Yes, I already know you and I disagree about this passage.

Trillian's avatar

@laureth I’d love to discuss this with you. This is an interesting passage, and I know the context. Jesus was always fed up with the pharisees and their acts. How do you feel about it?
I have to go get some sleep, I work again tonight. I’d like to have a conversation though…

laureth's avatar

@Trillian – as a non-Christian, I find it a useful passage for anyone who talks about the old laws being null and void. Lots of Christians seem to think that all the old laws were done away with, but here we have what purports to be Jesus himself saying “not so!”.

ragingloli's avatar

People can talk about how the OT does not apply to them anymore, but the fact is that the OT containing rules on how to conduct slavery contains an implicit moral endorsement of slavery, e.g. slavery is moral and “moral law” is eternal. So in my view, christians must either accept that slavery is moral, or they must admit that morals change and are thus relative.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, yeah. I am mad that you support ethnic cleansing because your holy book supports it.

This is about what’s right and wrong. That is why I get worked up about religion. Because people who agree with the Bible that homosexuals are inhuman, or that slavery should be legal, or that women are property, or that genocide ever is acceptable—these people are wrong. And I’m sorry, and angry, that you feel differently.

Qingu's avatar

@Trillian, to respond to a few of your points:

1. I understand that you’re in a “new covenant.” You no longer have to follow the Old Testament laws to be “saved.” However, does this mean that it would be immoral to follow the laws? Certainly Jesus says the opposite—he says you’ll be called “greatest” for following them. Whcih makes sense because they’re God’s laws, and supposedly perfect (despite being impossible to fully follow for us flawed humans).

2. On this note, why would it be wrong to do the Inquisition? The Bible commands that you kill unbelievers, even if they’re you’re own family or best friends (Deuteronomy 13:6). Why would it be wrong to follow God’s commandment?

3. Jesus said a lot of things. He did say render unto caesar and turn the other cheek. But he also said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword,” and in almost all of his parables he threatens people with torture or death if they do not follow his cult. In Revelation, he will return and kill most of the Earth’s population and torture the rest. The idea that Jesus was just some hippie communist moral philosopher is a figment of modern secular society’s imagination.

4. I agree with you that something unscientific could still have good moral tenets. However, the Bible and many other ancient myths do not have good moral tenets. The Bible supports slavery, misogyny, and genocide. It says that gays should be killed. It says that unbelievers deserve to be tortured for not following its cult. Jesus, like Bush, said “those who are not with me are against me.”

Now, you brought up Buddhism—I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I do like some of the moral teachings I know about. I’m more familiar with Hinduism, and I also like some of the tenets there. However, there are many tenets of both religions that I think are just wrong, or stupid. Likewise for the Bible and the Quran—some tenets are good, but many are just barbaric. And I would say the Bible is particularly vile.

The Code of Hammurabi—the earliest law code we have—contains some good moral tenets. It also says that if you build a house that collapses on another guy’s daughter, your daughter gets killed as “justice.” That—like much of the Code, or the Bible, or the Quran, is a barbaric, stupid moral tenet— independent of the fact that these texts are also unscientific and full of factual errors.

Trillian's avatar

@Qingu Torture or death if they do not follow his cult? Really? I don’t recall ever reading that. I can’t answer for what the bible says, nor do I claim that it isn’t a contradiction. I also don’t have any desire to make you see a point of view other than your own.
My bottom line, and I think I said this already, is that it isn’t well done to demean someone for having a belief system other than your own. You can stand around and spout logic all you want, but at the end of the day, people are not logical. Or consistent. I am not here to defend the bible. I have enough questions of my own about the origins of the books, the ones that were left out and many other things to try to argue about the validity. I just don’t know. I believe that there is a possibility of a greater hand guiding the universe. I believe that a man named Jesus actually walked the earth. I believe that others spoke in his name things that he did not intend. I believe that people need something to believe in. It’s when we start 1. Forcing our beliefs on others,and 2. disparaging the beliefs of others that problems arise.
I’m interested in the bible and the Kaballah. I like to learn about things from antiquity. I think “angel” names are cool. Names that end in ‘El’ are God names. Like Michael, Samuel, Azriel, Uriel, Gabriel.
I should never have opened this can of worms by trying to deflect your derision and get you to reconsider your stance. Please, by all means; question, deride, tear apart the illogic, misquote, feel how you wish.
I have no official position about the bible, because I’m still searching. And researching. I find it all fascinating, but I’m looking from many different angles, from heraldry, to Babylonian texts, Journals that investigate proof or lack of proof of “biblical” events.
I choose not to question what others believe. This means you as well. I forgot that temporarily. You are entitled to the same courtesy that I extend the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others. I felt that since I know something about the bible that I could alleviate some of your doubts. I was wrong.
I

Qingu's avatar

@Trillian, I don’t even think we disagree about anything, except the extent to which we are comfortable about criticizing ideologies.

