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MathExtremist
MathExtremist
Joined: Aug 31, 2010
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December 9th, 2011 at 4:52:50 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

What I am trying to say is that I cannot envision believing one thing very strongly and doing another. ... To be a moral, loving, and selfless person when a persistent thought is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not, life has no purpose, I and all around me is random accidents, death and nothingness await us all, blah, blah would be tough if not impossible.


I think you're projecting the fact that you have a strongly-held belief system onto everyone and assuming that everyone else's beliefs, whatever they are, must also be strongly-held. I think the reality is much more nuanced; it seems likely that most people simply don't care nearly as much as you do, regardless of whether they believe in God. I know lots of people of varying degrees of faith (or dismissal thereof), and I don't know anyone who experiences a "persistent thought [that] is constantly bearing down in my head that it ultimately doesn't matter if you are good or not." Most people go through their day not caring about whether they're good or not, or even whether it matters whether they're good or not. They're too busy dealing with irate clients, watching the stock market gyrate, trying to pick up the cute girl at the other end of the bar, or placing the 6 and 8 for 12 each. In other words, they're living their lives without constantly introspecting on them.

What I don't really understand is why you're having trouble with the idea that people can exhibit good behavior irrespective of their beliefs in divinity. The evidence that people do good deeds is everywhere, in every culture, even those without strong beliefs in your particular theology. On the other hand, if you're re-defining what it means to do good, such that only those who share your particular brand of faith can do "good" (or even be good), then you're just talking past everyone. I'm generally a good person, I do far more good deeds than bad ones, but I'm not particularly religious and I definitely don't share your particular theology. Yet I maintain that there is no respectable theology under which I or my behavior should be classified as "evil" or "bad".
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
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December 9th, 2011 at 5:39:53 PM permalink
FrG is starting to remind me of a guy I knew
20 years ago who collected old bottles. His
favorite thing was to go on somebodies farm
and probe around till he found where the
old outhouse used to be a hundred years ago.
Then he'd dig for treasure. People often threw
their old bottles into the outhouse hole. He
loved his hobby so much he couldn't understand
why everybody wasn't collecting bottles like
him. It made him happy as a clam, its all he
talked about. He called it 'The Hobby' and was
always trying to get people interested in it so
they could be as happy as him.

FrG can't seem to comprehend how anybody
could be happy or get along without believing
exactly as he does. Maybe he should try collecting
old bottles, it might give him perspective..
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
FrGamble
FrGamble
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
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December 9th, 2011 at 7:57:53 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

So you're only good because you have to be, thats what
you're saying. What so honorable and respectable about that.
I much more respect someone who is good and moral because
he chooses to be of his own accord. And are you really that shallow
and vacuous that you couldn't have a purpose to your life outside
the church? Thats pretty pitiful, padre. It sounds like you cling to
your religion like its a life preserver and you'd drown without
it.



I'm having a hard time understanding how you reach some of your conclusions about me and my motivation for doing good, but I guess it is fair to say I'm having a hard time understanding your motivation too. I don't see how it follows that because I choose to believe in God that I am forced to be good, somedays I wish that was the case for me and for some of my fellow priests. I've always tried to be good and moral even before I took my faith seriously, but for the life of me I couldn't imagine myself either as not good or not believing in God.

I'm sorry you see it as pitiful or shallow but you are correct I cannot see myself with any other purpose outside my faith, Church, or the one who founded both. Don't get me wrong though I obviously like to do other things, even visit a casino on occasion, but there is no doubt I feel the purpose of my life is to cling to God and throw a few life preservers out to others who feel like they are drowning.
FrGamble
FrGamble
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
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December 9th, 2011 at 8:33:11 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist


What I don't really understand is why you're having trouble with the idea that people can exhibit good behavior irrespective of their beliefs in divinity. The evidence that people do good deeds is everywhere, in every culture, even those without strong beliefs in your particular theology. On the other hand, if you're re-defining what it means to do good, such that only those who share your particular brand of faith can do "good" (or even be good), then you're just talking past everyone. I'm generally a good person, I do far more good deeds than bad ones, but I'm not particularly religious and I definitely don't share your particular theology. Yet I maintain that there is no respectable theology under which I or my behavior should be classified as "evil" or "bad".



Face mentioned something similar and I do need to be very clear that I do see that atheism (or any other belief on the spectrum of relgious faith) and goodness are not mutually exclusive. There are obviously many good, moral, and smart people on this forum and around the world that do not believe in God or have a very different theological understanding than I do.

