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The interaction of faith and imagination in christianity

  1. College politico profile image61
    College politicoposted 9 years ago

    Recently I wrote a hub on faith and imagination. Since I was interested in hearing others opinions on how we should use faith in our imagination I started a thread on this forum. Unfortunately it was high-jacked and the topic at hand was not able to be discussed. So this is basically my second attempt.

    What do you think the proper interaction between faith and imagination in Christianity is?

    1. Andrew0208 profile image61
      Andrew0208posted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Following the main thread of this discussion: "The interaction of faith and imagination in christianity." is inspiring and indicates the wonderful inherient creative abilities we have. Thoughts are so pewerful as generated by our imaginations, but as i earlier wrote that the content of your imagination is very important. If you interact your faith of being a success in life with an imaginations of fear and failures which will definitely result to what you see in your inner eyes of imagination. Religion of a thing seem to separate us from God, our image like and His unending love to Christians and non Christians. Love is a great virtue to ensure a productive interaction of faith and imagination. Love works with faith and it's creative ability in us.

    2. schoolgirlforreal profile image74
      schoolgirlforrealposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Does beautiful music touch your faith?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZABVkrKA … re=related

  2. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I like what Paul says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1).  He's not specifically speaking of imagination, but it seems imagination and faith, as defined by Paul, are not all that far apart.

    They are intertwined.  Faith for what is imagined, and the ultimate realization thereof is what promotes greater imagination, or the imagination of greater things.

  3. College politico profile image61
    College politicoposted 9 years ago

    Very insightful. I really like the way you're looking at Hebrews 11:1 and I definitely agree.

  4. College politico profile image61
    College politicoposted 9 years ago

    I hope others have insights as interesting as yours Peter

  5. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    People say seeing is believing, and there is an element of truth in that, but where God is concerned, I believe the appropriate order is, believing is seeing.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Well Peter, the problem with that is - it's a self fulfilling prophecy (if that's the correct way to describe it) If you believe, you will see.

      For me, faith and imagination are two mutually exclusive ideas. Here's my reasoning:

      Faith, as I understand it, the dictionary describes it, and as it pertains to religious beliefs is:

      "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."

      This is limiting. It relies upon itself. i.e a belief in something - because you believe it, it is, rather than because you have measured it in some way.

      Imagination on the other hand is unlimited in it's scope. Depending solely on the person doing the imagining smile I can imagine all sorts of things that can be "real" according to Descartes. Although, it's worth bearing in mind that many of his opinions were colored by a desire not to end up strapped to a stake and burned for his opinion.

      I can imagine that there is no God. I can imagine that Dinosaurs existed, I can imagine that the human race was seeded by aliens. I can imagine all sorts of possibilities.

      But - the only way I can convert that into a belief in a God -  Is if I already believe. Therefore that belief will over ride whatever i can imagine. And I have no interest in limiting my imaginations to what I already "Know to be true."

      And despite my various arguments with the OP, and my personal distaste for her, I think this is an interesting discussion that bears further consideration on my part.

      1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
        Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        (1) I will reply to this, however it will require more time that I have at the moment...so TBC.



        (2) LOL.




        (3)  See 1. above.

      2. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
        Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        In a manner of speaking that's true, but I fail to see how this is really a criticism.  I understand that there can be a delusion, fingers-in-the-ears kind of thing, but, as we have discussed in other threads, that response is from people who are weak of faith and believe because they feel they need to believe, rather than believing because of personal conviction arising from an actual experience and/or an encounter.  Isn't the point of prophecy to be fulfilled, whether self or otherwise.



        If you assume for a moment that there is a God, I doubt he consulted Miriam Webster or even the OED for their definition of faith.  I spent years of my life trying to define God in terms that made sense to me until I defined Him right out of existence.  Can you think of one Biblical example where faith is defined in this way.  The great men of faith, Moses, Abraham, etc., all had personal encounters with God.  This suggests to me that their faith was not based on a "belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."   The faith Abraham is credited with is believing God, faith, not in God, that was assumed, but faith that God is faithful.



