Can someone with faith explain something to me please?

(198 Posts)

This isn't intended to be offensive or goady, I'm asking out of curiosity.

I was on the thread about atheists posting on believers' threads the other day. Someone commented that having their (Christian, I think) faith compared to believing in Thor, Zeus, Apollo etc was offensive.

It made me wonder - what convinced you that your faith is the true one and all others are false? I mean, the Romans and Ancient Greeks were convinced of the authenticity of their pantheons (and I know someone who believes in the Norse pantheon). So why is the comparison offensive? (Obviously I understand that 'sky pixie' and 'imaginary friend' are offensive because they imply a degree of childishness).

Gingerdodger Sun 24-Mar-13 11:41:03

That's really hard to answer to be honest. Personally I prefer to see all faiths as a manifestation of how God is revealed to that individual. So my faith is based upon how God has revealed himself to me and what I am called to follow.

The concept and mystery of God is way beyond the comprehension of any individual so I guess we all see from a perspective, a bit like us all being given torches and shining them on our own particular bit and seeing what that reveals.

So, for example, I have a friend who is pagan. Her faith is all based around nature and I cannot pretend to understand it all but I don't see it as me being right and her being wrong or vice versa, we are just both following what we are called to do based upon how God has revealed him?self to us.

That sounds very woolly I know but it makes sense to me!

DeepRedBetty Sun 24-Mar-13 11:46:25

I heard a voice telling me not to worry, that everything would be alright, when things were very very bad. I knew the voice was God.

Things did sort themselves out as God said they would, and I've been saying thank you regularly ever since.

I feel no need to be in a church to say thank you though!

That’s really interesting, thank you! I like your analogy Ginger, that makes a lot of sense.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 11:49:04

DeepRed, how did you 'know' it was God?

Ginger, what do you think of people to whom a god has not revealed itself?

RandomMess Sun 24-Mar-13 11:49:19

The Christian faith teaches through the bible that all other religions are false and therefore from satan (hugely simplified!) so comparing our God to other Gods is comparing him to satan.

RandomMess Sun 24-Mar-13 11:51:54

I have to say God revealed Himself to me in a similar (I wasn't brought up with a faith etc) and I just "knew" it was Him.

"What do you think of people to whom a god has not revealed itself?" someone who has not yet been saved from an eternity without God. I certainly don't think anything less or bad of them?

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 11:53:29

"Obviously I understand that 'sky pixie' and 'imaginary friend' are offensive because they imply a degree of childishness"

Honestly, I think most atheists would agree that the concept of 'nanny god' is far more childish than that of an imaginary friend. Only in childhood could a rational human being accept that there's a being who listens and answers all their prayers (except of course, sometimes that happens in 'mysterious' ways, just so we can't argue).

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 11:55:14

"someone who has not yet been saved from an eternity without God."

That's quite patronising.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 11:58:22

"I just "knew" it was Him."

I actually get a little fed up of answers like this. How can you possibly know? Most religionists will use the argument against atheists that they cannot prove the non existence of god, which is true. But to then use as evidence FOR that existence a statement like, "I just knew", is quite pathetic.

Gingerdodger Sun 24-Mar-13 11:59:26

I don't think anything of those people Pedro, most atheists or agnostics I know are living their lives according to their personal moralities and consciences. I believe, personally, that God is present within those moralities and consciences even though he may not be actively revealing it to that individual in that way (I know atheists will not see it that way at all).

I just see individuals living their own lives.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 12:08:49

Thanks Ginger, best answer I've heard on here in a long while!

Personally, although I'm raising my children as Catholic, as I was brought up, my own belief is less rigid.

I believe there is a spiritual force in the universe, and that all human faiths are simply interpretations of that force. None are necessarily 'right' or 'wrong' and as long as they provide comfort to their believers, and do not incite hatred and violence, all are of equal worth.

So I see little difference between belief in the Norse gods or the Christian god and don't believe there to be any offence in such comparison.

