As so many believe that America was founded on the principles of Judaism and Christianity and they are, most certainly, wrong, too, it is said that a Believer is one who believes in unproven supernatural deities. This, I find to be a complete misrepresentation and misuse of the word, belief. Is such a 'belief' in the same category as a child who places a tooth under the pillow for the tooth fairy to retrieve? Certainly, such a belief is without foundation, except for the fabrication of the parents, authority figures. And is not the belief in deities the same?
When we speak of a deity belief, somehow it takes on an aura of credibility and truth, not that it is any different than the tooth fairy, but more parents and segments of society reinforce it. Such reinforcement is very profitable, not only in terms of money, but in the power over others. Such belief promotes subservience to a cause and such causes have been called The Dark Ages, the Inquisitions, the Crusades, Catholic and Protestant war, the savagery of Islam to the current idiocy of an ISIS mentality. All are the same and too, when belief is transferred to a secular deity, as in a Hitler, Stalin and such the results are the same.
What is missing in 'belief, is humanity. A belief in the sanctity and sovereignty of human life. A belief in the promise of a reasoning being, in the supremacy and reality of Man, not as a created subservient life form for the purposes of testing, but as an entity onto himself. Humanity exists and that is what we need to believe in, that is a Believer.
Gods have come and gone and each god is the one 'true' god and each god brings with it more disaster, more bias, resentment, distrust and hate.
All gods are manifested in the alpha personalities of their self appointed spokespersons, leaders to the promised land, a pathway to paradise and happiness, a Utopia of luxury and comfort. Such things are baby teeth under a pillow and the innocent thoughts and dreams of a child. We are not children and we should not behave as children and it is time to put away childish things and accept the responsibility of an adult.
A Believer is one who accepts Man as the problem and the solution. A Believer is one who accepts existence, nature, as the only reality and Man as the definer of all that He perceives. A Believer is one who embraces humanity as the only known intelligent life force, as the only known source of empathy, compassion. To disbelieve in humanity is to believe in omnipotence of deities.
The term "believer" as used by Christians when talking about the things of God, should only be used in a "family" setting, that is, the family of God or family of friends in tune with the known (not necessarily accepted) position of the speaker. It is descriptive only when the topic is identified, in this case Christianity.
When one identifies the word-meaning for the discussion, the word then becomes identifiable as being "one or the other." Taking the subject matter as presented, it appears a Christian would then be, most probably, termed a "non-believer." Yet, in this case, the Christian should take no offense at being called an unbeliever, an apisteo of humanism.
Believer is no more a Bible word than is trinity, rapture or denomination, but we humans have a need to label everything. And when two opposing "labels" collide, most time the subjective personality directed by ideology takes control. The brain disengages or closes. This is one of my many pitfalls.
Of this we would agree and your insight and honesty is well taken.
The word, Atheist, was instituted as a negative, a pejorative and, sadly, still carries that connotation. There seems little or nothing that can be done to rectify that as so many atheists function negatively and are satisfied with the shallow criticism of theism. Nothing is built here and if nothing is built it serves no purpose to tear down what has been built. Ayn Rand is, perhaps, the only Atheist to attempt to build a philosophy around the belief in Man. She however, developed a paranoia, warranted maybe, that muffled her thinking and philosophy of Objectivism.
As the theist is the Believer, the un-believer is something less and as Atheist became a pejorative, the uninformed, one who is absent the 'true' knowledge, the un-believer is the smoker, the outsider, one who is vilified.. This is my objection to the word.
A believer is a proverbial ostrich that bury its head in sand.
You do not do yourself justice. I am sure that you can do better then one line coded messages, that, it would seem, you are the only one who understands. I am sure that if you dig deep enough you can find a coherent thought that may add to the conversation. I am not sure, but, I do believe that I have read something from you that was close to a contribution. I am sure you can do it again, as we would welcome a constructive input.
A believer is somebody who 'hides his head' against reasoned arguments hoping that the arguments will go away or pretend that it's not an argument.
I am yet to see a believer who tries a decent argument. All they do is either simply repeating what they said or if they can see the logical fallacy, runs away.
