What would it take to believe?
As a former Christian turned atheist, I am often asked what it would take for me to believe in a god again. The simple answer is that I don't know. If you are an atheist/agnostic, what would it take for you to start believing? If you are a believer of any religion, what would it take to make you stop your current beliefs in favor of another one?
For me it would come down to a personal visit complete with miracles and unknown knowledge that can be absolutely proven.
Although the question to the ultimate answer might sway me just a bit.
Ah, yes. Michael Card, a Christian singer (you may not be familiar) had a song with the line: "Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?"
Indeed. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself often answered questions with questions.
The question to the ultimate answer comes from a book, the answer is 42.
The problem with WJS is that nobody has a clue; the first writing about him was 40 years AD and not by anyone who ever met him, assuming he ever existed in the first place.
That's a rather simple answer. For me to change my beliefs I would have to see evidence supporting the other group's beliefs. This means that it must be based on facts and consistent throughout peer review using the scientific method.
No faith should be required.
First of all, I certainly respect and appreciate the honesty of you saying you don't know what it would take for you to believe in a god again.. I think for me to change my belief to a different one it would actually depend on the belief.
A true divine being or divine creation (An Angel would do) coming to me when I am perfectly sober and telling me I am wrong.
This will make me a believer.
And have in mind, I don't say "Christian", I say "Believer".
The 4 other Abrahamic religions also have angels. And also claim they know God better then the rest of the others. Probably everyone is wrong. As I say: Faith and Religion are totally different things.
Miracle is just another word for an unexplainable, propitious occurrence. New technologies are miracles to people who don't know any better. If God swooped down on his chariot, carried by angels from a set of pearly gates atop a cloud; I'd be looking for a scientific explanation. In fact, if he looked exactly the way he's described in fictional narratives, I'd be even more suspicious! I'd be looking for means of propulsion, and seeking a mental health checkup.
How do you define a god? Most people would come out with something like "gods know everything, see everything, can do anything, and one created the universe". However, some alien species may know a lot more than us.
To tell the difference between a being that knows everything and a being that knows almost everything, you'd have to know something about what the second being doesn't know. If you fail to find something that this being doesn't know, uncertainty would still remain because we're not infallible. Only a god could test if another god exists, and since I couldn't test if either one of them were gods, I'd never be able to believe!
For me it would have to be consistent, widespread and testable evidence. In other words, if I had a personal experience where god spoke to me, I would probably just think I was losing my mind. If he came repeatedly to me, and to other people, and scientists confirmed through tests that this wasn't a fluke mental epidemic, then I would start to believe. Though, in that scenario, I think myself, and all other atheists, would be looking for scientific explanations of god. Is he an alien? Some being made of pure energy? Enough evidence could convince me of god's existence, but how and why he exists would be ongoing questions that all of us should ask.
Tough question. There are people who get tons of wishes granted because they believe. And there are those who get almost nothing and they believe too. It would be impossible for me to disbelieve because of personal experiences, higher states of consciousness and the miraculous. I may or may not use the term "God" but there is some kind of intelligent force in nature.
Your post brings up a point: some seem to think God is a vending machine - you put in a prayer and pull out a prize. I think of Him rather as a Father who loves the children He created. We don't always understand what's best for us, but He does.
A miracle or physical manifestation might buy my belief, but it still wouldn't inspire me to follow a theistic religion. I'm just not into a being that holds itself to be "greater" than any other.
As a "believer" I honestly don't know what it would take to make me stop believing. Oh, I've been tempted, certainly... either by despair or doubt or fear of the unknown... whatever. But the "Hound of Heaven" never stops pursuing me, and He always catches me eventually, and wins me back.
Looking at all these posts, I notice how so many people talk about the need for "evidence." Honestly, I find myself still constantly amazed at the... arrogance... of people who put themselves and their scientific research above Him who is THE answer to everything. He is the Creator, the Omniscient God, while science is merely the study of creation. Which is greater?
But... what would it take for me not to believe? I don't know. The easier thing to answer might be what would it take to believe if I were a non-believer. Maybe a sense of certainty. A peace of mind that only God can give. A sense of gratefulness towards a Higher Authority who I must finally concede is greater than I am. In looking at the big picture, how arrogant would I be to think I am anything but "dust in the wind" without a Being who cares about me and my puny little life. A realization that without a Designer, there can be no design... no order. How does the universe maintain its order? The seasons, the circle of life, etc.? Molecules? Atoms? Who keeps them in order? I can't not believe.
I don't understand how asking for evidence that what people say is true is arrogance - especially when it's something this big and important? I don't understand how people CAN just blindly believe without proof.
Do you look out of your window in the morning to see if it's raining, or do you have faith that the sun is shining?
You missed my point, I guess... which is to say that not everything is explainable. Science cannot answer all questions, because Science is, by its very nature, the STUDY of creation. It is not the answer to that which it seeks. It is not the source.
I didn't say anything about science. I guess you missed my point to. Why believe in one religion - and reject all of the others - when none have any conclusive proof of ANY type. Including yours. To just "believe" seems contrary to thought.
Like I said in another post, everyone believes in SOMETHING. You believe in your unbelief (strange as that sounds). As for one religion, there can only be one true religion. How can they all be true at the same time? Truth cannot contradict itself.
But you can't demonstrate that your beliefs are actually true. You just believe that they are. The whole point of this question is why.