        I can imagine there is no God, a universe without God, etc.  I spent a great deal of time doing so.  And I agree, I could not convert those imaginings into a belief in God unless I had previously believed.  I don't suggest that anyone imagine themselves into belief, nor do I suggest that anyone believe without their own encounter which would remove all doubt. 

        I do, however, maintain that any search for truth must necessarily include an exploration of the possibility of God, otherwise the results are as invalid as blind faith.  And by "blind faith" I mean faith in a nameless, faceless, impersonal God.  In my experience, He is anything but.  Perhaps I should have said seeing is believing is seeing.  After I "saw" God, I "saw" differently and I believed, now what I see in imagining I believe and I have faith that I will see it.

        Mark Knowles wrote:

        And despite my various arguments with the OP, and my personal distaste for her, I think this is an interesting discussion that bears further consideration on my part.

        OP?  Are you referring to Politico?  I thought Politico was a he, is he a she?

      1. Mark Knowles profile image61
        Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        I wasn't really making a criticism. smile

        I agree there is a difference between those that believe because they believe they have had an experience or encounter and those that believe because they think they aught to believe. And they are easy to differentiate between smile

        The point of a prophecy is to predict the future. When I say self fulfilling, as regards this conversation i.e. the interaction of faith and imagination, the way it goes is - I believe therefore I see, therefore I believe. Self fulfilling, based on an existing belief. I don't see any imagination in this.



        I cannot assume that there is a God. And what the "evidence," of Moses, Abraham et al suggests to me is that some one is telling porkys. smile Their faith was based on an actual experience with meeting God face to face. But - I haven't been able to do that. And neither have you (in the same way they are reported to have done.) Therefore - your faith does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." Unless you count hearsay handed down through the ages. This is called "Chinese whispers," as far as I am concerned.




        This is back to the crux of what I was trying to say. You already believe. Now you use your imagination to imagine that there is no God. But, this is always going to be adjusted by the fact that you do not believe there is no God. So, there is no room for imagination in faith. It requires that you completely disregard any other possibility - there can be no room to imagine that humans were seeded by an alien race. Because you believe in God. Zero room for imagining.

        "Seeing is believing is seeing."  There we go with the self fulfilling thing again. You believe, therefore you see what you wish to see, therefore you believe you see more evidence that you are correct in your belief.

        What I meant to say(and did badly) earlier is this -

        Imagination has no place in faith as I described it - i.e. "a belief that does not rest on logical proof or evidence."

        And as I understand it, this is a requirement of the Christian religion - the whole point is that you are supposed to believe without proof and if you need proof, therefore you are unworthy and therefore are not a true believer. A true believer will not and cannot be swayed by logical arguments or empirical evidence. You have to prove to your God that you believe even if there is no evidence.

        This is one of the tenets of both the Christian and Muslim religion that makes them so pervasive and dangerous to each other. You don't need evidence, do you?

        Faith and Imagination cannot live side by side for Christians - Unless they already believe and then limit their imagination to what they already believe.

        My imagination allows me to consider the possibility that there is a God, or that aliens seeded the earth or that dinosaurs roamed the earth - and then I make a valued judgment while I am awake as to which is more likely based on the evidence I see before me.

        I do take some things on faith - for instance - I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow morning - but this faith is based on the fact that I have seen it come up every morning for the past 45 years. Not because someone got paid to write a book 2,000 years ago. And make no mistake, the illiterate peasants who were supposed to be the original writers of the book were unlikely to be able to write - unless God gave then special powers. Except the tax collector maybe smile



        Misha said it was a girl. Not so?

        Oh, and one of us left a tag out of the quote box so we are shrinking LOL

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Looking forward to 1 and 3

    2 - what's the point otherwise?  big_smile

  • Thom Carnes profile image60
    Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago

    At the end of the day isn't faith simply one more manifestation of the human imagination?

    Mark, do you really have "faith" that the sun will rise in the morning? Or do you accept that it will on the basis of the empirical evidence at your disposal?

    Or is there really no difference?

