View Poll Results: I believe in/that, follow, or subscribe to....

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22. You may not vote on this poll
  • An organized religion

    7 31.82%
  • No religion

    10 45.45%
  • One god (monotheism)

    9 40.91%
  • Multiple gods (polytheism)

    1 4.55%
  • No gods (atheism)

    9 40.91%
  • God/s' existence is unknowable (agnosticism)

    4 18.18%
  • The Devil (A personification of evil)

    6 27.27%
  • An afterlife of reward

    5 22.73%
  • An afterlife of punishment

    5 22.73%
  • Another kind of afterlife

    1 4.55%
  • No afterlife

    8 36.36%
  • Human souls (whether eternal or not)

    7 31.82%
  • No souls

    7 31.82%
  • Divine law

    6 27.27%
  • Sin

    5 22.73%
  • Reincarnation

    2 9.09%
  • Karma

    3 13.64%
  • Enlightenment

    3 13.64%
  • Good and Evil

    7 31.82%
  • Prophets who speak for God/s

    5 22.73%
  • Supernatural beings (spirits/angels/demons/etc.)

    6 27.27%
  • Divine intervention & miracles

    6 27.27%
  • Predestination/Determinism

    3 13.64%
  • Free will

    9 40.91%
  • Other

    5 22.73%
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Thread: Your spiritual/religious beliefs?

  1. #1
    High Priestess glam's Avatar
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    Default Your spiritual/religious beliefs?

    i'm interested in everyone's beliefs here - got inspired by a few of the religious-themed threads that are active at the moment, and didn't find a similar existing thread.

    choose any/all that apply. there are a lot of beliefs out there, and different religions/cultures/languages have different names for similar concepts, so try to choose what's closest to your beliefs. if you choose "Other" feel free to specify.

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    Landlord of the Dog and Duck Subteigh's Avatar
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    Very good options for the poll.

    I didn't vote for "Predestination/Determinism" or "Free will" because I believe we have a semblance of free will and that the universe is chaotic at the subatomic level. (I think people in large part have responsibility for their actions and that the degree to which they are consciously culpable for their actions can mostly be understood).

  3. #3
    Creepy-bg

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    I'm a universalist at heart, but ethics and morality shaped by catholicism. I was raised Catholic, but was the first in my family to not go on to get confirmed, halfway to be a little shit, and halfway because I honestly couldn't commit myself to only the Catholic faith or deciding that aspect of life at that time. I have had what I consider a few religious experiences in life, and they were with a Jesuslike presence, the Jesus of infinate love, understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness.

    I view religion, all religions and spiritual paths, as humans reaching for the same thing. Different humans, different cultures, different focuses, different times, different needs -> different religions, different paths, different understandings of God/spirituality.

    On top of, or behind, all of my beliefs is an understanding that we cannot know, due to the nature of being humans. All of it could be artifacts of the mind, culture, or sinister people using belief systems to manipulate. Or all three. Or all three AND the real thing. As far as I'm concerned, I will find out when I die if there is more (yet will always feel driven to seek and understand, broaden my pool) . Until then, I live according to my own internal sense of morality, and hope that I was installed with a trustable one that will get me through whatever comes after/ wherever I need to go. I also have faith in the experiences that I've had leading to the right place, whether devinely given, or the products of my mind.


    As far as heaven and hell, that sort of thing. I feel that "heaven" has an open door policy (I actually envision it as "the light", the swarm of all the souls and/or/is God.) and hell being the inability to bring oneself to accept it (staying forever outside, looking at it there accepting you, until you hate it or forget what you are).

    the purpose of life is be who we are. to experience this life that you're living.



    I think i've been writing for a bit, i'll hit submit. maybe come back to this though
    Last edited by bg; 07-15-2015 at 01:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    i think the historical purpose of spiritual thought has been to promote Enlightened Self Interest (karma + enlightenment) and an Internal Locus of Control (free will), both of which are of empirically demonstrated merit.

  5. #5
    Robot Assassin Pa3s's Avatar
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    Interesting thread.

    I would describe myself as a hard determinist.

    But I have to say that my thoughts on this subject changed a lot a few months ago. I used to believe in souls and an afterlife for a long time, but not as a part of any kind of religion. To me, it was just a reasonable thing to believe. But at some point, I realized that I had no actual reason to believe that rather than the tenets of any random religion. At the same time, I started reading about determinism and became fascinated by this perspective.

    To sum it up, I believe that the whole universe is completely deterministic. Every action and every thought of any human being is just as determined as the movement of the planets in or solar system. Of course, that also means the free will is nothing more than a farce. To be exact, it is not even real. It can't even exist by this logic.

    I also reject human exceptionalism. The human race should be seen as just another animal species. This perspective actually makes you less critical of humans a a whole as you stop expecting them to be reasonable in every situation. We evolved from animals which evolved from molecules which were at some point nothing more than lifeless matter. I stopped regarding life itself as something special. Now it see it as nothing more than a physio-chemical variation of matter. And just as every form of matter, we unconditionally obey the natural laws and nothing else.

    While I do think that everything has a cause, I don't believe that anything has a "reason" whatsoever. We don't live our lives to learn a lesson or something like that, there is no karma, we won't be reincarnated. Life has no meaning beyond human construction. In addition to this, I think that only matter is actually real. What we call "soul" is simply a function of our bodies. I readily admit that I have no idea how self-awareness is formed or what comes "after" death, but I think it can eventually be explained within the framework of physics.

