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Thread: Slightly different religion topic...

  1. #1
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    Slightly different religion topic...

    First off, sorry to start another thread on the topic, but I thought it merited it's own discussion and it's of a somewhat personal nature...

    Ok, so a little over 2 years ago I had my first child, and know I have another one on the way. I'm a life long atheist/agnostic that desperately wants to believe in something after life but can't. I used to scoff at those that believe without question and at times have had resentment for different actions/in actions associated with religion. I'm a natural born cynic, who likes to make up his own mind about things and usually innately reject the idea that this is the way it is just because. I was born a Catholic, made my sacrements and then pretty much stopped going to church after confirmation. A couple of times in my life when I felt I needed something more, I started attending again seeking it, but quickly lost interest because in a very real way, I disagree with many of the messages of the church and see through some of the human corruption that exists. I've even read most of the bible, being a very literal person I probably struggled with some of the hidden messages, so I didn't really find inspiration there. The old testament didn't agree with me personally at all, but the new testament was a little closer to my ideals, yet I remained skeptical

    Here's the thing though, I truey do envy those of you that believe. I really do want to believe. Everytime I look at my daughter, or my mother who is now a grandmother, I start to think about the cycles of life and how these cycles inevitably end in death. And there's the problem, "end" in death, I can't force myself to believe that consiousness, your spirit, lives on after death. I've tried too, really have, but it seems that the only way true faith should come is naturally. It's not something you can "talk" yourself into.

    I guess my question is, for you the believers, why do you believe? Why do you know? Is it something you can intellectualize and still believe? Or is it just a feeling that defies explanation or rationalization? How'd it happen? I'm asking because there are several intelligent and thoughtful posters here that I know do believe, and I'm curious, or maybe I'm just looking for help.

    Peace...

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    I think it's good to raise your kid in some sort of religion. It gives them a chance to see what's right and wrong other then just what you teach them. It also give them a place in society (with in a group) to grow up and do things. Lastly it gives them the choice to chose whether or not they want to believe in it. As far as why do people believe, as I none believer my best answer is they want it to be real so that there is something more then just this (current life that we are living). A lot of people have a hard time dealing with death whether it is theirs or loved ones.

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    [QUOTE=New York Mick]I think it's good to raise your kid in some sort of religion. It gives them a chance to see what's right and wrong other then just what you teach them. It also give them a place in society (with in a group) to grow up and do things. Lastly it gives them the choice to chose whether or not they want to believe in it. As far as why do people believe, as I none believer [B]my best answer is they want it to be real so that there is something more then just this (current life that we are living). A lot of people have a hard time dealing with death whether it is theirs or loved ones.[/B][/QUOTE]
    This is what I thought too, but I've read some really bright folks on this board that I would give more credit to then that.

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    Chan, I'm going to PM you tomorrow when I get to the office. The way you feel is not unique buddy. ;)

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    [QUOTE=ChanTheMaster]First off, sorry to start another thread on the topic, but I thought it merited it's own discussion and it's of a somewhat personal nature...

    Ok, so a little over 2 years ago I had my first child, and know I have another one on the way. I'm a life long atheist/agnostic that desperately wants to believe in something after life but can't. I used to scoff at those that believe without question and at times have had resentment for different actions/in actions associated with religion. I'm a natural born cynic, who likes to make up his own mind about things and usually innately reject the idea that this is the way it is just because. I was born a Catholic, made my sacrements and then pretty much stopped going to church after confirmation. A couple of times in my life when I felt I needed something more, I started attending again seeking it, but quickly lost interest because in a very real way, I disagree with many of the messages of the church and see through some of the human corruption that exists. I've even read most of the bible, being a very literal person I probably struggled with some of the hidden messages, so I didn't really find inspiration there. The old testament didn't agree with me personally at all, but the new testament was a little closer to my ideals, yet I remained skeptical

    Here's the thing though, I truey do envy those of you that believe. I really do want to believe. Everytime I look at my daughter, or my mother who is now a grandmother, I start to think about the cycles of life and how these cycles inevitably end in death. And there's the problem, "end" in death, I can't force myself to believe that consiousness, your spirit, lives on after death. I've tried too, really have, but it seems that the only way true faith should come is naturally. It's not something you can "talk" yourself into.

    I guess my question is, for you the believers, why do you believe? Why do you know? Is it something you can intellectualize and still believe? Or is it just a feeling that defies explanation or rationalization? How'd it happen? I'm asking because there are several intelligent and thoughtful posters here that I know do believe, and I'm curious, or maybe I'm just looking for help.