As a 'belief' is the confidence we place on the truth of a statement, a believer is someone who believes another with or without a proper reason.
Thank you and stated well, but am I not a believer who believes in Man with a more reasoned premise?
I think any "reason," applied to man would predict a short and painful destruction. Given the evidence.
It doesn't take long to see the problems of having an intelligent discussion on this forum. But at the risk of being an offense to both sides, let's ignore the barbs and say that atheism is a much misunderstood position.
As most see the word, it comes in the form of religion. Many picture the red guy with the forked tongue, pointy tail and pitchfork. But is this correct? In actuality, no.
An atheist, and we are seeing a personal point of view here, is one that does not believe there is such a thing as a deity, or God. Their position seems to be taken from the lack of "factual" proofs of the existence of God. They are not all mean spirited nor inciteful, but folks who demand proofs of God's existence in, let's say, print. The Bible is not that print which they consider. But then, the true atheist say so without maligning God and His Word.
Only the malcontent, out of fear and rebellion takes opportunity to debase God. Why to they fear that which they do not believe? Here in we see the shallowness of their thought process.
But the "true" atheist is another issue. Are they all devil worshippers? No, as that would be a form of "religion." Are the evil? With regard to the various definitions of the Bible, they could be termed so as they refute the existence of God. Yet, the word evil can be used to define and identify many so-called Christians. More so, the "moral" atheist states his position while the immoral "christian" is no better than the people who killed the Christ. Though they use a Bible, their purpose is worst than humanism.
If one accepts the position of God and salvation through Jesus Christ, they do well. But when the immoral "christian" uses only a portion of this message as a platform for greed, they do worst than any atheist or humanist. While their position with man may be tenable, God reads the heart. The millions they send to the flames is done with an uncaring spirit. At least a true atheist is honest, more honest, than these charlatans.
Is it any wonder that people walk away from God?
We Christians and "believers" seem to forget what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 when it comes to the atheist.
1 Corinthians 6:9-12 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
Hello Mishpat. Just wondering in what manner you are applying this to atheists. I am not saying I disagree, just curious which adjective listed you feel specifically includes the atheist.
Paul was talking to the "believers" of the day. But it holds true for "believers" of today. It appears the the first word "unrighteous" (adikos - unjust) is a catch all, though he goes on to name some particular issues, then ends with "as were you" (paraphrased). It doesn't appear he is saying all of you were all of these. Seems more like some of you did this and some of you did that, but regardless of what it was, God has forgiven you and me. I can related to a couple of these, from my "atheist" days.
Do you believe atheism is a category all it's own, being that it has been given special consideration elsewhere? It always ignites a firestorm when you mention those verses, so I will hope you are aware of my references without more specifics. I am just looking for your take on this, not to open the floodgates.
I believe it is as several verses pop to mind immediately, yet they are all the same at the Cross. And I think your observation as to specific quotes is well taken.
Lost the response I am responding to, so I will use this one in answer to your question, how did we get God?
Your question is the big one and I can respond with a litany of quasi-intelligent suppositions or, I can simply respond, all things evolve. One would be an insult to your intelligence and the other, an endless path of academic dribble that may or may not have value for you. It is The Big One in that it has to be answered, as the great majority of the earths population believes that a god or gods exist, How, then can one disagree?
I was asked this identical question in a public debate entitled, “The Authenticity of the Old Testament”, in 1987-8. Quite frankly I was floored and for one of the few times in my life, I was sputtering.
All debates have rules of what can and cannot be challenged. One rule that had been agreed upon was the recent ascent of Man. By recent, I believe, it was 25,000 years, before any documented culture, basically a caveman scenario. In pushing for this time frame, it never really occurred to me that it would be of value, as I had lost the creation thing, but, being who I am, I had to have something.
Writing this out may be quite lengthy, so if need be there may be a part 2.
We are on a stage, two theologians and me. There are 100 or so Mennonites in the audience waiting for the Atheist to go down in flames and deservedly so, as I had just refuted Genesis. My wife, the only Atheist in the audience, senses my dilemma and appears as if she is ready to convert or leave.