    Even something so important to the human identity as feelings are nothing more than chemical reactions which all serve a purpose. But I'm not talking about a divine purpose, but the completely natural purpose of reproduction. Our whole life boils down to running after emotional highs just as any drug addict. But this addiction is, paradoxically, the only thing that keeps us alive. If we were not able to chase after good feelings, we'd soon resort to suicide (and rightfully so).

    However, fatalism and determinism seem to be easily confused. But I found a nice graphic which illustrates the differences. Fatalism seems rather unreasonable and unfounded to me and I don't share the defeatist attitude that comes with it.
     


    If you read the whole post you maybe think that all of this makes me really depressed. But I can assure you that it has exactly the opposite effect. All this makes a whole lot of sense to me and this "belief" feels more satisfying than any religion I heard about. Determinism actually has answers I CAN accept, rather than the answers of religions.
    Last edited by Pa3s; 07-15-2015 at 10:21 AM.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

  6. #6
    escaping anndelise's Avatar
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    I'll be the first to admit that mine seems a hodgepodge of ideas that don't necessarily work together.
    Especially since I've only sat down once before to try to put them altogether.

    I (currently) believe that WE ARE the I AM.
    I'm not referring to some separate all powerful supernatural being commonly called 'God'. But more like we are individual aspects that together develop a full, potentially sentient, consciousness. Sort of like how cells together make up a body, or neurons working together make up a complex mind. I'm reminded of the song phrase of 'I am you and you are me and we are all together'. As each of our individual consciousness and sentience develops, I AM's consciousness and sentience develops. Like right now we are a chaos of voices, a mind fighting with itself to be heard. But we have the potential of aligning our voices into harmony. And with harmony comes self awareness, and peace. However, this isn't limited to humans, I AM all living creatures, including plants. I guess one could say I AM the Life Force.

    What we do in this life, how we interact with each other and this world, determines what kind of sentient force 'I' will develop into.


    Along with this, I believe that our spirit has the capacity to continue, at least for a short time, after our physical body dies. But I don't believe in angels nor demons. Nor do I believe all spirits that have managed to hold themselves together and distinct are benevolent. Some may quickly dissolve back into I AM. And aspects may combine to create a 'new distinct entity', another personality/individual.

    I believe we have the opportunity/choice to experience physical life as often as we feel a need/desire to. That each life develops spiritual growth, further sentience, ....or declination. With each life we become more of who I AM.

    I also believe that we have made and may continue to make agreements with each other before each life, to help each other with the experiences we desire. Things may not always go as initially desired though. But again, how we each respond to what life throws at us further develops the overall sentient force which WE ARE.
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    Queen of the Damned Aylen's Avatar
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    Some of my thoughts on spirituality:

    There is no point in Consciousness that can be singularly defined as God. Consciousness is action. It is always in motion. It is driven by pure creativity. It holds no objective awareness. It doesn't feel or think. It does not have judgments of right or wrong. We are all made up of stardust which are links of consciousness born of chaos. This chaos has an awareness, purpose and intelligence that the human mind can't comprehend. It has no beginning and no end. It is energy that has taken infinite forms and will continue to take form in order to experience what has been dreamt of. Everything is made of consciousness and everything dreams, even a rock.

    Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another...
    I choose to live by the simple philosophy written in the Tao Te Ching but I don't always live up to the principles.

    "When I ought to be thinking of heaven he will nail me to earth"

     







  8. #8
    Robot Assassin Pa3s's Avatar
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    This is a short, but very interesting video about life and death I wanted to share.

    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    escaping anndelise's Avatar
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    I'm constantly reassessing my ideas on this topic.
    @Pa3s that was an interesting video.

    I've a favored book titled "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life". It's been a few years since I've read it, so there are details I've forgotten.

    It proposes, in part, that the mind's ability to create a Theory of Mind is what leads us into believing in a god, spirits, and life after death. That when we look for reasons why something happened, we look for causal agents and/or intentional agents. And when we further ask why, we develop a theory of mind as to why an intentional agent would cause this thing to happen. This leads us into believing in spirits, gods, demons, divine punishment, divine reward, etc.

    Beliefs in life after death also stem from theory of mind of trying to imagine what it might be like to be dead. At best our brains can imagine something more like an endless sleep, rather than a true death. We can remind ourselves that it's not actually sleep but true death. But the brain can't imagine what it would be like to be something...without including a Theory of Mind. It's easy to accept physical death, we can see it without a doubt. But it's harder for our minds to imagine mental death. We can't see that, we can't really objectively experience that, we can only imagine it, which carries our current mental capacities into that imagining.

    Anyways, the book includes other things that I can't remember much about. If I wasn't already overwhelmed with study material I would reread this book. I loved it so much I accidently bought 2, lol.

    I do keep these things in mind each time I analyze my beliefs. I'm aware that my beliefs could easily be delusional. But there are some things that I've experienced that I can't neatly place into "probably didn't happen". And so I mostly place my 'beliefs' into a holding pattern, to further analyze and question. Basically, I'm not invested in ensuring my eternal soul or whatever, so am open to non-soul ideas.


