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The Big Question


ironhorse
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In my life, I have chosen to believe there is a God.

I would argue that this statement is not entirely accurate.

 

Maybe I'm being dense, but that seems very cryptic to me.

 

I think Prof means belief is not a choice, and possibly also that childhood indoctrination is a big factor.

 

O.k. I agree that childhood indoctrination is a very big factor. smile.png

 

 

Yeah, why didn't Ironhorse "choose" to believe in Zeus, or Odin,  or Ra,  or Bender?

 

 

 

Because of all the belief systems in the world the Christian message made the most sense to me.

 

But you haven't demonstrated you KNOW the belief systems of the world… The christian message is that we are worthless and doomed.. broken, and need to be fixed… by the same deity that made it impossible for us NOT to be broken. It makes the world an evil, malignant place… and it offers human blood sacrifice as the only way out of this malignancy. It makes women second class citizens. It makes everything ugly… it removes the need for intellect and reason, or self-responsibility and personal growth. It negates anything that is good in humanity. Music, art, great literature, compassion and empathy… progress… it's all wiped out and credited to this impossible deity.

 

There are many faiths which do not hold these views at all.. ones that are MUCH more peaceful and reasonable. The native americans have a better faith system, one based on harmony and respect for nature and that upholds charity and responsibility for one's fellows without negating individual dignity. (including sexism and racism) It is almost impossible to be greedy within this system because ownership is a foreign concept.

 

That's just one off the top of my head that makes more sense than christianity.

 

Then there is the option of no faith at all… and strangely I have found more compassion and truth and empathy within those people than I have in the religious. It shocked me when I discovered that, but there it is.

 

Nope.. I don't believe you at all. You have not demonstrated this knowledge, or the open mind that it would require for a proper investigation of faith systems of the world.

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Xian arguments all eventually boil down to "I feel it in my heart". Funny thing, the heart is much better at feeling than reasoning.

 

Actually the heart is much better at pumping blood than feeling or reasoning.

I wuz bein' all mystic and metaphorical and stuff.

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Xian arguments all eventually boil down to "I feel it in my heart". Funny thing, the heart is much better at feeling than reasoning.

Actually the heart is much better at pumping blood than feeling or reasoning.

I wuz bein' all mystic and metaphorical and stuff.

 

But that part isn't meant to be metaphor; that part is supposed to be taken literally.  ;)

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But you haven't demonstrated you KNOW the belief systems of the world… The christian message is that we are worthless and doomed.. broken, and need to be fixed… by the same deity that made it impossible for us NOT to be broken. It makes the world an evil, malignant place… and it offers human blood sacrifice as the only way out of this malignancy. It makes women second class citizens. It makes everything ugly… it removes the need for intellect and reason, or self-responsibility and personal growth. It negates anything that is good in humanity. Music, art, great literature, compassion and empathy… progress… it's all wiped out and credited to this impossible deity.

 

 

There are many faiths which do not hold these views at all.. ones that are MUCH more peaceful and reasonable. The native americans have a better faith system, one based on harmony and respect for nature and that upholds charity and responsibility for one's fellows without negating individual dignity. (including sexism and racism) It is almost impossible to be greedy within this system because ownership is a foreign concept.

 

That's just one off the top of my head that makes more sense than christianity.

 

Then there is the option of no faith at all… and strangely I have found more compassion and truth and empathy within those people than I have in the religious. It shocked me when I discovered that, but there it is.

 

Nope.. I don't believe you at all. You have not demonstrated this knowledge, or the open mind that it would require for a proper investigation of faith systems of the world.

 

Ironhorse follows a common pattern of theists.  They make assertions and fail to provide evidence when challenged.  Some do so because they have no clue when it comes to such a challenge, i.e., rational discourse, supporting claims with evidence and skepticism are as foreign to them as the Chinese language is foreign to someone who speaks only Spanish.  This is simply because they have never done it before, at least with respect to their religious beliefs.  Others do this despite already knowing their assertions are not supported by any sort of rational inquiry.  In short, they cheat.  Finally, there are some that make the assertions, which they do not believe in, merely to dupe other people, usually for money, a need for control or to medicate certain psychological dysfunctions, such as narcissism.

