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Doubt and faith


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#16    Paranoid Android

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:17 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 23 September 2013 - 12:51 PM, said:



I agree, but it is not what I argued.

I argued that many religions seek to remove doubt - as the lesson of Abraham's sacrifice is an example of. If, as you suggest, the removal of doubt is to become "rigid and fearful", what does that say about what those religions seek to turn people into?
How does the sacrifice of Isaac show an example of the removal of doubt in regular Joe's? Sure, I can see how Abraham acted on his own experience but how does this grant believer's a similar confidence in removing doubt?

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#17    libstaK

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:12 PM

View PostNik Xues, on 23 September 2013 - 02:55 AM, said:

if there is no doubt we will not check our answers.
doubt demands the answers be clear and solid.
seeking evidence is the means to satiate doubt

if there is no faith we will not look for answers.
faith tells us to keep looking, that "the truth is out there".
truth is the by product of heavy faith.

however most people forget this nasty lil bugger called EGO
my answer is correct i need not check it
if it is not "my" answer it is wrong
Beautifully said.  It is no coincidence and utterly poignant that of the seven deadly sins born of EGO - it is PRIDE that comes before the fall.

In complete sync with this is the fact that "the meek shall inherit the earth". ;)

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#18    Leonardo

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:03 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 23 September 2013 - 01:17 PM, said:

How does the sacrifice of Isaac show an example of the removal of doubt in regular Joe's? Sure, I can see how Abraham acted on his own experience but how does this grant believer's a similar confidence in removing doubt?

Again, that's not what I argued.

I said that religion has a purpose, via scriptural example, of seeking to remove doubt from the adherent. The adherent of "true faith" should have no doubt - as per the example of Abraham. Many religious believers here on UM have argued faith is not dependent on evidence - and argue that experience is a form of evidence.

What that means regarding the psychology/behaviour of the adherent, assuming they aim to become "true believers", I will leave up to your consideration.

Edited by Leonardo, 23 September 2013 - 03:07 PM.

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#19    markdohle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:30 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 23 September 2013 - 12:51 PM, said:

I agree, but it is not what I argued.

I argued that many religions seek to remove doubt - as the lesson of Abraham's sacrifice is an example of. If, as you suggest, the removal of doubt is to become "rigid and fearful", what does that say about what those religions seek to turn people into?


I believe the whole Abraham thing you mentioned may be more complex that what you have brought up.  Abraham lived in a time when the sacrifice of the first born was common.  He trusted God, yet the sacrifice did not happen.  If you read further, Abraham actually argued with God over Sodom and Gomorrah.  Moses argued with God when they where threatened with extinction by His hands, there are many stories wherein the Jews argued with God.  The Psalms are full of prayers wherein God is also questioned.

I would think that true brain washing takes place everyday in our culture today, through TV, movies etc.  Also some secular governments also seek to brain wash their citizens, especially the children.  What is to be feared is our being 'trained' to jump through the hoops that our cultures tell us to jump through, not religion.  I see no Zombies among my believing friends.  Many are involved in social causes, in feeding the hungry, taking care of the homeless.  If the 10 commandments were kept, I believe the state of our cultural in the United States would be much better than it is now.  There is a reason that so many are addicted to drugs and alcohol, it is an attempt to escape a life that lacks direction or meaning.  

I do think however, that yes, religion can be used for evil, and its people manipulated by its leaders, just like many of our governments do, or perhaps all of them.  Faith in God can perhaps lead many to actually free themselves from secular manipulation, which does in fact occur more often than the religious variety I believe.  

Actually atheist, to me, all sound pretty much alike.  There are exceptions on this site, but not many.  Is that brain washing, the mass thinking of so many atheists?  If we are brain washed do we even know it?  Perhaps the questions is more complicated than our perhaps knee  jerk interpretation allow…….I am also speaking of myself here, for I to struggle to be a freer person.  My faith allows that to happen I believe.  


Peace
mark


Edited by markdohle, 23 September 2013 - 03:30 PM.


#20    Leonardo

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 06:49 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 23 September 2013 - 03:30 PM, said:

I believe the whole Abraham thing you mentioned may be more complex that what you have brought up.  Abraham lived in a time when the sacrifice of the first born was common.  He trusted God, yet the sacrifice did not happen.  If you read further, Abraham actually argued with God over Sodom and Gomorrah.  Moses argued with God when they where threatened with extinction by His hands, there are many stories wherein the Jews argued with God.  The Psalms are full of prayers wherein God is also questioned.

And all of those passages where the intent or actions of God are questioned should be read as laying out the reasoning for why those intentions or actions of God are right. They are not there to provide examples of doubt, but to provide examples of why God is (in scripture) always right.