    I do, however, firmly believe that our spirit can continue on. And by spirit I mean the spirit in which we do things. What we do and why we do it. For example, I'm disgusted by what's been happening to our food supplies in the usa, and how farm animals are treated, and the commercial farming practices. I'm against a centralized food system. And so I've been turning my yard into garden areas and potential chicken pastures. One could say that i'm gradually developing the spirit of decentralizing my food system. And in the process of doing this, and talking about it (good and bad), this spirit infests others. As I gain experience, it will be easier to pass this spirit onto others.

    I also firmly believe that what we do, and why we do it, helps to create a world in which these things are done, and/or things done for these reasons. This plus the belief instinct psychology above might be major contributing factors to my belief in I AM. Perhaps something like as people recognize that they are helping to create a world which they and others experience, they may become more conscious in what they do, and what kind of world they are helping to create. That this can eventually turn from individuals to miniwaves to massive waves until 'the world is one big I AM', sustaining the earth, sustaining it's creatures, and sustaining each other. (Though would likely lead to ultimate distruction as major waves clash. )
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    Exits, pursued by a bear. Animal's Avatar
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    Don't much care. We don't really know anything.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

  11. #11
    High Priestess glam's Avatar
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    despite being the one to start this thread, i'm not a religious person at all (though i was raised as one until 12 years old), and i don't consider myself very spiritual. however i find these kinds of ideas interesting to discuss and read about.

    personally, i don't believe in any gods, afterlife, souls, spirits, supernatural beings or forces, etc. i consider a lot of "unknowns" to be things that probably have a rational explanation - we just aren't capable of understanding them, and we may or may not learn to explain them over time. religious people have asked me before "why don't you believe in God?" and my response these days is generally along the lines of "why should i?" i am okay with accepting there a lot of "unknowns", but i think a lot of people aren't - they find value and answers in whatever their particular belief system may be. which is fine with me, i think people generally need to have some sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, some kind of idea of where they stand in the wider context of the world and the universe - and religious/spiritual ideas can provide that. (though i think it's dangerous to human progress when adherence to certain ideas results in rejection of scientific discoveries.)

    regarding life/death: i think of this in terms of SCIENCE (!) - mass-energy equivalence and the quote that Aylen posted: energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another. to me this means "you" and everything you know has always been around and will always continue to be around in some form or another. as explained in the video that Pa3s posted, if you reproduce and pass along DNA to your progeny, "you" will remain "alive" in that sense. also, knowing that all life on earth evolved from a single organism can actually be quite profound in a spiritual sense, i.e. recognizing that all earthly life is connected in this way can be a really moving and emotional experience.

    i did vote "free will" in the poll. depending on your own conceptions of it, this may or may not be incompatible with deterministic ideas. lately i've been thinking more about free will in the context of neuroscience.

  12. #12
    xerx's Avatar
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    I was raised in a heretical Christian sect that was excommunicated in the reign of emperor Theodosius II... so I'm destined to go to hell regardless of my atheistic / interracial sex / liberal lifestyle. Might as well enjoy myself since I'm screwed no matter what.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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    Spirituality is just a feeling. I believe the universe is eternal and don't believe in a personal God that favors individuals. We are all equal. Whether one exists or not, I cannot say. I think we should just treat people as they would want to be treated and try and make society as good as humanly possible. After all, life is short, and we are kind of stuck on this planet together. We are like a speck of dust below the stars and should appreciate life. "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.", but not too much because we might still be alive, lol.

    I could care less if one is religious. If that makes sense to someone, then who am I to say otherwise, but I feel passionately that religion should not be forced upon people. That is why I'm such an advocate for the separation of church and state. I do not care for revealed religion in the least, but prefer certain philosophies to live by such as the philosophy of science, naturalism, epicureanism, some zen, the Tao Te Ching, and just simple living. I think of spirituality as finding how we relate to the world and people around us. New Age, and Consciousness spirituality is also a turn-off. The brain precedes all consciousness, not the other way around.

  14. #14
    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    i believe trivially in material reincarnation, i.e. the matter we are composed of tranfers to new and other living entities in due time. to the extent consciousness supervenes on matter it can be said something of our "souls" is preserved and absorbed by new life as well.

    also i think people are more than individuals and live on in their legacy. much like going to sleep ends consciousness but not life, so too does death end life but not our legacy. in this sense that which in us identifies with the legacy instead of with the individual lives on after death.

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    peteronfireee's Avatar
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    Christian here. This video wraps up my thoughts:



    God is real whether you think so or not.

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    Anglas's Avatar
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    unicorns are real whether you think so or not.

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    Queen of the Damned Aylen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglas View Post
    unicorns are real whether you think so or not.


    Good point. Regardless of my underlying beliefs on consciousness I believe if you can imagine it, it exists in some alternate reality and even things that can't be imagined exist. Once you have held a faery in the palm of your hand, while wide awake, and looked into her eyes, you are never the same. Everything you thought you knew unravels in that moment.

