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Old 01-21-2016, 08:15 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 478,276 times
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As a Christian, my thinking is if the atheists end up being right and there's nothing on the other side after death, then I'm in the same boat they are and I've lost nothing by believing.

On the other hand, if the Christian beliefs are correct and there really is a God and a Heaven, then I've gained everything.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:58 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,879 posts, read 8,653,891 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
As a Christian, my thinking is if the atheists end up being right and there's nothing on the other side after death, then I'm in the same boat they are and I've lost nothing by believing.
Except that very few people believe in Christianity the way you do - not even Catholics all believe the same (though ostensibly they're supposed to) - and so you're left without a clear understanding of what to believe to cover the bases most effectively. If anything, it lends credence to believing in the manner that the largest number of people believe consistently one-with-another. I believe that the largest block of people who believe consistently one-with-another is found within either Buddhism or Islam, not Christianity. Alternatively, it advocates living in accordance with as many different belief systems that can be simultaneously practiced with integrity. Typically that indicates that you should be a Hindu and Buddhist.

The other problem with what you've posited depends on how your beliefs affect your behavior and therefore your impact on others. You've lost a lot - in terms of personal honor, integrity and regard for your humanity - if your belief turns out to be false, yet it has driven you to behavior that adversely affected others, either through commission or omission.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:59 AM
 
6,211 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
As a Christian, my thinking is if the atheists end up being right and there's nothing on the other side after death, then I'm in the same boat they are and I've lost nothing by believing.
.....

Except that you have decided to replace logical thinking and actions with beliefs that come from who knows where. Look what happens when some devout Muslims follow their religious beliefs. Or is it OK to follow your own beliefs as long as you leave others to theirs? Somehow that never seems to happen in the past or now. Religions don't grow or maintain followers by being neutral.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:25 PM
 
966 posts, read 918,530 times
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bUU, I tried to rep you but CD said to spread it around......appreciate your post.
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:18 PM
 
7,888 posts, read 5,024,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
As a Christian, my thinking is if the atheists end up being right and there's nothing on the other side after death, then I'm in the same boat they are and I've lost nothing by believing.

On the other hand, if the Christian beliefs are correct and there really is a God and a Heaven, then I've gained everything.
This is an important point, and merits a serious response. My attempt....

The issue is not binary. Even if persons who do not accede to a spiritual dimension of reality turn out to be wrong - and there is something "out there" after all - it does not necessarily follow that said persons would suffer some dire consequences, or even the loss of an important opportunity. Some religious doctrines of course assert precisely such binary alternatives; but this is then a question of doctrine, and not one of belief vs. non-belief.

Second, as others have noted, it is entirely possible to have sincere and abiding faith, and yet, matters may so turn out, that one's faith was in the wrong direction. That is, it may turn out that there is a deity after all, but that the person in question approached said deity incorrectly, and thus has not gained any favor. This too is a question of doctrine - and a crucial one - for the world's various religions may agree that physical reality is not the totality of all that there is... but they don't much agree beyond that.

Third, sincere religious faith is not merely a matter of belief. It entails a curbing of appetite and a suspension of purely individual primacy. There is a very substantial cost to living such a life. This remains true, even if we are modest in our assertions and scrupulously refrain from imposing our views on others. If it turns out that an adherent to such a lifestyle was wrong, then it's nowise the case, that "nothing was lost".

If it were demonstrably the case, that all that's required to secure the benefits of religious salvation is the mere assertion of belief - then that act being of such low cost, it would be illogical to disavow it. For an avowed skeptic, if the odds of the theistic viewpoint were incredibly low, but the cost of espousing that viewpoint were commensurately low, then it would be an easy bargain to profess religious fealty.

I think that one reason for the stereotype - if it is a stereotype - that the elderly are more religious, is that sensing a limited remainder of life, the cost of religious adherence is also low, and so the cost/benefit ratio of espousing religious faith comes to look like a better deal. Whether such narrowly mercantile calculation is sufficient to constitute legitimate faith, is a debate for the theologians. My point is merely that the living of a sincerely religious life comes at very high cost indeed, so that the assessment of whether to believe (or what to believe) is not trivial.
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:27 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,463,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Except that you have decided to replace logical thinking and actions with beliefs that come from who knows where. Look what happens when some devout Muslims follow their religious beliefs. Or is it OK to follow your own beliefs as long as you leave others to theirs? Somehow that never seems to happen in the past or now. Religions don't grow or maintain followers by being neutral.
It's called "faith."
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:14 PM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,183 posts, read 1,338,732 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
This is an important point, and merits a serious response. My attempt....

The issue is not binary. Even if persons who do not accede to a spiritual dimension of reality turn out to be wrong - and there is something "out there" after all - it does not necessarily follow that said persons would suffer some dire consequences, or even the loss of an important opportunity. Some religious doctrines of course assert precisely such binary alternatives; but this is then a question of doctrine, and not one of belief vs. non-belief.

...
Your whole post is excellent. But the above is very much in line with my thinking as an atheist.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:48 PM
 
Location: it depends
6,074 posts, read 5,330,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
As a Christian, my thinking is if the atheists end up being right and there's nothing on the other side after death, then I'm in the same boat they are and I've lost nothing by believing.

On the other hand, if the Christian beliefs are correct and there really is a God and a Heaven, then I've gained everything.
If an all-powerful, omniscient being cares about how I spent my Sunday mornings, or whether I gave money to a human institution that uses His/Her/It's name, I don't want anything to do with an eternity with Him, Her or It.


I do the best I can to help others and improve the world, if that isn't enough He/She/It can stick it.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:10 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,463,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcopolo View Post
If an all-powerful, omniscient being cares about how I spent my Sunday mornings, or whether I gave money to a human institution that uses His/Her/It's name, I don't want anything to do with an eternity with Him, Her or It.


I do the best I can to help others and improve the world, if that isn't enough He/She/It can stick it.
Spoken like a true non-believer; insulting and disparaging of those with faith and their beliefs.
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:00 PM
 
6,211 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Spoken like a true non-believer; insulting and disparaging of those with faith and their beliefs.

So just out of curiosity, which "believers" deserve respect? Do they have to be Christian? Jews, Muslims, Pagans? How much respect do you have for those who would die, or kill others, based on religious faith? Personally I have some difficulty respecting those who want to do some heavy duty beheading in the name of faith and religious beliefs. But then I am funny that way. I even have a hard time respecting the crusades, or the inquisition, burning at the stake, drowning the witches and blowing up abortion clinics. Some believers adopt a life of chastity but seem to have no problem sexually abusing children or joining a secret society that condoned such behavior.
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