    Peace...[/QUOTE]
    Excellent post....
    First off, I applaud you asking for some insight. Yeah there will be those that will laugh at this, but to them, shrug them off, for having children is one of those "moments" in life when you start to think that there is something more going on here.

    Most will tell you that a faith in an invisible God is something for weak-minded people. Again, those who shrug off this topic with that kind of response are the ones with weak minds. EVERYBODY has faith in something. Don't believe me? Do you know when you are driving down the street that the person in the opposite lane isn't going to purposely drive into you head on? Can you visibly see their thoughts? Or do you have faith in that person that they do not have a death wish? We seem to find it easy to have faith in humans (sometimes unwarranted) yet can't believe in God because we can't "see" him.

    Without getting into it, this comes down to a simple question: Does God exist or doesn't he? In our scientific age, because we cannot put God in a test tube, many believe there is no way to prove his existence, therefore it lies in individual belief. Well lets take a look at that.

    First off, why is it so easy to believe that the universe could exist after a big bang (which breaks the first law of physics that something cannot come from nothing) and that everything that happened later (a move from chaos to order which does not happen in nature) happened by random accident (known as choice, which in and of itself is a bad word to pick considering choice implies an intelligence that could have picked something else.)

    Next we have to discard the fact that science studies the purpose of many things, such as why animals do or have certain things, or what the purpose of x is in the human make-up. When we discuss something has purpose, that would incinuate that it has a design, and that wreaks of a designer. If you came across a trap in the wild, would you think it evolved to that state, or would you think someone put it there, and would you then want to ask who designed it how it works?

    You could come at this from a philosophical point of view. The Cosmological argument for the existence of God basically says everything has to have a cause. If this is true, there has to be something that was uncaused to have caused everything else. Is it God, or was it the universe?

    Next argument could be Ontological, which states that God must exist as a being which nothing greater than can be conceived. Not a big fan of that one.
    There is the teleological argument that argues the universes order and complexity shows signs of purpose within it, which means it has to have been designed by something.

    A moral argument would come from a point of view that morality is objective, therefore there must be something that set morality into play. This is touchy because many believe morality is all relative. Easy to debunk that notion: Ask someone why they get pissed off when they hear about a man you rapes a six year old girl and gets away with it? IF morality was relative, you wouldn't care.

    INductive reasoning is another popular argument (tthe process of reasoing in which the premise of an argument can support the conclusion you wish but does not ensure it.

    I could list many other arguments, but there is a point that non-believers are very correct about: We cannot prove 100 percent empircally that there is a God. My question is why do we have to use empirical science for everything? Do we emprison murderers by empirical science alone? We do not...we use circumstantial evidence, empirical science, eyewitness testimony...

    Personally I can tell you this. I have never struggled in the belief in God. I have always knew there to be one. It has always been laughable to me to look at the world and think otherwise. It was the theory of evolution that made me first think "something is DREADFULLY wrong" with what they are telling me. Can I tell you exactly how the universe came about? No, but I know it isn't what I was taught in school...

    I struggle daily with what I believe and understand. But I look at it this way. I honestly believe that people have bought into science as the be-all to end all and the theory of evolution because they WANT there to be no God. No God means no rules to follow, which means they can do whatever they want to do in this life with NO CONSEQUENCES. Which is kind of ironic since life is full of consequence by the choices we make.

    I also will share this. I came to my "insight" about Christ back in 1998. I took the summer off to travel across North America by myself. I quit a HIGH paying job to travel with my guitar and backpack on Greyhound. I went to every major league ball park along the way. I used the time while travelling to ask many of these questions. When I was in Key West taking a break from vacationing ( :D ) I went and saw Saving Private Ryan on a rainy day. When I got out, I walked back to my hotel in a down pour. I stopped along the way and found a baseball on a diamond, threw a few pitches across home plate, and went and sat in the dugout. While I was there, that movie was really bothering me. All I could think of was how I would feel if someone I had never met, came out in the middle of a war to find me because it was his assignment to bring me home safely, and watching as this man died just so he could assure my life would continue.

    I sat there for about a half an hour thinking about this, when the lights went on and I realized that this is what Christ did. I can't explain it, but I have been trying to follow him since.

    I hope this has helped. Feel free to make comments and I will try and answer them any way I can.

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    This might surprise some folks, but I fully support you giving your children SOME kind of organized religious education. In today's world, where good and evil seem so hard for most folks to differentiate on their own, the moral backbone a religious ed. would provide is invaluable IMO.

    When they are older, let them choose their faith (if any) themselves, but as a youth, the moral teaching of Catholicism/Judaism and even the various flavors of Christianity (Catholicism Lite as it were) are valuable for children to get.