Very involved issue... can't fully answer here. Why do I believe? A very small part of the answer is because I yearn. If I yearn, there must be a reason, & if my beliefs satisfy that somewhat, must be a reason for that, too. No room to say more.
and how exactly did you decide where your yearnings were pointing to, when billions of people yearn to a different god - or no god at all? how did you reach that conclusion? Did you just pick one, or go with the one you were taught due to geography
How did you reach YOUR conclusion? You see the dilemma: who is right & who is wrong? The bazillion $ question. I guess we must all struggle with that & do our best with it. Meanwhile, all we can do is respectfully disagree as to what truth re
I don't have a conclusion. I think, from over 15 years of study, that it's unlikely that a god exists, and I think the christian god is self-contradictory, which limits the possibility that it's correct. Believers on the other hand, are certain.
Indoctrinated regurgitated testimony, blindly stated as if it makes some kind of sense. In other words, you have no understanding of certain things, therefore God dunnit.
Getitrite, I'm not going to dignify your first part with a response. But as to the second part: "you have no understanding of certain things, therefore God dunnit"... I ask you... how do you explain things you don't understand?
It's ok to not have an answer to everything. Some things we just don't know.
Indeed, Thomas, you are right. That's kind of my point. The fact that we don't know everything suggests that there must be Someone who does. Does anything happen for no reason at all? And if there is reason, there must be a Mind behind it all.
@Cherihut, Why do I need to explain things I do not understand? I simply state that I don't know. Unlike believers, who allow ignorant charlatans from the past to control their minds with absurd primitive concepts parading as truth. How Disturbing.
I'd just like to say that I appreciate you asking this question. We live in a time when constant inventions in the field of media and technology perhaps could fool many into thinking they see something real which is in fact only a combination of man's inventions. I do believe in miracles.
I am a believer in Jesus Christ, the Son of God; God the Father and the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that would cause me to denounce Them. And, although the trails and tribulations or test that presents themselves in life are difficult....I would not want to ever imagine my life without the Trinity Godhead. It was an experience that I had that drew me to Them and keeps me with Them....like a light bulb coming on when all that surrounded me was darkness!
Cordelia, I admire your fervor. I want to say the same: that nothing would cause me to denounce God. But as a human I am susceptible to temptation. I simply pray that if the temptation is ever there, I will be strong, & that God will sustain me.
Since there are some magicians that have been able to pull some elaborate illusions, it is possible that anything that appears to be proof, could be merely a trick, orchestrated to manipulate the mind into believing that it has witnessed something that it has not. Therefore it is very hard for the skeptical mind to be thoroughly convinced.
God needs to get his butt down her and do the Cha Cha...and possibly the Salsa. Only then will I believe (and have a great party topic!)
If you look at some churches you'd think all he knows is the two step shuffle. I think God would love to dance with you. Are you ready to get up and dance with him?
Okay but I still demand the salsa and the cha cha. If he doesn't know those he isn't god.
With God all things are possible. The real question usually is are we willing to accept Him not purely on a basis of everything being on our terms. Relationships need to be mutual. I mean is it really about the Cha Cha?
I believe most atheists are probably more like agnostics and I think your question suggests you are too. But cheer up, I've run into many "believers" who I think are closer to agnostic too. The question suggests you are unsure and that you could be swayed back.
For me it took a moment of honesty to realize that I didn't believe in God because it was ultimately inconvenient to how I wanted to live my life. I very quickly realized that I did have an underlying belief in God because it was the only way to explain the wonders of the creation around me. For this all to be here by mere accident is far too illogical. The good news was that I soon found that God was not a rigid religion that was about restrictions but is very personal loving and full of kindness and was about a liberty we can't have any other way. He doesn't require us to meet a standard that none of us live up to but out of his love for us has provided a way.
You may think you want to see some grand amazing thing happen but ultimately it's in your heart that you want and need it to happen and Christ will meet you there. God can do some really amazing things but it starts in your heart. Ask him.
No way to give up Christ. I was brought up an atheist. Evolution is not fact. What you do with Christ is up to you. If you want the truth Ask God To Tell you honestly.Try reading the Bible ctitically.Find out whats in it for your self. dkingsham
I'm a christian. For me to stop believing they would have to discover Jesus' bones. or possibly unearth something that could disprove the reliability of scripture. So far there are things that are still unanswered, but nothing disproving it. In fact the opposite could be said. I just read recently the guy that found the Titanic (sorry i dont know his name) use a similar method and technology to discover there actually was a great flood.
A regional flood, isolated to one area. Not a worldwide flood. The confirmation of a single flood does not make the commonly held biblical story true.
True. A great flood appears in many of the ancient mesopotamian mythologies. So there is a good chance that such a flood happened in that region, however it does not prove a particular piece of scripture true.
I don't think anything can change my beliefs now short of dying and finding out if there is something on the otherside. Of course if it's reincarnation my memories probably won't all be there. But I gave up Christianity long ago as a child after reaching out to God in faith during a time in need and not feeling anything. I felt shunned and alone. That moment opened my eyes. So if God is real he definitely plays favorites.
If you mean in a god..it is a personal matter and may come from childhood or later in life with one's own personal development which may include traumatic events or inspirational motivation and help that person to make the decision that it is the right choice. It is a matter of choice, and no one or thing can make up your mind for you. whonu
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, there are a lot more reasons to not believe than there is to believe. However, IF you do believe, you also believe you will be rewarded because your beliefs don't waver, no matter what goes on around you. Only you can choose what to believe or not to believe. It's no one's place to try to make you believe what they believe. That's called respect.