Polyethyl Sun 24-Mar-13 12:12:05

I don't know there is oxygen in the air I breath. I haven't tested it for myself. I can't see the oxygen, nor smell it. But I know it is there and keeping me alive. I feel that way about God. He's there. I've tried to explain this to atheists before, and been met with a barrage of insults. So I generally don't join in debates like this as atheists and believers never persuade each other, so the debates are often juat unpleasant wastes of time.

Although he commands us to have no other God but him, I remind myself that God is Omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, so he has rather a better understanding of followers of other faiths than I do. (Oh ... and one of my daughter's godmothers is a jew.)

WreckfestAtTiffanys Sun 24-Mar-13 12:19:02

but the simple difference there Polyethyl is that the oxygen content of air can and has been tested, along with it's need for our survival.

headinhands Italy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:24:43

Oxygen is a testable gas that can be detected with the necessary equipment. It behaves in predictable ways wen tested and is in no way an adequate analogy for god. Neither is the wind for the same reasons.

headinhands Italy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:26:25

Don't want to be disparaging thought as I myself used to cite similar analogies when I was a Christian.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 12:29:26

I don't find the comparison offensive.

Do I know that my faith is the one true one? No. I just believe. I've tried really hard not to, but it doesn't work.

There will never be an answer that satisfies non believers. How can there be? I have no idea why non believers still ask, and believers still offer "evidence" that is not and cannot be objective.

Groundhog day...

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sun 24-Mar-13 12:35:06

Because just "knowing" is such a childish and ignorant way of thinking. It is human nature to question things, but it is juvenile nature to accept what were told.

Children are programmed to accept what their parents or guardians tell them because it is beneficial to survival and as such is a trait which has evolved. But as adults, we should be thinking for ourselves, yet so many of us seem to be stuck in childhood.

JoTheHot Sun 24-Mar-13 12:40:02

I had understood that my believing there are no gods was down to me having a low religious IQ. I had never considered the possibility that they were actively choosing not to reveal themselves to me. Why would they do this to me? And if we're all shining our torch on the same guy, how come I see a morality which is diammetrically opposed to large chunks of mainstream christian morality?

In reply to the OP. The old gods were interventionist. People invented them to explain stuff, bad harvests etc. We can now explain the world without these gods, thereby pretty much refuting their existence. In turn, modern religions have been forced to hone themselves back to their irrefutable rumps. The offended christian thinks that believing in something irrefutable is superior to believing in something which has been refuted.

Polyethyl Sun 24-Mar-13 12:41:26

Yes. I know atheists hate my oxygen analogy. They invariably reply about being able to scientifically test for oxygen. So I clearly need to find a way to express how faith feels some other way. But in all honesty I don't think anything I say will make an atheist understand how faith feels. They just have to feel it for themselves.

Gingerdodger Sun 24-Mar-13 12:43:29

I think polyethel's oxygen analogy was more about saying that she hasn't personally done a test to demonstrate oxygen exists so from that perspective she is reliant upon the fact that it is there as the carries on breathing, this would have been the case even before we knew what oxygen was, we just know there is something there
that keeps us breathing so that is how it feels to have faith. It just feels right to that individual.

For those looking for scientific, absolute proof that God exists that is not going to happen.

I can never prove to anyone proof of what I believe. All I can ever say is that it feels right to me, that feeling is far too strong for me to ignore, I didn't seek it out, it found me and, therefore, the strength of that feeling leads me to believe that it is the truth.

Anyone who is looking for belief based on absolute proof only is going to see that as me being delusional and we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that point.

headinhands Italy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:48:28

I don't hate it poly it just doesn't work because you're equating something that has no evidence to something that has shed loads. As I said I used to use similar arguments and but can now see they're counter productive and too easily dismantled.

headinhands Italy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:54:23

But ginger strength of feeling is a poor indicator of the veracity of those beliefs no? If I say to myself 'wow, ginger feels so strongly about her faith so it must be true' I then have to believe anything anyone believes in strongly which would include millions of diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive beliefs.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 12:54:34

I find it odd when people assume I haven't questioned my faith. I am an intelligent woman. A scientist. I know how to question. I know about evidence, and I know there isn't any. Still believe. God knows why...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now