    I think there *is* a difference - if one accepts the definition of faith as believing something solely on the basis of tradition, hearsay, revelation, desire or speculation - in other words, believing on the basis of an ungrounded assertion.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      That's the tricky bit - If faith is just a manifestation of the human imagination, then believing in God based on imagination doesn't make sense - and if you didn't know of the bible, hadn't heard of Jesus and never went to church as a child, when you "imagined" how things came about - would you imagine this scenario?

      1. Thom Carnes profile image60
        Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        But isn't disbelief the default position? Aren't we all born atheists - and someone or something has to plant the imaginative seed in our minds?

        It's a question that use to tax the scholars of the early Church. If a child is denied from birth all knowledge of God, the immortal soul, eternal life, etc. would the child come to the realisation of such things "naturally" without any outside intervention?

        I think the jury is still out on that one ...

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Maybe Peter will have some ideas on that - At least you can have a rational discussion with Peter. smile

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I am always up for rational discussion.  However, I must confess, in my experience, God is not rational in terms of human rationality.  I realize this puts me in somewhat of a precarious position in "rational" discussions.

    In terms of coming to faith, I cannot say whether one would come to faith without exposure, but I do know that it was the exposure that turned me off, as I'm sure it has many others.  I think it's actually easier to imagine the universe without God.  Admittedly, I often fall back into the trap of telling God something doesn't make sense.  I've yet once to change his mind.

    But, as I mentioned to Mark earlier, left to my own imagination I had explained God away.  My faith came from a personal encounter which I can't rationally expect others to believe.  However, I faithfully believe those such encounters are available to all who earnestly search them out.  Actually, one of the hardest and most fearful confessions I had to make had nothing to do with sin at all, it was relinquishing the idea that I had to understand, "Okay, God, I don't have to understand it all, but I do need to know if you are there."  It's funny, but God will take you through a very thorough deprogramming, one you have to be willing to undergo, and I simply wasn't for so long.  Paul describes this as a renewing of the mind, and I don't think I can describe this better than Paul.

    I will add, this wasn't the first such attempt I had made, but this was the only one that was sincere on my part.  I will never and can never prove that God exists, absolute proof would do away with the one requirement God imposes, faith.    However, as I mentioned, it's not blind faith, it's faith in God's own faithfulness.  A lot of people have tons of faith that there is a God, few actually have the faith that God is faithful, i.e. Drop everything, you and your whole family take off in that direction, and trust that I will guide you (Abraham).  That kind of faith is powerless and it's not true faith.

    One last thing, I do not believe we are all born atheists.  I do believe we are born separated from God.  This was a concept that was terribly difficult for me to grasp because of its apparent unfairness.  I opposed on principle the notion that I was in any way effected by the actions of anyone that came before me.  Actually, it wasn't until I came to grips with the idea of righteousness through faith that this separation idea made more sense.  It's a small price, and the return on the investment is well worth it.  The parable of the talents does not merely apply to finances or spiritual gifts.  If you exercise a little faith, God is faithful to give you what you need to increase your faith, and on and on.

    P.S.  "...At least you can have a rational discussion with Peter."  Thanks, Mark.  That is high praise coming from you. smile

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Well, it's true. I love discussing religion with a believer who speaks the way you do. As opposed to telling me that they know the TRUTH big_smile

    But, this point is interesting and relevant - what do you think about the notion Thom mentioned? That we are all born atheists and it is only outside information that makes people believe in God? Not our imagination.

    If you were left to your own devices and there was no such thing as Christianity - or any of the others - Do you think this is what you would "imagine"?

    1. RFox profile image83
      RFoxposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Interesting . I missed this box earlier. Probably because you were shrinking. Lol.

      For myself, ever since I was born I held certain beliefs. None of my family are Buddhist. I was raised in a Western Christian society, yet I never believed or felt that this was the truth of the universe for me. I searched for twenty years from childhood onward to find where my beliefs fit. When I was in primary school my Mother had to keep writing letters saying we had converted so I could attend all the different religion classes that were held. All of these were monotheistic based faiths. I studied all the major religions and science and it wasn't till I picked up books on Buddhism that I found where my beliefs came from.