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    Chan,

    I'll get back to you tomorrow. I did not notice this thread until it was too late to respond - at least coherently.

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    First off thank you for your time, I really appreciate it. Secondly, as you read through my responses, please understand that I'm not challenging you, just expressing the questions or contradictions that surfaced when reading your points....

    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Excellent post....
    First off, I applaud you asking for some insight. Yeah there will be those that will laugh at this, but to them, shrug them off, for having children is one of those "moments" in life when you start to think that there is something more going on here.
    [/quote]
    I agree with this completely. Instinctually I feel that there has to be something more going on at a deeper level, it's when I try and put a name and a face to it that my cynical nature gets me in trouble. Many of the stories I was taught as a child, either don't add up to me or seems to be more easily explained by more secular causes.

    For a frame of reference, here's a few stories and a small amount fo the alternative explanations that go through me head:

    Jesus curing the sick: placebo effect + exxagerations that are natural in any story relayed by mouth between thousands of people

    Jesus rising from the dead: hallucinations brought on by grief + hopeful thinking, dreams confused with reality. For example, My brother in laws wife has had at least 3 experiances of seeing her father since he passed.

    Jesus fulfilling biblical prophecies: Some were clearly an attempt on his part to do just that (riding in to Jerusalem on the horse on a certain day), others may have been distorted to further his burgeoning church.

    I have no doubt that there was a historic Jesus and that he was a very enlightened individual attempting to preach a little more progressive thoughts, but the "evidence" for him being what it was later retold that he claimed to be is hard for me to accept.

    I guess what I'm saying is that while I agree with many of his teachings, the so called evidence just seems to me to be more easily explained by normal occurances that can't be validated or easily challenged in a non scientific civilization that existed thousands of years ago. (what follows isn't to be considered a comparison of the two other then both seemingly claimed to be the son of god and I couldn't think of another example, to be honest I feel ashamed for even comparing the two men on based on the one characteristic) Would a character like Charles Manson, deprived of his evil nature and existing in a less advanced/secular society without a recorded/documented existance been capable of convincing MORE people that he was the son of god? And over several generations, the legend of his exploits grow along with the size of the church? I think potentially, yes...

    This gets me to thinking about the worship of false gods, and the well circled saying that everyone is an atheist, the only ones that label themselves as such are the ones that believe in 1 less god then everybody else. So I have an easier time accepting that there is something more out there, but struggle with what it is, what's it called and what it means...

    [quote]
    Most will tell you that a faith in an invisible God is something for weak-minded people. Again, those who shrug off this topic with that kind of response are the ones with weak minds. EVERYBODY has faith in something. Don't believe me? Do you know when you are driving down the street that the person in the opposite lane isn't going to purposely drive into you head on? Can you visibly see their thoughts? Or do you have faith in that person that they do not have a death wish? We seem to find it easy to have faith in humans (sometimes unwarranted) yet can't believe in God because we can't "see" him.
    [/quote]
    I have a hard time having faith in many humans as well, your example about the car is accurate, but not because I have faith in the person driving the car, but faith in human nature. I would say I have faith that a driving force in human nature is the need to survive, so I wouldn't expect someone to kill themselves and myself with them. I don't even know if I would call it faith in human nature, rather then faith in my own perception of the world; the overwhelmingly vast majority of want to live as long as possible.

    [quote]
    Without getting into it, this comes down to a simple question: Does God exist or doesn't he? In our scientific age, because we cannot put God in a test tube, many believe there is no way to prove his existence, therefore it lies in individual belief. Well lets take a look at that.

    First off, why is it so easy to believe that the universe could exist after a big bang (which breaks the first law of physics that something cannot come from nothing) and that everything that happened later (a move from chaos to order which does not happen in nature) happened by random accident (known as choice, which in and of itself is a bad word to pick considering choice implies an intelligence that could have picked something else.)
    [/quote]
    For me it just seems logical that billions of reactions taking place over billions of years are bound to create new and complex things. It's certainly easier for me to believe then the biblical tale of creation. Not only the way it's told in the bible (7 days), but also passing down of this tale through hundreds of generations of more primitive thinking humans. I don't have the exact dates, but I would assume that it dates around the same time that other civilizations/religions were inventing their own tales about how life and the earth came about. The egyptians had many gods, many tales as well. It seems more likely to me that these were all human inventions that later turned to beliefs, and then to faith; over thousands of years.

    But again, I don't know that a preference for theory of how we came about to live on this planet over the other neccesarily means that you either are or aren't spiritual. I see know reason why you can't believe in evolution AND a god. Something had to set this whole thing in motion.


