My feelings about myself are not a belief, they are real.
How can you prove that anything is real? This could all be a dream.
How can you prove that anything is real? This could all be a dream.
Thats what the Hindu's believe, this is all a dream
of Vishnu, their main deity. The Hindu religion is
pretty cool, its definitely not boring.
That's a yes then.
No. It really is an "ask again when I'm done." Because by then it may be clear.
The trouble is that I'm working and can't do somethign important like finishing my post :)
Ok, let's keep going:
1) Most religious people, and some agnostics, reduce everything realting to god or religion to faith. That's their privilege, but there are limits. See what I said about there being no reason to suppose any kind fo deity exists. Those are reasons, clearly satted. They are not faith. Yet whenever I state them someone invariably says "But it takes as much faith to say there is no god as to believe in God."
Can you see how patronizing and insulting that is? The assumption and implication that reason and judgment do not even enter into the discussion, and anything related to it is faith, whether there is any faith involved or not.
Nareed, please don't finish until we revisit this first point. Can you not see how patronizing and insulting it is to say that a true act of faith does not require reason and judgement?!?
Reason and judgement are essential to making a decision on what to believe or not to believe. An act of faith is also decided on evidence. These choices we make as human beings to believe in God or not are fundamental to our worldview and can change our life's perspective if they are handled with the seriousness that they deserve. You make it sound like the decision to believe in God is like taking a leap of faith done on a whim and motivated by nothing other than wishful thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First lets admit that faith is an essental element in our lives as human beings. We act all the time on things we believe to be true because of lots of different types of evidence that we all accept as normal, except when it comes to belief in God. Let's take a few examples. I have faith that the car approaching will stop at the red light. I reason that I have seen this happen thousands of times and even though I do not know the person driving or if his brakes work I make the judgement that there is reason to believe he will stop. I believe that atoms and sub-atomic particles exist. I am fascinated about what science has to tell us about how things we view as solid are held together. I will never see an atom or any proof it exisits but there are some really smart people who tell me they have seen them many times or proof it exists. I use my reason and judgement and trust them, and I dare say we all would do the same. Here are two examples of evidence based on historical actions and expert wittness that can lead to a reasonable judgement to believe in something. Why would anyone say that there is not evidence in history or evidence found in literally millions of people some of whom we call saints and have no reason to doubt them, who have experienced God and believe in him? Granted you might not see this this evidence or be able to put it under a microscope but evidence of the types above is a valid basis for an act of faith. To me it heightens the insult you levy against not hundreds or thousands, but billions of people, many of whom are much smarter than you and I will ever be, who looking at the evidence and using reason and judgement made the act of faith to believe in God.
I mentioned that this type of evidence is not physical. However, what about the physical evidence that is all around you? My belief system gives me an answer as to why and how it all exists. It would seem to me that any belief system would want to wrestle with this important question that confronts us at every moment. Where did this stuff come from and why is it here; and a corollary to that question, where did I come from and why am I here? An atheist might be able to answer the why by saying there is no reason and no purpose to existence, but how do you answer the where did it come from question? I've heard it said, just give science time and it will figure it out. Where is the evidence for that act of faith? That seems like a leap of faith to me and wishful thinking when we are still trying to figure out the mysteries of our amazing planet and our own bodies. It turns out that the physcial world around us can be another piece of evidence in favor of beliving in a god and makes not beliving in God seems like a crapshoot.
I'm not done.
I couldn't agree more with you that your feelings are real. I respect those feelings and so should everyone else, you feel them deeply. I believe another evidence for God then could be our feelings. In our guts when we are honest we long for someting better. We demand something more from ourselves and from our world. This is why it seems to make intuitive sense to us that there should be something more after we die. As you've stated every culture that has ever existed has felt a need to come up with some type of religious expression. I think this is because we yearn for something more and we have a natural distaste for the idea that this is all there is. This would seem strange as we would have no experience or evidence of something perfect yet we strive after perfection and nothing seems to be able to stop us for yearning for something more from this life and making ourselves better. Where does this innate desire come from, my guess is God.
I'm sorry to go way too long on this post but I was so sick and tired of people saying that belief in God is like believing in santa or fairies or spaghetti monsters. I'm also obviously not saying there is not evidence to not believe in God. I just want to stop you from keep going on and on until you fairly deal with the naive assertion that there is no evidence or reason behind a decision to believe in God. I think Face or someone else said a more important question might be why we do or don't believe in God, maybe that would be better than outright dismissing one choice as stupid. Again can you not see how insulting and patronizing that is?
First lets admit that faith is an essental element in our lives as human beings.
To quote the late Ronald Reagan: "There you go again." Faith is not essential in my life.
I have faith that the car approaching will stop at the red light. I reason that I have seen this happen thousands of times and even though I do not know the person driving or if his brakes work I make the judgement that there is reason to believe he will stop.
That's not faith. That's a reasonable assumption based on past experience and common knowledge of people and traffic laws. But I'll pass along some advice: If you're ever in Mexico, you'll be taking your life in your hands if you assume the car wills top at the red light when you want to cross the street.
I will never see an atom or any proof it exisits
You haven't looked, then. I saw evidence of atoms in high school chemistry class. And you can find photograph of atoms on the web by just googling. Try "physics buzz first detailed photos of atoms."
Why would anyone say that there is not evidence in history or evidence found in literally millions of people some of whom we call saints and have no reason to doubt them, who have experienced God and believe in him?
You don't suppose the Aztecs, say, had similar "evidence" for their blood-thirsty gods? Should I offer myself, then, to be sacrificed at the Teotihucan Citadel? Or, worse yet, forcibly sacrifice a kind but troublesome priest with an obsidian knife, in the traditional fashion?
No, that would be ridiculous. But somehow for the same reason it would be sane for me to embrace the Biblical God and whatever strictures and commandments were arbitrarily placed there by who knows what people?
Do think it's possible that there is or was some kind of intelligence (for lack of a better word) that helped create the universe we see? For the record, I wholly reject religion and it's tenents as a man made and self serving artifice. However the universe is so utterly amazing that I wouldn't rule out the possibility that something as impossible as an intelligence can exist.
[edit - excessive use of the word wholly, -1 point]
Nareed, do you think your feelings about religion would be the same if it weren't for the transsexual circumstance?
I hope so.
However the universe is so utterly amazing that I wouldn't rule out the possibility that something as impossible as an intelligence can exist.
I can see the point, but the argument just makes the problem more difficult.
A mind is more complex than its creations. If the universe is too complex to exist without a creator,then the creator is too complex to exist without itself having been created, and so on and so on forever. To paraphrase Sagan quoting an anonymous source "It's creators all the way up."
I'm sorry to go way too long on this post but I was so sick and tired of people saying that belief in God is like believing in santa or fairies or spaghetti monsters.
This is a statement of faith. Specifically, you do not believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do you acknowledge that there is no evidence upon which you can rationally find a distinction between the Genesis story and the story that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster and that it was He who created all that we see and all that we feel?
Presumably you don't readily admit that. But upon what evidence, reason or judgment do you affirm God but deny the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Both are acts of faith -- how do you draw the line?