To the believers...

(308 Posts)
PedroPonyLikesCrisps Tue 29-Jan-13 23:17:16

How does one justify to themselves belief in a supernatural being with literally no hard evidence? This is something I just don't understand. Without the assumption of a god or gods, we are able to explain pretty much everything in the Universe and even those yet-to-be-answered questions are being gradually chipped away at without any need for a deity.

So what makes people believe in a god? Is it fear, conditioning, laziness? Theories of the supernatural were our first attempts at understanding the world (big yellow disc moves across the sky, don't know what it is, maybe a god carries it around up there). You could say they were humankind's first attempt at scientific reasoning. But we've moved on from these archaic theories now and we can explain all these things we couldn't before, yet for some reason, religions live on and people continue to think that some guy lives upstairs and watches over us even though there's no rational way to argue his existence.

Do Christians think Muslims are insane for their differing beliefs? Does anyone still believe in the Greek or Roman gods anymore? Do the religious find Scientology to be just another religion or does anyone else see the the words 'cult' and 'religion' are pretty much interchangable?


momb Fri 01-Feb-13 17:00:08

Which god Momb?
It's all one God, just the individual experience is different. Isn't free will great?...bearing in mind that all of this is my experience of God and not an attempt to change your mind or make you understand my POV.

Going back to my original point, whcih is essentially the same as CheerfulYank's: I just do :-D

headinhands Fri 01-Feb-13 17:09:06

So this one god. Does he have a name. What can/can't he/do. What do they require from you? How do you know what you do about them?

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Feb-13 17:11:06

Its name is I Am. grin

MissAnnersley Fri 01-Feb-13 17:17:06

I believe in God. I'm a Christian. It is a personal belief that I do not impose on anyone else. I was brought up by two devoutly Christian parents and our church played a big part in my upbringing.
I question it, I think about it but my faith doesn't leave me, it feels like part of me.
I don't think anyone is 'insane' for believing something different or for having no religious faith.
Most of all though, it comforts me. In some of the most difficult times in my life it has given me strength.

momb Fri 01-Feb-13 17:28:26

Why don't you believe in a higher power? If you don't have faith, why are you so interested in other people's faith? Is it a desire to feel something because you feel that you may be missing out or is it a desire to be proved right?
As someone who has faith I don't usually think about why some people can't have faith, but it appears there are people without faith who do spend time thinkning about those who do. So, why don't you experience faith?

headinhands Fri 01-Feb-13 17:40:30

Can't and shouldn't my questions stand alone? For what it's worth I'm fascinated with what people think and why. I'm a people watcher if you like, myself as well as others.

momb Fri 01-Feb-13 17:46:45

Why don't you experience faith? You say that you used to believe until it fell apart under your analysis. You chose your own experience. Why ask others to justify theirs? My own faith stands firm under my analysis, as presumably does the faith of all those posters who believe. Why is that important to you?

headinhands Fri 01-Feb-13 18:02:05

I wouldn't say it was important as such. Just interesting. Don't think I'm doing anything wrong, pretty sure I've never been rude to anyone and wouldn't want to be. Just assume people will discuss it I they want to and are obviously free to give it a miss if they don't.

niminypiminy Fri 01-Feb-13 18:13:10

It's good for people of faith and people of none to talk and to try to understand each others' points of view. We can all learn a lot from genuinely open conversation. But that's so hard -- for both sides-- to achieve.

I sometimes wonder though what it is about God that keeps some people who don't believe in him coming back to the discussion. It seems like an itch that some people can't stop scratching.

When I was an atheist - which was for most of my life, and I was brought up in an atheist family, of whom I am the only religious member - I used to be sort of fascinated and repelled by religious belief. Now it seems to me that was the first stirrings of my awareness of my longing for God. I don't think being this need be the case. But if it's not that, I wonder what it is all about?

headinhands Fri 01-Feb-13 18:52:30

Most people I know well enough to know what their religious leanings are are atheist/agnostic. Most of them bar my dh don't, as far as I am aware really ever talk or think about it. We're a strange couple!

I remember when I was a Christian having debates almost identical to these about ghosts and how I felt there was no evidence. The irony!

headinhands Fri 01-Feb-13 18:57:19

It's not just your god we don't believe in though Niminy, it's not personal, we don't believe in almost as many gods as you so we've got a lot more in common than you think.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 19:02:43

That's ok Headinhands, I only mentioned it because I am increasingly finding myself in the prescence of people who think that having faith and having a scientific mind are mutually exclusive.

EllieArroway Fri 01-Feb-13 19:28:52

people who think that having faith and having a scientific mind are mutually exclusive

They are. Science is all about critical thinking, "faith" is the abandonment of it.

