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post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by legorogel View Post

To summarize your two questions:
1. Why does suffering exist?
2. Why does god not interverne?
1. Long ago humans lived in paradise without suffering. When they disobeyed god their innocence was lost and the were forced to leave paradise to live in the current natural world. The current world is not considered our true home, it is far from perfect. So until the final judgment this world will become the kingdom of god again, we are stuck in this imperfect world with people imperfect because of the sins that human nature commited in paradise.
Because this world is not our final destination and only a stepping stone of the path to salvation, suffering is part of the imperfection. The moment we do not have to suffer anymore is the moment we arrive in the kingdom of god.
2. God is not arbitrary, intervening sometimes and not others without any apparent reason. Humans limited by their nature can rarely even notice intervention or comprehend the reasons for them. But we know one that god allows us our free will. He does not force us to act on our own good. This freedom gives us the choice to do the 'right' thing. If god would always intervente if we were one the edge to make a wrong choice, we would not be free. As we are created to the 'image of god' freedom is an essential part of gods and therefore humans nature.
Personally I do not believe in a personal god. However I am sympathic with many ideas and 'religious' thinkers like anselm or augustine who did not only think about how to interprete the bible but also occupied themselved with many philosophical problems.
My 'faith' gets described much better than i could ever do by Einstein:

I've heard these responses before, but on further investigation to me they don't hold much weight:
- God creates evil....Isaiah 45:7 (KJV): I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
- prior to eating of the fruit, Adam and Eve had no knowledge of evil; how can they (and us as their descendants) be judged for doing something that they were unable to make an informed decision on? A garden with a temptation planted right in the center of it hardly appears to be the paradise that it is portrayed to be.
- why if I'm created as an imperfect being, am I required to ask forgiveness from the one who created me that way? Free will is not being created with predetermined characteristics in a predetermined environment with prior knowledge of how every decision will be made.
- if God intervenes; why is there no evidence for things occurring that can not be explained by science?

I did spend some time thinking about "moderate" christianity, but it falls short from too many compromises. If we have to bend our interpretation of scripture to make it fit our knowledge of science and and enlightened morality; what good is it? If we pick and choose what fits our current outlook, then it is not adding value.

I don't know if this a good place to be fielding these questions; but I appreciate all the feedback. I think it's positive for me to have people give honest feedback and answers. Verbalizing the questions is often the best way to find a solution. Thanks!


I know
post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Bardamu View Post

P.S. I think Quakers and Unitarians are cool. Bahais, don't know enough about - troubled by some of their views, but the few I have socialized with are very nice people.

Unitarianism kind of baffles me. It seems like such a loose denomination and belief system, I wonder why they bother organizing it.
post #33 of 37
Thread Starter 
As far as horrific stuff like Sandy Hook goes, I've always thought it poses the biggest conundrum for the in-betweeners (on the rationalism-faith continuum), both the "lightly religious" and shallowly atheist. The people at the end are fine. I cut-and-pasted-and-edited this from a section of a novel I wrote, so it's a little awkward, but...

The extremely religious would see this all as God’s will, just another part of His plan. They would not question it, merely assume that God knew what He was doing.

The extremely rational would not care about all the people slain, lives snuffed out, families wailing in agony over their loved ones. They would see this all as simple biology, one life form losing the survival game.

However, the atheist lite, that self-proclaimed bold new creature of the 21st Century, would see in these tragedies a glimpse of their own impermanence. A lifetime of valuing the extrinsic over the intrinsic would come home to roost. Despite the extensive electronic documentation of their lives, their lives were completely meaningless and will be utterly forgotten. After their death, no one will care that they were the first person in line for the iPhone 6, if anyone even cared in the first place. That they got to 1,000 twitter followers or 1,000 facebook friends. The seventeen likes they received for a picture of chorizo polenta with a kaffir lime foam reduction? Pointless. Perhaps they will recall a certain poignant moment of time in their lives and wish they had spent as much time experiencing it as they had recording it.

The somewhat religious, me (or like what I aspired to be), see the disasters as cracks in their belief system. For what God would possibly create this? What God would allow such an atrocity?

But personally, I keep believing, because I would rather believe than not. My life is simply better when I have faith than when I don't.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

The extremely rational would not care about all the people slain, lives snuffed out, families wailing in agony over their loved ones. They would see this all as simple biology, one life form losing the survival game.