I think it is becoming clear to me that when discussing atheism I cannot look at it as the polar opposite of my view of God. It doesn't seem to reach the same level of passion and conviction that my faith in God does. As someone mentioned something about hobbies, athesim seems like it fits more as something someone discovers that they think has value so they put it on the shelf and take it down every once and a while to look at it or talk about it if someone asks why is that thing valuable to you. Gambling is a hobby for me. Let me assure you my faith in God, my Catholicism, is NOT a hobby. It is everything to me, it is my life! Let me close with a little prayer that says what I am trying to say about my spirituality:

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
- Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ
zippyboy
zippyboy
Joined: Jan 19, 2011
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December 9th, 2011 at 8:43:20 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I much more respect someone who is good and moral because
he chooses to be of his own accord.


Yep, that's called Integrity. And not everyone has it.
"Poker sure is an easy game to beat if you have the roll to keep rebuying."
rxwine
rxwine
Joined: Feb 28, 2010
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December 10th, 2011 at 12:44:59 AM permalink
Billboard campaign hopes to dispel atheist stereotypes


Interesting stat from the article:

Quote:

From 1990 to 2008, the number of adults in the U.S. who identified as having no religion increased from 14 million to 34 million, according to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, which questioned about 54,000 adults in the continental U.S.

The national survey by researchers at Trinity College in Connecticut tracks adult Americans’ identification with religion.



I assume they are extrapolating the millions from sample size, but not sure why they didn't use a percentage increase. Could be author misinterpretation.
Everything is in high definition today except Bigfoot and UFOs
HotBlonde
HotBlonde
Joined: Feb 8, 2011
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December 10th, 2011 at 10:08:51 AM permalink
Well I was happy to see this blog up and eager to start reading through the comments. I recently got in an accident and have been recovering. I am on a pain killer and muscle relaxer. Due to that it's hard for my mind to concentrate and follow all these comments. I started reading through these a couple days ago but my brain is too wobbly at the time.

Anyway, since I have had a lot of down time, I have been watching a lot of Hulu. I literally just started watching a documentary on here called "Lord Save Us From Your Followers" (2010). I'm going to watch it now. If anyone else is interested in watching it too along with me go to Hulu.com and you can find it there to watch free of charge.
OFFICIALLY and justifiably reclaimed my title as SuperHotBlonde!
FrGamble
FrGamble
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
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December 10th, 2011 at 12:53:57 PM permalink
Good recommendation HotBlonde. I never had even heard of the movie before but I had a little time today and I watched it. I really liked it. I have to admit I cried a couple of times, sometimes because of the beauty of what was going on and sometimes because it reminded me of how some Christians and even myself at times have acted. I liked his bumpersticker suit and it reminded me that everything we do on this forum is like exchanging long and not so funny bumperstickers. We should have a WoV religion sit down someplace sometime and a lot more would get accomplished.

Some other brief observations about the movie:
I thought it was very interesting the mixed reviews the people on the street gave when asked to describe Christians, some good some very bad. Then when the same people were asked to describe Jesus it was 100% positive. That was sad and it makes sense that many see Christians as hypocrites. Ironically if we were more Christian we would be more effective and more respected. The key to evangelization is to be more Christ like not less.

I loved the quote from Bono when he said that every religion and ideology agrees..."God is with the vulnerable and the poor..." Bono goes on to poetically describe instances where we know God is present and he ends by saying, "God is with us if we are with them [the vulnerable and the poor]."

Hope your recovery goes well and thanks again for the movie suggestion.
EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
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December 10th, 2011 at 1:07:02 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

We should have a WoV religion sit down someplace sometime and a lot more would get accomplished.



'Accomplished'? Thats an odd choice of words. Whats there to
accomplish? If you're talking about converting people to your
way of thinking, you have the wrong crowd. Most atheists have
moved past organized religion, they aren't moving towards it.
They've already thought out their positions, they aren't wandering
around looking for guidence. You feel sorry for us because you
think we missed the boat, when in actuality many of us feel sorry
for you because you're still caught in the trap that religion so
cleverly sets for the unsuspecting.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Mosca
Mosca
Joined: Dec 14, 2009
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December 10th, 2011 at 1:08:01 PM permalink
"Why is the gospel of love dividing America?"

Damn good question.
NO KILL I

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