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Old 03-20-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: The land where cats rule
10,946 posts, read 7,983,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptsum View Post
You know I find that my belief is the right one for me, I believe that when my time comes I will pass over into the other world and sit among my ancestors, now my belief is not for every one nor do I claim it to be the right one for everyone, I only claim that it's the right one for me and because of a most recent experience I am even more convinced that it is the right one for me.osay
If only more people would consider this a desirable way of life, so much strife would disappear.

I would rep you but the powers that be won't permit it.

 
Old 03-20-2010, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,282 posts, read 20,904,862 times
Reputation: 9964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Runemaster View Post
Everyone who has beliefs, one way or another, always seems to be so very confident that what they believe is true. But that begs the question, (since we're all flawed humans who make mistakes daily):

What if you're wrong?

For me, as Christ Follower, if I'm wrong, I simply take a dirt nap when I die and that's that. In the days when I was a card carrying agnostic, I would have missed out on far more...

So, what happens if you're wrong?


Disclaimer: this isn't intended to start a flame war or illicit angry responses. if reading anything in this thread entices you to post in anger or with the intent to flame anyone, please walk away and find a more constructive outlet for your energy. Thanks!
If I'm right, I'll be happier than I can possibly imagine. If I'm wrong, I won't be anything.
 
Old 03-20-2010, 08:53 PM
 
366 posts, read 486,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheViking85 View Post
Let me try and answer the highlighted section first.

It's somewhat simple, and I'm sure you've heard it before, but a God, that stands for something better, something of a higher standard, etc. could, I suppose (if you're into it) be worth worshiping. In some ways it's easier to say something about what Gods are not worthy of worship.

For me, it's quite obvious, that any all knowing being, with complete power, that allows children to be abused, women to suffer, men to be killed, maimed for no reason, isn't a God I'd even look down on. If you have the power to stop a child's suffering, and don't, then why should I bow to you?

So yes, In a way I suppose it is that I approve. How can I be on my knees for something or someone I can't respect? I don't think it's an overly American notion, as it's far more common in central Europe.

If I understand your story about Zeus correctly (and the parallels you draw to the biblical God?) it is that you worship because he has the power do ruin you. So you worship out of fear, yes?

I'd rather die, or suffer endlessly, than live an empty life, fearing a tyrant.

You say and according to most scriptures, that's true. You aren't on equal footing with a God, however, I always do (or strive to) what's right, to live life according to what I find important, to not compromise my integrity simply because it would be an easier thing to do.

Put simply (and I'm sorry I keep going back to children here, hehe): If I can save a child from suffering, be it abuse or otherwise, I will, even if that brings forth some discomfort for myself. (Or again, I try to) How can I respect a God that does not do the same? No, I'm not on equal footing with God, but I'm certainly not below him/her/it.

Personally, I do not think the biblical God seems like an all good think, who inspires hope etc. etc. To me, the biblical God seems... hungry for power, at best.

I don't worship anything, and it's honestly a bit of an odd word for me, but I suppose if I worship anything at all it would be life, and all the little accidents that gave me the opportunity to experience a sunrise over the coast where I live, or the smell of my beautiful girl, as I kiss her.

I hope I didn't offend, it was not my intention.
Hi Viking. You didn't offend at all; I'm glad to consider your comments.

I actually agree with the spirit of what you're saying here. Why is there human suffering in the world if God has the power to stop it? It's a legitimately puzzling thing. Now, what's interesting is that this is tied to being worthy of worship: God is not worthy of worship if he does not end suffering. In my above post I tried to distinguish between worship and worthiness of worship. Zeus was worshiped for various reasons: fear, self-interest, perhaps devotion, adoration, etc. So I'm sure there was a whole mix of reasons. But one thing that seems likely is that they had a sense of the sacred--temples were constructed, sacrifices given, ceremonies observed, etc. They had a sense of the sacred, in that the religious rites and practices were to be honored, respected, and in this the gods were worshipped. Today, I don't think we really have much of a feeling for the sacred anymore, and the concept of worship is getting pretty murky for us. I'm not fully clear on it myself. But it seems that in one sense worship is given to a god because that being is a god--worship is an acknowledgement of the god's power and authority over you, which has nothing to do with asking yourself, "is this being worthy of my worship?" If you ask this question, if you even raise this question--is this being worthy of MY worship--then you have placed a value on yourself, on something you have. You have something that is at your discretion to give or withhold, that has some value, that the other being (the god) may or may not be worthy of getting from you. You have placed yourself in a power-relation with the divinity, where you hold some power. So, by even raising this question , it looks as though you have destroyed the possibility of your giving meaningful worship to any one. If you raise the question, worship is impossible for you. Only when you push away from such questions--which really only serve as self-aggrandizement--is a person capable of worship.

