Do any theists really believe?

Joker
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Do any theists really believe?

What I am focusing on here are the theists who believe in some kind of afterlife or at least a reward/punishment system a la reincarnation. The reason why I wonder if any of them really believe is this, for the religions that say there are pleasant and unpleasant afterlives, especially as such beliefs are fairly myriad even if we ignore the various sects of a religion (which I would actually try to avoid doing) the numbers are still huge. If a person was truly concerned about the place that their apparently immortal soul was going to go why aren't they actively studying each religion and putting each one through a gauntlet of skeptical testing including whatever religion they were raised with, maybe even especially whatever one they were raised with. After all, a deity would presumably have no problem with someone studying the faiths as the person is showing sincere belief and concern, and would presumably be a much stronger believer once they worked out the 'right' religion. For that matter there would likely be whole groups of people vigorously studying the different texts, comparing them to what we know about the world and seeing where texts were clearly incorrect and trying to work out contexts to deduce what the most and least accurate book was. I mean if as many people who say they believe really did then wouldn't they be all be focused on literally finding truth? Ensuring that their decisions are made based on the best possible information and encouraging vigorous and skeptical study of the doctrines, hell one would think that they would love Dawkins and others who would take a harsh and frank appraisal of their faiths, helping them to be sure that theirs was at least the most accurate and if not allowing them a better chance to figure out which one was.

 

Just wondering.


Jeffrick
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Somewhat

 

 

 

                 Joker in order for theists to realize this they would first have to apply logic.  Somehow  the words theist & logic just don't jive with each other.

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redneF
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I think it has something to

I think it has something to do with 'follow the leader', and the leader, being the priest, is their 'guide'.

The guy who's going to help them get there.

He's called 'Father'.

He's close to God.

He washes me of my sins.

People bow to their father.

They want their father to put their hands on them asnd 'bless them'.

 

Blah, blah, blah...

 

They idolize the dude.

It's obviously got to do with having feelings of inferiority.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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You have to be more precise

You have to be more precise in what you mean when you ask, "Do they believe?" Just because it's irrational doesn't mean it's not a belief. If "belief" in God is "think a God exists," then of course they believe.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Joker
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Oh sure. I recognize that, I

Oh sure. I recognize that, I am not focusing so much on just believing that a deity exists, this has more to do with there being afterlives. I mean Pascals wager is based at least in part in fear and one would think that this would apply to everything. Some of it is also to see what theists think, maybe they think about it, maybe not.


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Joker wrote: If a person

Joker wrote:

 If a person was truly concerned about the place that their apparently immortal soul was going to go why aren't they actively studying each religion and putting each one through a gauntlet of skeptical testing including whatever religion they were raised with, maybe even especially whatever one they were raised with. After all, a deity would presumably have no problem with someone studying the faiths as the person is showing sincere belief and concern, and would presumably be a much stronger believer once they worked out the 'right' religion. For that matter there would likely be whole groups of people vigorously studying the different texts, comparing them to what we know about the world and seeing where texts were clearly incorrect and trying to work out contexts to deduce what the most and least accurate book was. I mean if as many people who say they believe really did then wouldn't they be all be focused on literally finding truth? Ensuring that their decisions are made based on the best possible information and encouraging vigorous and skeptical study of the doctrines, hell one would think that they would love Dawkins and others who would take a harsh and frank appraisal of their faiths, helping them to be sure that theirs was at least the most accurate and if not allowing them a better chance to figure out which one was.

Just wondering.

Well, I'm wondering about that too! But we know the answer. What you propose requires to be a nerd.

Reading is a solitary activity. Realize, how much people actually read books. Most of people I know do not read unless they absolutely have to. Many of them had read for fun just one book per life. (Jack's Journey, a typical kid book of the past regime) Yes, they need logic as Jeffrick says, but they need more. Most of all a great, endless curiosity, then enough brains to process information, good knowledge of english, (if it is a foreign language) enough time in daily schedule to read (no partying, no pub during that) and so on. 

Most of people prefer emotions over thoughts. Belief is a satisfying emotion, it rewards without reading. Thinking hurts, reading is boring. Believers are bored even by their own theology. It's like a mandatory insurance, you get an insurance, set a regular paying order from your bank account and then care no more about various isurance companies, their policies, programs and annual business reports. Because you already feel protected. Pity the fools, who do not yet have the insurance from the Almighty Inc. (but not too much to not spoil your stay in Heaven)

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


BethK
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I've wondered that too

I too, have to wonder if they really believe in heaven, or a good afterlife, or a "better" reincarnation, or whatever.

They seem to believe, yet at the same time they're sad and all of that at a funeral of someone they love. It's even more pronounced when it's the death of some person who they thought of as a "good person" or an "innocent person" (such as at the death of an infant or small child), then they are when the person who died was a "bad person" or had "sinned" in whatever way - openly and notoriously.

Why cry at the death of one's pious grandma or the death of an infant who was an hour old, when those people are, at least according to their beliefs, in "paradise"? Shouldn't the ascension of one into heaven be a happy occasion? Shouldn't one leaving this incarnation for a better incarnation in improved circumstances be a joyful occasion?

It just doesn't make sense. Especially when I see some deaths as the end to someone's suffering, or perhaps someone who missed having all of the experiences of life. But, the latter is a non-starter, because after their death there is no one to feel deprived, so it's neutral. It's kind of like someone crying for unconceived children never getting to go to Disneyland. There is no one to be deprived there either.

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I think you've got an

I think you've got an intellectual idea, Heaven, combined with an instinctual drive, fear of death.  In this, as in most cases, the evolutionary drive wins.

 

Although, you know, the meme could potentially overcome that drive, it has in other cases.  The problem of course is once that particular evolutionary drive is set aside the population tends to do dramatic things involving poisoned kool-aid, and thus the meme loses its primary transmission vector, like a disease killing the host so quickly it can't spread.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Joker
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I do appreciate that at

I do appreciate that at least one theist weighed in on this. I actually brought it up to a few theist friends, one of whom stated that he had studied other religions and went with the one he found most internally consistent, another one of them looked rather concerned, I may have caused a spiritual crisis without meaning to.


Luminon
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Joker wrote:I do appreciate

Joker wrote:

I do appreciate that at least one theist weighed in on this. I actually brought it up to a few theist friends, one of whom stated that he had studied other religions and went with the one he found most internally consistent, another one of them looked rather concerned, I may have caused a spiritual crisis without meaning to.

Well, try to be careful. Organized religion is terrible, but basically it is a form of protection or restriction and some people really need that. They could not handle knowledge and uncertainity that we have to handle. (children in Christ they are) It's similar to effects chastity belt, those who don't have it, need fairly extensive education on birth control, STDs and correct techniques. 

We have the power to attack irrational beliefs of anyone, who can follow our line of logical thinking. We should use it only for defense (constitution, etc) or if that particular person is still capable of learning new things. Sooner or later people get mentally old and lose that ability and then loss of belief would make a wreck out of them. It is generally not nice to take something away without giving something in return. In your place I'd have a couple of most uplifting and mind-expanding rationalistic books on shelf, to fill in the spiritual crisis, if a friend's faith undergoes an accident. 

My worldview is mostly based on concrete experiences, so talking about them is not dangerous. But I have the same problem with character traits. If I have beliefs about myself or other people which are subsequently disproven, then it's quite a harsh experience. 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.