I know this isn't really a thread about atheism, but you're describing psychopaths there, not atheists. Disbelieving in God doesn't make one any less likely to care about other humans, to identify as human, to value emotions and try to avoid and mitigate pain. We're all still part of the human species, and it's painful for anybody to see this kind of thing regardless of your view of spirituality. That whole "biology doesn't care about humans" sort of atheism is a juvenile/Asperger/internet dork thing, not any intrinsic conclusion of rationalism.

Quote:
Unitarianism kind of baffles me. It seems like such a loose denomination and belief system, I wonder why they bother organizing it.
It's not about the specific beliefs, it's about getting together and experiencing your faith as a community.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

Unitarianism kind of baffles me. It seems like such a loose denomination and belief system, I wonder why they bother organizing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

It's not about the specific beliefs, it's about getting together and experiencing your faith as a community.

That, and their approach to helping the less fortunate with no voiced expectation of winning people over to their faith. I find modern missionary work as practiced by some churches (proselytizing, convertion) to be the antithesis of what I imagine Jesus was trying to achieve, which is what the OP is about: deeds and good works.
post #36 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

It's not about the specific beliefs, it's about getting together and experiencing your faith as a community.

Fair enough. My experience is pretty limited, my cousin and his wife are Unitarians and I attended their wedding. That's a good point.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post

As far as horrific stuff like Sandy Hook goes, I've always thought it poses the biggest conundrum for the in-betweeners (on the rationalism-faith continuum), both the "lightly religious" and shallowly atheist. The people at the end are fine. I cut-and-pasted-and-edited this from a section of a novel I wrote, so it's a little awkward, but...
The extremely religious would see this all as God’s will, just another part of His plan. They would not question it, merely assume that God knew what He was doing.
The extremely rational would not care about all the people slain, lives snuffed out, families wailing in agony over their loved ones. They would see this all as simple biology, one life form losing the survival game.
However, the atheist lite, that self-proclaimed bold new creature of the 21st Century, would see in these tragedies a glimpse of their own impermanence. A lifetime of valuing the extrinsic over the intrinsic would come home to roost. Despite the extensive electronic documentation of their lives, their lives were completely meaningless and will be utterly forgotten. After their death, no one will care that they were the first person in line for the iPhone 6, if anyone even cared in the first place. That they got to 1,000 twitter followers or 1,000 facebook friends. The seventeen likes they received for a picture of chorizo polenta with a kaffir lime foam reduction? Pointless. Perhaps they will recall a certain poignant moment of time in their lives and wish they had spent as much time experiencing it as they had recording it.
The somewhat religious, me (or like what I aspired to be), see the disasters as cracks in their belief system. For what God would possibly create this? What God would allow such an atrocity?
But personally, I keep believing, because I would rather believe than not. My life is simply better when I have faith than when I don't.

I'd be interested in checking out your novel...sounds interesting. Is it published? I may be playing the devil's advocate here a bit for the atheist side, but I am open to other opinions. I guess I would honestly have to label myself a deist, as I believe there is room for a god, but the literal interpretation of the holy books we have today does not accurately portray his characteristics.

I'd have to agree with Gibonius, compassion and sympathy is not correlated to a belief in a god. Species other than our own even portray these traits. I would also have to argue your other point about the "strongly religious". The majority of those who label themselves as strongly religious have mis-labelled themselves, when in fact they should be labelled as "Strongly enthusiastic about". Putting up a barrier of ignorant submission to a doctrine is not being strongly religious. If tragedy could be labelled as "God's Plan; then brushed aside, it would be more convenient than to question one's beliefs. It would be a challenge to find any people in attendance at church on Sunday who arrived at their faith based on which one best fit the definition of God they found through study and contemplation. What religion one associates with is most often that of your culture if not directly that of your parents. To question your belief would be most often to question your identity.

The atheist life actually has more meaning if you consider it...how more precious is life if it is not just a prelude to something else? How much more important are our actions if the world is not just going to be destroyed shortly in an apocalypse? What if humanity felt free of "God's Plan" and worked together to fight famine, disease, and to help minimize the effects of and assist in the recovery from natural disaster?
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