After some very long minutes of verbal maneuvering, I struck on a thought where the 25,000 years could be utilized.
Two men, of 20 or 25,000 years ago, I started, went hunting, their job was to bring back food for the clan. After several hours of tracking frustration began to set in, suddenly, a nursing mother bear appeared and attacked, savagely killing one of the men. The survivor ran desperately trying to escape, only to look back to see his friend being torn to bits. After some time he fell to the ground exhausted. Fear, guilt and exhaustion overtook the man and he fell asleep.
As the hunter slept, he dreamt. He dreamt that he was with his friend and he was alive. They were hunting, laughing, joking and carrying on. The hunt was a successful one and the hunting grounds were good, as prey was plentiful and easy to kill. The man woke, startled into reality with the vision of his friend being torn to bits, an arm here, a leg there. His friend was alive, they were hunting in a good place, a happy place, they were happy. His friend was dead. He was with his friend in the nether world, the other world, the afterlife, where ancestors lived. His friend was dead. His friend was alive. Dead! Alive!
The hunter jumped to his feet and began to run. He had to tell the others, he had been to the other word to visit his friend. As the clan members eagerly gathered around the hunter to hear of his exploits, he told of his friend and the bear, he told of his friend in the other world where they hunted and were happy, in a good place, a happy place, a heaven. A place of the good, the kind and the powerful clan leader.
The hunter, as he relived his reality to the people, as dreams are sometimes difficult to discern that there is a difference, especially to the young or knowledge challenged, as these clan members, certainly were, he noticed something very different in their eyes. They were looking at him differently, with interest, as they did with all of his stories, but now with awe, a reverence of someone who had made the connection, someone who was in direct communication, someone who was now special. The first priest had arrived.
As, I stated 30 years ago I cannot prove any of this. It is a matter of supposition, a matter of empathy with the human character. Consider those, even today of backward nations, who still hold to the reality of dreams, omens and talisman that bring the truth of what is and what will be.
This is how we got god, the idea of a heaven and conversely, the idea of a hell. I can academically point to the evolution of such thinking, from archaic burial protocols, to an ever increased ritualizing. We can trace how a god of one clan became a lesser god of another after its defeat in battle. We can show how one god victorious in battle became a devil to the defeated clan. This is repeated in the Torah and in the Old Testament of Christianity.
An academic understanding through objective research is one thing, but, perhaps, the understanding of human nature is the most important thing. We have a tendency to provide a greater truth to what was or what may be, simply because, we do not want to hear what we now have to say. I believe that was true 25,000 years, 10,000, 2,000, 1,000 years ago and today. The present unopened is always the best one, as it holds a promise of what may be and this can be very dangerous, as we saw in the first priest or current charlatans of the Word, whether in religion or politics .
When I finished, almost 30 years ago, there was no rush to challenge me or to refute my answer. There was an 'I don't know that it is right or wrong'. In any case I answered and it was a reasonable answer.
I wrote an anecdotal paper some time back on the origin of the wheel. In short, it was something like: A man of the past was running downhill and stepped on a large branch. He went down in a heap. Branch, with some fingerlings still attached, rolled a few feet breaking off several of the smaller branches. As he lay there watching, it continued to roll breaking off the entirety of the fingerlings and picked up speed as it rolled. He got up and went to the bottom of the hill and found the smoothed out, barkless branch. He stepped on it testing it. Nothing. So he gave it a push with his foot and it rolled, but broke in half. Now he had two "rollers". It goes on but the eventuality was, waa laa (the french never could spell), the wheel.
The probability is my anecdote has no more validity than yours. However, in the "wheel" case above, we have "reasoning" in action and a tangible object resulted. In your case, we have supposition of the "masses" that the story given by one had some meaning in life. In other words, we have swapped positions, the first being based on reason and the second being based on "faith."
And, I do have to say that I believe the first "priest" was Adam of the Bible.
Interesting. You think atheists are "unjust." God does not seem to exist and I don't need forgiving for anything.
