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Author Topic: Believing whilst knowing He doesn't exist
Szymon
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Sure, I cannot know that He doesnt exist. But do any of you "decided" to believe in God even though you are pretty sure He doesnt exist? I was baptised as a baby and I'm a Catholic. I have really hard time trying to believe that anything supernatural EVER happend, even to Jesus Christ and to anyone around Him. I believe in all the things Jesus Christ said about love to other people. Long story short, I think I would be a very good Christian, if I could belive in any of those supernatural deeds that have ever happend. Is it possible to belive, for you, even though you are quite sure it isn't true?
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Kwea
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Be a good person. The rest will take care of itself.
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Aris Katsaris
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I'm sure there are ways to believe falsehoods (avoiding to study counterarguments well enough, training yourself to instinctive loathe all who attempt to change your mind), but I doubt there's a way to *honestly* believe falsehoods. You might trade honesty for belief, but would you then truly be the person you seek to be?

I suggest you not take that path. Take joy in what's real instead.

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Szymon
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So believers do really think it all happend? Take the words of Gospel literally?
I wondered- what was Jesus's DNA? He was human, so it must have been like everybody else's; he must have had His Father's DNA, does it mean that the part of DNA given him by Archangel Gabriel was actually God's? Had he been His Son literally, this is what we should presume. For me, it is much more probable, that Jesus called Himself Son of God, because of all the thoughts that he had, a mission he wanted to accomplish, a quest, but was a man like everyone else, and His father was most probably Joseph. Thus, Mary couldnt have been a virgin. Havent the early christians taken this all too seriously? It was needed so that simple people of ancient times would understand. Why cant we just cast away all this supernatural disguise and learn what we are really meant to learn. I would be a devoted Jesus's follower then [Smile]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
"So believers do really think it all happened?"
I'm sure some do, while others just believe in belief.

quote:
He was human, so it must have been like everybody else's; he must have had His Father's DNA
Must he? I don't find that remotely necessary even within the context of Christianity. Christianity doesn't call "God the Father" to be the Son's "gene-donor". Most Christians believe the Father to have birthed the Son even before there was a universe (or DNA).

quote:
For me, it is much more probable, that Jesus called Himself Son of God, because of all the thoughts that he had, a mission he wanted to accomplish, a quest,
So you assign greater probability to the belief that:
(1) Jesus called himself 'Son of God', but he merely meant he was on a mission from God, what would typically be called 'prophet' or 'messiah' instead.

I find your suggestion much less probable than all three of the other possibilities:
(2) Jesus never called himself God of Son at all, the gospel-writers misreported him.
(3) Jesus really believed himself to be literally the Son of God
(4) Jesus didn't believe he was the Son of God, but wanted to deceive people.

Possibility (2) just requires that his message got corrupted, perhaps by the influence of Greeks and Romans who were too accustomed to having their heroes be the offspring of deities.
Possibility (3) just requires for Jesus to be delusional.
Possibility (4) requires him to be a fraudster.

Your preferred possibility requires him to misuse a term in a way that would get him stoned when he could have used the better word "prophet" instead. I find that less likely.

quote:
Havent the early christians taken this all too seriously?
I'm sure they had no knowledge of the existence of DNA. Since your objection seems to derive solely from that, I don't think you ought criticize them on that front...

quote:
Why cant we just cast away all this supernatural disguise and learn what we are really meant to learn. I would be a devoted Jesus's follower then
Meant? Meant by whom? By Jesus or by you? Because Jesus is recorded in the gospels as teaching about prayer, and about faith to God, and about awaiting God's coming -- the supernatural stuff wasn't a disguise to *him*, unless you are calling him (or the gospel writers) a fraud. The supernatural stuff wasn't peripheral, they were at the core.

You don't seem to want to follow him, you seem to want to lead him; strip away anything you don't like, emphasize the stuff you do like, perhaps make a few additions of your own, then make Christians follow your version, not Jesus' version.

In what way would you be following him then?

If you only follow him by first telling him where to go, he wouldn't be your guide, but just your taxi-driver.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
... But do any of you "decided" to believe in God even though you are pretty sure He doesnt exist? ...