      No outside influence taught me Buddhist philosophy. My parents aren't religious or anti-religious. My Mother is very scientific and the rest of her family believe in psychic phenomena, astrology and the like. My Father has never discussed whether he believes in God with me. His parents were Seventh Day Adventists and my Father was excommunicated from the church for being a non-believer. Actually was sent an official letter and everything. He wanted to have it framed. Lol. big_smile (He only told me this once I was an adult and had formed my own opinion on religion.)

      So my question is: If we are all born atheist and it is because of outside influences that we choose religion. How do you explain my experience?

      I'm sure I am not alone in my experience either. wink

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Quite frankly, I believe that it is the teaching people of religious doctrine that screws them up as much as anything.  Don't get me wrong, I believe we are to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord, but I don't believe that's what's happening in the vast majority of churches, or religions for that matter.

    I think faith would be much simpler if we could have that innocent child-like relationship with God (the father) we were meant to have.  There wouldn't be all of this extraneous mess.  We wouldn't have to define Him as being "God" in some place called heaven requiring certain behavior to be in relationship with Him.

    As complex as God and the whole notion of God is, walking and talking with him is relatively simple.  We make it much harder than it needs to be, myself included.  "Maybe if I do this, God will do that."  That's nonsense.  God wants to love the way a father is supposed to love a child, and He wants us to love Him the way a child is supposed to love a father.  If those 2 things are in place, the rest falls into place. 

    The one thing I have learned is this: people try WAY to hard to hear from God.  Whether to get some sort of proof or whatever.  Not to mention that our minds are all cluttered with all the things of life that get make it hard to hear.  Hearing and listening are 2 very different things, and if everyone would spend more time listening and less time trying to hear, they would hear a lot better.

    So, in short, we wouldn't ever have to imagine such a thing as Christianity because there would be no need.  I believe we would know.  In the same way Enoch, Moses, Abraham, etc. walked with and saw God, we would be able to without all of the unnecessary rules and regulations religion tries to impose.  The default, in my opinion, is this type of relationship.  We get in the way.

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Peter,

    Thank you for your posts. They are quite helpful for a one who still searches, i.e. me...

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Nice of you to chime in, Misha.  Thank you.

    Question to you or Mark?  I figured out where the problem was with the quotation, is there anyway to fix it?  I can't seem to go back an edit it now.

  • Thom Carnes profile image60
    Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago

    I can just about grasp the notion that, if left to our own devices with no outside influences, we might conceive the notion of some remote but powerful Being who does things like controlling the weather and influencing crop cycles, etc.- in other words, a deistic rather than a theistic God.

    But that isn't the God that most people believe in, is it? Most people believe in a God who constantly and consistently intervenes and participates in human affairs; He performs miracles, answers prayers, etc. I cannot see how such a concept could be in any way a "natural" phenomenon, but must surely result from a revelatory process of some sort or another, whether "taught" or derived from personal experience.

    On a personal note, I do try (I don't always necessarily succeed) to believe only what reason and evidence tell me to.

    But that's a whole other topic, isn't it?

    1. SparklingJewel profile image66
      SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I feel that where people get lost is in that God is a being or once was a being. To me, God is  the Energy that IS and makes all. What humanity choses to do with that Energy is their free will. That includes imagining that a Father figure is God. Or that God is all things natural, and in a round about way all things man-made, because humanity used the Energy to create those things. I believe that we are responsible to use that Energy to create things that work "in order" and complement "the ordered system" that is in "tune" with God/Energy.

      Until a person accepts self as part of God, they have to imagine what they need to imagine to feel accepted, like a Father figure, or a Mother figure, etc... that is part of the process of moving from a sense of separation back to the Oneness belief that we are a part of God.
      So we have to look at our psychology, and how we interact with the environment, and how we understand religions and philosophies, belief systems, etc...