And I’m willing to agree to disagree about that. :)

To answer your question about Jesus and torture/death, many of his parables are thinly veiled threats. They compare God to a slave-owner and humans to slaves. The obedient slaves are rewarded when the owner returns, but the disobedient ones—i.e. the people who don’t follow Jesus’ cult—are killed or tortured.

Trillian's avatar

@Qingu I don’t suppose you could give me a few specifics? I confess that at the moment all I can think of is the rich man, shoot, I can’t recall how that went, something about giving it all up. And render unto Caesar, which isn’t really a parable, I suppose. I know the one about the three servants with the talents. I know the one about the prodigal son. I know that parables are mind puzzles, designed to get one to think… and not to be taken literally. I’ll check back tomorrow.

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu I think that you are on to something. Maybe Erich von Däniken, in The Chariots of the Gods was right and the biblical stories are based on advanced aliens visiting the stone age tribes. Maybe the Mormons are correct is saying that the god of this earth is a spiritually advanced being who was given the power of a god for this planet.

Regardless, it is very difficult to accept the biblical description of an infallible god.

johnw10's avatar

Yes he will

candide's avatar

are you kidding? God talks to everybody, people just don’t listen

CMaz's avatar

My dog talks to me.

Qingu's avatar

@candide, are you one of the people who do listen? If you are, I’m curious as to what exactly he tells you.

candide's avatar

the secrets of life, the universe and everything…

Trillian's avatar

@candide Hactar let that one out of the bag. 42. Like we didn’t know that already.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu
The logic goes like this:

God is, among other things, just, righteous, and good, and He does not like evil. Therefore, asking the Israelites to clear out a people that start with child sacrifice and go from there (clearly an evil bunch) is a perfectly good, just, and righteous thing to do.

CMaz's avatar

It is all about survival.

Some cultures have been better at packaging it then others.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, similarly, the Christians’ massacres of the child-sacrificing Aztec and Maya were good and righteous. Oh, along with the women, children, and infants who did not actually perform such acts but belonged to the culture. They obviously all deserved to die. Your mother must be so proud of you.

@ChazMaz, it’s not about survival. God gives his reason for ordering genocide. It’s to protect the Israelite’s cultural purity. Ethnic cleansing.

CMaz's avatar

“It’s to protect the Israelite’s cultural purity. Ethnic cleansing.”

Or as I like to put it. Survival.

ragingloli's avatar

Well I suppose the Holocaust can be justified the same way then.

“It’s to protect the Germans’ cultural and racial purity. Ethnic cleansing.”

Or as I like to put it. Survival.

CMaz's avatar

Yep.

Survival in its purest form is to keep the breed pure and, keep the flock fed.
At any cost.

The “invention” of religion and of “God” was/is to legitimize genocide.

Ria777's avatar

@ChazMaz: not every religion has followed that model. a lot of them have, obviously, and the Abrahamic religions have, but not every one of them.

CMaz's avatar

Name one that does not. Buddhaisem does not count.

Ria777's avatar

@ChazMaz: the Quakers, the Jains, Taoism, Sufism (I think) and of course others.

CMaz's avatar

The Quakers were all about power and control. Modern day Quakers have just atrophied.
Have total understanding of what the wrath of God will do to them.
Jainism, Taoism, and Sufism. Like Buddhism. Is just another form of atheism.

A more substance biased atheism.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz Had a bad experience with religion?

CMaz's avatar

“Had a bad experience with religion?”
Nope. I am good with it. I just do not fear it.