 

From Ironhorse's posts, it would appear he is firmly in camp 1 (clueless) but is graduating into camp 2 (due to the information other posters have provided him in his last seven months on this forum).

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I'm here to try to present the Christian message and faith.

Well, folks, Ironhorse has now answered a question many asked, that question being, 'Why are you here (on Ex-Christian.net) Ironhorse?'

 

He's here to proselytize and promote his religious beliefs. How surprising.  Fancy that.  I'm shocked.  Would never have guessed.  Of course, with artificial modesty (but obvious hubris) he claims to have THE Christian message (his words folks).  AND faith.  Wow.  Two for one.  The complete package.  This Ironhorse really thinks he's the cat's meow.  A special one.  He's really, really important (at least to himself).

 

Whether people believe anything I say is up to them.

 

The feigned humility just drips off his keyboard.

 

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Hell, we don't know nuthin' about that there Christian massage or that faith thing. Never heard tell of it nary a once. Do tell us more, as we is ignernt.

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The Big Question

Does God exists?

This, I think, is the big question in life.

I think the bigger question is "what should I do with my life, the only life I have?" Let's not spoil it or waste it. Let's make it something useful, God or no-God.

 

You're getting wonderfully wise in your old age sir. Glad to see your post.

 

thanks.gif I think I calmed down over time. GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif (Stilled my mind, basically)
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The Big Question

Does God exists?

This, I think, is the big question in life.

I think the bigger question is "what should I do with my life, the only life I have?" Let's not spoil it or waste it. Let's make it something useful, God or no-God.

 

 

 

I agree that is a very important question and to ignore it and not act on it one can end up with a life wasted.

 

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

-~John Lennon

 

Yup.

 

My "higher authority" that I feel accountable to is my future self. What will I be tomorrow? What will I think of myself tomorrow about the decisions I made today? Where will I be? Can I be happy with what I have? Very important things to consider.

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Hell, we don't know nuthin' about that there Christian massage or that faith thing. Never heard tell of it nary a once. Do tell us more, as we is ignernt.

"Christian massage"? Is that anything similar to Swedish but with holy oil instead?
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Hmmm......Congress does nothing constructive in our lives. They like to smite certain mid eastern tribes. They allow hunger, injustice, and poverty to flourish.......The US Congress is god!!!

 

par4dcourse,

 

I agree with you on Congress.  I would add they allow hunger, injustice and poverty

because of their idiotic federal programs and intervention.

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In my life, I have chosen to believe there is a God.

I would argue that this statement is not entirely accurate.

 

 

I'm not sure how to comment.

 

Can you explain why you think my statement is inaccurate?

 

Thanks

 

Others have already answered this question in my stead.  However, to reiterate what they have said, beliefs are not a matter of choice. 

 

People believe what makes the most sense to them at any given point in time.  Things tend to make more sense to a person if the cultural/social influences around them are conducive of those things making sense.  Things are especially more readily acceptable as making sense if a person is indoctrinated from childhood to believe those things make sense. 

 

Even if a person goes through a period of questioning, the pressure of cultural/societal influences combined with childhood indoctrination is usually enough to push said person back to a position of belief, with the added (but false) satisfaction that said person chose to believe after critical examination.

 

Sound familiar?

 

 

 

Before I answer, could you make a list or explain what you mean by childhood indoctrination?

 

Thanks

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Hmmm......Congress does nothing constructive in our lives. They like to smite certain mid eastern tribes. They allow hunger, injustice, and poverty to flourish.......The US Congress is god!!!

 

par4dcourse,

 

I agree with you on Congress.  I would add they allow hunger, injustice and poverty

because of their idiotic federal programs and intervention.

 

Another "belief" from Tin Pony, and with a political bent too!  How profound.  How insightful.  How typical for a right wing chump.

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I'm still puzzled as to people capitalizing the first letter in god.  Which god are you talking about?