    [quote]
    Next we have to discard the fact that science studies the purpose of many things, such as why animals do or have certain things, or what the purpose of x is in the human make-up. When we discuss something has purpose, that would incinuate that it has a design, and that wreaks of a designer. If you came across a trap in the wild, would you think it evolved to that state, or would you think someone put it there, and would you then want to ask who designed it how it works?
    [/quote]
    Couldn't purpose simply be survival/procreation in all cases? I've been mildly interested in longevity science for a bit now theres a scientist (name is slipping my mind right now), who seems to be proving that lifespan is tied to procreation. He's on about his 10th generation of flies in which he's progressivly delayed procreation longer and longer with each generation and his new "super flies" live something like 2x as long as a normal fly. The theory being of course, that life exists to survive and then procreate and after it's fulfilled that duty, the process of dying begins as an individual no longer serves a purpose to life. Seems sensible to me.

    [quote]
    You could come at this from a philosophical point of view. The Cosmological argument for the existence of God basically says everything has to have a cause. If this is true, there has to be something that was uncaused to have caused everything else. Is it God, or was it the universe?
    [/quote]
    And back to, if god created/caused everything. What created/caused god.

    [quote]
    Next argument could be Ontological, which states that God must exist as a being which nothing greater than can be conceived. Not a big fan of that one.
    There is the teleological argument that argues the universes order and complexity shows signs of purpose within it, which means it has to have been designed by something.

    A moral argument would come from a point of view that morality is objective, therefore there must be something that set morality into play. This is touchy because many believe morality is all relative. Easy to debunk that notion: Ask someone why they get pissed off when they hear about a man you rapes a six year old girl and gets away with it? IF morality was relative, you wouldn't care.
    [/quote]
    Nature versus nuture a bit here, I also believe that for the purposes of species proliferation, most people are wired to be protective of helpless children. So in your extreme example, I would say that nature, rather then morality would govern the reaction to the act described. Other similiarly cruel and destructive acts would be similiar.

    I also believe that nurture plays a a role in some of the more commenly shared morality...

    [quote]
    INductive reasoning is another popular argument (tthe process of reasoing in which the premise of an argument can support the conclusion you wish but does not ensure it.

    I could list many other arguments, but there is a point that non-believers are very correct about: We cannot prove 100 percent empircally that there is a God. My question is why do we have to use empirical science for everything? Do we emprison murderers by empirical science alone? We do not...we use circumstantial evidence, empirical science, eyewitness testimony...

    Personally I can tell you this. I have never struggled in the belief in God. I have always knew there to be one. It has always been laughable to me to look at the world and think otherwise. It was the theory of evolution that made me first think "something is DREADFULLY wrong" with what they are telling me. Can I tell you exactly how the universe came about? No, but I know it isn't what I was taught in school...
    [/quote]
    See for me, we started down the same path (not struggling with a belief in god), but diverge greatly when encountered with explanations. For as long as I can remember, I've thought there is something wrong with what I was being told about religion by the church, parents and grandparents yet when I first heard about evolution it made sense to me. (by "something wrong with what I was being told about religion", I don't mean that in a negative way in that what they were teachign me was bad, just that the explanation for why not to kill, steal, and why I must go to mass on sundays didn't make sense to me.

    [quote]
    I struggle daily with what I believe and understand. But I look at it this way. I honestly believe that people have bought into science as the be-all to end all and the theory of evolution because they WANT there to be no God. No God means no rules to follow, which means they can do whatever they want to do in this life with NO CONSEQUENCES. Which is kind of ironic since life is full of consequence by the choices we make.
    [/quote]
    I disagree completely here. I know many people who don't believe in god, but are also highly ethical, trustworthy and decent human beings. I guess it's hard to explain, but for some one explanation just makes more sense then the other, but I certainly can't say that my lack of strong belief allows me to do things I wouldn't otherwise do, anymore then if I did faith in god it would prevent me from doing things I was tempted to do.

    [quote]
    I also will share this. I came to my "insight" about Christ back in 1998. I took the summer off to travel across North America by myself. I quit a HIGH paying job to travel with my guitar and backpack on Greyhound. I went to every major league ball park along the way. I used the time while travelling to ask many of these questions. When I was in Key West taking a break from vacationing ( :D ) I went and saw Saving Private Ryan on a rainy day. When I got out, I walked back to my hotel in a down pour. I stopped along the way and found a baseball on a diamond, threw a few pitches across home plate, and went and sat in the dugout. While I was there, that movie was really bothering me. All I could think of was how I would feel if someone I had never met, came out in the middle of a war to find me because it was his assignment to bring me home safely, and watching as this man died just so he could assure my life would continue.

