1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

The Moderated Theology Thread

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by FLMountainMan, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

    Messages:
    21,170
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    ^ seriously, that IS interesting. I've never really looked up what quakerism is and the only thing remotely connected to that for me living out here is that dude in the oatmeal container.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. div25sec9

    div25sec9 Senior member

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    This has been on my mind a lot recently. I was raised a Christian and blindly believed what I was told. My view of the world was limited to the small area that I lived and interacted with. The God I was taught seemed to fit that world very well. I never had a spiritual experience, but deemed this because I was somehow lacking in faith or actions (or because of my negative actions). Because I did not have any sort of spiritual experience I began to question things looking for answers; all I got was twisting of language to make things fit, lame excuses, improbable explanations, and turning the tables to be "that if I had more faith it would all make sense". The more I grew to understand the world around me, the less this God made sense. How could I pray to a God to ask him to bless my meal when thousands in other parts of the world prayed for food, but starved to death anyways. How could a God who supposedly cared about the little details in my life wipe out thousands with a tsunami on the other side of the world so easily? Could not God's Plan" be accomplished with even just one less death, or even one less person suffering?

    I don't know how I came across it initially, but I began watching debates on youtube, to see if the great spiritual minds of the faith had any answers, but this had the opposite effect on me. These so called great debaters of the faith could only dodge the hard questions, come up with an "proof of God" through philosophical word games, and to claim victory when their opposition failed to address all 20 statements they made in the very limited response time. I was screaming out "just answer the damn question, don't you know how important this is?" If I'm wrong about this decision, I either have wasted my life following something untrue or may spend eternity burning for not believing! The more I watched, the less I believed or found reasons to believe.

    Can anyone provide a reason to believe? If the Bible (or any other "Holy" book) is not the perfect (without error) word of God and morality is easily found outside of the scriptures, what good are these books? Why should I believe in what they say?
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

    Messages:
    29,119
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    Man, now would be a good time to have MTM in this thread.

    To take a short stab at this: a starting precept is that faith transcends proof, or perhaps they just run parallel to each other. If you could have proof, then there would be no need for faith. So there is not and you will not be any 'proof of God'. But, you may find signs that help you believe, if you're so inclined.

    Perfect is God's province. The way I see it: the physical world is imperfect, and since God acts through people, his acts likewise tend to be imperfect. This includes the bible, priests, you, me, animals, etc.

    Why does suffering happen? I don't know. Apparently I'm not supposed to know. I wouldn't wish suffering on anyone (except perhaps idfml until he changes that ghastly avatar) but apparently some people catch all the breaks and others don't and that's just how it is in this life. Is there another one to follow? Dunno, that.

    Do I believe in all of this? I struggle. My reason tells me that a kind and benevolent God is also a just God, and bad things shouldn't happen to good people, and perhaps the world really is random. So I doubt God, sometimes. But, I still believe.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  4. div25sec9

    div25sec9 Senior member

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    But doubt and belief can not coexist, or am I wrong? Can one doubt that a bridge will hold as one walks across, yet believe that it will at the same time? I tried to think of myself as a "doubting Thomas", to rationalize my disbelief...but soon realized that by definition you can not believe and not at the same time. By the rules of Christianity, you have to believe to be saved, but unfortunately you cannot believe and not at the same time, so by definition are we not doomed?

    I find myself grasping at faith for only 2 reasons: fear of damnation and backlash from friends & family.

    I feel that now I need definite proof of God, because that's all that can convince me now. The evidence seems to point in the opposite direction; with no signs of a moral, perfect, omnipotent being that has created and interacts with his creation.
     
  5. legorogel

    legorogel Senior member

    Messages:
    425
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    

    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:
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. legorogel

    legorogel Senior member

    Messages:
    425
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Belief always comes with doubt. Belief without doubt is knowledge.

