God we can understand

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This topic contains 57 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #28055

    Ivy
    Participant

    It has been suggested to me multiple times to open my own post on the subject. So that’s the only reason I’m starting this discussion. I started off as a Christian. Then I became an atheist, or at least I thought I did. And now I don’t classify myself as anything. I don’t want to label myself. If you choose to label me something that’s on you and I have nothing to do with it.

    There are too many things that have led me back to God. Most of them are too personal to share. But I will say that I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. Thinking about the whole atheist argument.

    Back in the day on think atheist, Challenging thoughts and ideas was welcome and OK. That’s the only reason I’m still on this forum. Is to challenge my own ideas. And I guess to ask questions but I’m not really asking for individual peoples opinions. I’m challenging concepts to see if the responses hold any weight. So far they don’t. There are many questions I have asked that have never been answered sincerely. So I guess where I am at now is that people believe what they want to believe. Everyone is biased. No one is completely logical, and no one honestly knows what the fuck they’re talking about anyway. I don’t think anything I could ever say will change anybody’s mind.

    But I do think God exists. I know he does. But the only evidence I could ever tell anyone is the stories in my life. That’s all humans do is tell each other stories. Oral tradition is one of the foundations of our evolution. The story of how God has intervened in peoples lives is all over the place. We either see it or we don’t.

    I don’t know what else to say

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Ivy.
    #28057

    Great, thanks for posting. Now we a better understanding of where you are coming from. I get what you are saying. But let me start in my usual manner!!

    When you say But I do think God exists. I know he does would that be better phrased like this; But I do think God exists. I believe he does. That would make more sense to us as it is a statement of belief and not one of knowledge. Do you think that is reasonable?

    #28059

    Ivy
    Participant

    You can reword it however you want. You know, and atheist I know once told me years ago that, “God is very real to the people who believe in him.” I think that’s really true. Because even when I tried to become an atheist I never really was one. I cannot fathom not believing in God. Probably to the same degree that you cannot fathom believing in him.

    #28060

    Strega
    Moderator

    Some people have a mental disability that causes them to hear voices.  Some of those people are aware that there is a difference between the internal and external voices, and some are not.  Are the voices real?  Impossible to say for certain, either way.  There is a wonderful TED talk by a woman who has ‘trained’ her ‘voices’ to help with remembering her shopping list, or other daily activities.  She actually functions excellently with their assistance.  For her, not only are the voices real, they add quality to her life.

    If your belief in a personal god is helping you through your life, I have no problem with that – I don’t think any of us would.  Where there is a problem, is if you decide I, or others here, must also believe in your version of a god. Or any version of a god.  I sincerely believe you when you indicate that your quality of life is better as a result of your personal god interaction.  That’s terrific. It’s just not translatable to others who do not believe in a god, personal or otherwise.

    In the very same way, the TED talker’s voices are of no help to those who cannot hear them, ie anyone but herself.

    Your conviction that atheists decide not to believe despite apparent evidence, is where we appear to diverge.  I am happy, seriously, that your belief sustains you.  I’m incapable of belief like yours, and need harder evidence for my brain to accept things as facts.  I am, however, also happy with the way I am.  As long as your technique for living doesn’t impose itself on me, we are all good.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Strega.
    #28062

    “God is very real to the people who believe in him.”

    One cannot try to become an atheist. As I mentioned earlier you cannot decide to not believe something that you currently believe. This is true of all beliefs. Unbelief only comes from investigating the doubts we get about our beliefs. But at no point do we make a decision to no longer believe it. We just no longer do because we see no justification to continue holding that belief. I have never convinced anyone that they were mistaken in their belief. That is something they do for themselves when they reason through what they actually say they believe in their own time. I am not interested in “taking away” their beliefs. That is impossible to do and really I just don’t care what people believe. Unless they want me to believe the same thing or want to integrate their beliefs into the laws of the land and into its education system, wherever that land may be.

    As an atheist I am unable but not unwilling to believe in any god that I am told about. People of all faiths do call to me. They have done so for years as they try to fill what theists call the “spiritual vacuum” left behind by the lingering and putrid death of Catholicism. I always welcome them into my house. I know they often “use me” just so they can point out ” a real live atheist” to the junior recruits. I don’t mind, I don’t feel dirty afterwards! But I have helped over one hundred of them get free of their beliefs. They are all atheists now. None of them could image their lives without “God’s presence” in it. Their cult leaders always tell me that the ones who left “were never real Christians in the first place”. Even the few that were believers for over 30 years!

    So I know what religious belief looks like. I see what it does to people. Personally I find it sad but I will and do support everyone’s right to believe in any version of any any god. I actively campaign for the rights of Evangelicals and Ahmadi Muslims to prevent them being discriminated against. I have put up “escapees” of various cults in my home over the years and helped ex-Muslims to find sanctuary in Canada. When I am not working I am a “full time atheist”.

    But in all that time I still have little or no idea what anyone means when they talk of God. Many of the theists that I engage with have presupposed that God exists (as Dr. Bob famously admitted to back on TA). This is why they think atheists are in denial of what seems obvious (and therefore “real”) to them. But when pressed to describe their God they go off in tangents of theological gymnastics that makes any attempted definition incoherent. They then get frustrated because this raises doubts in their minds and then they either get angry at me or retreat to get their doubts removed by engaging in “group polarization” sessions or “prayer meetings” as they call them. It is not that I cannot fathom believing in “Him” or any other god. I am unable to believe in something that I do not have any reason to believe exists.