    I sat there for about a half an hour thinking about this, when the lights went on and I realized that this is what Christ did. I can't explain it, but I have been trying to follow him since.

    I hope this has helped. Feel free to make comments and I will try and answer them any way I can.[/QUOTE]
    Great story, I've been waiting for a similar Epiphany. I again thank you for your time, and would like to reiterate that some of what I said above wasn't meant to challenge you in anyway, it's just what my gut reaction on these issues, and probably a good indicator of what I struggle with in terms of faith, I want to believe, but my gut reaction tends to be the scientific/cynical outlook. As I said in my intial post, I don't view faith as for the weak minded, it's something I respect and envy.

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    [QUOTE=sackdance99]Chan, I'm going to PM you tomorrow when I get to the office. The way you feel is not unique buddy. ;)[/QUOTE]
    Thanks! Just don't damn me to hell... ;)

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    [QUOTE=JCnflies]Chan,

    I'll get back to you tomorrow. I did not notice this thread until it was too late to respond - at least coherently.[/QUOTE]
    Thank you!

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]This might surprise some folks, but I fully support you giving your children SOME kind of organized religious education. In today's world, where good and evil seem so hard for most folks to differentiate on their own, the moral backbone a religious ed. would provide is invaluable IMO.

    When they are older, let them choose their faith (if any) themselves, but as a youth, the moral teaching of Catholicism/Judaism and even the various flavors of Christianity (Catholicism Lite as it were) are valuable for children to get.[/QUOTE]
    I don't know where I stand on this one, but luckily my wife has already decided (she's much more faithful then me).

    I'd like my kids to think for themselves and not just follow others, so the indoctrination of thought/beliefs is something I don't really like. Also, to your point about teaching right form wrong, good from evil, as a parent, I consider that my job and feel I can do a better job at it then the orgainzed religion.

    On the flip side, the idea of religion is nice. It's certainly comforting to believe in something supernatural that loves you and will be waiting for you with open arms to accept you and reunite you with your loved ones after death. I wish I had that same comfort, and want my kids to have that peace.

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    I have some questions which may be slightly off topic but I think it's related so if someone who considers him/herself a believer can answer I would be grateful.

    First since I'm new here and most of you don't know me let me tell you a bit about myself; I am a Turkish man who has lived in the states for 3 , in France for 2.5 and in Cyprus for 6 years. I have been born to non-practicing Muslim parents and the only thing I do thats remotely Islamic is that I don't eat pork. :D While I was in New York I went to 2 Catholic schools and I'm also interested in history as a whole so I've some backround information on all three Faiths. Albeit some more than others. Altough I don't believe in any one religion I consider myself at the same distance from all three, far or close depends on your point of view. Having said all this I do believe in a supreme Being, at least I'd like to believe in a supreme being and mostly I do.

    But as i said I have some bones to pick with all three religions and since most of you here are Christians I'lll ask you my questions about Christianity.

    What are your views on the Council of Nicea, where the priests of the time Decided that Jesus was the son of God as opposed to a man. There were also substantial opposing views to this from the priests of the time.

    I'm also curious about the accuracy of the Bible when it's now accepted knowledge that the oldest book of the New Testament was written abou 250 to 300 years after Jesus's lifetime.

    Last note. I don't mean to disrespect anyone or their faith. If you find this post offensive in any way I sincerely apologize.
    Last edited by The Turk; 10-18-2006 at 05:10 AM.

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    [QUOTE=CanadaSteve]Excellent post....
    There is the teleological argument that argues the universes order and complexity shows signs of purpose within it, which means it has to have been designed by something.
    [/QUOTE]

    Einstein was a big believer in this!

    Also:

    I feel that God really wants a personal relationship with each of us, much like you do with your children. My suggestion would be to simply ask God for direction then let him lead you. A relationship with God is not an instant process (not always) but is developed over time, because the Holy Spirit has to renew us through the renewing and transforming of our mind (Romans).

    Even though we believe Jesus and try to live for him the best way we can, we still have many of the same questions that nonbelievers have.

    I found God through reading the Bible, not from church or man, because I asked him for his help. He continues to help me still, not the way I want him to all the time, but he has always helped me.

    The talmud, I believe, tells the story of how God chose Abraham. The story states that Abrahams father was an idol maker, and he stored all his completed idols in a shop while waiting for them to be sold. Well Abraham questioned whether these idols were God or not, so he goes into his fathers shop and breaks every idol there then declared that he would serve the one which would put itself back together.