For me, I feel there are a lot more reasons to believe hence I believe. I think there may be more searching for reasons not to believe and those arguments have become more prominent or socially promoted.
The decision to believe or not to believe is not social. It is personal. Those that TRULY believe in something cannot be swayed by promotion. Beliefs are created by attraction, not promotion.
Bruce - if you claim that there is plenty of evidence for god, and you can demonstrate god's existence to me - message me. The email option is available on my profile, and I would love to hear it and examine it. Again.
I've been to that place where I said God cannot be real and then years down the road I knew for sure, without any iota of doubt that God is for real. The peace, joy, strength and grace I enjoy everyday only came after I accepted him and started walking in His way.
Because God loved us first, we are able to love Him and to reach him. Like love for a partner, the true knowledge of God only comes from the depths of our hearts. When you feel His love so real, so deep, so sincere you know you have found the Almighty.
It is acceptable to go from atheist to Christianity but to go from Christianity to atheist simply means you did not get to know God at an intimate level: there was no real relationship between you and God. A lot of people depend on their pastors, priests and other religious leaders to sort of take them to a certainty of the existence of God. But truth is, you are the one, who needs to be convinced, no other person can put that conviction in your heart but you. When you open your heart God comes in and the doubts fly out.
I know God exists because I feel him, I see Him, I know Him, I hear Him and I speak to Him and Yes, He answers me every time. In essence, knowing God is personal, you are the one who goes all out to know Him. No one can build your intimacy with God but you.
Ain't no loving God with the head and trying to explain His being, I believe it is not possible in this earthly life.
My convictions in Christianity are solidly grounded and It will take the end of humanity or finding out after death to change that.
It may make you feel better to assert that I was never a "true" Christian, but as a complete stranger you cannot make that judgment on me our my life. I do not make similar baseless assertions about you.
if you say so and insist, then who I'm I to argue...it's just hard to believe that a true christian turns atheist, considering I was once an unbeliever myself...really no offense intended
You do realize that dozens of current atheists used to be Christians, right? Even pastors, missionaries and biblical scholars? I'm hardly alone. Do you doubt all of them too?
I'm curious as to what was the "thing" that made you stop believing. I assume you have a whole list now from your bio, but what initiated it. And then, what was the reason you originally "truly" believed?
well, everyone has a story...I'm sure you too and those you cited. We are all entitled to our decisions and convictions...
Bruce, what began the process for me was attending Bible college, learning Hebrew and Latin and treading the entire thing for myself. Things snowballed from there over a period of about ten years.
It is troubling to read comments that confirm the rigid indoctrination of the human mind...supplied by religion. This false world view is completely closed to reason, and based on nothing but fear of authority.
getitrite, sorry but that comes across as a extremely narrow and rigid view you have.
JMcFarland, learning Hebrew and Latin started it? Don't see the correlation.
Reading the Bible in its original languages and studying for myself some of the "evidence" that a lot of pastors present as truth while in Bible college started it.
I am not in the habit of entertaining questions of this nature. IMO, our personal beliefs, spirituality or even "religion" (a term I dislike)....are precisely that...PERSONAL. I am adverse to individuals who "preach" and/or believe it is their "duty" to sway others toward one direction or the other. In fact, I find it LUDICROUS.
You are you and I am me....period. Each of us is a unique, independent, free-thinking human being. We are responsible for how we think....how we live and what has importance in our life.
I have offered my basic, firm belief, a few times, here at HP, by sharing a powerful & sensible quote by Marcus Aurelius, Philosopher and last of the Five Good Roman Emporers..161-180 AD. I will share it once again.
"LIVE A GOOD LIFE" If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you, based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but they are unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone but will have lived a noble life, that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." THIS is my core belief.
To believe, I would need a message from God indicating that a particular faith is true.
In my opinion, I think that I am expressing my faith in God in every action I take and every word I say.
It's not just about performing rituals or praying, it's about everything, all the time.Those rituals and prayers (as examples)are just side effects, the practicalities of my spirituality.
I love being atheist. Whereas most religions says 14,999 other religions are wrong and 1 is right, Atheism (or agnosticism) simply says 15,000 are wrong.
Brainwash. Lol.. It would take a lot to convince me to lower my intelligence. It may be "possible" as people say "Anything is Possible."
It isn't probable. People for Generations and thousands of years have tried to answer the "Question" of why we are here. Unfortunately, the answer is not "42."
Evolution, is now scientific fact. Meaning, the possibility of a higher power, is nil.
People explain the reasons for their actions, or what has happened to them unexpectedly as it being god, because they cannot think outside of the box.
For instance, if you are told all of your life by the people you love, and the people who love you, that Blue is Red, and Red is Blue. You are going to believe, not what you naturally believe, but what the people around you believe, the people whom you have a great deal of respect for, believe..
When a person comes to you and says, "No, Blue is Blue, and Red is Red." Who are you going to believe?
A complete stranger?
Or the people in which you trust and respect.
The fact of the matter is, Religion is Learned, you are not born with it.
How long before you realize what you learned is wrong?
This answer says it all. I was raised in a religious home and had to open my own eyes and discover my own truth - and that was freedom. I never felt more alive or more myself.
Who are atheists to say that their unbelief is any more right than the beliefs of "religionists?" They "learn" their unbelief as much as Believers "learn" their belief. Evidence of Science? Science is the study of the created, not the Creator.
