Looking at both sides of your beliefs - have you tried it?
I came across this quote (in pic), and it resonated with me a lot - I try to do this, but in complete honesty, I don't manage it with as much as I'd like. I'm going to give it a go though. But I'd like to ask - atheists, religious alike - have any of you tried it? Or have you been warned not to look at the other side? I welcome all answers (but please do not answer 'on behalf' of the other side and why they may not have)
We all grow up having certain beliefs and customs and culture thrust upon us as we have no choice of family to be born into. We automatically see this side of life and we may or may not be willing and able to "question" it.
Some people do question other beliefs and customs as they grow, but not all of them do. I do agree that we should question everything.
Without our natural curiosity and drive to learn about new things, we cannot educate ourselves. Without education, the world remains stagnant. Only through education, questioning and examining both sides of an issue, can we grow and learn.
Looking at both sides of my beliefs is what contributed to my leaving the Christian faith. I was reared in a fundamentalist Christian home and church. I was continually taught that considering the arguments of atheists and other non-believers would cause unholy doubt to creep into my mind. So I avoided reading any written material by anyone other than Christians until my early twenties. That was partially true---it DID cause me to doubt many of Christianity's teachings but it was not "unholy!" In fact is was (and is) invigorating and gives a sense of freedom. I have not become some morality-lacking hedonist, but rather have left behind some indefensible beliefs and needless rules.
Examining both sides of an issue, whether religious or not, is key to a more complete understanding. Doubting your current beliefs is not some terrible thing---it shows that you really do care about the truth and are willing to have your beliefs challenged.
If what you believe cannot stand up to the arguments against it, then you have a duty to yourself to discover WHY that is. I decided that I didn't want to live my life trying to hold onto beliefs that couldn't be defended. I know this is the case for many current atheists. Contrary to the common sentiment around here, I don't hate Christians or think they're all stupid. Most of my friends are Christians.
I think that if someone truly cares about what is real---what is truth, that person will open their mind to other possible beliefs. If they choose to keep their current beliefs, fine. If they choose to leave some indefensible ones behind and adopt some new ones, then they are further along the road to an understanding of life.
If I may ask, which of Christ's beneficent teachings did you come to doubt?
I've come to realize that the Bible is believed to be the "Word of God" by faith alone. The evidence that it is just a human book is too much for me to ignore. If the God of the Bible is real, then he is most unjust and cruel, according to the Bible.
Robert..... I have to ask, were you truly saved by the blood of Jesus? Did you accept him as your savior?
Jeff, in the context of the Bible teaching of "salvation," yes. But Christianity only makes sense IF you accept by "faith" things that are unprovable and unreasonable. The conundrums are staggering. Why is Christianity the only true religion?
Christianity is the only religion with a holy spirit in which calls on you to be saved. It is the only one with a live deity. All other religions are a "way to live." Christianity is a way of life.
The existence of your "Holy Spirit" and "living Deity" are both unprovable, putting them in the same category with other unprovable religions.
Okay Robert. I just wanted to know that question I asked you. Not a debate. Have a great night my friend.
JThomp42 - Christianity is not the only religion with a "live" deity that saves people. Judaism, Islam, Sikkhism, and Baha;i Faith also have that feature.
I too was raised in a religious home and I always had this nagging suspicion, even as a very young girl, that what was being told to me was not really the whole truth. I was not the type of person that could just accept something as truth because others believed it to be so. This is true for religion and all other things in life. I pride myself very much on exploring all sides of a story before reaching a conclusion - and I try very hard to keep an open mind as I know my experience will differ from others and vice versa.
It's the exploration of beliefs and ideas that create well-rounded human beings. This ability to explore and think critically allows us to live our own lives authentically, not according to tradition or programming. Some traditions I've held onto, but others I've outgrown - and that's as it should be. I truly believe that living a rewarding life requires the freedom to explore ideas.
One of the biggest turnoffs to me about religion was how it was pushed on people to not question - to "fear" God, yet love him etc. It wasn't honest. Why should a God who is powerful and omnipotent get mad if you use the brain "he" gave you? It never made sense to me and reinforced to me the notion that God as a deity, is a man made construct - not the other way around.
I have definitely tried it - I'm doing it now!
Regarding fear - I read a hub somewhere here - I can't find it - but it says if you accept the Christian God, you're rejecting other gods, and how do you know you won't wind up in their hell as a result?