 

http://grammarist.com/style/god-capitalization/

 

 

There is no God.  God is just as real as Superman.

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In my life, I have chosen to believe there is a God.

I would argue that this statement is not entirely accurate.

 

 

I'm not sure how to comment.

 

Can you explain why you think my statement is inaccurate?

 

Thanks

 

Others have already answered this question in my stead.  However, to reiterate what they have said, beliefs are not a matter of choice. 

 

People believe what makes the most sense to them at any given point in time.  Things tend to make more sense to a person if the cultural/social influences around them are conducive of those things making sense.  Things are especially more readily acceptable as making sense if a person is indoctrinated from childhood to believe those things make sense. 

 

Even if a person goes through a period of questioning, the pressure of cultural/societal influences combined with childhood indoctrination is usually enough to push said person back to a position of belief, with the added (but false) satisfaction that said person chose to believe after critical examination.

 

Sound familiar?

 

 

 

Before I answer, could you make a list or explain what you mean by childhood indoctrination?

 

Thanks

 

Passive-aggressive to a tee.  And disingenuous as expected.  Note the feigned civility of "Thanks".  But those are just symptoms of what is actually occurring.

 

This one is too much of a coward to face his own childhood religious indoctrination, so he pretends it never happened.

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Do you understand that there's 1 very big leap from saying:

A god exists to just 1 solitary god exists

 

Do you understand that there's another very big leap from saying:

1 solitary god exists to 'it's the god of the bible'

 

 

Agree.

 

Just as it is a leap of faith to say many gods exists

 

or Para Brahman

 

or Allah exists.

 

 

 

Perhaps a leap of faith is asking to be wrong.

 

 

 

Why do you say that?

 

If I place faith in something, how can I be asking to be proven wrong?

 

 

I say it because most of the time taking a leap of faith makes somebody wrong.  There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong.

 

 

 

"There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong."

 

 

That is a good thought. It is one of the reason I came to believe that the Christian message was correct.

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"There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong."

 

 

That is a good thought. It is one of the reason I came to believe that the Christian message was correct.

 

Mr. "Me, Me, Me and My Religion is The Only One" speaks.  On an Ex-Christian forum no less.

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Option (5) is what I really want to hear about from IH or any other Christians. Why do they never talk about evidence?

 

BTW I understand that Christians might be reluctant to share their testimonials and risk seeing these experiences ridiculed by skeptics. HOWEVER, the Christians might be able to talk in general terms about the types of experiences that provide their evidence. Otherwise the Christians appear to all be brainwashed or intellectually cowardly for believing with no evidence at all.

I used to have a mixture of reasons for faith:

-- in order to exist, contingent things must be created and sustained by a being that exists necessarily

-- miracles

-- historical claims, esp. the argument that the apostles would not have been tortured for what they knew was a lie

-- my own experiences: answered prayer; feeling God's presence, esp. in ecstatic moments like receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

-- generally that being a Christian rocked, and being a non-Christian sucked

 

I got various psychological and social benefits, too, but I'm not considering them "reasons" right now. I found a centeredness in the better parts of Catholic tradition, but I can't say that effect is unique to Christianity. Many religious and philosophical traditions have that, or versions of it.

 

Thanks, that is like a breath of fresh air. Why don't people ever seem to discuss those issues you mentioned? IMO those are the reasons that people believe or eventually disbelieve, but we never debate them. Christians never talk about them. Atheists never talk about them. All we talk about is philosophy and theology and history.

 

 

The reason I don't discuss the kind of issues ficino mentioned is because I have assessed their validity for me and found them wanting.  Using his reasons as an example (as they were similar to my own) I have satisfied myself that:

 

- things can exist without having been created by a "god" or "spiritual" force of some kind

- miracle claims don't stack up

- xian historical claims such as the apostles being tortured and killed for their beliefs don't stack up

- what I previously interpreted as answered prayer was in fact confirmation bias

- what I previously interpreted as feeling god's presence was likely an increase in endorphins

- my previous belief that being a xian rocked and being a non xian sucked was based on cultural stuff and wasn't true.