    The next day not a single idol was repaired so Abraham left there sad because he knew that there must be a true God. Remember, this happened even before the advent of Judaism (out of Ur, the first civilization). Well, the true God then revealed himself to Abraham and the rest is history.

    I don't know if this helps, but I hope it does. Good luck in your quest to find God. It is a very pleasant experience, but not always the way we want it to be.

    One more thing, Paul (writer of most of the New testament) swore an oath that he would completely stamp out christianity before he was converted on the road to Damascus!

    I don't let people determine the relationship I have with God, because they are not the ones I have to answer to.

    Remember in every society, league, religion, belief system, or whatever it may be, there will always be someone who does not represent it well and drive others away.

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    [QUOTE=The Turk]I have some questions which may be slightly off topic but I think it's related so if someone who considers him/herself a believer can answer I would be grateful.

    First since I'm new here and most of you don't know me let me tell you a bit about myself; I am a Turkish man who has lived in the states for 3 , in France for 2.5 and in Cyprus for 6 years. I have been born to non-practicing Muslim parents and the only thing I do thats remotely Islamic is that I don't eat pork. :D While I was in New York I went to 2 Catholic schools and I'm also interested in history as a whole so I've some backround information on all three Faiths. Albeit some more than others. Altough I don't believe in any one religion I consider myself at the same distance from all three, far or close depends on your point of view. Having said all this I do believe in a supreme Being, at least I'd like to believe in a supreme being and mostly I do.

    But as i said I have some bones to pick with all three religions and since most of you here are Christians I'lll ask you my questions about Christianity.

    What are your views on the Council of Nicea, where the priests of the time Decided that Jesus was the son of God as opposed to a man. There were also substantial opposing views to this from the priests of the time.

    I'm also curious about the accuracy of the Bible when it's now accepted knowledge that the oldest book of the New Testament was written abou 250 to 300 years after Jesus's lifetime.

    Last note. I don't mean to disrespect anyone or their faith. If you find this post offensive in any way I sincerely apologize.[/QUOTE]
    Hello. I've worked for years with some people I now call friends from Turkey, there still trying to get me to go there for a visit. Haven't been there yet, but I do enjoy the cuisine.

    I can't answer your other questions, because I have similar ones. Hopefully someone more faithful and knowledgeable will respond.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=The Turk]I have some questions which may be slightly off topic but I think it's related so if someone who considers him/herself a believer can answer I would be grateful.

    First since I'm new here and most of you don't know me let me tell you a bit about myself; I am a Turkish man who has lived in the states for 3 , in France for 2.5 and in Cyprus for 6 years. I have been born to non-practicing Muslim parents and the only thing I do thats remotely Islamic is that I don't eat pork. :D While I was in New York I went to 2 Catholic schools and I'm also interested in history as a whole so I've some backround information on all three Faiths. Albeit some more than others. Altough I don't believe in any one religion I consider myself at the same distance from all three, far or close depends on your point of view. Having said all this I do believe in a supreme Being, at least I'd like to believe in a supreme being and mostly I do.

    But as i said I have some bones to pick with all three religions and since most of you here are Christians I'lll ask you my questions about Christianity.

    What are your views on the Council of Nicea, where the priests of the time Decided that Jesus was the son of God as opposed to a man. There were also substantial opposing views to this from the priests of the time.

    I'm also curious about the accuracy of the Bible when it's now accepted knowledge that the oldest book of the New Testament was written abou 250 to 300 years after Jesus's lifetime.

    Last note. I don't mean to disrespect anyone or their faith. If you find this post offensive in any way I sincerely apologize.[/QUOTE]

    Hi Turk, I understand what Nicea Council stated I was raised a Catholic but no longer attend the church. What I believe is Yesua was both G-d and man. He came into this world as the suffering servant Thur who's death we could be saved. I think modern day Christianity has put to much emphasis on doctrine and not the Old and New Testament.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=ChanTheMaster]I don't know where I stand on this one, but luckily my wife has already decided (she's much more faithful then me).

    I'd like my kids to think for themselves and not just follow others, so the indoctrination of thought/beliefs is something I don't really like. Also, to your point about teaching right form wrong, good from evil, as a parent, I consider that my job and feel I can do a better job at it then the orgainzed religion.[/QUOTE]

    All I can say my friend is read my posts in the Politics section. I was raised Roman Catholic, went to CCD classes (religious education) till I was 16, all followed all of the faiths sacramanets through Confirmation.

    And I don't think too many folks would tell you I don't "think for myself". :D

    In all depends on you my friend, and how you raise them. Everything else is secondary. If you raise them to ask questions, think logicly and critically, and to question everything....then they will grow up that way. I'm sure you'll be great.