Who are believers to say that their beliefs are absolutely true, not just for them, but for everyone, without even being able to prove or demonstrate them? I don't "believe in" science the way that you believe in god. I understand it with evidence.
Some of us atheist actually learned both, as many of us are former Christians. We just got tired of lying to ourselves. Religious beliefs are not at all on par with reason. This is an act of desperation. So sorry.
JM, you seem to think that Science & religion are opposed. They are not. I believe in evidence, too. But who are the ones who cannot "think outside of the box," so to speak? I just believe there is more to life than what we can know from Science.
You don't always need evidence to know what's right. Many criminals are not convicted because of lack of evidence.That doesn't mean they are innocent. Its like 'He is a real magician because I can't figure out how he does his tricks!'
getitrite: Who's desperate here, really? Those who believe in an all-powerful Being who loves them? Or the control freaks who pretend that God doesn't exist, because if He does, they might have to admit that ultimately, Someone else is in control?
So according to you, atheists are control freaks? Do atheists come door to door too convert people, or do we just express our views in public forums? Why do you get the right to free speech to insult us without giving us the same?
@ JM: I apologize for the apparent insult. Just realize I didn't mean that the way you took it. I think most of us are control freaks to some extent. I have to leave it at that 'cause it's too involved (not enough room in these comment boxes. Argh!).
Hey J. If you feel your free speech has been restricted to insult us believers, then please feel free to insult me all you want if that's what you need. I know a loving God.
So you really believe Christians go door to door to insult people?
No, I think Christians go door to door to convert people because they're convinced that there way is right, and have little to no respect for people who think differently and ask not to be bothered. I have no desire to insult anyone. Challenge, yes
Do you know about the Placebo Effect?
It's a method in which a fake substance believed by the patient to be a drug has effects similar to actual drug. I've seen people cure themselves by faith in God, and they believe God cured them. Faith is power!
@ Amazing Thinker
A woman can become so obsessed with wanting to become pregnant, that she actually misses her period, gains weight, and has morning sickness. This is science.. People believe, "No explanation, therefore, God."
I didn't say it was God. What I meant was, God being real or not doesn't matter, it's faith was gives you power. I don't claim the existence of God, I haven't seen him/ her, I just choose to believe. I can't claim or deny his existence, no one can.
That's still a religion and I don't follow religions, I only take what I like from them . Like if there is some teaching in Buddhism about peace and meditation or kamasutra from Hinduism, but I don't follow them. That makes me non religious.
Agnosticism is nowhere near a religion.. Agnosticism is like Dr. Pepper.. Its not Coke, and not Root Beer..
Agnosticism is "without knowledge or certainty" of a deity. Atheism is without belief. It is possible (and likely) to be both an atheist and an agnostic. The definitions, however, are often misunderstood or misused.
It would take a god showing himself to me. No ambiguities. No god appearing a foggy window, or on some toast. It would take the skies parting, god descending down in a beam of light, and saying "Hey, guys, here I am."
If that were to happen, I would believe in him.
I don't care how much of a "spiritual connection" someone claims to have. I require a physical one. Until I see and hear something that defies all scientific reasoning, I see no reason to believe such a thing exists.
One's will has a way of directing reason to justify itself. All we see testifies of a creator yet great lengths have been taken to devise a way around it even though something being created out of nothing is the ultimate defiance of reason.
It's certainly no more in defiance of reason than "God made it. He has always existed because he's magic."
Then everything is "magic." What we see everyday is full of great complexity of design so how do you reason that without a creator. For it to happen purely by chance is magic. I'm just saying I think God has said here I am quite well.
That's the thing. I don't try to reason things that can't be reasoned. I can say "I don't know," and not feel bad about that. Not knowing doesn't make me so uncomfortable that I need to invent a reason to believe in.
If you don't know, then how do you know others are "inventing" a reason. We don't invent a reason when we look at a piece of art and say someone must of painted that. Why is it inventing when we look at a much more complex design.
Bruce, that's my thought, too. If there is a design, there must be a designer. The universe has order - seasons, life cycles, etc. Order presupposes a mind. Hard to believe God came from nothing, but even more senseless to not believe in God at all.
By the same logic: If God exists, something must have created him. And if something created god, something must have created the creator of god. And so on.. You are left in the same paradoxical position I am in. Except with an extra leap of faith.
Not understanding whether God has a beginning or not is not reason for Him not existing. My main point to you Chris is if you want evidence but can't see it, could it be you're not willing to accept the evidence?
I ask for evidence all of the time, and am open to any evidence that can be presented. The problem is that there is no "evidence". The bible is not evidence of anything that humans write things down. Logical spin-doctoring is not evidence.
Chris, exactly. Did we come from God, or from nothing? God is Mystery. But He makes more sense to me than coming from nothing. And yes, it IS a leap of faith. I'd rather err on God's side. If there IS an eternal Heaven & Hell, why take the chance
JMcFarland in the context of what we are discussing, what part of the complexity of design in the creation has to do with the Bible or spin-doctoring. We can discuss mindless answers Christians sometimes give but then that's another discussion.
Bruce - if it weren't for the Bible which claims that god created everything in the first place, what basis do you have for claiming god did it - and how would you know anything about him/her/it at all?
J obviously you don't except my argument that the creation is full of complex design that points to a creator that people have drawn that conclusion for millenniums apart from the Bible. The Bible is only the result of a God who explains himself.