    "When I ought to be thinking of heaven he will nail me to earth"

     







  18. #18
    xerx's Avatar
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    Evil exists in the form of intra-species predation. This is personified by psychopaths and narcissists. They are a cancer dug deep into the social fabric of an otherwise peaceful and cooperative species under more ideal circumstances.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

  19. #19
    Chains's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krieger View Post
    i believe trivially in material reincarnation, i.e. the matter we are composed of tranfers to new and other living entities in due time. to the extent consciousness supervenes on matter it can be said something of our "souls" is preserved and absorbed by new life as well.

    also i think people are more than individuals and live on in their legacy. much like going to sleep ends consciousness but not life, so too does death end life but not our legacy. in this sense that which in us identifies with the legacy instead of with the individual lives on after death.
    I find it comforting that we are composed of atoms, all of which had their start after the Big Bang and made heavier by fusion within stars that no longer exist. All of the atoms that compose me were once part of countless living and non-living things and when I die, they will move on to be part of some other living and non-living things. What is fascinating is that many of the atoms in our body that are part of our cells are constantly being replaced by new atoms being incorporated from the environment. It's also fascinating that we have a physical self that is mostly stable over time as cells grow, die, and are replaced by new cells. Our physical selves are constantly being renewed, kind of like a refresh button.

  20. #20
    High Priestess glam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xerx View Post
    Evil exists in the form of intra-species predation. This is personified by psychopaths and narcissists. They are a cancer dug deep into the social fabric of an otherwise peaceful and cooperative species under more ideal circumstances.
    i've thought the same before, re: the bolded. a few past experiences i've had with a couple sociopaths/potential psychopaths, narcissists, and an unfeeling compulsive liar made me understand why a word like "evil" can exist without religious connotation. there is really nothing positive or beneficial to gain from dealing with such people (except perhaps the knowledge of what they're like, so you can warn others and avoid them in the future). they are a destructive influence, who can't help but inflict pain and suffering and confusion, and can even corrupt others into becoming like them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glam View Post
    i've thought the same before, re: the bolded. a few past experiences i've had with a couple sociopaths/potential psychopaths, narcissists, and an unfeeling compulsive liar made me understand why a word like "evil" can exist without religious connotation. there is really nothing positive or beneficial to gain from dealing with such people (except perhaps the knowledge of what they're like, so you can warn others and avoid them in the future). they are a destructive influence, who can't help but inflict pain and suffering and confusion, and can even corrupt others into becoming like them.
    Most definitely @ corrupting others to be like them!!! Most definitely @ evil not needing a religious connotation. Religion may even hinder the prosecution of evil by providing these people with a pulpit through which to slime their way into power to gain protection and/or spread their inhumane beliefs. You'll find them as the heads of a number of major organizations, religious or not, political or not, corporate or not.

    I'd add that, as people, at least from my experience dealing with them, they're typically not very interesting at their core once you dig past the superficial charm and mask of sophistication. They seem to want to secure wealth or adoration via the path of least resistance, a tendency which negates the desire for self-development and the ability to defer gratification towards better ends.

    My belief / hope is that a lot of evil happens because humans are social creatures and highly imitative of others, especially of those in power, not necessarily because of some unchangeable sadistic drive to inflict pain.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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    Landlord of the Dog and Duck Subteigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    Very good options for the poll.

    I didn't vote for "Predestination/Determinism" or "Free will" because I believe we have a semblance of free will and that the universe is chaotic at the subatomic level. (I think people in large part have responsibility for their actions and that the degree to which they are consciously culpable for their actions can mostly be understood).
    I should also say that I am a generally a hard-determinist, but believe this attitude to be unfalsifiable. It is still more productive than other philosophies however (probably).
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    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

    .
    .
    .


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    Robot Assassin Pa3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eliza Thomason View Post
    If you wanted to say that predestination and determinism are different concepts and shouldn't be put in one category, I agree with you. That's basically the same point I tried to make when I posted the graphic explaining the differences between determinism and fatalism. There are also differences between fatalism and predestination, but they're less fundamental.

    In this view, a free action is only possible at the beginning of time.
    With that, I don't really agree. Actually, I believe existence is cyclical without a beginning or an end. But I suppose it's referring to a god as the first creator who does have free will, so I guess it's a necessary element to make determinism compatible with religion at all.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    High Priestess glam's Avatar
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    i thought a few of the Catholic people here would have voted for believing in "another kind of afterlife", i.e. Purgatory and Limbo.

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    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glam View Post
    i thought a few of the Catholic people here would have voted for believing in "another kind of afterlife", i.e. Purgatory and Limbo.
    No, because Purgatory is not really an afterlife. Its just preparation for Heaven - that's the real afterlife. Its just sort of a pre-Heaven, where you take the time you need to get rid of all the things you didn't get around to getting rid of while still on earth, that you won't ever need in Heaven - things like regrets.

    And Limbo is done with; it was a place where the Heaven-bound of previous centuries waited for the gates of Heaven to open, upon Jesus' redemption on the cross. So, it must be empty!
    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglas View Post
    unicorns are real whether you think so or not.
    LOL.

    I personally like the "spaghetti monster's are real" one better, though unicorns work too.

    I'm guessing your line of reasoning with the unicorns is something along the lines of:

    1. There is no evidence for the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.
    2. There is no evidence for the existence of Unicorns.
    3. Therefore, belief in the Judeo-Christian God and belief in Unicorns are on equal epistemic grounds.

    If you want, we can discuss how this line of thinking can be problematic through PM. (I don't want to take over this thread).

    But, the main point with my post was...We can't all be right when it comes to this stuff.

    This "truth is what you make of it" thinking is utter bullshit.

    An absolute truth exists.
    Last edited by peteronfireee; 07-22-2015 at 06:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    LOL.

    I personally like the "spaghetti monster's are real" one better, though unicorns work too.