I'm not sure what the point would be. Christianity separated from all the supernatural bits does have a few good ideas here and there. But there doesn't seem to be a need to believe in the Christian god to practice those good ideas, so I'm not sure what the point would be.
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kmbboots
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Szymon, a belief in a literal reading of Scripture is not necessary to be a good Christian. Particularly, a good Catholic. I would say that it isn't even usual. You can believe in God without believing in the "supernatural" - whatever that means. Jesus was not merely the son of God in a "having half of God's DNA" kind of way but was God Himself - God Incarnate. Concepts that we only clumsily approach with language. So, yes it is very possible but you have to be prepared for it to be more complex, richer and deeper than you imagine. If you are serious, I would suggest that you start reading this guy's stuff. http://www.jackshea.org/

You should also find a good parish. Where are you?

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
You can believe in God without believing in the "supernatural" - whatever that means
Since God is included in the "supernatural", I'm pretty sure that you can't.

A literal reading is not required for every single passage of scripture, but there's no *honest* reading (as in thinking that this is what truly what God would have wanted you to understand from the text) that completely removes the supernatural element altogether.

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kmbboots
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What do you mean by "supernatural"?
Edit: In this context I am assuming that, by "supernatural", Szymon was talking about things that seem "magic" or otherwise contrary to our understanding of nature rather than bigger or beyond nature which I would agree would include God. Maybe metaphysical would be better or metanatural would be better to talk about God than supernatural?

[ March 29, 2011, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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Speaking as a non-Christian, I am all about the discovery of God, as the journey which leads to understanding is different for each of us.

If you took a very wise 100 year old and asked them what the meaning of life is in a single sentence and then gave that sentence to a 15 year old, it would be nearly meaningless to the teen. Or to put it in a more simple way, "Life is a journey, not a destination."

I believe that the search for God is vital and necessary and those who treat their religion as a guide book to that search do well, and those who use their religion as a crutch to replace that search do very poorly.

Do you have to believe every single biblical word literally to be a good Christian? No. Find your own meaning.

Church is more about a community of like minded morality driven people. Find a good church and your journey will be one filled with helpful guides and kind people who will try and answer your questions.

Find a bad church and you will be instantly judged for even trying to ask questions.

I was raised Christian and have been in both schools of church.

Try the Episcopalians, they are very friendly and open but still have wonderful pomp and traditions.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
I believe that the search for God is vital and necessary
In "The Great Divorce" (which I greatly recommend) C.S. Lewis had a nasty description for the sort of person who cared about the question more than the answer. A certain sort of person would turn away from heaven just because there they would actually find their answers at last, and could no longer please themselves by endlessly, masochistically, wallowing in the unanswered questions.

A question is only important if having the correct answer is important. If questions about God are important, then it can only be because there do exist correct answers and wrong answers and those matter.

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Stone_Wolf_
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How dogmatic of you.

Let us assume you are correct (which is a stretch for me) and there is only one "true" answer to the question of God.

For the sake of argument, let us call this one true answer "Denver".

Now, even assuming that Denver and only Denver is true and blissful goodness and Chicago, LA or New York are all wrong wrong wrong, everyone who seeks to journey to Denver will start their journey from a different place in the world.

So each and every person will take a different road to get to Denver.

And each and every person must find their own road, even to the same destination.

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mr_porteiro_head
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I believe that belief is, much more than most people realize, a matter of will. We all choose, consciously or not, what we believe in.

That said, I think that saying you believe in something you know to be false ultimately a meaningless contradiction.

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kmbboots
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Did C.S. Lewis call them Catholics? Finding the "right" answers is, I think, almost always an illusion. The mysteries are called that for a reason; there are infinite layers of answer.
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Raymond Arnold
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I don't think Aris Katsaris' statement HAS to be true for everyone. I think there are people for whom religion is genuinely better than no religion. However, if the actual truth-value of the answer is irrelevant, then I don't see how it matters much what the question is.

quote:
The mysteries are called that for a reason; there are infinite layers of answer.
I do take issues with this particular statement. Two thousand years ago, "fire" was a mystery. So was the formation of the earth. So was the process by which life came to be. There were people who cared very deeply about the "mysterious" of the lack of answers. The fact that there are still questions we haven't answered says nothing about how many questions there are, or whether we should keep looking for actual answers.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
How dogmatic of you.
LOL, I think that's the exact thing that person said in "The Great Divorce", when the soul of his dead friend came to tell him that Heaven was real, God/Jesus were real, those were indeed the true answers, and he now knew it for certain, he was no longer in the need to inquire about the existence of God anymore, he *knew* it.