 

The reason I talk about history is because it helps me assess whether or not the claims in the bible are true.  And these days I care more about whether things are true than whether they feel good or sound believable.

 

Thanks, FTNZ, I can understand why people who are trying to debunk Christianity might focus on something better defined like the problems in the history, because the psychological issues you mentioned are different for each person. If we can show that the history is bunk, then we don't need to waste time on the other pillars of Christian faith that might be harder to analyze. So that makes sense for a debunker.

 

However, why don't the Christian apologists ever talk about the personal experiential evidence mentioned by Ficino? They need to defend every pillar of Christian faith to keep the edifice from crumbling. Those issues mentioned by Ficino, are crucial to sustaining the faith of individual Christians. They are the evidence that reassures each Christian that he/she is on the right path.

 

Instead, all we hear about from the Christian apologists is Bible verses and theology. The heart and soul of Christianity is completely ignored.

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I was just reading today an opinion piece by a self-proclaimed agnostic who says she's inspired by nuns because of their selfless dedication. (She must not have had a run-in with Sister Bernadette Marie, but that's another story.) I do think that some very reflective people can find their sense of idealism stirred by a religion. It can take them out of themselves, direct them to something bigger, engage them in a tradition and a community. Ritual too can foster a sense of contemplation; it's not always a bore.

 

I just couldn't go on with the Big Lie behind the many good things. I chalk both the good things and the Lie up to the human spirit.

 

I agree that the apologists often don't get into the more experiential side of things. But perhaps they recognize deep down that "proofs" are pretty near impossible to pull out from that side.

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Do you understand that there's 1 very big leap from saying:

A god exists to just 1 solitary god exists

 

Do you understand that there's another very big leap from saying:

1 solitary god exists to 'it's the god of the bible'

 

 

Agree.

 

Just as it is a leap of faith to say many gods exists

 

or Para Brahman

 

or Allah exists.

 

 

 

Perhaps a leap of faith is asking to be wrong.

 

 

 

Why do you say that?

 

If I place faith in something, how can I be asking to be proven wrong?

 

 

I say it because most of the time taking a leap of faith makes somebody wrong.  There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong.

 

 

 

"There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong."

 

 

That is a good thought. It is one of the reason I came to believe that the Christian message was correct.

 

 

What in particular was wrong about the other religions and right about your religion?

 

Was Christianity right because:

 

1. It is the defacto religon of the USA?

2. Your parents and other family members were Christians?

3. Your parents took you to a Christian church?

4. You read a book by a Christian author who said Christianity is correct?

5. You prayed to Jesus about it?

6. Christianity is just right because it's right?

 

Were other religions invalid because:

 

1. They are not practiced in the USA as much as Christianity?

2. Your parents and other family members were Christians?

3. These other religions didn't have a church in your area?

4. You actually studied one of these other religons in depth?

5. You prayed to a deity of a non-Christian religion for guidance and got no answer?

6. Non-Christian religions are wrong because the Bible says so?

 

I'm not looking for a novel about how you narrowed down multiple possible religions to the one choice of Christianity. Just some quick and dirty bullet points. It will only take a second. But if you'd rather not post it here, maybe give it some thought.

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"There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong."

 

 

That is a good thought. It is one of the reason I came to believe that the Christian message was correct.

 

 

So "Christianity is wrong" is the reason you came to believe that Christianity is right.  What dafuk?

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Do you understand that there's 1 very big leap from saying:

A god exists to just 1 solitary god exists

 

Do you understand that there's another very big leap from saying:

1 solitary god exists to 'it's the god of the bible'

 

 

Agree.

 

Just as it is a leap of faith to say many gods exists

 

or Para Brahman

 

or Allah exists.

 

 

 

Perhaps a leap of faith is asking to be wrong.

 

 

 

Why do you say that?

 

If I place faith in something, how can I be asking to be proven wrong?

 

 

I say it because most of the time taking a leap of faith makes somebody wrong.  There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong.

 

 

 

"There are thousands of religions and most of them have to be wrong."

