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markdohle

Doubt and faith

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Doubt and faith

Doubt and faith go together, an inner tension that allows choice and seeking.

I have found that those who are sure of themselves, without doubt, come across as angry, myopic and fearful of other ways of thought. Eric Hoffa said that the sign of a fanatic is one who can't abide anyone believing or thinking differently than them. A fanatical Christian for instance, if he or she loses their faith will become a fanatical atheist, and vise-verse of course.

How do you deal with doubt? I am speaking to both atheist and believers. Even though I am not an atheist, I do believe that 'truth' is something we all seek at ever deeper levels. To stop seeking truth, is to I believe becoming a fanatic of some sort. Both fundamentalism and atheism are for me too simplistic an answer to the complexity and mystery of our existence. The big questions can't be answered by science, though without science we would be worse off than we are now. I believe that both science and religion as well as philosophy are equally important for mankind.

Peace

Mark

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When I was a child I asked a family member (a simple man) why every thing does not fly off into space.He said the spin of the Earth holds everything down.

I had doubt of this due to my budding reasoning,and sought out my own answer.

I do not consider it faith to believe in the Law of Gravity,because if a more sensible explanation backed by evidence comes forth I would not hold onto old ideas that hypothetically left obsolete by the new.

Why is faith such a good thing especially if tactics of punishment vs reward is involved which leads to the logic inclined to be suspicious of such said faith?

Use doubt to climb the wall of faith that many others bow to.

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Edited by davros of skaro
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I think without people doubting long held assumptions we wouldn't have the modern world. And that goes for all assumptions, social, intellectual and religious.

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I doubt everything and only believe that which can be proven, hence I consider myself an agnostic.

I was raised a Catholic, but I had so many doubts since a very young age, which caused me lots of trouble.

Now I feel free being an Agnostic, as I am prepared and open to any truth (that can be proven, of course, lol).

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To put this as a Confucianism - "before you climb the Mountain of Faith, first swim the River of Doubt". But of course when you climb that mountain droplets of doubt will still be dripping from your clothes and hair, perhaps even being absorbed through your pores. You may reach the peak of the mountain but something from the river still remains.

And that's as it should be. Dealing with doubt is simply part of healthy existence. Without doubt, faith is not challenged, and without challenge faith never grows. I deal with doubt by accepting that I don't know everything, then remain vigilant to any new opportunities to learn.

That's my view, in any case.

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I don't have doubt, I have questions. When I ask my father why we didn't fly off the Earth, he said, "I don't know." Then he took me to the library and we ask the librarian. She gave me some science books and a library card. After we stopped and got ice cream, we went home and he helped me read the books. I will always be thankful for that day.

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It is human to doubt, but many religions seek to banish doubt from the hearts and minds of the believer. One has only to read of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice Isaac to understand that.

So I would suggest that to a religious believer, true faith means living without any doubt.

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Doubt has a name in psychology -- cognitive dissonance -- and I think not dismissing doubt is the beginning of truth.

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It is human to doubt, but many religions seek to banish doubt from the hearts and minds of the believer. One has only to read of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice Isaac to understand that.

So I would suggest that to a religious believer, true faith means living without any doubt.

It is impossible to live without doubt, at least I don't know of anyone. To deny doubt is to become rigid and fearful. Many of my Christian friends, and those of other paths talk of doubt often. Books are written about in the Christian world, it is taken for granted.

peace

mark

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It is impossible to live without doubt, at least I don't know of anyone. To deny doubt is to become rigid and fearful. Many of my Christian friends, and those of other paths talk of doubt often. Books are written about in the Christian world, it is taken for granted.

peace

mark

I live quite well without doubt because I live without belief, only opinion, some of which I feel very but never completely sure of.

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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 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

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Doubt and faith

Doubt and faith go together, an inner tension that allows choice and seeking.

I have found that those who are sure of themselves, without doubt, come across as angry, myopic and fearful of other ways of thought. Eric Hoffa said that the sign of a fanatic is one who can't abide anyone believing or thinking differently than them. A fanatical Christian for instance, if he or she loses their faith will become a fanatical atheist, and vise-verse of course.

How do you deal with doubt? I am speaking to both atheist and believers. Even though I am not an atheist, I do believe that 'truth' is something we all seek at ever deeper levels. To stop seeking truth, is to I believe becoming a fanatic of some sort. Both fundamentalism and atheism are for me too simplistic an answer to the complexity and mystery of our existence. The big questions can't be answered by science, though without science we would be worse off than we are now. I believe that both science and religion as well as philosophy are equally important for mankind.

Peace

Mark

To me it is the opposite. Sureity means one does not HAVE to be argumentative or dogmatic. When one knows one knows. An intelligent, logical person need not ever have any doubt. It does not make one perfect or mean one is always right, but using logic and intelligence, one can act to achieve optimum outcomes and potentials.

I am right about a lot of things (well almost everything actually). :innocent: But it is the prerogative of other humans to be wrong. As long as their wrongness doesnt hurt others, then that's ok. Atheists have got the world wrong, but that doesnt really hurt/limit anyone except themsleves. It is the nature of humanity to believe as they will

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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 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

I like this very much, well said. I shared his on my 'markdohle' blog here UM.

peace

Mark

Edited by markdohle

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To me it is the opposite. Sureity means one does not HAVE to be argumentative or dogmatic. When one knows one knows. An intelligent, logical person need not ever have any doubt. It does not make one perfect or mean one is always right, but using logic and intelligence, one can act to achieve optimum outcomes and potentials.

I am right about a lot of things (well almost everything actually). :innocent: But it is the prerogative of other humans to be wrong. As long as their wrongness doesnt hurt others, then that's ok. Atheists have got the world wrong, but that doesnt really hurt/limit anyone except themsleves. It is the nature of humanity to believe as they will

Hmmmmm not the same thing. You don't feel a threat when others disagree with you. You always answer in a respectful manner when attacked even.....so this is another aspect that is not doubt. Your experiences put you in another category all together I believe.

Peace

Mark

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It is impossible to live without doubt, at least I don't know of anyone. To deny doubt is to become rigid and fearful. Many of my Christian friends, and those of other paths talk of doubt often. Books are written about in the Christian world, it is taken for granted.

peace

mark

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?

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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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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". ;)

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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

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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
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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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?

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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