So yeah, I "dogmatically" believe truth is important. Which means that even as an atheist I'm better in tune with real actual Christians than you are.

quote:
And each and every person must find their own road, even to the same destination.
Perhaps. Or they can open a map. Or ask other people about how to reach Denver. Jesus said "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:". He didn't say "you need to find your own way", he said He was the way.

One thing is sure -- if people *only* care about finding a road but don't care about the destination, then they will find plenty of roads but they will never actually go anywhere. They'll be so pleased at being on the road, that they won't notice they aren't moving.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Let us assume you are correct (which is a stretch for me) and there is only one "true" answer to the question of God.

Unpack for me what exactly you think this means. You're heavily implying that there is more than one "true" answer to the God question. Assuming THAT is true, what does that actually mean?
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Shawshank
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To strip down Christianity into simply an ethical system is to ultimately miss the point of Christianity. Certainly ethics are of tremendous importance, but ultimately they are not the most important aspect of the Christian life.

And when you do that- I would say one ceases to be Christian.

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Raymond Arnold
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Disclaimer: I'm well aware that we're approaching this issue from vastly, vastly different worldviews. Quoting lines from Less Wrong isn't going to do me (or Aris Katsaris) any good.

I'm not asking anyone to accept the Less Wrong paradigm. But I am asking you (plural "you", basically anyone who believes the God question doesn't necessarily have a "factual" answer) to clarify:

1) What you mean by "God"
2) Why it matters whether God exists
3) How you can tell if your questions (or answers) about God are useful.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I don't think Aris Katsaris' statement HAS to be true for everyone. I think there are people for whom religion is genuinely better than no religion. However, if the actual truth-value of the answer is irrelevant, then I don't see how it matters much what the question is.

quote:
The mysteries are called that for a reason; there are infinite layers of answer.
I do take issues with this particular statement. Two thousand years ago, "fire" was a mystery. So was the formation of the earth. So was the process by which life came to be. There were people who cared very deeply about the "mysterious" of the lack of answers. The fact that there are still questions we haven't answered says nothing about how many questions there are, or whether we should keep looking for actual answers.
Do you think that we know everything there is to know about fire? And fire is way simpler than an infinite God. Of course we keep looking; we just aren't ever done looking.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Did C.S. Lewis call them Catholics?

LOL, what?

I didn't mean he called them names or something (I may have phrased the post wrongly), I just meant he portrayed them as turning away from heaven because for them the promise of actual definite answers was seen as a threat.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Do you think that we know everything there is to know about fire? And fire is way simpler than an infinite God. Of course we keep looking; we just aren't ever done looking.
God is not a thing to study, he's just a possible answer to other things. If you believe otherwise, please explain why.

We know more than enough about fire for my purposes. What exactly do we not know, and why do you care?

Related question: By what criteria do you distinguish a catholic from a non-catholic?

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Raymond Arnold
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@Szymon:

To answer your questions in any meaningful way, we need to know why it matters to you whether or not you are a Christian.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
So yeah, I "dogmatically" believe truth is important. Which means that even as an atheist I'm better in tune with real actual Christians than you are.
You are falsely assuming that I do not believe truth is important. And insultingly and completely presumptuously assuming you are more "in tune" with Christians then I.

I never said that the truth didn't matter. I said each person must find their own way to truth.

quote:
Unpack for me what exactly you think this means. You're heavily implying that there is more than one "true" answer to the God question. Assuming THAT is true, what does that actually mean?
Okay, for the sake of argument God is the world. You are searching for truth about God and study a pond's surface. You learn great truths about the surface of the water and apply them to your life. And as you are about to walk away from the pond, you realize that under the surface of the water, there are fish swimming in the depths of the pond. You study the whole waters this time and discover very true and moving things about the pond's water. Then you discover that the pond has a solid bottom made up of sand and rock and mud and plants and animals.

What you learned about the surface of the pond is true, but not the only truth.

If you believe in a God who is all powerful, who made us and everything in our reality, how can you possibly think that we could ever -fully- understand God with our limited brains in the 80 or so years we have?

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Raymond Arnold
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For clarity, let's dispense with metaphors for the time being. We're not talking about ponds, we're talking about God. For the conversation to be productive, I need to know:

1) What you mean by "God"
2) Why it matters whether God exists
3) How you can tell if your questions (or answers) about God are useful.