  17. #17
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    This is a fantastic thread, keep it up guys. :cool:

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=ChanTheMaster]

    Don't feel the need to apologize, for this is how you get questions answered. I will answer some of what you have said, and suggest a few good books that might help

    [B]Jesus rising from the dead: hallucinations brought on by grief + hopeful thinking, dreams confused with reality. For example, My brother in laws wife has had at least 3 experiances of seeing her father since he passed.[/B]

    THis theory has been proposed before. When we look at the writings in the Gospels, how could Jesus have been a hallucination that could be touched? How could Jesus be a hallucination experienced by ALL his disciples? How could Jesus be an hallucination to the five hundred people he preached to?

    I also don't believe that all the APostles dying as martyrs would be explained because they all hallucinated Jesus. Again, empirical science saying something can't possibly exist because it can't be proven. Since when did empirical science become the be-all to end all in knowledge?

    Jesus fulfilling biblical prophecies: Some were clearly an attempt on his part to do just that (riding in to Jerusalem on the horse on a certain day), others may have been distorted to further his burgeoning church.

    This cannot be fully explained. Yes it is possible Jesus fulfilling prophecies on purpose. Could he pick where he was born? Could he have picked the virgin birth? Could he pick the lineage he was born into? These and many other of the over 140 (?) fulfilled prophecies, that came about over hundreds of years writing about the Messiah, make it hard for me to believe this.
    [B]
    I guess what I'm saying is that while I agree with many of his teachings, the so called evidence just seems to me to be more easily explained by normal occurances that can't be validated or easily challenged in a non scientific civilization that existed thousands of years ago.[/B]

    They were scientific back then, just not as advanced now. Just like in two hundred years, we will be an unscientific civilization to that time period. Science was originally created to understand more and more how God makes the universe work, not to discredit his existence. And to agree with his teachings but not about who he was leads to a problem best expressed by C.S. Lewis. Christ did not give us a middle ground to stand on about who he was. Either he was a lunatic (raving about how he was the Son of God and was God incarnate) or he was who he said he was. Would you believe somebody if they walked up to you and said they were God? Would you think everything they said was some of the most profound wisdom you have ever heard, or would you walk away making a cuckoo sound?

    [B]For me it just seems logical that billions of reactions taking place over billions of years are bound to create new and complex things. I see know reason why you can't believe in evolution AND a god.[/B]

    Study some critiques of evolution and not those that pronounce it like the gospel. There are plenty of scientists who believe in evolution that criticize it. Michael Behe has a book called Darwins Black Box. His issues are at the microbiological level, where many things have been discovered in the fact that certain elements of biology could not evolve, for they need to have always existed in order for them to work.

    While I am not about to say that all elements of evolution are false (which I don't believe anyway), the whole concept of this Darwinism version of evolution is for just that purpose: to explain how the universe was created without a God (which again is ironic considering many use the word Created which in my opinion right there disproves the theory all together)

    [B]Couldn't purpose simply be survival/procreation in all cases? I've been mildly interested in longevity science for a bit now theres a scientist (name is slipping my mind right now), who seems to be proving that lifespan is tied to procreation. He's on about his 10th generation of flies in which he's progressivly DELAYED procreation longer and longer with each generation and his new "super flies" live something like 2x as long as a normal fly. The theory being of course, that life exists to survive and then procreate and after it's fulfilled that duty, the process of dying begins as an individual no longer serves a purpose to life. Seems sensible to me.[/B]

    There is a great example. A scientist is using intelligence to affect the outcome of the very thing he is trying to prove. He should not be trying to do anything other than observe. Once anybody starts tinkering with anything, they are proving the very point that intelligence is behind the creation of anything. Do I sit there and wait for the wood to evolve into a bookcase, or do I use my intelligence to put it together?

    [B]Nature versus nuture a bit here, I also believe that for the purposes of species proliferation, most people are wired to be protective of helpless children. So in your extreme example, I would say that nature, rather then morality would govern the reaction to the act described. Other similiarly cruel and destructive acts would be similiar.[/B]

    [B]I also believe that nurture plays a a role in some of the more commenly shared morality...
    [/B]

    I won't disagree that nurturing plays a role in morality, but we cannot be a product of random accident and all agree in the pit of our stomachs that something is morally wrong. The minute you mention the word morality, we have an issue, because morality cannot "evolve."
    [/QUOTE]