      There is an important process, and steps thereof, to get aback to awareness that we are a part of God...and the diversity of the belief systems is because all people are in a mind space because of their individual experiences in life, and so everyone needs different things at different times. There will always be others we can "connect" with because there are similarities in our needs in general, but individually speaking we are unique in the more finite aspects that we need to change to complete of process of getting back to believing in our Oneness with God.
      So in Reality, God is a Father to be understood as living within us, or a Mother as part of the nature world. What I find interesting is the part Jesus plays in all this. He is the son that came to show us the way to find our Oneness with God. The mediator. But not someone to worship as higher than ourselves, but accept as an elder brother showing us the way. Intervening for us from the heaven world, like other saints and sages of history, except that he accomplished the ultimate recognition of Oneness with God the Father, and so at this point in time is the ultimate example to show the way. But not to be worshipped as the only son of God, accept that he is the only one that made it completely, so far. By his words, Jesus, said all these things I do ye can do also, because I go unto the Father.

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Most people want to believe in a God who constantly intervenes and participates in human affairs: miracles, prayers, etc.; but as I suggested earlier, most people have blind faith without any reason to believe other than because they are supposed to.

    I think there's a logical problem with saying most people define God as "x" and "x" is incorrect, so there is no God.  I tend to believe "x" is incorrect as well. 

    Regarding God's intervention: I believe God is active, but Jesus taught his disciples to go do.  In fact, he chastised them for waking him during a storm for him to calm it or when they were unable to cast out a demon.  He has commissioned us to go do.  This is what most Christians don't get.  They pray for God to do something we have been commissioned to do and then blame God for the results. 

    Funny how Christians blame God for their own shortcomings.  In fairness, I exempted out non-Christians, but only because Christianity has promised them what it has failed to deliver.  Again, the same problem, and God gets blamed for the results, or people reject Him outright because the "x" was wrong.

  • knolyourself profile image59
    knolyourselfposted 9 years ago

    Until a person accepts self as part of God, they have to imagine what they need to imagine to feel accepted, like a Father figure, or a Mother figure, etc... that is part of the process of moving from a sense of separation back to the Oneness belief that we are a part of God.
      Hear. Hear.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Or, someone needs too imagine they are part of God, because they are unable to accept that they are an insignificant speck in the cosmos, and this some how gives them the belief that they are more important than they are. And if they could accept their part in the scheme of things, they wouldn't need to imagine a God in the first place. big_smile

      1. SparklingJewel profile image66
        SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, Mark...but all who are on the earth today still have something to learn about that Oneness or they would have no reason to be here...so what is your reason(s)? smilesmilesmile

        Love ya,
        SparklingJewel

      2. RFox profile image83
        RFoxposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        We agree again. This is becoming uncanny. I'm scared. Lol.

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Where's our pal Thom.  I was looking forward to his reply.  Off to the house.  I'll check in later.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Love you too smile

    I had no choice in the matter - like everyone else smile

    What you choose do do with your 15 minutes of fame is another story altogether. big_smile

    And yes - where is Thom, the other non-believer when I need him ?

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    He's probably musing over Peter's posts... tongue

    1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
      Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I must have converted him.  He's probably in church as we speak.  wink

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    More likely - he's down the pub big_smile

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Are pubs still open? yikes

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    We can open them 'till midnight now. smile

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    What time is it over there now?

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    France - 00.40

    UK - 23.40

  • SparklingJewel profile image66
    SparklingJewelposted 9 years ago

    Hey have either of you guys experienced doing long chants ( for a long period of time) of eastern bija mantras or bhajans? It makes you feel happier than alcohol, with no hang over! smilesmilesmile
    but still gah! gah! and a bit loopy!

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Yes.

    And various other alternatives. Sweat lodge, several months of constant martial arts practice at a time living on nothing but brown rice and water, yoga, cycling 100 miles a day for weeks on end, connecting to my past lives... The list is endless.

    And they are all the same. Jack Daniels works just fine big_smile

  • Thom Carnes profile image60
    Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago

    I'm afriad Mark was right - I was down the pub.

    I have been reading these posts, but I must admit (I feel that "confess" is not the right word in this context) that a lot of these metaphysical abstractions go right over my head. I'm a very simple guy at heart. Statements such as "moving from a sense of separation back to the Oneness belief that we are part of God" are essentially meaningless to me.

    (My first wife always used to accuse me of being shallow and superficial. After reading some of these posts, I'm being to suspect she may have been right!)

    But what about my point that, as reasonably intelligent, largely rational, sensible, educated, mature, adult human beings, we should only believe what reason and evidence tell us to?