It's not that we atheists are willing to accept evidence, it's that you're not giving any. Your inference is that If A exists, then B must have caused A. Which is true. But then you jump to the definition of B as a "god," This is a logical fallacy.
nature and the earth only point to a creator if you presuppose that one exists. by refusing evolution and buying into the misconceptions and outright lies that fundamental creationists use to try to discredit science, the apologists spread their lie
Chris it's an assumption that the creator is greater then the creation, to say nothing did seems the greater fallacy.
J, I have searched for someone to debunk these so called lies and found no one. They all argue on philosophical terms,
Bruce - all you have to do is google it to find the rebuttals, so I doubt you've spent much time trying. Christian apologist arguments for god like TAG or Kalam ARE arguments relying on logic problems, so it's normal to receive logic rebuttals
J I didn't say there weren't any rebuttals. I just said I haven't found any to scientifically debunk them. A few come up with different interpretations of the data but no real proof to go with it that it's the only way to interpret them.
You can't get a chicken without an egg and you cant get an egg without a chicken - so where did it evolve from?
Bruce - you want scientific rebuttals to logic arguments? How does that work?
The chicken and the egg? Really? That's what you think evolution is/teaches? You've never actually examined it, have you?
J your apparent position that Creationist only have logic arguments and no scientific ones I think is totally unfounded. Unless you think that all the arguments for Evolution are not scientific either. It's not the logic arguments I want rebutted.
So you want scientific rebuttals defending evolution. They're everywhere. Evolution has nothing to do with atheism. Have you considered asking a scientist or an evolutionary biologist?
JMcFarland,"misconceptions and outright lies that fundamental creationists use". Let's try it this way. Prove that statement.
yeah, I can't do that in 250 characters. Start here. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/gish-exposed.html or here http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2007 … -never-di/
I am a non religious person, I don't believe in religions and traditions but I believe in God.
The truth is, men created religion not god, its not like Hindu Gods created Hindu people, Muslim god created Muslim people etc.
We have only one religion, Humanity.
Have faith in God my friend, and I am not saying any particular God, it can be anything, it can be a voice, your image of god, a power within you...
Even if you think he doesn't interfere in the world, he will guide you and a little faith can't hurt.
Let me know what you think of this.
For me, believing is rather simple. I can believe anything I want to, whenever I want to. Believing is just a state of mind, where I choose what I can choose whenever, wherever, whatever it is, be stupid as it is. It doesn't take much to believe, it can be lies or truths that is given to us, when we were kids or growing up as an adult. But, Faith is different. Faith and Believing for me, are both separated entities. In where believing is a state of mind and faith is a state of the soul. Faith, we cannot choose, it is there, and constantly changing, to have faith in a certain religion or to lose it and have faith on what you see. It is rather the same as believing, because believing is shaped by different ideals, but the difference is that faith is not shaped by ideals, truths or lies, rather it is shaped by understanding and fortitude of the soul. It is a constantly changing world, but in the end what matters is what we believe on and what keeps our faith alive. And I believe that Atheists do believe in something, they have faith in something, that "something" is just unknown to me.
If you can believe anything at any time you want to, like you claim - can you choose to NOT believe in gravity and then jump off of a building? Your post leads me to believe that you think you can. So can you?
Of course I can choose to believe that gravity does not exist, the same way I can believe that unicorns exist. It is a matter of freedom, isn't it? We are born with freedom and with it comes to believe in anything we want to believe in.
so if you chose to believe on a whim that gravity didn't exist, would you trust your belief enough to jump off of a building?
Many people die on what they believe on, be it stupid things or not. I know that you know that I would not choose to do such a thing because, first of all I did not say that I did not believe in gravity, but the answer to the question is, yes.
interesting. It is my opinion that you don't simply choose to believe something. You either believe it or you don't. Sometimes beliefs can change when introduced to evidence, but I doubt that a majority of people just decide to believe something.
True, true, but choice is always there in our belief or actions. Because in the end I would rather die believing than to die not believing because believing gives me purpose/reason. It is just my opinion however.
how does believing in something unproven give your life meaning or reason?
If believing does not give reason to life, I don't know what would. I don't have the answer to everything, everyone does not have the answer to everything.
There are a lot of things that I don' t know the answer to. It means that I don't know, not that my life has no meaning. I don't have to find an unprovable "god" in order to have meaning. Doing so for me diminishes me, not build me up.
Since you've been asking me questions, It's my turn to ask you. Why would it diminish you, if you start to believe in something, may it be "God" or a "god"?
Because If I ever believe in something again, I want to make sure that, to the best of my ability, I know that what I believe in is true. I care a great deal whether or not my beliefs are true, and if they can't be proven it's just a hope, not more.
The Christian faith is mainly believing even when there is no proof. This is why God has us down here, to ween out the people who don't believe and who don't follow his path and those that believe even when there is no evidence and they are being laughed at. Nobody said being a Christian was going to be a popular thing.
God would already know who was going to be a "believer" and who would not because God knows all that was, is & ever will be. What would be the point of having us here for such a reason when he would already know the outcome? This is not logical.