    I'm guessing your line of reasoning with the unicorns is something along the lines of:

    1. There is no evidence for the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.
    2. There is no evidence for the existence of Unicorns.
    3. Therefore, belief in the Judeo-Christian God and belief in Unicorns are on equal epistemic grounds.

    If you want, we can discuss how this line of thinking can be problematic through PM. (I don't want to take over this thread).

    But, the main point with my post was...We can't all be right when it comes to this stuff.

    This "truth is what you make of it" thinking is utter bullshit.

    An absolute truth exists.
    No offence, but I seriously doubt that arguing with religious person about religion is something more than time wasting, it leads to nowhere. And yes, I agree with bolded part.

    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    This "truth is what you make of it" thinking is utter bullshit.
    Well, the bible authors would probably disagree with that.

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    This is a topic of great interest to me. In addition to what I've already written:

    I come from a working class family that identified as Catholic, but did not practice, except nightly prayers. My mom made sure I was baptized and had my first communion, but after that she only emphasized personal prayer to connect with God. Up until college, I prayed almost every night for my family's protection and for peace in general.

    However, as I became older, two things seemed to have changed my beliefs. One, was that despite all of the praying I did, God did not seem to answer the ones that were most important to the believing self, such as curing the cancer of loved ones, and healing a favorite relative of HIV. It seemed that God either could not, or would not, answer my prayers. I started to not see the point of praying if they were never answered. Maybe I was being selfish, by asking God to intervene and that God knew better than I, and the needless suffering of wonderful human beings was part of some more grand plan that I just didn't understand. I found this disturbing. Why would a God create life at all if it were filled with so much suffering? Is seems vile that we have to suffer to prove our faith in God. I've seen some pretty horrible deaths and I cannot say with any honesty that it feels right to say that this is all part of God's plan.

    The other was through studying the sciences. Rationalism, empiricism, naturalism, and materialism has led to true knowledge of reality and it has helped me overcome many of the superstitious beliefs I held when I was younger. It's not that I tried to overcome them for the sake of it, it's just I doubted them as alternative explanations came to light, ones that made more sense. I once believed I had an interaction with a ghost spirit when I was a teenager(almost everyone in my, and my wife's, family believes in them). What I thought was a ghost, turned out to be something I misinterpreted and had a logical, rational explanation. It was so obvious that I was embarrassed for having thought it was a ghost. Some time after college, I found that all things have a rational explanation and that there isn't a need for the supernatural. I have not once witnessed anything that could be considered miraculous or an intervention by some spirit or deity. Everyday that passes seem to confirm their nonexistence.

    With that said, I still have spiritual experiences, spiritual moments as Daniel Dennett calls them, where I feel a connection with the world around me; with other living things, nature, and the universe. Sometimes I see all living things as having a spirit, something about them that is greater the sum of their parts. It's like when I look into someones eyes, I see a consciousness, spirit, or essence that is behind their eyes, even if this supernatural essence doesn't actually exist. Living things just have that extra little bit of something, like a spark or light. Maybe it is because I am an artist and it is that intuition that inspires me to create the kind of art I do. This is what has lead me to humanism: That there is someone just like you looking back at you with the same wonder and curiosity, and they deserve to be treated as you would like to treated. There is great value in sentient beings. Our goal should be to make life more enjoyable for each of us by reducing as much pain and suffering as possible. We have such short lives compared to the age of the universe, so why not make this life as good as we can. Empathy and compassion are the keys to understanding how society should function. Empathy also extends to other animals. We should respect all life and the ecosystems we are all part of. We should make good decisions as individuals and as members of society to ensure a better life for those that follow us, long after we are gone.

    I think it best to let go of the idea that something beyond us or nature is going to save us here on earth. Much of it we can do ourselves by trying to understand the world better through science, research, medicine, and technology, to help alleviate sufferings that were traditionally left to the gods. But still, there are many things beyond our control. Life is the wave on the surface of the ocean, and reality is that cliff we'll eventually crash against.

    Anyways, isn't it selfish to ask a god to stop the laws of nature to change reality to one's liking?
    Last edited by Chains; 07-23-2015 at 06:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glam View Post
    i thought a few of the Catholic people here would have voted for believing in "another kind of afterlife", i.e. Purgatory and Limbo.
    Isn't purgatory a transitional state where you shed all your human beliefs (to prepare for the next life or whatever) and limbo is where all the young children, babies, aborted fetuses and miscarried children go and wait to be recycled into a new body without having to shed their last lifetime (since it was too short)? Or am I practicing religious fusion again?


    "When I ought to be thinking of heaven he will nail me to earth"

     







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    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aylen View Post
    Isn't purgatory a transitional state where you shed all your human beliefs (to prepare for the next life or whatever) and limbo is where all the young children, babies, aborted fetuses and miscarried children go and wait to be recycled into a new body without having to shed their last lifetime (since it was too short)? Or am I practicing religious fusion again?

    Purgatory - sort of. Not really your human beliefs (the truth of which you will retain, the errors you will see in the light of truth), but you work through issues you won't have any use for in Heaven, like regret, hate, unforgiveness, lack of self-acceptance.

    That's not what Limbo is but I think the reason you came up with that is that even though that belief about babies and limbo was never taught by the church, some past theologians hypothesized it, and the error became a popular belief in the last century. Therefore the issue needed clarification, and Pope Benedict (such a master of clear thinking! What a gift!) put the idea to rest once and for all. Those babies are expected to go straight to Heaven, since they don't have any sins to work out beforehand!