They actually reinforce that believers are not meant to doubt God in any way.

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

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#21    markdohle

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:23 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 23 September 2013 - 06:49 PM, said:

And all of those passages where the intent or actions of God are questioned should be read as laying out the reasoning for why those intentions or actions of God are right. They are not there to provide examples of doubt, but to provide examples of why God is (in scripture) always right.

They actually reinforce that believers are not meant to doubt God in any way.

In the book of Job, he went against the prevalent idea about why bad things happen to people.  He argued with his friends and with God.  In the end God did take his side, but gave no answer to the question.  Our ideas of God are to be doubted, God?, well I guess no, though it answers little for us.  We are not meant to have all the answers, but to seek, search and yes ponder from our own experience.

Peace
Mark


#22    Paranoid Android

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:07 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 23 September 2013 - 03:03 PM, said:



Again, that's not what I argued.

I said that religion has a purpose, via scriptural example, of seeking to remove doubt from the adherent. The adherent of "true faith" should have no doubt - as per the example of Abraham. Many religious believers here on UM have argued faith is not dependent on evidence - and argue that experience is a form of evidence.

What that means regarding the psychology/behaviour of the adherent, assuming they aim to become "true believers", I will leave up to your consideration.
But Abraham had proof to back up his faith. And when I say "proof" I mean things that he personally verified. First there's the matter of God speaking to him. That was enough to inspire Abraham to leave his home and go where God sent him, but his faith was still pretty poor. On at least two occasions he lied about his relationship with Sarai. Then when promised a son he got his maidservant pregnant because he figured it was impossible for a 90-year old barren woman to conceive. But God again directly intervenes and Isaac the miracle child is born to Sarai. Finally Abraham is a man with faith, and when God then promises that Isaac cannot die, Abraham has the faith that Isaac will not die.

Faith is a key point in the story, but it's not a blueprint for a believer. If God appeared to me and told me to sacrifice my child, I'd tell him to get lost. Why, do I lack the faith that Abraham had? No, but what I do lack is the personal evidence that Abraham had. My child was not a miracle baby born to a 90-year old barren woman. My child is not promised to be the founder of a great nation.

Sometimes it's easy to turn stories in the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) into character studies. Look how much faith Abraham had, ooh you should be just like him.... :no: In the case of Abraham's sacrifice, the focus is not, in my estimation, the willingness to sacrifice, but rather the trustworthiness of God. God promised Abraham a son, and he kept his word. God promised Abraham he would be the father of a great nation, and that Isaac would be the key to that line. And again God kept his promise.

Don't get me wrong, Abraham certainly had faith. But when I read it, I don't go away thinking "Abraham was so faithful, what a great example to follow", instead I think "Praise God, for his words are truthful and his promises are trustworthy". I suppose this in turn strengthens my  faith because I  then springboard into the promises that God had promised ME. They are different to the promises made to Abraham but still trustworthy. But the reasons for my faith aren't because of Abraham's character study, but rather God's character study. So I suppose if you had this in mind when you cited the story then I guess we are in agreement. But if your use of the story was about Abraham's example to believers then I think it a wrong application (though not necessarily a wrong conclusion).

Edited by Paranoid Android, 24 September 2013 - 12:11 AM.

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#23    markdohle

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:12 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 23 September 2013 - 08:23 PM, said:

In the book of Job, he went against the prevalent idea about why bad things happen to people.  He argued with his friends and with God.  In the end God did take his side, but gave no answer to the question.  Our ideas of God are to be doubted, God?, well I guess no, though it answers little for us.  We are not meant to have all the answers, but to seek, search and yes ponder from our own experience.

Peace
Mark

Actually Abraham was proven right in trusting God, his descendents are still with us, and through him Jesus Christ was born.

Peace
mark


#24    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:25 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 23 September 2013 - 08:23 PM, said:

In the book of Job, he went against the prevalent idea about why bad things happen to people.  He argued with his friends and with God.  In the end God did take his side, but gave no answer to the question.  Our ideas of God are to be doubted, God?, well I guess no, though it answers little for us.  We are not meant to have all the answers, but to seek, search and yes ponder from our own experience.

Peace
Mark
What I get from that is might makes right.

View Postmarkdohle, on 24 September 2013 - 12:12 PM, said:

Actually Abraham was proven right in trusting God, his descendents are still with us, and through him Jesus Christ was born.

Peace
mark
What a horrible thing to put a father through just to test loyalty; can't God read the heart?