    Or is that not metaphysical enough?

    1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
      Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Metaphysics is always fun, but I tend to agree with you Thom I will give the metaphysical more time and effort when its implications become practical.  As for the whole God/energy/oneness thing, I admit ignorance, therefore I will stay out of that discussion.

      As for my response to this question, I will quote something I wrote earlier:



      When I learn to reason the way my God reasons, I will agree with you.  As I said, I have often tried to remind God that He doesn't make sense.  He disagrees, and I eventually learn that He was, in fact, correct.

      As for your point, "we should only believe what reason and evidence tell us to," I think that is up to your goal.  If the ultimate goal is to make a judgment and evaluation of a particular situation at a given time then, yet.  Should I believe witness A or witness B, for example?  Witness A has a history of lying and has a great deal to gain by lying; witness B has a history of being truthful and has no motivation to lie.  Yes, you could conclude that you believe witness B, despite the fact that your conclusion might be incorrect.

      However, if your search is for the truth.  Then you must explore all possibilities.  Any search for the truth regarding the question, "is there a God or not?" must necessarily include the possibility that there is.  Again, I cannot prove to you that God exists, nor will I attempt.  But, in my experience, when someone has sincerely gone to God with an earnest desire to know if He exists, and if so, to know more about Him, He is faithful to answer. 

      If the decision has been made that there is no God, I don't think it's my responsibility to try to change anyone's mind or condemn them for it.  I do feel it is my responsibility to point out that, if there is a God (as I believe), who is better able to answer that question than Him.

  • Andrew0208 profile image61
    Andrew0208posted 9 years ago

    Imagination is a vital ingredient to faith. It is our God given creative ability required in our daily living. Interestingly the content plays a great role in our faith walk for example in the bible, God needed to form those images in heart of a great man of faith, Abraham to count the stars in the cloud before him as how numerous his seed will be, and the old man simply did not doubt but believed the word of God and that is faith. Faith is Life.

  • Andrew0208 profile image61
    Andrew0208posted 9 years ago

    Imagination is a vital ingredient to faith. It is our God given creative ability required in our daily living. Interestingly the content plays a great role in our faith walk for example in the bible, God needed to form those images in heart of a great man of faith, Abraham to count the stars in the cloud before him as how numerous his seed will be, and the old man simply did not doubt but believed the word of God and that is faith. Faith is Life.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Peter and Misha - See? Down the pub. smile

    Thom - I think that is a rational way to look at things, but religion is often not a "rational" topic big_smile

    RFox - Why is it scaring you when we agree? LOL




    But Buddhist philosophy and religion are two entirely different things. You may have come to certain beliefs on your own, which may have included some Buddhist philosophies, but I doubt you imagined the Buddha ?

    For example, you may have decided on your own, that killing another human being is not "right" this is a basic tenet of both Buddhist philosophy and Christian teachings. But it doesn't mean you "imagined" either of those religions as well.

    We are born knowing some things and some things are just "right," but they don't need an organized religion or a God to still be right.


    Andrew - That one was so important you had to say it twice? big_smile

    1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
      Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I agree, God is not rational as I understand rationality, which is limited by human experience.  Although, for me, this is changing day by day.

    2. RFox profile image83
      RFoxposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I agree you don't need organized religion for things to be 'right'. I declare myself a Buddhist because everything I believe happens to be exactly what the Buddha taught. The Dharma path makes sense to me.

      However, like many other Buddhists before me I have not committed to a particular lineage or organized group. I choose to study alone and visit many temples and monasteries. This is because I too have an issue with a lot of the organizational side of religion. A lot of times supposed 'religious leaders' have personal agendas and sway their followers to follow them instead of their own path. And I firmly believe we must each find our own path in life.

      Teachers are suppose to be guides not dictators.

      Now as for the imagination side of things. I completely see your point however, didn't I imagine a religion when I believed Buddhist philosophies before I read any Buddhist doctrine?
      I didn't just feel that killing was wrong. I believed in karma. I did not believe my life was controlled by a God. I believed I had a great measure of control over my life and future. I believed in past lives. I believed in interdependent origination (although I didn't imagine it would be called this. Lol)
      After all, the Buddha was a man. A real historical figure. Did he not imagine religion?