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advice for robots
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Re point #3: What do you mean by useful?
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Raymond Arnold
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Edit for clarity:

I leave it up to individuals how they determine what "useful" means. If they have a reason that they care whether God exists, they should also have a way to distinguish between methods of inquiry that produce answers they care about and ones that odn't.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Golly I thought I answered your first question so directly.

As for no metaphors, how exactly do you discuss a theoretical being such as God without a real life comparison? *Sigh* I'll try though.

1. My current theory is that God is everything. Babies, empty Coke cans, dog crap, your, me, the planet Uranus, etcetera ad nauseum. Matter is made up of energy, in a pattern, our brains are patterns of energy, the more complex the pattern of energy, the more energy in the pattern, the more interesting or intelligent the thing. Rocks are pretty simple, carrots are more complex, and rabbits even more, etc.

Now, take everything, the whole of all, that is a pretty complex pattern, with lots and lots of energy with it.

God = self aware everything.

Is God aware of us humans? Possible. We are, arguably, the only thinking life around (as far as we know). Possibly not. I'm not aware of my individual liver cells. They are a part of me, they live and die and I never know it, unless they all die, then I might figure it out, by dying myself.

2. There is too much order, too many rules for there not to be *something*. I mean, if there was any real chaos in the world, then matter would fly apart, gravity would not keep things together, dogs would like cats, the Vikings would win the Superbowl, it would be messy. Well, actually it would be nothing.

Without consistent and iron clad rules, there is no universe. To me, that speaks of a choice. The choice that something is better then nothing. That speaks to me of a chooser.

I don't look around me and see order upon order upon order and say, well this happened randomly. I see God. Is it important if we humans believe it's true? *shrug* Prolly not to God. Maybe to us if we are to find any kind of deeper understanding.

3. It is in our makeup to be curious about things, and to seek deeper and truer answers. If you truly truly believe you have found an aspect of God you can relate to, then you can take comfort from it, and you feel better connected to life.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
1. My current theory is that God is everything. Babies, empty Coke cans, dog crap, your, me, the planet Uranus, etcetera ad nauseum. Matter is made up of energy, in a pattern, our brains are patterns of energy, the more complex the pattern of energy, the more energy in the pattern, the more interesting or intelligent the thing. Rocks are pretty simple, carrots are more complex, and rabbits even more, etc.

God = self aware everything.

So essentially your question is: Is the universe self aware?

This is a question with a straightforward, factual answer. Either it is, or it isn't. I have no idea what the answer is. But it's not something that can be both true and untrue.

quote:
To me, that speaks of a choice. The choice that something is better then nothing.
That doesn't follow at all.

quote:
I don't look around me and see order upon order upon order and say, well this happened randomly.
This is a very anthropomorphic statement to make. A computer can generate an enormously complex piece of artwork based on simple, mathematical rules. We can even make mathematical rules that randomly generate other mathematical rules. None of them are sentient.

Is it possible that universal rules were made by another, intelligent designer? Maybe. Then you're left with the question: where did that designer come from? He doesn't make the answer any more satisfactory (except to satisfy a human bias towards having something human-like have created the universe). If there's an infinite series of causes, there's no reason that any of them have to have been sentient. If there's a single first cause, there's no reason it had to be sentient either.

There's a good article on Less Wrong that helps you wrap your brain around non-sentient causes. (I think it's extremely useful whether or not it changes your beliefs about God)

http://lesswrong.com/lw/kr/an_alien_god/

quote:
If you truly truly believe you have found an aspect of God you can relate to, then you can take comfort from it, and you feel better connected to life.
This is true, but it is not contingent on the truth value of the thing you believe.
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Raymond Arnold
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For those too lazy to click the link:

quote:
If we ask who was more correct - the theologians who argued for a Creator-God, or the intellectually unfulfilled atheists who argued that mice spontaneously generated - then the theologians must be declared the victors: evolution is not God, but it is closer to God than it is to pure random entropy. Mutation is random, but selection is non-random. This doesn't mean an intelligent Fairy is reaching in and selecting. It means there's a non-zero statistical correlation between the gene and how often the organism reproduces. Over a few million years, that non-zero statistical correlation adds up to something very powerful. It's not a god, but it's more closely akin to a god than it is to snow on a television screen.