Bruce Feierabend says most Atheists are really Agnostic because they do believe in something. If this is a fact it is simply because most humans are desperate to explain the unexplainable and when they cannot they tend to accept miracles or divine beings as the responsible party/act. Just because we as humans do not have all the answers does not, for me, ensure the presence of an omnipotent being controlling all existence. All the extensive amounts of research in the vast number of Scientific fields show that nothing happens by accident. Simply because something happens in a way that humans are not yet capable of determining or even comprehending does not give evidence to a God. For those of you feel you have found some personal proof that God definitively does exist, good for you if that makes your life better. I once wholeheartedly believed in God but through life experiences and an overwhelming desire to continue to educate myself, it will take me dying and finding out that I am wrong to convince me otherwise at this point. My beliefs about the universe and my place in it are so far beyond what most people would even consider that I doubt there are too many people that would even entertain my opinions. So like i said, I suppose I'll find out when I die how close or far off I am.
I believe I said they are more like agnostics because they are unsure. You sound like a true agnostic. Isn't what you call unexplainable is an assumption. How do you know it's unexplainable?
Mony, you say "...Scientific fields show that nothing happens by accident." Exactly! If nothing happens by accident, there must be a REASON! Only a mind capable of reasoning can create for a reason. Hence, God, the Author of all reason, exists.
Just because things don't happen by accident is no reason to take a giant leap of faith and make up Gods to assuage the dissonance in our finite minds. That's totally flawed logic, don't you think? Jumping to illogical conclusions is not reasonable
I think he wants to believe that most atheists are agnostics. In fact.. no they aren't, if they claim they are atheists, they are. Atheists are a little more in tune than you may think.
Getitrite, as I said, "nothing happens by accident" is to say that there must be a reason, or cause, for things to happen. How is it illogical to believe there is a Creator that is the cause? To believe in nothing is even more illogical.
Because it is all a fabrication. It changes with the times. We discover more planets than our own. Oop, god created those, we discover we are a blip in a large galaxy, oop.. god created that too.
Ashleign, your argument is no argument at all. What does our ignorance have to do with the fact that things exist? They were created whether we are aware of their existence or not. But there is still a "Cause" for their existence.
Because your god created us and only us, nothing else. He created the heavens and the earth, he said nothing about Mars or Jupiter, but since we know they exist now, oop.. he created them.. because how else did they get there?
@Cherihut, you don't seem to understand that since you assert that there is a creator, you must also assume that something created the creator as well...or did your god just "happen by accident?" I admit, I don't understand what caused everything.
Ashleign, what believer in "my" God ever said He "only created us"? Christians have always believed God was the Creator of the entire universe. It was never some kind of an "oops, we need to add that in" kind of a belief.
Bruce Feierabend my point is that everything IS explainable, we just aren't capable of comprehending some things so we turn to God as the explanation. I am not Agnostic as I have very strong convictions but I would accept if i was proven wrong.
"I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
Perfect comment!! JMcFarland that is quite possibly the best quote I have ever seen and thank you for making me aware of it!!!
For clarity when I say agnostic I don't mean someone without conviction. An atheist's conviction is there is no God, an agnostic believes it can't be proven either way and for the most part it's unimportant or insignificant to one's belief system.
Bruce, I don't think you understand what an atheist or an agnostic is. I label myself as an atheist agnostic. Atheism/theism speaks to belief. Gnosticism/Agnosticism speaks to knowledge. They are two different things that I think you have confuse
Getitrite, I don't assume that something created the Creator. I believe He just always was. It boils down to the fact that it all had to start somewhere. The difference is, you refuse to put a name to the cause of it all; I call that cause God.
I cannot express, exactly what I want to say here, due to limited characters. So I will be writing a blog about how Christianity, plagiarized other religions. Furthermore, how Christianity, excuses itself. Follow me
Cherihut, I understand why you would come to that conclusion, but why would God be exempt from the laws of your own logic? And how do you, then, jump to the conclusion that this God is none other than Jesus Christ, with no evidence of ANY God?
Getitrite, God IS exempt from those "laws" for the simple reason that He's God! There has to be a First Cause outside of everything. I understand how it's hard to believe; it doesn't make sense to us. But there is no other explanation for creation.
This argument is never going to end. We are just making assumptions. No one can claim the existence of God nor they can say he doesn't exist, no one knows. It's your choice to believe or not to. Religions always lead to this, they separate us.
Assuming that there was a first cause and then making the giant leap from first cause to "god of the bible" is a logical fallacy that has been debated, debunked and steamrolled for many years. It's just making assumptions and arguments from ignoranc
JM, why do non-believers so often resort to calling believers "ignorant"? 1st of all, it's rude. 2nd, sounds awfully defensive to me. 3rd, untrue. Many of us are well educated & have studied - some have high honors, some even renowned scientists.
I don't think you understand. The argument from ignorance is an actual logical fallacy. It doesn't mean you're ignorant. It's a part of debates all the time, yet you've only seen the insult where no insult exists. Look it up.
I know what ignorance means - but the truth is, we'll probably never "prove" God from Science. He transcends Science. He doesn't need to be proven. Prove to me that He doesn't exist. Why do Christians always have to be the ones to prove something?
I'm sorry, but you still don't seem to understand. Look up the "argument from ignorance" and see that it's not an insult, please. And YES, I went to college for theology, thanks. From a very large, reputable Christian college in California.
OK, I looked it up just so we're on the same page. No, I don't think that absence of evidence is proof of it. Yet I don't disagree that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". 2 different ideas there. No room 4 discussion here. God bless +
I watched Ancient aliens yesterday. It got me thinking if everything our ancestors told us is not a fantasy, may be some of it is true, The information may be altered with time, so I will learn Sanskrit to read Mahabharata, write some hubs may be.
A death bed tends to change people's minds. You think?