    You do not have to believe to be saved it is important that you try. The vatican says in the dogmatic constitution:
     
  7. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    10,005
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Location:
    Texas.
    I can't presently speak to the "why do bad things happen to good people" dilemma, as my response is: I don't believe in a higher power. However, I was taught that neither evil nor the devil existed, but that the urges/passions/whathaveyou (greed, lust, anger, etc) are a part of our nature as, and that it is our Inner Light (that of God in all of us) which allows us to moderate these impulses to productive levels. This seems like a reasonable approach consistent with internal logic.


    It was mentioned in an earlier post, the phrases "faith through action" and "faith through praise." I've always liked the way both sound (but only ever adhered to the former).

    This thread has made me think about the level of reconciliation between my atheism and Quaker culture. I'm going to try and be a better (atheist) Quaker, practice "faith through action" without the faith. Going to see about getting involved with the Non-theist Friends* Network.

    *The formal name for Quakerism is the Society of Friends...the only thing I never liked about being a Quaker was that we have silly names for various things.
     
  8. M. Bardamu

    M. Bardamu Senior member

    Messages:
    1,465
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Location:
    The Beef 'n' Booze
    

    This should be an interesting thread. This past year we moved up into a community of "1%ers" (for Canada at least), and I was struck by how many of our neighbors attend church or synagogue regularly. I was raised and baptised an Anglican, but haven't set foot in a church, other than for friends' weddings, for more than 20 years. My spouse and I aren't married, and neither of our kids are baptised.

    However, this Christmas we decided to attend church as a family for the first time, albeit one of those urban churches that recognizes same-sex couples and has a monthly service for the HIV-positive community. I find myself looking quite forward to it, not sure why yet.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

    Messages:
    29,119
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    

    lol, wait until you have kids.
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    interesting thread.

    I was raised a pretty seriously practising conservative jew. (my father converted, he was born a prespeterian and my grandfather was a minister). my brother and sister and still practicing and believing conservatives.

    in my late teens, early 20's I stopped believing. honestly it was directly related to my military service, it was also directly related to my admiration of the philosophy of ayn rand at the time (which I have, subsiquently, grown apart from). mostly I guess I just stopped believing. but that is a long story in itself.

    I was completly and totally secular for many years. completly and totally. when I had my first child, I decided that it would be best to raise him with some religion. I am a believer that if you don't have a religious background as a child it can cause you to look for stupid crap as an adult. in the past 10 years we have become more "observant" with a focus on community things. we go to services, we take part in a lot of comunity activities, we are active in thinks like study groups and burial societies, but we eat pork (and make no secret of it) and enjoy Satuerdays. we are teaching our kids to be good jews - I think that when my kids are each 14 or 15 I wil explain to them my beliefs.

    we enjoy a lot of the community activities - I like the singing at some services, I lead a bible study group maybe 4 times a year which I enjoy because it makes me study something that isn't work related.

    if I were to chose a religion - it might be hinduism or islam. I think both have a pretty nice internal logic, and they can be a lot of fun.


    in general "god" terms - I am a soft aethiest - I am not sure that there is or isn't a god. I have lived my life as though there isn't. I think that I am, basically, a very moral man, with the exception of a handful of things that would probably get me thrown into hell from a long time ago. I don't believe that you need to believe in god to be good.
     
  11. div25sec9

    div25sec9 Senior member

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    

    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
     
  12. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

    Messages:
    13,923
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    

    Unitarianism kind of baffles me. It seems like such a loose denomination and belief system, I wonder why they bother organizing it.
     
  13. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

    Messages:
    13,923
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    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.
     
  14. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

    Messages:
    11,108
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    Suburban Sprawl Sector 3, Maryland
    

    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.


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

    M. Bardamu Senior member

    Messages:
    1,465
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Location:
    The Beef 'n' Booze
    


    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  16. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

    Messages:
    13,923
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    

    Fair enough. My experience is pretty limited, my cousin and his wife are Unitarians and I attended their wedding. That's a good point.
     
  17. div25sec9

    div25sec9 Senior member

    Messages:
    627
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    

    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?
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by