#25    Almagest

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:37 PM

View Postmarkdohle, on 23 September 2013 - 03:30 PM, said:

I believe the whole Abraham thing you mentioned may be more complex that what you have brought up.  Abraham lived in a time when the sacrifice of the first born was common.  He trusted God, yet the sacrifice did not happen.  If you read further, Abraham actually argued with God over Sodom and Gomorrah.  Moses argued with God when they where threatened with extinction by His hands, there are many stories wherein the Jews argued with God.  The Psalms are full of prayers wherein God is also questioned.


This is supposed to be the most perfect and moral being ever to exist, and he still wishes his followers to kill their own children. The practise being common at the time does not remove the troublesome dilemma of an Objectively Moral Supreme Being changing his mind about human sacrifice.


Quote

I would think that true brain washing takes place everyday in our culture today, through TV, movies etc.  Also some secular governments also seek to brain wash their citizens, especially the children.  What is to be feared is our being 'trained' to jump through the hoops that our cultures tell us to jump through, not religion.  I see no Zombies among my believing friends.  Many are involved in social causes, in feeding the hungry, taking care of the homeless.  If the 10 commandments were kept, I believe the state of our cultural in the United States would be much better than it is now.  There is a reason that so many are addicted to drugs and alcohol, it is an attempt to escape a life that lacks direction or meaning.  


You're so wrong about that it's not funny. Plurality and Religious Freedom are banned by the Ten Commandments. That can extend to Protestant accusations of Catholic Polytheism. Mormons see Christ and God as separate beings, so that flies in the face of Only One God. Not to mention Hindus. The religious freedom that's an under-appreciated hallmark of the United States is a reaction to the dictates of religion in regards to the supremacy of their God. You might think it's a wonderful idea, until of course you find yourself in a minority legislated against by a majority with a different opinion to you. If people honoured their mother and father the retirement home business would collapse. Do not lie, steal or kill are all no-brainers, but they are not unique to the Ten Commandments. If people didn't covet they wouldn't strive to move up in society. Without lying, stealing, and coveting US capitalism would collapse and die. Without killing then the Military-Industrial Complex shuts down and millions of people are out of work. For all the touting of the superiority of the Ten Commandments, they've played a very small part in the actual formation of the United States or the western world in general.


Quote

I do think however, that yes, religion can be used for evil, and its people manipulated by its leaders, just like many of our governments do, or perhaps all of them.  Faith in God can perhaps lead many to actually free themselves from secular manipulation, which does in fact occur more often than the religious variety I believe.


Undoubtedly there are secular mind-shackles. Political Correctness and free market capitalism are examples. However they still rely on a certain amount of magical thinking. PC folks think the world would be a better place if we used the term African-American instead of Black, physically challenged instead of crippled. Free market capitalists think that removing market restrictions would mean a fairer and balanced economy. To me that's no different than a Christian saying they're going to be immortal because they accepted Christ. There's no proof, no evidence, no experiments that we can perform. When such things do exist, they are usually contradictory to the ideas the belief systems are founded upon. A scientific theory with as many inconsistencies and contradictions as these ideologies would be thrown out. The same goes with a case for prosecution, or the penning of a new piece of legislation.


Quote

Actually atheist, to me, all sound pretty much alike.  There are exceptions on this site, but not many.  Is that brain washing, the mass thinking of so many atheists?  If we are brain washed do we even know it?  Perhaps the questions is more complicated than our perhaps knee  jerk interpretation allow…….I am also speaking of myself here, for I to struggle to be a freer person.  My faith allows that to happen I believe.  

Peace
mark

Atheists tend to know the same arguments, it's true, but that's because they are convincing to those without a faith-orientated mind. Is it any different from a Christian repeating the popular proofs of Thomas Aquinas? I think if you compared peoples path's to atheism there would be no two stories that are the same.

Life is the result of the struggle between dynamic opposites Form & Chaos, Substance & Oblivion, Light & Dark And all the infinite variations of Yin & Yang
When the pendulum swings in favour of one It will eventually swing in favour of it's opposite Thus the balance of the universe is maintained

-Jeru the Damaja

#26    markdohle

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 09:38 PM

name='Almagest' timestamp='1380026250' post='4926774']
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T

Quote

This is supposed to be the most perfect and moral being ever to exist, and he still wishes his followers to kill their own children. The practise being common at the time does not remove the troublesome dilemma of an Objectively Moral Supreme Being changing his mind about human sacrifice.