BTW. I work for one of the largest Christian based religious organizations in the world.
Lets just say I have seen the light. :-)

Ria777's avatar

@ChazMaz: Have total understanding of what the wrath of God will do to them.

what? did you mean that as a command? “You should have total understanding of what the wrath of God will do to them”? or what?

anyway, as of now, the Quakers don’t believe in the principles that you talked about. they don’t believe in violence.

Sufis beleve in Allah, all right. if you want to call that “just another form of atheism” than you have a broad definition of atheism as well as a narrow definition of religion.

they used to call the early Christians atheists because they didn’t believe in the Roman gods, who at least had a physical form.

CMaz's avatar

“s of now, the Quakers don’t believe in the principles that you talked about.”
Really, they do not believe in sin and punishment for that sin?

“hey used to call the early Christians atheists because they didn’t believe in the Roman gods,”
Seems to go in one big circle. When you search for the REAL truth.

Ria777's avatar

@Ria777: okay, then. the Quakers believe in that stuff. they don’t condone war, though. I didn’t understand your second statement at all.

CMaz's avatar

When you start to question authority. When you look for the truth, you tend to go in an “atheistic” direction.
It comes from filtering out all the “magic” and “guilt”.

I can’t deny God. Because we have not come to the understanding of how something comes from nothing. And, I see God as a more of a what then a who.

But, how our society/world sees God as, is archaic.
Always fearing getting hit by lightning.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz When you say ‘how our society/world sees God’ you are making a huge generalization. Even within an organized religion there are almost as many conceptions of God as there are individuals. And I don’t know how you make the leap from ‘sin and punishment’ to ‘legitimizing geonocide’.

CMaz's avatar

“you are making a huge generalization.”
Yes I am.

“know how you make the leap”
Because ‘sin and punishment’ always lead to ‘legitimizing genocide’. When God is involved.
Or should I say when “God” is used as a scapegoat.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz Is it only when God is involved? Many legal systems rely on the idea of sin and punishment. We may call it crime and incarceration, but it is the same idea.

CMaz's avatar

No legal system relies on “sin” to pass punishment, “sin” is subjective.

Punishment and how it is given is another thing all together. Those are called laws. Religion not needed.
Unless you are in a religiously driven society. That dictates punishment biased on Gods laws. And then you are back to Gods involvement. To bully around the little people so the people in power can stay in power.

Bringing us back to ‘legitimizing genocide’. All for the sake of God.

stump's avatar

Sin is no more subjective than laws, secular or religious. A sin is breaking a religious law, and Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam (and I think many more) have clearly delineated laws. We don’t use the word sin when talking about breaking secular laws only because our (US) government is supposed to be seperate from religion. But many governments are still aligned with, if not founded on, a religion. And to break the law in those countries is to sin. Do you include all established government as an attempt to legitimize genocide?

CMaz's avatar

“Do you include all established government as an attempt to legitimize genocide?”

If they are killing for God.

stump's avatar

@ChazMaz My arguments are getting really convoluted. All I want to say is although religion has been a source of much conflict and abuse, sincere worshipers have found and transmitted truth and beauty in it. God is not to blame for our self-destruction.

CMaz's avatar

“God is not to blame for our self-destruction.”

I totally agree! :-)
The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves if we are underlings.

stump's avatar

I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. Props, my brother!

Ria777's avatar

@ChazMaz: I have passed the point of trying to understand what you write. individual sentence fragments (sometimes) make sense. combined with other sentence fragments… they, again, sometimes make sense. then you come out with these statements that seem not connected with what went before.

CMaz's avatar

It is rough isn’t it.

All that I am (basically ) saying is. Once you put a supreme being in charge.
You can justify anything, especially killing your own off for a higher purpose.

It has gone on like that since the beginning of mans existence.

Silhouette's avatar

Yes. They think it’s real so it’s real.

Morpheus: If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Neo: I thought it wasn’t real
Morpheus: Your mind makes it real
Neo: If you’re killed in the matrix, you die here?
Morpheus: The body cannot live without the mind.

My mind tells me it’s not real, theirs tells them something different.

andrewmagnum's avatar

So many gods have been made by the mind of man i’m starting to think that god is just a concept like (i’m giving a horrible exemple) money, money have no real value they are just a piece of plastic or paper virtualy useless yet they control our action and life.I wish i could believe that there is a god but it seems to me that god/gods are made to give us hope and reason to live. Peace

kritiper's avatar

It’s just the operator. “Number, please…”

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