In a lot of ways, evolution is like unto theology. "Gods are ontologically distinct from creatures," said Damien Broderick, "or they're not worth the paper they're written on." And indeed, the Shaper of Life is not itself a creature. Evolution is bodiless, like the Judeo-Christian deity. Omnipresent in Nature, immanent in the fall of every leaf. Vast as a planet's surface. Billions of years old. Itself unmade, arising naturally from the structure of physics. Doesn't that all sound like something that might have been said about God?

And yet the Maker has no mind, as well as no body. In some ways, its handiwork is incredibly poor design by human standards. It is internally divided. Most of all, it isn't nice.

In a way, Darwin discovered God - a God that failed to match the preconceptions of theology, and so passed unheralded. If Darwin had discovered that life was created by an intelligent agent - a bodiless mind that loves us, and will smite us with lightning if we dare say otherwise - people would have said "My gosh! That's God!"

But instead Darwin discovered a strange alien God - not comfortably "ineffable", but really genuinely different from us. Evolution is not a God, but if it were, it wouldn't be Jehovah. It would be H. P. Lovecraft's Azathoth, the blind idiot God burbling chaotically at the center of everything, surrounded by the thin monotonous piping of flutes.

Which you might have predicted, if you had really looked at Nature.

So much for the claim some religionists make, that they believe in a vague deity with a correspondingly high probability. Anyone who really believed in a vague deity, would have recognized their strange inhuman creator when Darwin said "Aha!"

So much for the claim some religionists make, that they are waiting innocently curious for Science to discover God. Science has already discovered the sort-of-godlike maker of humans - but it wasn't what the religionists wanted to hear. They were waiting for the discovery of their God, the highly specific God they want to be there. They shall wait forever, for the great discovery has already taken place, and the winner is Azathoth.


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Stone_Wolf_
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Welp RA, if you don't like those answers, how about this...

1. I have a personal theory that changes as I experience and learn more, which I shared with you. What is yours?

2. It matters because I choose to assign meaning to it.

3. I can tell because I feel comforted. You never asked about truth.

The original poster was seeking answers about wanting to believe and failing.

My suggestion to them is, keep looking til you find something you do believe in.

As to what you are trying to discuss, I'm rather unclear. What exactly is your point here?

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Raymond Arnold
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My point is to figure out what you're trying to discuss before I bother involving myself too heavily in that discussion. I've had this discussion a hundred times with people who are committed to a vague, self-contradictory theories because they are emotionally compelling. I try not to do that anymore.

As for my answer: I don't care whether God exists or not. I did for a while, because a lot of other people did and I figured I should at least look into it. By now, the question has dissolved itself into meaninglessness. Maybe the universe is sentient, maybe not. But the universe very clearly DOESN'T actively care about humans, or if it does it doesn't have the power to do anything. So while the question is sometimes interesting in an abstract way, it's not comforting.

I only care when other people are asking questions, to make sure that they get the answers that are helpful to them. (My discussion with you is pretty orthogonal to my advice to Szymon - I don't know enough about xir to recommend a path of inquiry. If xe clarifies what it is xe wants and why, then I may have some recommendations for xir)

What is comforting to me is this:

quote:
There is no justice in the laws of Nature, No term for fairness in the equations of motion. The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!
Eliezer puts it more eloquently than I, but I've believed that for long before I read his work.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I like that quote.

What is "xer"?

I would have to strongly disagree with you on one point...that you don't care if God exists or not. Why else did you join this discussion if you had no intention of giving advice to the original poster?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Xer/xe = him/her, he/she...I really do not know why people just don't use "they/them", its so much easier!
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Raymond Arnold
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I don't care whether God exists. I do care whether other people think he exists. More importantly, I care why they think that.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Xer/xe = him/her, he/she...I really do not know why people just don't use "they/them", its so much easier!
They/them sounds right to me when I'm referring to an amorphous, anonymous person who might or might not be plural, but wrong to me when referring to a specific person who is obviously not plural. It's not any easier or harder, just preference.

When the English language gives me a specific gender neutral pronoun to use for people whose gender I don't know, I'll use that. For now I just go with what sounds right to me.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
I don't care whether God exists. I do care whether other people think he exists. More importantly, I care why they think that.
Fair enough.

Why do you care if/why they care?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Oh, and it is harder, because it confused the crap out of me to the extent that I was googling "xer".

So, there is a reason, clarity.

Just for the record.