    News story: "Closing the doors of Limbo"
    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

    .
    .
    .


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    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJay View Post
    This is a topic of great interest to me. In addition to what I've already written:
    Just some thoughts...



    Quote Originally Posted by TJay View Post
    I come from a working class family that identified as Catholic, but did not practice, except nightly prayers. My mom made sure I was baptized and had my first communion, but after that she only emphasized personal prayer to connect with God. Up until college, I prayed almost every night for my family's protection and for peace in general.
    I think nightly prayers are very admirable. It is more than my family did. We all went to church together on Sundays (my parents, 3 brothers, and I), walking to the nice old brick Presbyterian Church, one short block down our little the street. Down the block the other way was the Catholic Church, where most kids went. That church always seemed crowded and busy; they hosted an annual summer carnival, which we attended, and Bingo nights, which we did not. They had a school and a convent with nuns gliding about quietly in black dresses, and a lot of neighbor families sent their kids there - they were noisy, numerous, and boisterously proud of being the best - Catholic and Italian! Neither if which appealed to me; it seemed very foreign. At my church we had Sunday church, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School Week in the summer, youth groups, a July strawberry shortcake picnic on the lawn, and the odd potluck supper in the church basement. What made the most lasting impression was the young woman who ran the Sunday School throughout those years. She was so kind, so gentle, and so in charge. There were many, many children involved all those years, all divided up into classrooms by age, led by different teachers. She would visit each classroom and tell us stories of Jesus and His love; she would play for us on her autoharp, and sing, and she had us act out Bible stories in costume - I always remember the big box of freshly laundered costumes we'd root through to dress-up. And when we acted up she never lost her patience. She would get quiet and wait for us to finish, watching, and when we realized we'd get quiet, too, and she'd resume. We did not want to displease her, because she was so nice. Also I was in her "movement choir." (I remember once for a pageant she had to pick a "Mary" for a solo... she looked back and forth, back and forth, between me and my friend Laura, considering. She finally picked Laura, but I always had a sense of specialness, that she had considered me.) I think she instilled in me a sense of the realness of the gospel, there was no question she loved God and lived to serve Him. But this sense of realness laid dormant for awhile, with little to back it up.

    I think at one point you have to respond to faith. Give it an honest look as an adult. Not just accept the inheritance of your parents' faith, and the good people who came into your life that had that faith. I do believe that while Rationalism, empiricism, naturalism, and materialism and all those -isms have truths to offer, its NOT ENOUGH. What makes the Christian faith different is that its about relationship. Its a relationship we were designed for, and will always long for. We can be distracted, but we will always long. As St. Augustine immortally said, "Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee." Or, as the Donut Man says, "Life without Jesus is like a donut; there's a hole in the middle of your heart". And nothing will fill that hole but God. It's a God-shaped hole. Try as everything else might; it will all come up short.

    As a Catholic, I can tell you that your Baptism was very real, and your First Communion too. They changed you forever, in Heaven and on earth. I understand that they can seem to be inconsequential past events now. But maybe someday you will feel as I do - that the Baptism I had as an infant (happened to be through the Methodist Church), which I do not even remember, was among the very greatest gifts of my entire life. Particularly because your Baptism and your Holy Communions were giant spiritual realities, I am confident the the Hound of Heaven is after you. and He won't give up . He waits for you to turn your heart, in some slightest little way, to Him, so that He can draw nearer.

    I do not know why your prayers weren't answered, but I do know that God was with you and His heart broke as yours did. I do feel certain you can know true peace about those things, if you want it. Besides truly answered prayer, I have also experienced unanswered prayer* - desperate, prolonged prayer, in fact. But I do have peace, great peace about those things, now. I believe that peace was a gift of God. In fact in moments of desperation He came to me and comforted me. I know He can give you peace about those things, too (like the peace of the soul of your beloved relative). And I feel confident about that, too, especially because He gave me true peace of mind about a relative of mine that passed.

    My grandmother whom I loved particularly harbored a bitterness all her life towards God for bad things that had happened to her, and also she asked, how there can be a God when there is suffering in the world? That question has been asked and will always be asked. But there are good thoughtful answers to that question. It would be worth looking into sometime.

    I like your thoughts about the reality of life in nature and all of creation. It makes me think of St. Francis of Assisi, so much loved, for his love or creation. "It is good" said God, when He finished His creation!

    I also want to say you were not selfish to ask God to intervene in His laws of nature for your loved one. God says, "Ask anything." You do not always get a yes, because there is more to a situation than we can know. But I do know that no prayer to God is ever wasted. I would guess God used your prayer to bless your relative and lesson his suffering. I know you will know someday how He used your prayer. I know that He did not waste it.

    Also you said "it seems seems vile that we have to suffer to prove our faith in God" - no, that's not true. He does not need us to prove anything; He knows everything. He desires that you should have faith - however, it takes very little! Think of the size of your whole body, and the size of a mustard seed. That mustard seed is the amount of faith you need. That's all.

    Science, technology, the mind and will of man are all great things but they get used for ill, don't though? It almost seems that the more advancements we make the less humanity we have. At least the ones pushing advancement forward seem to prioritize it over compassionate humanity. Leading to more serious problems. All I know is that I cannot trust man, I can trust God, who I see does work though mankind, through men of good will, to do good things. Which I will try to keep focus on, and not the bad - that I have no control over, but by prayer.