 

 

That is a good thought. It is one of the reason I came to believe that the Christian message was correct.

 

 

What in particular was wrong about the other religions and right about your religion?

 

Was Christianity right because:

 

1. It is the defacto religon of the USA?

2. Your parents and other family members were Christians?

3. Your parents took you to a Christian church?

4. You read a book by a Christian author who said Christianity is correct?

5. You prayed to Jesus about it?

6. Christianity is just right because it's right?

 

Were other religions invalid because:

 

1. They are not practiced in the USA as much as Christianity?

2. Your parents and other family members were Christians?

3. These other religions didn't have a church in your area?

4. You actually studied one of these other religons in depth?

5. You prayed to a deity of a non-Christian religion for guidance and got no answer?

6. Non-Christian religions are wrong because the Bible says so?

 

I'm not looking for a novel about how you narrowed down multiple possible religions to the one choice of Christianity. Just some quick and dirty bullet points. It will only take a second. But if you'd rather not post it here, maybe give it some thought.

 

 

 

- Monotheism makes more sense to me than polytheism. 

 

-I like the story of a Creator who took a big chance and created beings with free will.

 

-I like the narrative revealed in the Bible how God worked through history to reveal himself and message to people.

 

-I understand from the scriptures that God's response to sin (missing the mark of perfection)

is not an emotional response but a settled response or opposition to sin. By this I mean it is in

his being to in opposition to sin. God is the only perfect being in the universe. 

 

-And I like the story of God becoming one of us. As the song that Joan Osbourne sang goes.."just a slob 

like one of us."

 

-And because it is in his nature to judge sin...to set things right, he himself took the wrath and condemnation 

onto himself.

 

-His only request is that I accept this sacrifice.

 

-There are parts I do not understand. I may one day. I may not.

 

-I believe the scriptures when they say that God is love and patient and kind.

His judgments are fair.

 

I"m in wonder of the story.

 

This is why I chose Christianity instead of other belief systems.

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He "likes" his religion, just like he "likes" himself.  Neat as a pin.

 

"My precious…yes,,,my precious.

 

Gollum Gollum.

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- Monotheism makes more sense to me than polytheism. 

 

 

No it doesn't.  You are being irrational.  There is no reason to believe either monotheism or polytheism but merit-wise one does not have an advantage over the other.

 

 

 

 

-I like the story of a Creator who took a big chance and created beings with free will.

 

So you think God is ignorant.  Don't let the other Christians realize you believe this or else they will view you as a heretic.

 

 

 

-I understand from the scriptures that God's response to sin (missing the mark of perfection)

is not an emotional response but a settled response or opposition to sin. By this I mean it is in

his being to in opposition to sin. God is the only perfect being in the universe. 

 

It is inappropriate to assert you "understand" when talking about how imaginary people respond to imaginary crimes.  Understanding has nothing to do with the convoluted mess you just described.

 

 

 

-And I like the story of God becoming one of us. As the song that Joan Osbourne sang goes.."just a slob 

like one of us."

 

She was mocking people like you.

 

 

 

-And because it is in his nature to judge sin...to set things right, he himself took the wrath and condemnation 

onto himself.

 

Your God's nature is brain cells firing off inside your head.  Your personal God did not exist until you dreamed him up and your God will no longer exist on the day you die.

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- Monotheism makes more sense to me than polytheism.

 

No it doesn't.  You are being irrational.  There is no reason to believe either monotheism or polytheism but merit-wise one does not have an advantage over the other.

 

If we're talking about the Creator then singular makes more sense than plural (IMO)

 

However, to say that Judaism is monotheistic and Paganism is polytheistic seems to be an oversimplification. Judaism has the angels like Michael that do Yahweh's work. Paganism usually has a Creator who makes other gods to manage the natural world. In both cases there is a Creator who makes multiple supernatural beings to do the work. Of course angels aren't worshiped, and Yahweh is more of a hands-on manager than the Creators in Paganism who usually have no role after creating the other gods.

 

That's just my observation based on limited reading. Of course there are lots of polytheistic religions, so maybe it's not a valid observation.

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