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Old 03-25-2014, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Georgia
485 posts, read 731,007 times
Reputation: 247

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This is a follow-up post to a thread I started in this forum roughly four months ago. In my thread I basically covered how I, being a freshman in college, was beginning to analyze religion (specifically Christianity) and trying to remove as much personal bias as possible during my analysis.

Where I find myself four months later is in a position where I feel rationally that the concept of the Christian God is one superficial in concrete evidence and not all too different than many gods throughout the course of history. I have many reasons for this: Christians cherry-picking from the Bible, ineffectiveness of prayer, many religions with different views, scientific knowledge with credible evidence disputing the Bible's recollection of many historical events like creation. Also, I have witnessed in my short lifetime how morals change over time and the Bible is simply a tool used by many Americans to justify or condemn changing morals depending on whether it fits their agenda.

Logical reasoning aside, it is important to address my emotions with regards to the Christian faith. I have, for as long as I can remember have always had a very strong and active conscientious voice. I can recall situations in my early childhood where I would think or do something morally wrong, even if it be a minuscule deed that affected nor concerned anyone other than myself. In other words, I tend to feel guilty a lot. At timesI feel in my heart that God is still there, even while it makes no sense in my mind.

About three years ago I heard a voice in my head (not audibly) which I presumed to be God tell me to open my Bible to a certain book and chapter, where said book and chapter was located, and a synopsis of the content I would find in this portion of the Bible. What I found on that page was exactly what I'd heard in my mind. Since then I have had that same voice in my head tell me to read certain passages but they either do not make any sense as a single passage, or sometimes do not exist. I realize many of you will raise an eyebrow in skepticism, as I still do myself frankly; likewise, I find myself in a difficult position these days hoping to eventually make sense of things. What I do find is that in my more religious periods I am accompanied with a recurring thought process of wondering if what I'm doing is right or wrong, am I going to hell or am I not, and things of that nature.

I would appreciate and welcome any thoughts or general feedback you all have to offer. Thanks if you took the time to read all of this!
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:52 PM
 
39,041 posts, read 10,831,421 times
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before I can comment - can you recall which bit of the Bible you were told to look up and were you given a chapter number?
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Georgia
485 posts, read 731,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
before I can comment - can you recall which bit of the Bible you were told to look up and were you given a chapter number?
Unfortunately I cannot. I wrote it down, but I'm not sure where that paper is.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:25 PM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,739,597 times
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There is a possibility that you knew the chapter before but had forgotten it the recalled it as an experience instead of a memory. I heard this young you once say a similar thing as you bit about his vision/dream of a Hindu god-like being with many hands and objects in them that ended up actually being an already characterized Hindu god (that looked the same and held the same objects) that he though he didn't know about before. These might be episodes of mild psychosis caused by the pressures created by religion.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:41 PM
 
296 posts, read 191,482 times
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It is a leap of faith in the end. Consider what good Christians have to lose if they are wrong and what an atheist has to lose if he/she is wrong!
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Georgia
485 posts, read 731,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post
There is a possibility that you knew the chapter before but had forgotten it the recalled it as an experience instead of a memory. I heard this young you once say a similar thing as you bit about his vision/dream of a Hindu god-like being with many hands and objects in them that ended up actually being an already characterized Hindu god (that looked the same and held the same objects) that he though he didn't know about before. These might be episodes of mild psychosis caused by the pressures created by religion.
That is interesting and I think that is a very plausible explanation.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:44 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,728,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhans123 View Post
This is a follow-up post to a thread I started in this forum roughly four months ago. In my thread I basically covered how I, being a freshman in college, was beginning to analyze religion (specifically Christianity) and trying to remove as much personal bias as possible during my analysis.

Where I find myself four months later is in a position where I feel rationally that the concept of the Christian God is one superficial in concrete evidence and not all too different than many gods throughout the course of history. I have many reasons for this: Christians cherry-picking from the Bible, ineffectiveness of prayer, many religions with different views, scientific knowledge with credible evidence disputing the Bible's recollection of many historical events like creation. Also, I have witnessed in my short lifetime how morals change over time and the Bible is simply a tool used by many Americans to justify or condemn changing morals depending on whether it fits their agenda.