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Raymond Arnold
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I actually see that as a plus, because it forces people to take a second look at male-centric areas of the english language. If I had said:

"My discussion with you is pretty orthogonal to my advice to Szymon - I don't know enough about them to recommend a path of inquiry. If they clarify what it is they want and why, then I may have some recommendations for them"

You (or rather, the average person) probably would have assumed I was using improper grammar but not understood why.

(Having clarified that, we don't need to dwell on that point anymore)

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Szymon
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
@Szymon:

To answer your questions in any meaningful way, we need to know why it matters to you whether or not you are a Christian.

For lack of better reason, Pascal's Wager [Smile]

To be honest, I can imagine a situation, that I walk down the street. Then, out of nowhere Jesus appears, look all Jesus-like. He is flying, has holes in his palms (or wrists) and feet, and a wound on his side. He answers all my questions, and shows me pictures or videos of all his miracles (even makes a small one for me, just to believe it) - I wouldnt believe in it, I suppose.

It is impossible for me to imagine anything supernatural: there would be a super-law that apply to the Universe, even God would have to obey it, when he makes His miracles. In other words- if miracles, "magic", did happen- there must have been some "magical-law" explanation of it, something that we dont understand yet.

But Im sure it all didnt happen, it's a myth, if not a lie. My question is: do you think Benedict XVI or John Paul II really think it was all TRUE? They were/are intelligent men. Does mr Card believe in it? Really really really believe in it?

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
You (or rather, the average person) probably would have assumed I was using improper grammar but not understood why.

It's not actually incorrect. It has been an accepted usage in standard American (and British) English for about 150 years.
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Stone_Wolf_
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In a word, yes.

I don't personally, but I think they do, or at least close enough to be yes.

Faith is a very powerful thing.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Thank you rivka!
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rivka
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Correction: It has been an accepted usage in standard English since the 1300s.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
... For lack of better reason, Pascal's Wager [Smile]

It kinda feels like we can now gawk at an endangered species of strawman [Wink]
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Raymond Arnold
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>For lack of better reason, Pascal's Wager

Well, if it helps, Pascal's Wager is a completely flawed argument so you don't have to worry about it. For every hypothetical God who might care if you believe in them, there's another hypothetical God will hates people believing in them and will punish you unless you don't.

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kmbboots
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Pascal, to me, seems to have missed the point as much as Raymond does. In other words, not a very good reason to believe anything.
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Raymond Arnold
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I don't think you've actually explained what the point is the way you think you have.
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Anna2112
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Really, to me, what it boils down to after too many hours on Less Wrong and other similar sites, is that it's impossible to know, with all absolute and entire certainty, whether or not there's a God. Either you're the kind of person who says, there's some evidence for and some evidence against, and I won't accept anything as true unless the evidence conclusively verifies the fact, or you're the kind of person who says, mostly the evidence leans towards a God, so I'll have faith in the other 30% (or so).

I do believe in a God (and I'm one of the aforementioned Episcopalians, we're nice people:)) because to me, on a personal level, the evidence seems to point towards God. And no, I can't definitively prove it. I can't say that I'm right and you're wrong and here's why, I can only say that I believe I've felt Him in my life enough that in my personal experience, I'm like 70% sure He's there. And the rest is faith, I think. Everybody doubts.

So @Szymon, there have been times in my life where I feel like I can't see God around me, but I think that's where faith comes in. I think that sometimes, you have to remind yourself to believe, even though you can't see or feel God all the time, because that's part of the difficulties of being a Christian.

And as to the idea of what C.S. Lewis was saying in The Great Divorce, I read that as you shouldn't be asking questions when you don't really care about the answers. He's not condemning those who question at all, he's saying that when you have the truth presented to you, you ought to believe in it. Otherwise you don't care about the truth at all, you just care about questioning the truth, in which case it doesn't really make sense to ask the questions in the first place. But he's not condemning those who read a section of the Bible and don't immediately believe in it. After all, he was an atheist for a large part of his life.

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kmbboots
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Sorry. I missed that. God is certainly a thing to study - but that doesn't mean we will figure it out. Knowing about fire was an analogy. Most people know "enough" about God to be going on with, without knowing everything. Regarding Catholics, are you asking a technical question (Catholics are determined by whether or not they were baptised Catholic or converted to Catholicism) or trying to get my joke (Catholics accept a certain amount of what we call Mystery.)
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