Furthermore, raising this question places you in a position to judge the actions of the divinity. Now, in the context of Christianity, and the suffering that God can, but does not, prevent, we are placing ourselves in a position of judging God. He does not live up to our standard of morality. This, also, destroys the possibility of worship. When we begin to think we are in a legitimate position to judge God, we have rendered ourselves incapable of worshipping God.

There is a lot to say about this issue, about why God allows us to suffer. A LOT has been written about this, and I'm no expert on it. It's certainly troubling, isn't it? This seems like a different topic from this thread, and I don't have an quick answers. I don't know why God allows suffering. But the Christian message is that God does not exempt himself, he suffers with us. IF God exists, then the meaning of suffering--the meaning of everything--changes. IF God exists, then the world is meaningful. If the atheists are right, then there is no meaning to suffering, and there are no ultimate moral values. If atheism, then the suffering of a child ultimately has no more moral significance than the sands shifting on the beach. I think morality really only has any significance when it flows from a religious worldview (take your pick). But an atheist worldview? One can be an atheist and a nihilist; one can consistently reject the moral way of life and be an atheist. Anyway, I've rambled on enough. I hope you find these musings interesting.
 
Old 03-20-2010, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Richland, Washington
4,071 posts, read 4,968,677 times
Reputation: 2479
There a multitude of flaws in Pascal's Wager.

1. It assumes that there are only two options-belief in the christian god or atheism. The problem with this is that there are 3000 gods that are worshipped on the planet. If Yaweh is imaginary and Ra is the one true god then you'll go to hell for not worshipping Ra.

2. It assumes that god rewards belief and punishes disbelief. If there is a god this may not be the case. What if god rewards reason and punishes faith or what if god rewards disbelief and punishes belief.

3. It assumes that an afterlife is heaven/hell based although what if the afterlife is rebirth/reincarnation based. If Hinduism is true then you will be reincarnated as a lower lifeform because you didn't do your darhma.

4. The wager assumes you lose nothing by believing. This is not so. If there is no afterlife or a different afterlife than the one you believed in, then you will have devoted your life to a delusion. The inordinate amount of time, money, love and energy you wasted on praise, worship etc. could have been given to real people and real things.

As a sidenote, if everything comes from god then it follows that reason came from god; therefore god would expect you to use your abilities of reason. Given the fact there is no empirically verified evidence for god it would be rational to not believe in their existence. Assuming there is a god, it would thus be more likely they'd reward an atheist who lived their life morally and came to their conclusion through reason and punish the devout believer whom formed their conclusions on faith.

Last edited by agnostic soldier; 03-20-2010 at 10:22 PM..
 
Old 03-20-2010, 10:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
2,756 posts, read 5,264,818 times
Reputation: 4606
Quote:
Originally Posted by Runemaster View Post
Everyone who has beliefs, one way or another, always seems to be so very confident that what they believe is true. But that begs the question, (since we're all flawed humans who make mistakes daily):

What if you're wrong?

For me, as Christ Follower, if I'm wrong, I simply take a dirt nap when I die and that's that. In the days when I was a card carrying agnostic, I would have missed out on far more...

So, what happens if you're wrong?


Disclaimer: this isn't intended to start a flame war or illicit angry responses. if reading anything in this thread entices you to post in anger or with the intent to flame anyone, please walk away and find a more constructive outlet for your energy. Thanks!
Well, you're simply re-phrasing one of the oldest and best-known theological maxims of all-time; it's known as "Pascal's Wager" and was first coined by the brilliant French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal over 150 years ago. He opined that it's basically a win-win situation to believe in God, since, if you're right, then when you die you have a good chance to merit your enternal reward in Heaven, but if you're wrong, well...no biggie: you're dead anyway!
Pascal continued: If someone doesn't believe, however, then he lives his whole life without the comfort of God belief. And then if there is a God and he dies, he very well may not be gained admittance into Heaven. And even if there is no God, well, the atheist still missed out on a happier, more secure-feeling life that would have come from belief in a BFF Upstairs.
Personally, I've always had a problem with Pascal's Wager, since it seems to be based on the premise that one can choose whether or not to believe, like one can choose whether or not to join the Rotary Club, or be a Chicago Cubs fan. I don't think this is the case; my belief or non-belief in God goes deeper than mere choice, it is an innate gut-feeling. It's hardwired, so to speak. I have no more choice in my belief in a supreme being than I do in either liking or disliking the taste of cooked carrots.
 
Old 03-21-2010, 06:47 AM
 
34,638 posts, read 8,934,164 times
Reputation: 4804
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
"Any god worthy of respect"? In all my readings about the world's religions, you can be I've seen precious few of them.