There are a few religious scientists about, but you find the more eminent & educated they are, the less likely they are to be religious. Only about 3% of the elite of the elite (The National Academy) believe in God - and not a single one of them believes in he/she/it because of scientific reasoning.

Faith is an emotion - it's "I don't want to die. I am too important in this universe to have a finite life. Someone up there loves me so much they want me in their magic sky kingdom. I want to believe this so much, I just will".

This is not compatible with science. At all.

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Feb-13 19:42:30

Ellie I don't really think about the afterlife much. I'm not afraid of death. A terror of nothingness isn't why I believe in God.

niminypiminy Fri 01-Feb-13 20:24:40

Ellie, what qualifies you to say why it is that people believe, when you appear to listen to what they actually say so rarely?

Ninjaforever Fri 01-Feb-13 20:52:10

Headin hands what I meant abt the prison comment is, Muslims must stay on the straight path, no gambling, no drinking, no drugs, no dating no non marital sex ,nothing that most non believers would refer to as having a good time hence 'prison' but by following these set rules they will get a much greater reward from Allah for their strength and belief. That is the whole point of religion believing because of revelations like the Quran even though there may not be physical proof .
With all due respect you have none if these rules to follow no hijab to wear, no dietary requirements. Everyone loves to be complimented , how many gorgeous muslim women are out there concealing themselves because Allah told them to , when they could be getting all sorts of attention from guys and having a huge boost of confidence. They choose not to get this sort of attention as God is the one they want to impress .

Several times its mentioned in the Quran of people in the past questioning the messengers , doubting their message and asking for proof . Allah knows it is hard to believe without physical evidence but this is the test . I question parts of my religion at times but that's healthy I don't want to follow blindly- I find the reason for something and everything makes sense.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 21:20:46

Ellie, I do not have faith because I fear death. I don't. Indeed everlasting life sounds a bit scary to me and I find the idea of reincarnation terrifying.

Where did you get the idea that faith=fear of death?

stickygingerbread Fri 01-Feb-13 21:23:34

I have always been surrounded by atheists and it is always a wonder to me. They, and these are loved ones, always seem to think it is about some thunder being with mad white hair in the sky, like a malevolent Beethoven that people made up to explain natural phenomena.

They really underestimate the ancients and should do their homework instead of opining without actual knowledge.

It is a wonder to me because I just cannot understand how they can't think bigger than that. Much Much bigger. To me god has always been Mind. It has always seemed obvious, before I ever encountered organized religion which was delayed since I was raised by atheists. To me - we, and all that is, are thoughts in the mind of god. It isn't about some magic person at all. Any person would be an object within a field of mind.

All my dear atheists think that material is the fundamental reality and I think that consciousness is the fundamental reality. To briefly sum it up.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 01-Feb-13 21:30:45

Ellie I am interested in your comment Science is all about critical thinking. Faith is the abandonment of it. Can you explain what you mean by it?

CoteDAzur Fri 01-Feb-13 21:38:57

"by following these set rules they will get a much greater reward from Allah"

I would think "good" behaviour is worth very little when it is done in expectation of reward from a higher authority.

I don't kill, steal, lie, or sleep around because I have my own pride, principles, and integrity. Not because I want to be petted on the head and given some reward.

CoteDAzur Fri 01-Feb-13 21:41:54

"I just don't agree with the idea that anyone is 100% rational, all the time. "

I think I am. Can't think of any instance when I am not. No superstitions, no belief in anything without overwhelming evidence.

Why do you think nobody can possibly be rational all the time?

CoteDAzur Fri 01-Feb-13 21:43:13

"Allah knows it is hard to believe without physical evidence but this is the test"

Sounds like a con.

Is it also a test to have put million-year-old fossils in the ground and telling people that the earth is only a few thousand years old?

Ninjaforever Fri 01-Feb-13 22:30:32

Cote, you've quoted the easy parts- almost anyone can not kill, not steal not sleep around. Would it be so easy to not date? Not mix with men? Not obtain interest in monetary terms? Esp living in the west these are great challenges we must overcome, men and women mixing everywhere, interest involved in almost everything, mortgages credit cards, loans.
It's very easy to say if u don't like it go elsewhere( by the way I didn't say I don't like it just stating challenges) . The whole point of Islam is to spread the message and you aren't going to do that by just remaining with other Muslims.
We do everything to seek Allah's pleasure and he had promised us a great reward which is reiterated many times in the Quran. It also states how the disbelievers mock and how there are some that will never believe but all we can do is try and spread the message.

ethelb Fri 01-Feb-13 22:34:42

@cote but people voted in DC. That's not rational!

Ninjaforever Fri 01-Feb-13 22:34:44

Also where does it say the earth is only a few thousand years old ? I've never read anything that suggests so in Islam

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