Here is a site that gives one way of looking at the Old Testament.  Not trying to change your mind, but Christians and Jews after all read the OT and may have some reactions, but they do not lead away form faith and love in the God revealed both in the Old and New Testament.  Scoll down the page to find the parts you are most interested in reading, if in fact you are.

http://carm.org/god-...ament-a-monster

Peace
mark


#27    Almagest

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:58 AM

I appreciate the link, Mark, but it seems to contain a lot of mental gymnastics. The stories of the old testament make sense if Yahweh is a tribal god, and not the creator and sustainer of the world. You can compare the wars of the Israelites to the Illiad, except from one perspective. In the OT we generally only see the champion of Yahweh, where the Illiad features the whole Greek Pantheon and their specific champions. It's strange that he wishes the Israelites to wipe out the Hittites, but I think that is an aspect of jealousy. After all, the Hittites gave the world Steel, what did the Israelites have? I think the OT should be viewed through the lens of a tribal God and his chosen people, not as the creator and maintainer of the universe.

I also find it troublesome that the article seems to suggest that sexual perversion is worse than murder.

Life is the result of the struggle between dynamic opposites Form & Chaos, Substance & Oblivion, Light & Dark And all the infinite variations of Yin & Yang
When the pendulum swings in favour of one It will eventually swing in favour of it's opposite Thus the balance of the universe is maintained

-Jeru the Damaja

#28    markdohle

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 08:44 PM

View PostAlmagest, on 25 September 2013 - 07:58 AM, said:

I appreciate the link, Mark, but it seems to contain a lot of mental gymnastics. The stories of the old testament make sense if Yahweh is a tribal god, and not the creator and sustainer of the world. You can compare the wars of the Israelites to the Illiad, except from one perspective. In the OT we generally only see the champion of Yahweh, where the Illiad features the whole Greek Pantheon and their specific champions. It's strange that he wishes the Israelites to wipe out the Hittites, but I think that is an aspect of jealousy. After all, the Hittites gave the world Steel, what did the Israelites have? I think the OT should be viewed through the lens of a tribal God and his chosen people, not as the creator and maintainer of the universe.

I also find it troublesome that the article seems to suggest that sexual perversion is worse than murder.

In the beginning the Jews were not monotheistic, they believed in other tribal gods.  The Ark was carried into battle, for that way they took their god with them.  By the time of Jesus,this was no longer the case, Jews were staunch believers in One God.  There is history-lived out and recorded, mixed in with the early concept of God.  The OT is a collection of books, not one book.  In any case, I did not send you to that web page to convince, to just show you that their are other ways to read scripture.  Each will bring with him his or her own beliefs or lack thereof.  Also issues as well.  For me the scriptures are the "Word of the God", I believe that the Bible is inspired, but it is not channeled, it is just shows that God reveals himself, slowly over time through our cultures.  God and the gods are different.  God is not part of nature, like the sea god for instance, but the creator, but one with yet apart from creation.  If the revelation of Jesus Christ happened in the time of Abraham, no one would have understood it, it had to happen when it happened, after man centuries of slow growth and understanding.   This is still going on I believe.  That is why I stay in my faith, it is not static, but maturing again slowly over time.   I know that you don't believe that, OK with me, just trying to bring some understanding into the conversation.....not sure how well I am doing LOL.

Peace
mark


#29    Almagest

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 03:58 AM

I agree that our religious texts are a succession of attempts to explain life and the universe. The NT has more advanced morals than the OT, but its still 2000 years old, society has changed a lot since then. The same goes with its science and history, our understanding has advanced significantly, and the Israelite perspective doesn't paint a complete picture of either. That doesn't mean it's useless, though. It is however, a biased source, as all sources are, since it is the product of humans. And since religious texts are human products, and part of a progression of morality and understanding, shouldn't science and philosophy be considered as part of that continuum?

I do appreciate other perspectives of things, but I have to admit I don't really like apologetics. I find they try to stretch things too far to make them fit one particular narrative. You could say the same thing about the scientific narrative if you were so inclined, it is reliant on fundamental truths which might be wrong. For instance our estimations for the age and size of the universe rely on the speed of light being constant. Some physicists have even suggested such a thing. The difference is internal consistency and mathematics to back it up. Apologetics have little more than opinion to argue their case.

Life is the result of the struggle between dynamic opposites Form & Chaos, Substance & Oblivion, Light & Dark And all the infinite variations of Yin & Yang
When the pendulum swings in favour of one It will eventually swing in favour of it's opposite Thus the balance of the universe is maintained

-Jeru the Damaja

#30    Frank Merton

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 04:14 AM

I've always looked at apologetics as starting out with a set of beliefs and then trying to show that they are true -- not quite the same as genuinely looking for the truth.







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if there is no doubt we will not check our answers.
doubt demands the answers be clear and solid.
seeking evidence is the means to satiate doubt

if there is no faith we will not look for answers.
faith...

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