The quote in that picture is RIGHT ON!!! I was in a cult, and one major factor is that they don't want their followers to know what's going on. They like them ignorant, and they strongly discourage asking deep questions. Any organization that thrives on ignorance is one to be automatically avoided!
Anyone can threaten you with the eternal wrath of a cosmic deity - but if they can't help you in the here-and-now, there's no reason for you to believe them. It's a form of mind control, pure and simple.
Doing my upbringing as a Christian I attempted to do that but it was not until I went through the metamorphosis of the "new birth" that I began to look objectively at all things. Objective observing, participating and reasoning is the only way one can ever become wise so I do it rather well, but not as completely as I would like.
In studying religious and atheists concepts I've found they both have valid points necessary to determine truth. For the most parts, since my new birth before I accept a concept I seek all opposing views and integrate those necessary to substantiate either side. It is quite difficult when one belongs to anything but once one accepts living independent of belonging it becomes much easier.
Hey JL, I think what people fail to realize is that Christianity is not a so called choice. If you are called by the holy spirit it is up to you to deny the death of Christ and what he has done for us all. Saying that, I think if one is truly "saved" by God's grace there will be no walking away from the truth. One's who have really known Jesus Christ would never turn their backs on him.
And there, folks, is the "catch-all" escape hatch for Christianity's decline: If someone were TRULY saved, they would never leave the faith. This is a fine example of the "No True Scotsman" logical fallacy: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsm
Robert... Your links mean nothing if you truly have not had a relationship with Christ. I stand by my answer 100%.
You may stand by your answer, but it's still a clear logical fallacy. The link I posted simply explains what the fallacy is. And if ever a person was born again, I was. You have no basis on which to say that I have never experienced it.
The devil is a liar. He gets his grip on many!
And your God created the Devil/liar. You do not know Jesus as he supposedly died 2,000 years ago. What you "know" is garbled myths, legends and superstitions. If these are real to you, so be it. But again, if you look at both sides, you will see.
Austin..... I apologize but I do not believe anyone has asked for your opinion whatsoever. But you said your God created the devil and the liar? Sounds like you do believe in God since he made you as well. No need for a response.
If you are going to jump in the fire JT, you really need to be able to take the heat. This is not your question. I don't have a "God", that's why I said "YOUR God" created Satan. This is what YOU believe it seems.
I will AGAIN be the bigger person and realize this is just the way you behave on this site. Too bad some are so consumed with ego. In the future I choose not to interact with you and your nasty attitude that you claim others have. One word "DENIAL!"
Btw, didn't Judas DENY Jesus? (In the bible).
Jeff, as you well know, Austinstar is not representative of all atheists. We all vary in knowledge and experience.
Yep, atheists are as individual as Christians and everyone else is. But JT's point also has another flaw. Christianity IS a choice. All of the religions are personal choices. Hindus are not born Christians for instance. But they can choose it or not.
JT,When one is called out from the world by the holy spirit they leaves their attachment to Christianity or any other religion behind per Mat. 28:19-20, Mat. 19:29 & John 3:8. anyone not doing it is not saved, they only believe they are saved.
JT thanks for yr answer. However, one does not need to leave the faith to educate oneself on the other side of it. I'm not suggesting that one should leave - I'm asking if you've looked at the other side with a open mind. Thanks for answering tho
I have explored both sides so throughly until I call myself an "Atheist-Christian" and it's being a oxymoron.
This is a brilliant and important concept you've brought up.
There are too many in positions of power who want people to go to sleep and to be polarized along critical lines of belief. They like to distort the meanings of words.
"Conspiracy" acts to deflect attention, because no one wants to be associated with insanity. But looking up the definition of conspiracy dispels this errant notion. American war is now a "peacekeeping action." Orwell's Big Brother would approve.
Discomfort should be embraced. So should change. Beliefs should be held lightly and temporarily, while moving on the road toward Truth.
I might add: Don't be so one dimensional as to think that there are only 2 sides. There may be an infinite number of sides.
My views of Christianity have changed a thousand times or more. I'm not sure I'm a Christian anymore. I think the only true religion can be described by only one word -- Love. And this "Love" bears defining. It excludes any self-concern. It never keeps score. It is unconditional compassion for others as if they were ourselves. It is wishing for others everything that they desire.
"My views of Christianity have changed a thousand times or more. I'm not sure I'm a Christian anymore." This is PROFOUND! Pastor Howard Storm used to be an angry atheist, until he learned through his NDE that the only true religion is Love.
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