I may be wrong here, but it would seem that mishpat is attempting to reconcile differences or, in some fashion, create a bridge of communication, a common ground. I would accept it on that thinking. Perhaps, I mispeak, but I would like to think that something new and positive is always possible. You may shoot me if I am wrong.
Rare, but refreshing to see atheists acknowledging theirs is but another belief system. Atheists are indeed believers, just not according to the definition people generally have in mind when speaking on religion and spirituality. Perhaps you are right and that should change. All people hold some belief, and adhere to some belief system, be it adopted, adapted, or of their own creation.
Atheism is, in deed, a belief, not to be confused however, as a religious belief. The difference being that the theist holds an allegiance to a particular deity and dogma created to promote an adherence to that god belief.
The credible or reasoned Atheist holds allegiance to 'his' capacity to reason, not as a deity, but as a source of understanding, that which is his experience. The reasoned Atheist and, quite frankly, there are not that many, will not claim, categorically, that gods do not exist. He will be the first to admit that he does not possess a god like or universal intelligence to know, what is or is not contained within or without of the universe. This is an arrogance, and I do not mean to be insulting here or demeaning, that is better left to the theists, who do not hesitate to make such claims.
The reasoned Atheist will state that gods do not exist, because it is unreasonable to say that they do exist, as no credible evidence exists to support the assumption of existence. It is not enough to say, that because the Atheist cannot prove that they do not exist, therefore they exist. Therefore all gods exist then, of all descriptions and definitions and you then, the theist would become the Atheist and deny the existence of this or that god in biased favor of your own.
One cannot disprove a negative assertion of existence. It is a negative when no reliable proof of existence is submitted. As you cannot disprove the existence of Osiris and Isis, I cannot disprove your god, but I can disprove or discredit your evidence that it exists, as you can do with the evidence of Osiris.
Yes, I am a Believer too, but my belief is in the inherent goodness, the inherent capacity to reason and the great promise of the human mind to solve all problems, and overcome all obstacles. Is this not what the theistic believer wants, a species united in peace and harmony and is there some rule that says earth is not that place?
I applaud what appears to me, with the exception of the incorporation of the terms "believe", "belief" and "believer", to be a well articulated presentation on how many, (I suspect most), atheists see themselves. Although I have long been aware of this, your account provides valuable insight, and will likely be enlightening to many readers. For me it serves as a concise reference.
CJ, your comments to dberean, and several others earlier, are well laid out and looks great for some exchanges of thought, one or two items at a time. Sometimes extended and comprehensive subject matters can lead to confusion. I particularly liked your paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:11 in the initial writing. It would seem you accept portions of the Bible as they are "common sense" on either side of the cross. And brings us to reasoning.
Would you find it a fair assessment of the word "reasoning" to be a thought process based on that which is available to consider. And along with this is the invariable that man considers and reconsiders, making adjustments as is called for during what we term as "our lifetime" such as you found in Corinthians above. Do we agree that this reasoning is available to all "healthy minded" folks, regardless of whether on not there is agreement on a matter such as God?
We define ourselves, as reasoning beings, homo sapiens-sapiens and, I would think, that all of humanity has such a talent,,,,in degrees. Your caveat of ,healthy minded, is accepted. The capacity to reason must be considered by degrees of ability, by individual talent, as to the mathematician, the conceptual genius, the doctor, the philosopher, the inventor and the dreamer.
There must also be a consideration to the mindset of the individual, in terms of upbringing and those external controls or influences over the individual by virtue of a religion, government, cultural or social influence. One individual may achieve a comfort level, as member of a club, a local bar ("Where everybody knows your name") a church or other religious grouping that provides a sense of self worth for the individual. Such influences may or may not provide to the individual that which he is looking for and once found will travel down that road exclusively voiding out other influences, but not always.
As all snowflakes are different, so to us humans and although we all posses that talent to reason, which is inherent within our species, we will do so in a manner that best fits or own personality, ability and comfort zone.
The belief in a god, whether in antiquity or today requires the capacity to reason that such a being exists. Without human reason a god or gods would not exist. The individual asks himself who, what, when where and why and we began to answer that with characterizations of what we feared, animals and nature, in order to endear them to our needs, to placate their anger, to get them on our side. The rest is an evolutionary process that brings us to today.
