This way, that way, or neither?...

redneF
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This way, that way, or neither?...

 

Do you have to believe one way or another?

Can you not believe one way or another?

 

Are they both actually possible?

 

 

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

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HumanVuvuzela
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I was thinking about this

I was thinking about this earlier today. I was reflecting on the thread Obama for President, and thinking about how much would have to change for the US to have an atheist president. A candidate's religion is so central to their chances of gaining the support of the parties - let alone the people - that it will take a massive shift for a non-religious candidate to even have the chance to be elected. 

By comparison, one's religion in Australia has very little to do with their politics, their job opportunities or the community's opinion of them. Church attendance is not assumed by anyone I know - but nor is it considered unusual. It just is. Discussions of faith at work are never heated, never too confrontational - there is a real sense of live and let live. I think most of the people I have spoken with about religion and faith simply don't care. They may believe in 'a' god, but don't have any strict sense of what that means. It is more likely a remnant from their childhood or schooling. Equally, I don't encounter many people who have considered the matter, and have come to the conclusion that god doesn't exist. Again, the people I interact with generally don't care. 

From what I've experienced, I don't think you have to believe one way or another. Indeed, I think a lot of people DON'T believe one way or another. The social stigma of atheism just isn't present in my work or personal life. 

 


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redneF wrote: Do you have

redneF wrote:

 

Do you have to believe one way or another?

Can you not believe one way or another?

 

Are they both actually possible?

I often feel like I can understand and see how both sides of an argument seem to make sense.  This leads to apathy.  If I don't have a strong feeling about something one way or the other I am more likely to sit by idly while other decision makers call the shots around me.  I've felt like this more with politics than with religious arguments.

 

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Probably because many

Probably because many religious arguments require belief to make any sense at all. Without the belief, it's like trying to get 2 + 2 to = 7. Equations are missing.

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Vastet wrote:Probably

Vastet wrote:
Probably because many religious arguments require belief to make any sense at all. Without the belief, it's like trying to get 2 + 2 to = 7. Equations are missing.

I very much agree with that.

It seems to me to apply to much of the Bible, including some of the most significant 'events'.

They try to say the Crucifixion, Jesus 'sacrificing' himself for all mankind, is 'proof' of the love of God.

To me, for that to come anywhere near 'proving' anything like that requires you to have already bought the whole story that God is real and Jesus is his Son and that we are all tainted with Original Sin and are going to Hell, or at least never going to get into Heaven, without His action.

Even if you accept God as real, it is equally plausible as a 'stunt' to impress us, his playthings. Of course you also have accept the reports of his resurrection for that to work, even as a stunt.

=================

I can see no problem with the idea that for some people, it simply doesn't figure in their thoughts to any degree. But then, like HumanVuvzella, I am in Australia.

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I get around this by

I get around this by defining the 'belief' that I'm concerned about discussing as: 'that kind of belief which is sufficient to lead someone to act upon it as if it were true.'

A key component to my opposition to religion is just that beliefs influence actions, and lead people to very irrational and harmful actions.

If someone says they believe a computer a thousand miles away controls his brain, but otherwise lives a normal, healthy life without bothering anyone about it, I couldn't care less. Go for it. Whatever.

But it is those beliefs that push a mother in modern America to cut off her daughter's hands because "if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off", or if some group of people oppose gay marriage and pass laws to discriminate against homosexuals, that's the kind of belief that is dangerous and harmful.

If you believe it, and it doesn't affect your actions, who cares?

It's only those beliefs that affect peoples' actions and behaviours that is of concern to the world.

So, if anyone tries to get into this game of "does he really believe, or just partially, or...? " I just cut right in and say, "Does he act on those beliefs?" And if they say, "Well, yes..." then that's all that matters to me.

I live my life as if there were no gods. It never makes any dent into my reasoning about what I should do or not do.

Most theists live their life as if there is some sort of god, usually based on what they were brought up to believe. They usually have religiously-based behaviours like prayers, evangelism, church masses, etc. The extreme ones will kill abortion doctors and fly planes into buildings. Their beliefs influence their actions to an overwhelming extent.

There are some 'theists' who do the church thing and the family prayer at dinner thing, and the church get-togethers, etc. but who secretly don't really do this because they believe in a real 'god', but merely for social and family reasons. To them, it's more tradition. They do not act out of a belief in a god, but out of a belief in the social value of religion itself.

I act on my beliefs too. I believe that religion is wasteful at best, harmful on average, and devastating at extremes. I believe just about any theist would be better off giving up their beliefs in gods and the other superstitions that go along with it. I act by speaking out against religion, and supporting efforts to reduce its effects.

Beliefs are crucial, but only to the extent that they have some sort of impact on the real world.

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redneF wrote: Do you have

redneF wrote:

 

Do you have to believe one way or another?

Can you not believe one way or another?

 

Are they both actually possible?

 

 

That is a loaded question.

The civil rights answer is you have the right to believe what you want.

The rational answer that evidence matters and the rational go where it leads, not where they might wish it would go.

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:
They try to say the Crucifixion, Jesus 'sacrificing' himself for all mankind, is 'proof' of the love of God.



Indeed, I find that to be one of the more annoying bits.



Apart from the obvious publicity stunt, why can't god forgive without the crucifixion?  It seems to me to be related to the riddle if Epicurus.  



If god can't forgive, then he is not all powerful.



If god is all powerful, then he does not need a specific circumstance to forgive.



If his love is infinite, the forgiveness must be automatic.



If forgiveness is automatic, then again he is not all powerful.



And so on.  Basically, that whole argument from John 3:16 is brain dead as far as coherence is concerned.  If god is as described, then there is no good reason to believe in the kid in the first place.  So why bother?  The door is open and everyone gets in.

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