Logical reasoning aside, it is important to address my emotions with regards to the Christian faith. I have, for as long as I can remember have always had a very strong and active conscientious voice. I can recall situations in my early childhood where I would think or do something morally wrong, even if it be a minuscule deed that affected nor concerned anyone other than myself. In other words, I tend to feel guilty a lot. At timesI feel in my heart that God is still there, even while it makes no sense in my mind.

About three years ago I heard a voice in my head (not audibly) which I presumed to be God tell me to open my Bible to a certain book and chapter, where said book and chapter was located, and a synopsis of the content I would find in this portion of the Bible. What I found on that page was exactly what I'd heard in my mind. Since then I have had that same voice in my head tell me to read certain passages but they either do not make any sense as a single passage, or sometimes do not exist. I realize many of you will raise an eyebrow in skepticism, as I still do myself frankly; likewise, I find myself in a difficult position these days hoping to eventually make sense of things. What I do find is that in my more religious periods I am accompanied with a recurring thought process of wondering if what I'm doing is right or wrong, am I going to hell or am I not, and things of that nature.

I would appreciate and welcome any thoughts or general feedback you all have to offer. Thanks if you took the time to read all of this!
I am a former evangelical, true believer. All I have time to tell you right now is that road out isn't easy. Don't expect that it will be easy. We can give you some advice here and there, but it's a journey you ultimately have to make alone.

But know this, many of us have been where you are, and we are much happier now to live a logically consistent life. The work it takes to break out is worth it.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Georgia
485 posts, read 731,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel A. Pettinicchio View Post
It is a leap of faith in the end. Consider what good Christians have to lose if they are wrong and what an atheist has to lose if he/she is wrong!
In that case may as well cover all the bases with every religion just to make sure if there is an after life you're in.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:09 PM
 
5,097 posts, read 2,485,057 times
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Is it more or less a safe bet to believe that God exists, regardless of which religion one practices? After a semester in a religious studies class, which is similar to philosophy, there must have some discussion of symbolic language.

If God exists, then given these possibilities:

You don't believe in God and God exists (screwed)
You do believe in God and God exists (only option if God exists)
You don't believe in God and God does not exist (bad choice if God exists)
You do believe in God and God does not exist (bad choice if God exists)

... there's only one choice.

If God doesn't exist, then it begs the question so ask whether one should believe.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:24 PM
 
39,041 posts, read 10,831,421 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel A. Pettinicchio View Post
It is a leap of faith in the end. Consider what good Christians have to lose if they are wrong and what an atheist has to lose if he/she is wrong!
Thanks for bringing that up. It's what I was going to mention once we could look at this 'God told me to look it up' claim.

Christians cannot be sure just what being a 'good Christian' is. Or even whether it is the right religion. Given that many have doubts about Hell-threat and either try to minimise it to a 'separation' or some kind of purgatorial process, never mind just rejecting the idea of hell altogether, it seems pretty likely that the carrot is doubtful and how to get it equally doubtful.

Atheists therefore have nothing to gain and everything that we know we have to lose-or waste - if we sideline it in favour of relying on faith.

My line on this -and it is relevant to the OP's question - is that no god that is credible as a just an merciful god is going to inflict hell on people because they couldn't believe an unbelievable claim. I don't think an afterlife likely, but if there is, it is something we all get as naturally as we all get birth or death.

At any rate, there is no one god handing out entry tickets. Therefore fear of retribution for not believing something or other - what a silly qualification for getting an afterlife! can be set aside as nonsense and the weight of fear of upsetting God by asking too many questions can be shrugged off. It is just a method of frightening people into church.

The atheist afterlife is a more pleasant prospect. If there is one, you can take it as guaranteed so really there is no deed to worry about it or be frightened to doubt or question,which is what hellthreat is there to do.

It is Pascal's wager in reverse: you have nothing you can count on gaining if you are a Christian - or any other religion - or losing if you are not; so it is better to live this life as though it is the only one you got, because that may very likely be the case.
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