I am focused on your idea of 'adjustment'. This for me is very important, as it notes a process of learning from the past, from the idea that the earth is the center of the universe to the idea that earth is an infinitesimally small speck of rock ( a diameter of 8,000 miles) hurtling through space at over 2 million miles per hour and essentially, coming from nowhere and going to nowhere. From the center of the universe to the idea that the universe now has a diameter of 92 billion light years+ or 92 billion X 6 trillion miles.
It appears we are in agreement as to the purpose reasoning. But behavioralism is a parallel to reasoning and a nemesis. And the link between the two, thinking, is sometimes skewed by experience. So reasoning alone is not a pure road.
Perfection, nor absolutes, nor purity exists. I would agree.
Thank you for that. Can you tell me what part you think personal experience might play in developing a postulate?
An excellent choice of words, as a matter of fact, I was forced to recheck my understanding of postulate.
I can only speak for myself in accordance with 'my' personality. I will use this analogy. We have a classroom of children and math. For some the simplest equations are difficult and the child demonstrates no value or interest. For some there is some difficulty, some mastery, but still no value and interest. For most an acceptance of duty, more or less, but no passion. For a few more an sincere interest and for fewer still a passion to understand and ask for more, a deeper quest for a much greater understanding and more difficult equations.
For me this was religious studies and business. Then I discovered philosophy and at 17 I had read and argued the Gospels, Paul, Justin Martyr, Tertullian and other Church thinkers and graduated to, by the age of 20, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and more. There was never enough. Quite truthfully there will probably never be enough learning for me.
In any case, I entered into school with the idea that God exists and the Catholic Church was the one true church and to this I would postulate such a religious position, until I asked myself, why. Why did god exist? At that point I became the few in the math class that excelled, but not in math, in religious philosophy. To accept a religious belief because others did became almost repugnant. My personality required me to create my own business and my own philosophy, but to do so, I was forced to understand why gods did not exist, why they did exist and then reach a conclusion based upon the answers to those questions. A new postulate.
What goes into the making of ones personality is all the above, birth, childhood, the individual.
I flunked math, but I could tie up a Jesuit. Perhaps, it is a matter of a taste of success and you go with it. I played football in high school, middle linebacker and I would be able to sense the moves of the quarterback or running back, see the weakness and move. That is how I see religious philosophy--if that makes sense.
Anyway, you asked. Hopefully, I was not to verbose in my answer. I like that word.
You do well in keeping order in your comments. Its a necessity that I keep my comments short as I tend to convolute the answers when I get "verbose." (Does kinda roll off your tongue.)
You made reference to a believe in the existence of God in your earlier years. The way it hit me brought up a question.
I'll take a neutral position for a moment and ask. If God did not exist at anytime, how do you think the "concept" of God came into being? Humanism being a self-centered construct, not willing to do obeisance to any, would be violating its own precepts.
cjhunsinger's Definition of a Believer:
1. "A Believer is one who accepts Man as the problem and the solution."
2." A Believer is one who accepts existence, nature... as the only reality."
3. A Believer is one who accepts Man "...as the definer of all He perceives."
4. "A Believer is one who embraces humanity as the only known intelligent life force, as the only known source of empathy, compassion."
5. To disbelieve in humanity is to believe in omnipotence of deities."
Conclusion: Believers are describers of existence, embracers of humanity, and accepters of reality.
But, I take it a step further:
Reality also exists on a spiritual / unseen level… and can be detected by ourselves in an intuitive way. This reality can also be described, embraced and accepted.
Thanks for that beautiful definition, Cj.
Points 1 through 5 describe a humanist or maybe an epistemologist.
A believer is one that adheres to a concept, a concept which is identified by subject.
Last, we see the metaphysical which is best defined as a manner . . . well . . . you can't really identify or title it, as it has no set standards or rules. Metaphysics changes as is needed to be acceptable to a certain group, usually that group in the limelight at the time.
Thank you Kathryn--you added a conclusion that was needed.
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