I'm not sure why you stopped believing but I will tell you this. People who do not believe die a lot differently than those who die with Christ and peace in their hearts. The difference is amazing. Both witness numerous accounts of the dying, but both reveal how different they go out of this world.
I recommend you talk with a nurse who works in a nursing home and/or read Billy Graham's book ANGELS and compare what they each say.
I've known many people who have died, both theists and atheists. Some of both were afraid. Most of them, however, regardless of what they believed, died calmly with a smile on their face. There was no discernible difference between them.
Please remember, some who say they believe are not true believers while some who do not believe have last minute revelations.
Yes....the No True Scottsman fallacy rears its wonderful head. I knew it was only a matter of time. Contrary to popular belief, there are, in fact, atheists in foxholes who do what it takes to live rather than taking time out for prayer.
I think it would take a life or death moment. A lot of people have near death experiences where they either start believing in god or rediscover their faith. It is said by academics that there is no proof that god exists and there is no proof he doesn't. So its good to keep an open mind really. There is room in there for flexibility, and that's how it should be. I think because as human beings we change year to year that our needs and motivations do too. Secretly I think all of us at times turn to god in quiet moments when we are desperate for help. Some people say that god has to show himself first. Even if I thought god showed himself I would still be careful on how I saw and judged it. But there are different concepts of what religion and god is all about, so it would be hard to analyse really.
The only way I would stop my current beliefs is if it didn't serve my lifestyle. I would not change it for a partner, so I would be less likely to marry someone from another culture or religion. I've gone from Catholic to New age. I remember as a child the experiences with the Catholic church and the history of the church, just made me feel that they were too rigid for a person like me. I don't want to be restricted by what I feel are rigid practices that limit my growth in the modern world.
I would say if you want proof, ask for proof. Tempt God with asking for proof, and demand it every day until you get it, unless of course you're scared of "tempting God"?
Because really it takes an act of God for someone to believe that God exists. I can say with absolute certainty that I *knew* God didn't exist. Oh how wrong I was!
It's not about being "Christian" or anything like that, belief in God not a religion per se. It's just that Jesus gets me to see things from God's perspective. As in, if God does exist, the bible is nothing more than what God wants us to see in the world around us, epitomized in the man we know as Jesus.
Religion on the other hand gets us "comfortable" with God; knowledge puffs them up, but love edifies. By their fruits, ye shall know them for who they really are. Because if Jesus rebuked the "religious Jews" of his time for taking on traditions, then it's no surprise to me why churches in this day and age, for the most part are repeating those same mistakes which "religion" has made us grow comfortable with.
And there are many different poisons to choose from, pick one, ya know? But it takes a dedicated person to see the truth in the bible, and all the lies religion has given us in place of scripture. There is no end to commentary concerning the bible, but just reading it with an open mind to the possibility of God, opens up a whole new dimension to what we really know about God. It's not like they're wrong all the time, but if it even just deviates in some way; it doesn't feel right.
Because if there is spiritual truth, then yes, all religion is wrong. Only God could give us the answers we so need, but first ask yourself: Why do we question God? What in us gets us to doubt that there is a God out there? It isn't simply just "lack of evidence", that's just total baloney. It's not about evidence. Anyone can believe in God, with or without evidence. Why some people do and why some do not, well, is an entirely different matter.
The vast expanse of the universe is barely understandable to the human mind, but the fact that we can even perceive that there is something outside of our sphere, I think is an amazing thing. It doesn't matter if you believe Darwinian-Evolutionary thought, or that God created everything with the ability to adapt; at some point in human history we reached to the stars, and dreamed we were a part of something more than all that is.
I guess my point is, don't entirely rule out the possibility of God.
You're assuming (rather erroneously) that I haven't done that. It's unwise to make baseless assumptions.
Can you think of any other aspect of your life where you believe something before you have evidence, our you don't get evidence at all?
Proof is in the eye of the beholder. We may both be able to see the color red, and yet we could disagree if it should be the color of your kitchen.
The universe is self-evident, we can't deny it exists. Why does it exist? That's where the line is.
That's the difference, all right. I don't feel the need to insert a god for things I don't know.
doesn't the Bible say NOT to tempt or test or question god? Every time I say I've asked for evidence, I get told "god doesn't work that way"
Asking God for evidence isn't necessary for the believer, but that doesn't mean evidence can't be asked for.
"For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." - Matthew 7:8.
I have asked. I asked when I started doubting. I asked when I started questioning. I ask constantly now. I got nothing. Ever. So no, that verse doesn't seem to be true. Yet Christians tell me god helped them find their car keys. Makes sense.
People rely on coincidences. If you pray all day that something good will come to you, and it does, it's praise god. The problem is, people stop giving themselves credit, and give credit to the non-explainable.
I can't help it if you're not getting answers, but, maybe you're just asking the wrong questions? It may even be that your questions are accusatory, rather than inquisitive? I don't know, only you and Him know, so work it out. Relationship not relig.
Lol just keep trying until something happens that I can't automatically expiration, so I should attribute it to god? Why don't you try it first with Allah and tell me how it goes. Maybe you'll be a Muslim.
There is no God but one living and eternal God, so praying for answers to any other god or gods is a surefire recipe for being deceived.
"Allah" is known as "the great deceiver" even to Muslims. Coincidence? I think not, yet here we are.
And how do you know? You were just fortunate enough to grow up in a culture where christianity is predominant, and out of all religious possibilities it just happens to be the only true one? Convenient, don't you think?