    *[some say there are 3 possible answers: yes, no, and later.]

    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

    .
    .
    .


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    peteronfireee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglas View Post
    No offence, but I seriously doubt that arguing with religious person about religion is something more than time wasting, it leads to nowhere.
    Yes, I understand because, "religious persons" (especially Christians) are often portrayed as these stupid, flat-earth thinking, bat-shit crazy, illogical people. But not all of us.

    And to add on to that, yes, we can have a intelligent discussion, but ultimately at the end of it all, it really doesn't matter how good of answers I give. Usually people don't care about any of that imo. What's more important is if they're willing to open up their heart man. (Sorry if that sounds cheesy)


    Quote Originally Posted by Anglas View Post
    Well, the bible authors would probably disagree with that.
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (Example of absolute truth taught in the bible vs. Religious Pluralism, which is not taught in the bible)

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    Queen of the Damned Aylen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    Yes, I understand because, "religious persons" (especially Christians) are often portrayed as these stupid, flat-earth thinking, bat-shit crazy, illogical people. But not all of us.

    And to add on to that, yes, we can have a intelligent discussion, but ultimately at the end of it all, it really doesn't matter how good of answers I give. Usually people don't care about any of that imo. What's more important is if they're willing to open up their heart man. (Sorry if that sounds cheesy)

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (Example of absolute truth taught in the bible vs. Religious Pluralism, which is not taught in the bible)

    It took two logical type men, a few years, to convince me to fully question things like that and not just give sunday school biblical responses to others questioning or criticising. I used to get very emotional and reactive when defending my beliefs. Ugh, I even used to tell people they were going to hell since I was also threatened with that concept.

    That narrow path to god, which you mention, is what ultimately made me turn away from Christianity and in the belief of any kind of personal god. The idea that I would be accepted just for believing in a man, and possibly billions of others would not, did not sit right with me. Thinking and choosing for myself was the best thing that ever happened to me and if there ever was or is a god then that is what free will is about. Not the free will to love god or not but the free will to experience being human with all the flaws and perfection of emotions, thoughts and choices. We are pretty complex organisms.

    I remember exactly where I was and what I felt when I was hit with the profound realization that there was no god. At least not the god I was taught to believe in. I realized I am the creator of my own reality. I cried for days, depressed, and had a mental breakdown of sorts. Then I knew that any choice I made from then on was because I wanted to make it and not due to fear of punishment or desire of a reward for being a good person. I consider myself a good person at heart but my beliefs probably would send me to hell according to Christianity even though I went through the whole born again process.

    Since then I have found my own meaning in the words attributed to Jesus and yeah he had a message which I believe has been taken way too literal by some and too metaphorical by others. The Nag Hammadi library was pretty helpful since it contains the gospel of Thomas.

    I do believe in a supernatural existence beyond and along side this one. Not because I read about it but because I have experienced so much more since my belief systems collapsed so many years ago. I no longer care what religion others practice or believe because their experience is different than mine. Everyone has a unique "mission" in life and a myriad of choices to make along the way. If I made the wrong one I will find out in due time but for now this is right for me. If I am wrong then back in the cauldron for me. It is a chance I am willing to take since I don't feel wrong.

    "When I ought to be thinking of heaven he will nail me to earth"

     







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    exclusivity, especially when based on the requirement to believe in dogma (w/ hell as punishment for not), is one of the major things that just feels wrong about a lot of religions to me.
    Last edited by bg; 07-25-2015 at 03:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bg View Post
    exclusivity, especially when based on the requirement to believe in something (w/ hell as punishment for not), is one of the major things that just feels wrong about a lot of religions to me.
    Yeah, I've had problems with that, too. Ever since I was a little girl being told by my church that we were the one true church and the only way to get into heaven was through certain means only available to our church members. Anyone who would set up a rule like that isn't someone I would want to worship. I just can't respect that.
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    You guys brought up some pretty good points. I’ll address them the best I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aylen View Post
    That narrow path to god, which you mention, is what ultimately made me turn away from Christianity and in the belief of any kind of personal god. The idea that I would be accepted just for believing in a man, and possibly billions of others would not, did not sit right with me.
    Quote Originally Posted by bg View Post
    exclusivity, especially when based on the requirement to believe in dogma (w/ hell as punishment for not), is one of the major things that just feels wrong about a lot of religions to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    Yeah, I've had problems with that, too. Ever since I was a little girl being told by my church that we were the one true church and the only way to get into heaven was through certain means only available to our church members. Anyone who would set up a rule like that isn't someone I would want to worship. I just can't respect that.
    So basically you guys are asking “doesn’t it seem unfair and narrow that God would save people only through Jesus?”

    Let me encourage yall to see it in a different way:

    Why would God seek to save us at all? I mean, he doesn’t HAVE to. When I consider my own sinfulness, and how crazy and rampant the world is, I find it amazing he even bothered to save us man.

    And actually, FAR from being narrow and unfair, God’s offer of salvation is very gracious. God says:
    1. He loves the whole world
    2. That Jesus died for ALL mankind
    3. He made salvation for EVERYONE on EVERY continent. It’s not just for American or Europeans, a one “true church” or “special members.”