      I think imagination in Christianity is different because God is an intangible being, open to interpretation. God has been interpreted in many forms over the centuries. However, weren't the first people who talked about a God using a combination of their imagination and beliefs in how they saw the universe to create what we now call religion?

      And I'm only scared about agreeing with you so much because you are a Nikon-ite. And as members of opposite 'faiths' we shouldn't have anything in common. wink
      http://www.freewebby.com/shocked-smilies/escape.gif

  • Thom Carnes profile image60
    Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago

    You are all dead right when you say that religion is not a "rational" topic. But isn't that the problem - the fact that for the overwhelming majority of people religious belief is an almost exclusively emotional process, with very few (if any) rational or critical judgements applied to it?

    I'm not saying that there is anything intrinsically wrong with emotion - of course there isn't - but it often seems to be the case that when it is left unfettered by some degree of intellectual control it does have a tendency to lead people in all sorts of dubious and potentially dangerous directions, such as - in a purely religious context - prejudice, bigotry, superstition, fanaticism, etc.

    I don't suppose for one moment that the Islamic suicide bombers have a particularly rational approach to their religious beliefs, do you?

    It's also why it is so difficult (a lot of the time) to have any sort of meaningful exchange/ debate/ discussion on the subject. To have a meaningful debate you first have to find a point of agreement - which, as we all know, ain't easy.

    1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
      Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      I believe this true of most subjects, not just this subject.  You will find disagreements and arguments under every forum topic, in every office, at every school, in every church building, and most homes.

      This is a problem with the human condition, not God's.

      1. Mark Knowles profile image61
        Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        But if God is omnipotent, surely it's Gods problem?

      2. Thom Carnes profile image60
        Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

        Yes, of course you will find disagreements on any and every topic. But I am sure it is a lot easier to find a *point of agreement* - ie a common ground where one can at least start to have a meaningful debate - in economics, philosophy, education, semantics, etc. - even politics! - than it is in religion. And this, it seems to me, is due wholly to the emotional. "non-rational" basis of the subject matter.

        1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
          Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

          Have you seen these economists, philosophers, politicians, etc. debate on CNN, CSPAN, etc.  smile  Yes, I agree, many of my comrades in the faith take way too personally any kind of challenges to their faith, and they should not.  Point conceded.  I would add, though, that we are having a meaningful, non-emotional discussion, so, as much as I lament other Christians violating a tenet of Christianity, I still don't think this issue is all that relevant to the discussion we are having.

          Yes, others respond this way, it is a fair criticism, but it is a generality that does not apply in this discussion...so far smile



          Not in my opinion, we were given free will and at the same time a responsibility to subdue the earth, a responsibility which was abdicated, but which Christ restored.  True, it is fair to say that the buck stops with management and not the workers, but, vis-a-vis God, it assumes that somehow things are not on track.  I do not make such an assumption.  I can see where it is fairly made given the state of affairs, but I don't see how God is responsbile for humans misrepresenting him, in light of free will.  Absent free will, then perhaps.  The God I know is a gentleman, not a tyrant.  He loves the both of you as much as He loves me (see what I mean about God not being rational? LOL).

          1. Thom Carnes profile image60
            Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

            Have you seen these economists, philosophers, politicians, etc. debate on CNN, CSPAN, etc.  smile  Yes, I agree, many of my comrades in the faith take way too personally any kind of challenges to their faith, and they should not.  Point conceded.  I would add, though, that we are having a meaningful, non-emotional discussion, so, as much as I lament other Christians violating a tenet of Christianity, I still don't think this issue is all that relevant to the discussion we are having.

            Yes, others respond this way, it is a fair criticism, but it is a generality that does not apply in this discussion...so far smile


            Yes - you appear to be the exception, Peter. It's always a pleasure to discuss these things with you. Much appreciated.

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I noticed in your profile that you are a self-described Francophile.  At the risk of being chastised by Mark for promoting a hub, I have recently written a hub about the state of and history of French-US relations.  My attempt at international political satire.  A Francophile's expert opinion would be valuable.