    I can understand what people mean when they talk of a “creative force” that brought the Universe into existence and sat back to watch what would unfold. If that is what people assert that god is then I can accept that. It is the god of Spinoza or basically the God of Deism. But when people tell me they know a personal god exists who is a creator of universes and all that lies within, that they can communicate with, that intercedes to change His plans for them when they pray and that they are to become immortals in another life and spend eternity  with this God because they believed in Him then I am forced to say “Hang on a minute, how do you know all this??” If that is what you mean then no, I cannot fathom believing in that concept. Especially with no evidence to support it that I can see. Personal testament is not evidence for such a God. I want the theist to give me something , walk away from it and leave me to scrutinize it for myself. If I think it justifies accepting the premise “God exists” then I just won’t believe in God but I too will “know” that this god exists. I won’t need faith. I do not think faith is a reliable way of discovering the truth of any proposition. The evidence should speak for itself.

     

    #28064

    Ivy
    Participant

    It is amazing to me how people of all different backgrounds and origins can hold so many radically different beliefs…And all think  that they are right.

    #28066

    Unseen
    Participant

    You can reword it however you want. You know, and atheist I know once told me years ago that, “God is very real to the people who believe in him.” I think that’s really true. Because even when I tried to become an atheist I never really was one. I cannot fathom not believing in God. Probably to the same degree that you cannot fathom believing in him.

    Have you looked into the people who believe the earth is flat? Some of them sincerely believe it.

    I did my master’s thesis on the topic Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty. That was so many decades ago that I wouldn’t dare to present it much less defend it (LOL), but the bottom line is that being certain has no probative value.

    It is amazing to me how people of all different backgrounds and origins can hold so many radically different beliefs…And all think that they are right.

    And probably almost all of them are. Or are you an exception?

    #28067

    Davis
    Participant

    but the bottom line is that being certain has no probative value.

    A really fascinating topic. Watch how little certainty means as we go up the ladder of diminishing efficacy in convincing or assuring others:

    1. I’m certain Camden market is open every day

    2. I’m certain John was born in London

    3. I’m certain Sarah’s favourite colour is blue

    4. I’m certain John and Sarah will get along

    5. I’m certain they will accept our proposal

    6. I’m certain the democrats will win the Senate

    7. I’m certain there is no better political system than democracy

    8. I’m certain biblical Jesus lived where and when it is written so.

    9. I’m certain one of us must win the lottery

    10. I’m certain alien life exists within 1000 light years of Earth

    11. I’m certain there isn’t always a natural explanation for everything that happens

    12. I’m certain that some ninjas have the ability to jump over buildings as though they are floating.

    13. I’m certain this guru can go 5 hours without breathing.

    14. I’m certain there are aliens living amongst us

    15. I’m certain my past life was as a taranchula

    16. I’m certain the Easter bunny delivers chocolates to non believers

    17. I’m certain the God Ganesh exists and beings joy to the world.

    18. I’m certain my personal relationship with my invisible bearded friend in the sky I real and you’ll burn baby burn if you doubt this.

     

    #28068

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    As atheists, we like to be logical, and it bothers us that the traditional Christian view of God is riddled with contradictions.  For example, the problem of evil.

    However, puny humans couldn’t really understand God, and maybe there are other ways for God to be that don’t contain contradictions.  I don’t think it is contradictory if God were to reward people who come through in difficult circumstances, while retaining their moral compass.

    Maybe God is so great that It can accommodate some contradictions, however, some of these would lead to contradictions later on, and we don’t see this in reality.

    #28069

    _Robert_
    Participant

    However, puny humans couldn’t really understand God…

    Seems you are not an atheist at all. Perhaps you oscillate between belief and non belief every millisecond? Perhaps the status of your belief is affected by the observer?

    #28070

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Perhaps you oscillate between belief and non belief every millisecond?

    I’m just putting my mind into another person’s point of view.  Also, I know I don’t know everything.

    #28071

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There are many questions I have asked that have never been answered sincerely.

    What questions do you have?

    #28072

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Perhaps you oscillate between belief and non belief every millisecond?

    I’m just putting my mind into another person’s point of view. Also, I know I don’t know everything.

    Ok, got it. Empathy. When I try to empathize I usually get it wrong, LOL.

    #28073

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Or perspective taking.

    #28074

    Unseen
    Participant

    Faith has a surface resemblance to certainty, but the terms are hardly identical.

    Certainty expresses a degree of confidence that something is the case. This is revealed because one can say things like “I’m fairly certain I lost my cell phone while out grocery shopping” or “I feel certain I mailed that bill, but it’s possible I only think I did.” Notice that none of that is nonsense, logical, grammatical, or otherwise.

    Not so with faith statements.

    Consider statements like “I have a high degree of faith that the President’s policies are wise” or “My faith in God is quite a bit higher than 50%.”

    Certainty, clearly, is subject to qualification without devolving into nonsense. Not so with faith. It’s the nature of faith that it is 100%, a total commitment. Certainty can recognize facts and qualifications, faith cannot because “kind of faithful” isn’t real faith.

    Ivy?

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
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