Actually I grew up in Southern-California, a state that prides itself on its diversity. Growing up I was exposed to spiritualism, pagan religions and witchcraft.
It is only convenient that I chose the bible over religions, rather than a religion.
Yes, in a country that is predominantly Christian, which is my point. It's not a coincidence that people are likely to be a Muslim in predominantly Islamic countries, and in the us you're more likely to be a Christian than any other religion.
JM, so explain conversion. There are many people who "used to be" believers in one religion or were non-believers, but they are converted to another through an internal conviction, even risking being shunned by those they love. Why?
Why? Because they felt something compelling that changed their minds. There are deconversions, cross conversions and failed conversions all of the time from/to many different religions. Does a Christian convert to Islam because it's more true?
Oh, your, god. this is getting heated.. Julie.. Awesome as always.
So to you, my conversion is simply a cultural/regional thing, and not necessarily a genuine conversion?
You're missing the point entirely if you think that, and clearly do not know me well enough to say that is why I believe what I do.
JM, I was responding to your point that most people stick with the god of those around them. OK, I tried to fit the rest of my answer into this box. It won't work. They really need bigger comment boxes. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this.
No, I'm in no position to label your conversion as anything. You're a complete stranger. You can't discount the fact, however, that culture plays a large part in religion, and that people born into place where one belief is prominent tend to follow
Peer pressure isn't a reason to believe in God. Culture might influence religion, but, the bible isn't a religion. There are many religions based on it, but I can't do anything about what a single person, let alone a group of people believe in.
Yes, I've heard the religion vs. relationship argument/debate before. It depends on definitions. If a religion is defined as the belief in/worship of a divine being, then the Bible is a religious book focusing on one specific being. Fact is fact.
Sure, the bible has religious ideals, information which effects the daily lives of people who believe it. However it is only when people get down to interpretations of scriptures, a "religion" is then born into them by their own thoughts.
By definition, a religion is a set of beliefs by which individuals or groups worship, follow or adhere to guidelines as believed to be passed down from the divine. Do you think you're somehow outside of this definition?
No, I am not unique or special. My 'religion' is what it is, based upon the bible.
My point is that the bible isn't a religion. By itself, the bible is just a book. It is what we do with it that matters.
Is it God you don't believe in or is it religion? The two are separate. I think most people confuse the two. Religion is man's way of worshiping God and it is fraught with many inconsistancies and laced with human translation. Consider the wonder of nature. Man did not create the universe and there is too much going on out there too support 'it just happens that way.' No religion created the Aurora, sunsets, sunrises, budding flowers, a universe that moves in snyc or a new born babe. Men through the ages have organized groups, set down guidelines and manifestos that must be followed in order to make it to believe in God and make it to heaven. God didn't create religion - man did. I have had events in my life that there is no other explanation for other than the presence of a power greater than man. Those events alone convinced me that God is. Nothing can undo that.
I was a Christian; completely, undoubting, in all 100% sincerity there was probably nothing I believed with such conviction at the time.
Then I started studying the Bible; Hebrew roots and all. Long story short, Jews had a better argument for why Jesus was not the messiah. I realized how much Christianity had taken liberties with the original scriptures, and the more I dug to understand it and prayed to make sense of it, the less I could ever believe in Abrahamic religions.
Long story short, I've been Wiccan now for many years, it doesn't conflict with science and takes a much less literal approach to deity which makes more sense to me.
To make me believe Christianity again-- it would be hard, like putting toothpaste back into a tube. Short of a burning bush talking to me it would be very hard. Even if I was able to consider Abrahamic religions again, Judaism makes far more sense.
What could get me to stop believing what I do now? Not feeling anything, no subjective experience that inclines me to believe, perhaps another epiphany. I don't know, I'll know it if/when it happens.
What's funny.. The Wiccan belief is more "believable" than any other religion.. Now the magic stuff is rather meh.. but Nature being a God or Goddess is really not that far fetched.
It does sound funny, to trade one religion taken on faith for another, lol. I always thought so. But I don't see magic as supernatural, I see it as rooted in nature and psychology. I believe everything has a natural, scientific explanation.
There are a lot of good people that are Wiccan. Some of my good friends choose that belief as being a solid with them.
I'm a Christian turned atheist mainly because my parents put me in Catholic school and I didn't know there was any other option. A few bad teachers who didn't know what they were talking about later, and I'm 100% atheist. In order for me to "go back", I'd need proof.
I honestly don't believe I will ever give up my faith, it has always been with me. One time I asked another Christian how he would get a nonbeliever to believe. He suggested to tell the person to open the bible and ask God to give him the belief. "God if you are real, give me the faith" It was something like that.
I've done this many times thru my seeking yrs. I think praying for spiritual guidance is great advice; in time we're led to the right path (me personally, I was led to non-Xtian path when I did that; I think we all get led to where we need to be).
Proof. But in order to have it you either have to suffer for it and wait a very long time for it. Belief is only relevant to those who are going through difficult times. The better times you have, the less necessity there is to rely on a higher power to help you work your problems.
So true. I struggle with finances because it makes me rely on God to help me out of tight spots. If I was rich I prob would have forgot him. thankfully he has blessed me financially this month and now I realize that he was the one who did it 4 me
That's nice to know. We all struggle with finances. I hope your situation improves.
Oh yeah just over the last 2 months we got our mortgage (2nd) paid off and was also able to get more financial aid for my daughter. 2 things i don't have to worry about. While that is proof for me, another person would not consider that proof to hi
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