If I die and then find myself staring at Charon without the fare, or heading for the Rainbow Bridge, or missing out on 72 virgins, it will all be much the same to me.
The greeks came to realise that their gods were not so much worthy of respect, deing petty, vindictive and no better than they should be but should recieve respect because they would do you some serious harm if you didn't give it. Or, if they were too busy, their devotees would do it on their behalf.

As to Charon, if I turned up without a fare, does that mean I have to get on the next plane back to Livingstan? Or do I have to stay in an eternal holding - camp by the side of the Styx? It must be pretty crowded by now.
 
Old 03-21-2010, 07:27 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,534,442 times
Reputation: 19858
If I am wrong and there is a deity then I will accept the error of my ways and make amends for my "appalling lack of judgement" !

Any loving God being omniscient would realise I had been genuinely sincere in my Atheism and would forgive me surely...

If I am condemned to the fiery pits of sulphurous hell because I led my life as decently and honestly as I could manage then this loving God is not worth worshipping at all and I shall gladly join the cohorts of Satan to try and bring the egotistical monster down...
 
Old 03-21-2010, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,073,181 times
Reputation: 3717
Default ...or Bushmill's, your choice.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
A telegraphed kick nicely riposted lads. However, let's take the worst case scenario (for an atheist). I die and I'm next thing looking at King Lear with a furious scowl and His Son saying 'Go on Dad, let 'im have it!"

I'd say that I tried to use the brains I'd been given and I really tried to get at the evidential truth, whatever the theists might accuse me of. If that condemns me I'd simply say that His morality could learn something from the best of the human.

Any god worthy of respect would have taken that point on board long ago and so, I doubt we have much to worry about. If we do, then that God has so little regard for anything that we would consider justice and decency that I wonder whether the Christians can be so smugly confident that such a god is not going to take pleasure in seeing their horror as they learn that they, too are for the barbeque.

VERY nicely said, AREQUIPA! My point exactly. Surely God doesn't like all those whimpering, simpering dogmo-Christians all falling over themselves out there to out-whimper and out-pray their neighbors in a feeding-frenzy of mass supplication.

Since, as the story goes, He designed & built us all down to the last defective enzyme system (I happen to have arthritis quite badly, God! What's with THAT? "Perfect design" my aching hip joints!)

I can righteously point to my particularly venomous mind and attitude and say "What exactly did you have in mind for me on this Earth, God, when you built me to be this way? I'll bet you set me up as a foil for those unthinking types on C-D, in order to get their heads working, right?

Oh, and BTW, what about all those polar bears I saved when I was a practicing bear biologist? Does that count, versus Benny Hinn's robbing all those innocents for decades, and then "renting" a gay druggie masseuse while dissing his loyal wife of 20+ years?

I thought so. Lemme in, and I'll have a Jameson's, straight up,please. Oh, you'd like to share one with me? I'll bet, given all you're expected to do for those endlessly whining and demanding but unthinking acolytes down there. Here; lemme pour!

Say, can I toss a few well-deserved lightning bolts for yah? Here's an idea: why don't you take the afternoon off (go fishing with your son, why dont'cha!) and just trust me at the controls? I got some evolvin' to facilitate. You know; making humans less gullible and more tolerant and less damaging to the rest of your wonderful animals down there. I think I'll start with a little 10.5 earthquake, right under the Exxon building...."


....and so it would go.
 
Old 03-21-2010, 10:47 AM
 
Location: alabama
200 posts, read 258,824 times
Reputation: 55
First of all I believe in God and Jesus his son.

But that being said...what if I am wrong?

1. I take a dirt nap.
2. Allah sends me to hell and I only have hot water to drink.
3. I have to suffer Karma for both good deeds and bad.
4. I have to answer to some God (or Gods) I have little knowledge of.

Why not try to live my life doing the best I can with what I am given ?
Why not try my best to do what my concience tells me to do and then take my chances?
 
Old 03-21-2010, 10:54 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 4,300,609 times
Reputation: 806
Quote:
Originally Posted by Runemaster View Post
Everyone who has beliefs, one way or another, always seems to be so very confident that what they believe is true. But that begs the question, (since we're all flawed humans who make mistakes daily):

What if you're wrong?

For me, as Christ Follower, if I'm wrong, I simply take a dirt nap when I die and that's that. In the days when I was a card carrying agnostic, I would have missed out on far more...

So, what happens if you're wrong?


Disclaimer: this isn't intended to start a flame war or illicit angry responses. if reading anything in this thread entices you to post in anger or with the intent to flame anyone, please walk away and find a more constructive outlet for your energy. Thanks!
Well if I am wrong then I am wrong. I don't happen to believe that G-d will turn his back on any of his children. I don't belong to a religion just so I can hedge my bets just in case I might be wrong. I also didn't join a religion out of fear of what might happen. I found my way to this place because I was led here and I believe I have a spiritual faith that is right for me. I also believe that I am in this place because G-d has a place for me as he does others.
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