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Since-the-Treaty-of-Paris

    1. Thom Carnes profile image60
      Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      That's a great hub, Peter. It's ironic in a way that Tony Blair is now desperately upgrading his French - even to the extent of agreeing to be interviewed in that language on French TV - as part of his attempts to become European President, a position he could never hope to achieve without the support of Sarkozy (which he appears to have.)

      For my own point of view, while I fully recognise and acknowldege the faults and prejudices of the French as a nation, I can only testify to the fact that I have been visiting France on a regular basis for over 50 years and can honestly say, with my hand on my heart (or perhaps on my stomach!) that I have never encountered anything other than kindness, generosity, hospitality and good humor from the French people.

      But, then again, perhaps I've just been lucky!

      And what this has got to do with the interaction of faith and imagination in Christianity, I have no idea!

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    LOL

    There is a big difference between what you have just done and starting a new thread to discuss it. Plus you are active and helpful to other people. smile

    And I like you big_smile

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I like you too smile

    All my friends are atheist now.  My law partner, Thom, you. 

    ...and you think there's no God.  Pretty good evidence if you me.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Oh, I don't think there's no God - I BELIEVE big_smile

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    ROFL

  • Misha profile image76
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Mark,

    But you can't deny that Peter speaks out of his own experience - what separates him from other Christians we see here...

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Not going to argue with you. smile

      Which makes a nice change, some would say big_smile

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Touche.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    And Peter - that is one awesome hub. The one thing you didn't mention, which is not widely talked about - is the HUGE amount of money Saddam Hussein owed the French government. They had their own vested interests at heart when they opposed the war. smile

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I didn't want to come across as a Francophobe.  The Francophiles might have revolted...followed by a quick surrender, of course.

    Oh, and the touche was for your comment, not Misha's.  Love ya' Misha.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    LOL - I thought it was for Misha's .

    Although I live in France, I have a love/hate relationship with the French as a people. We ex-pats like to say France is a great place except for the fact that it's full of French people. big_smile - Lovingly, of course.

    And I must admit, my respect for the American people as a whole took a major dip when the whole "Freedom Fries," issue came about.

    Just ask any Belgian who invented pommes frites. smile

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    Yes, freedom fries, was not a proud chapter in recent American history, they are french again.

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    I'm not sure I follow what you are saying.

    I agree about the connection between love/faith, but can you elaborate?

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Andrew - I am not sure I understood what you are trying to say, but I would think the part about "success in life," depends on how you measure success. How do you measure success?

    1. Andrew0208 profile image61
      Andrew0208posted 9 years ago in reply to this

      My illustrations of being a success starts with the mindset of a person and this is contributed by our imaginations, it starts from the mindset. Being successful in life as i will humbly measure it, is helping others succeed. It gives joy.

  • ZEV profile image61
    ZEVposted 9 years ago

    Excellent discussion! Best I've read on this subject from both sides. Thanks, I enjoyed it very much.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    It's all connected. smile

    And it is only since I have lived here on a permanent basis that some of the shortcomings come out. For instance, I have a 50/50 chance of going shopping only to discover that the shop I want to buy something from is shut because they are "tired," from a long weekend LOL

    It sounds funny, but that hand written "fermeture exceptionelle," sign in the window gets annoying after a while - especially when you see it as often as I do big_smile

    As for Tony Blair - I fart in his general direction and... Censored. smile

    1. Thom Carnes profile image60
      Thom Carnesposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Wasn't there also something about mothers .... hamsters .... and elderberries?

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image91
    Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago

    fermeture exceptionelle

    Will return Sat. 8 a.m.

  • Mark Knowles profile image61
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    Thom - that's the one smile

    Peter - Unlikely to be that detailed. More like "Fermeture exceptionelle. Open later when less tired."

    1. Peter M. Lopez profile image91
      Peter M. Lopezposted 9 years ago in reply to this

      Too funny, Mark.

      Andrew, based on what you just said about success and helping others succede, I think I agree with you.  Sounds like you've read a lot of Zig Ziglar or heard him speak.

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