    [B]I disagree completely here. I know many people who don't believe in god, but are also highly ethical, trustworthy and decent human beings. I guess it's hard to explain, but for some one explanation just makes more sense then the other, but I certainly can't say that my lack of strong belief allows me to do things I wouldn't otherwise do, anymore then if I did faith in god it would prevent me from doing things I was tempted to do. [/B]

    I'm not saying that some people who do not believe in God are not good people. But the very fact that they are ethical should make them ask why. Why would you care about doing what is "right," something that seems to be outside of oneself, that it was something they have discovered as truth, if there is no such thing as truth.
    That said, I stand by my statement. I find it interesting when you look at the history of civilization and how we got to here, especially the creation of capitalism and how it has encapsulated our entire society. The fathers of this movement all applauded the possibility that Darwin offered. No God meant no consequence. They could do whatever they pleased. They did not need to be fair to others because they would not face an ultimate authority.
    Darwin himself attended a Church of England school, and did not like the idea that he was to be judged by a God for his actions. His work on evolution was (and this is argued by both sides) was an attempt to disprove God. He was angry at the death of his three children, and could not comprehend how God would allow such things.
    Ted Turner, one of the most outspoken humanists and puts down people of faith whenever he can, in an interview admitted that he was a believer at a young age, but when his prayers to God went unanswered when his (sister or brother I can't remember) died when he was nine, he was determined to never believe in God again. Sounds like someone with an agenda when you study his life these past fourty-fifty years.

    Anyway, don't take these as accusations. These are the kind of questions you need to be asking, and these are the kind of answers that will hopefully keep you asking more questions.

    As for books, I like C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel. Both athiests, both turned to God because of the evidence. Lewis is trickier to read because of his literary talents, Strobel because he was a law journalist. He is quite good at tackling this though.

    One book I would HIGHLY recommend is Letters from a skeptic by Professor Gregory Boyd.
    [url]http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Skeptic-Wrestles-Questions-Christianity/dp/1564762440[/url]

    He is a professor of theology who wrote his dad one day and wanted to have a dialogue with his athiestic father. This book is the letters that they wrote back and forth over the next three years. It covers basically all the core questions and concerns people have about a belief in any kind of deity.

    Hope this helps. I have enjoyed the dialogue. BY the way, what is your name?

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=The Turk]I have some questions which may be slightly off topic but I think it's related so if someone who considers him/herself a believer can answer I would be grateful.

    First since I'm new here and most of you don't know me let me tell you a bit about myself; I am a Turkish man who has lived in the states for 3 , in France for 2.5 and in Cyprus for 6 years. I have been born to non-practicing Muslim parents and the only thing I do thats remotely Islamic is that I don't eat pork. :D While I was in New York I went to 2 Catholic schools and I'm also interested in history as a whole so I've some backround information on all three Faiths. Albeit some more than others. Altough I don't believe in any one religion I consider myself at the same distance from all three, far or close depends on your point of view. Having said all this I do believe in a supreme Being, at least I'd like to believe in a supreme being and mostly I do.

    But as i said I have some bones to pick with all three religions and since most of you here are Christians I'lll ask you my questions about Christianity.

    What are your views on the Council of Nicea, where the priests of the time Decided that Jesus was the son of God as opposed to a man. There were also substantial opposing views to this from the priests of the time.

    I'm also curious about the accuracy of the Bible when it's now accepted knowledge that the oldest book of the New Testament was written abou 250 to 300 years after Jesus's lifetime.

    Last note. I don't mean to disrespect anyone or their faith. If you find this post offensive in any way I sincerely apologize.[/QUOTE]


    How you doing Turk...I'll dive into some of your questions.
    My history of the Council at Nicea is WEAK. I was not raised Catholic, and I do not currently study Catholic history at school. However, it seems odd to me. God must be both man and God, for he needs to be in order to sacrifice himself as the perfect offering to God to reconcile with Him.... Just my opinion here on this one.

    The acceptance of the books written are inacurate. Check these sites out instead of me typing them all.
    [url]http://earlychristianwritings.com/[/url]
    [url]http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/ntbook-dates.html[/url]

    NO disrespect taken. If you cannot talk about your faith and calmly discuss it when scrutinized, you better take some time and understand why you believe in the first place. Hope this helps.

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Bugzy]One more thing, Paul (writer of most of the New testament) swore an oath that he would completely stamp out christianity before he was converted on the road to Damascus!

    [/QUOTE]

    Just to clarify, it was Saul who was converted on the road to Damascus and became Paul. This is a good point, and has been discussed and had extensive books written about the topic. How does one explain a man who's purpose in life was to eradicate Christianity through murder, only to just STOP and become the greatest proponent for Christianity "just like that?"

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