    His grace is broad and generous to those open to receive it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aylen View Post
    Thinking and choosing for myself was the best thing that ever happened to me and if there ever was or is a god then that is what free will is about. Not the free will to love god or not but the free will to experience being human with all the flaws and perfection of emotions, thoughts and choices. We are pretty complex organisms.
    First of all, I just want to point out that I think and choose for myself too.

    I, too, have free will and I experience all the things you mentioned. Indeed we are complex organisms. But it’s not like I all sudden lost free will/turned into a robot because I chose to believe in God. Far from it.

    But, it’s BECAUSE I believe in God, I realize that life ISN’T just about having this free will to experience life to the fullest, or enjoying free will to please myself (Although those things are cool and fun).

    Instead, because of God, I realize that there’s SO much more BEYOND what we experience here. This gives me purpose. This gives me meaning. This gives me hope.

    It gives me hope knowing that, because of God, I’m not just a byproduct of some accident/cosmic explosion, or that I have to make up my own meaning (I think that’s delusional).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aylen View Post
    I no longer care what religion others practice or believe because their experience is different than mine. Everyone has a unique "mission" in life and a myriad of choices to make along the way. If I made the wrong one I will find out in due time but for now this is right for me. If I am wrong then back in the cauldron for me. It is a chance I am willing to take since I don't feel wrong.
    I get what you’re saying. You do your thing. I do my thing. We all do our own thing. And let’s not step on each other’s toes.

    But let me ask you this…

    -If you discovered the cure for cancer, would you share it to as many people as you could? Or would you keep it to yourself?
    -If your best friend was contemplating suicide, would you let him do his own thing, and think his depressive thoughts, or would you help him talk out of it?
    -If your buddy was madly obese, doing nothing but eating burgers all day long, would you invite him to workout with you? Ask him to lay off those big macs?

    If I had the key to life in the palm of my hands, why the fuck wouldn’t I want to share it with people?

    This ain’t no diet program. This is SO MUCH more. And this isn't something I can simply keep to myself.

    And no. In no way am I encouraging using force or coercion on people to believe.

    Jesus simply shared the good news and sent his disciples to do the same. Jesus doesn’t kick open doors and force himself into a person’s life.

    But, he allows people to FREELY choose.

    ------
    lol. God damn that was long.

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    Robot Assassin Pa3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    Yes, I understand because, "religious persons" (especially Christians) are often portrayed as these stupid, flat-earth thinking, bat-shit crazy, illogical people. But not all of us.

    And to add on to that, yes, we can have a intelligent discussion, but ultimately at the end of it all, it really doesn't matter how good of answers I give. Usually people don't care about any of that imo. What's more important is if they're willing to open up their heart man. (Sorry if that sounds cheesy)
    I don't want to speak for Anglas, but maybe he didn't mean to say that you're stupid and can't have an intelligent debate. Religious people and atheists don't really have any common ground to agree on. Every argument will sooner or later boil down to the core beliefs of both. And because they assume different things to be true (e.g. the bible for christians) there is no compromise to be found.

    That means it will lead to nowhere, but for both of them.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pa3s View Post
    I don't want to speak for Anglas, but maybe he didn't mean to say that you're stupid and can't have an intelligent debate. Religious people and atheists don't really have any common ground to agree on. Every argument will sooner or later boil down to the core beliefs of both. And because they assume different things to be true (e.g. the bible for christians) there is no compromise to be found.

    That means it will lead to nowhere, but for both of them.
    Oh definitely 100 percent man. Hence why I said it really doesn't matter the reasons given. Most of it is heart/openness to it.

    Faith is needed in either case.

    (Btw side note, there are a lot of reasons to believe the bible is true and not simply an assumption, but I know what you meant)
    Last edited by peteronfireee; 07-25-2015 at 12:24 PM.

  40. #40
    Creepy-bg

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    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    So basically you guys are asking “doesn’t it seem unfair and narrow that God would save people only through Jesus?”
    I'm saying that it feels wrong to me. And the idea that I would be cast into hell for believing what my heart, soul, reason, and feelings (and inner "voice" of God/Jesus/spirit) tells me over outside sources feels wrong (outside sources of course inform these though). If I am wrong *shrug* I hope/pray that I'll get the experience I need to see my error or adjust my brains Jesus radio so I can hear the right answers through it.

    FWIW, if I find myself aware after death, Jesus will be the one who I pray to/seek. if not made instantly aware of the subtleties of spirituality in a way that explains it all, would like to sit down and have a talk with him about it. I think he should open the gates wider if that much humanity really slips away.

    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    Let me encourage yall to see it in a different way:

    Why would God seek to save us at all? I mean, he doesn’t HAVE to. When I consider my own sinfulness, and how crazy and rampant the world is, I find it amazing he even bothered to save us man.
    I see my own sinfulness, and I know that I am a good person despite it. I know that I am worth "saving". And I see that in the people around me as well, no matter what they believe.



    Quote Originally Posted by peteronfireee View Post
    And actually, FAR from being narrow and unfair, God’s offer of salvation is very gracious. God says:
    1. He loves the whole world
    2. That Jesus died for ALL mankind
    3. He made salvation for EVERYONE on EVERY continent. It’s not just for American or Europeans, a one “true church” or “special members.”

    His grace is broad and generous to those open to receive it.
    these are exactly the terms that I already take Christianity on. we have no conflict here.
    Last edited by bg; 07-25-2015 at 02:44 PM.

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