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Re: To believe or not to believe

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Posted by Exodus 22:19 on December 05, 2001 at 23:35:15:

In Reply to: Re: To believe or not to believe posted by Donny on December 02, 2001 at 08:30:32:

: It seems to me, after reading this conversation, that the atheists and agnostics seemed to have carried the day. But let's talk about what it FEELS like inside everyday for those people who believe and who don't believe. Perhaps this discussion should not be titled, Why do you believe or not believe in God, perhaps it should be titled, What does it feel like to believe in God and NOT believe in God.
Good point... in fact I'm guessing that would probably be the reason most believers choose to believe - because it feels right for them and vice-versa for the atheists among us. I can't speak for everyone but personally I don't feel that a belief in a predefined definition of God is a prerequisite to personal satisfaction.

: I know that there are those intellectual participant of this discussion will look at this line of reasoning as a veiled attempt to prove that athiests are miserable and convince them that faith will improve the quality of their lives and they will ask, "Is it appropriate to choose faith because one believes it will make one feel better?" Or one hopes it will. That is another question that could be explored. Faith is a very interesting concept.
Yep... I don't faith is really something that can be explored intellectually as it deals with a persons innate beliefs which can only be discussed in the most simplistic terms. For myself, I find faith would only make myself feel better if I could truly believe in it. Since organised religion is by nature arbitrary, it would be difficult to fit everyone's individual beliefs into the one neat package. Of course, if faith in whatever feels right for you, then the answer to your question must be 'yes'.

: But to this small facet -- who experiences more calm and peace and contentment in their lives? Believers or atheists.
Believers, quite possibly in the broader sense. Whoever said 'Ignorance is bliss' may well have been right, but choosing not to look at the options when presented is another matter. Is faith just belief for the sake of belief?

: I don't want to talk about my personal beliefs just now -- I'd like to mention a cult that I can't really stand -- the LDS or the Mormons. Those people. Now i grant, we can not take their pastered on smiles as true indication of the feelings of their hearts but I grant that your average Mormon experiences on a daily basis more peace and happiness than, say, you average porn addict -- who we will assume is agnostic if not athiest. I am not saying that all athiests are porn addicts but my guess is that while they are not spewing dissension in discussions like this they are pursuing the one handed websurf or at bambi's 24-7 free webcam site.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the Mormons really had it right all this time.... if heaven were full of Mormons I reckon most of the population would be pleading for hell. Now back to the issues - porn and faith. You could say both can cause corruption in men. People who are persue either are looking for something in life. Maybe one has chosen instant gratification over delayed gratification. I'm sure the two are not mutually exclusive however, as plenty of people who believe I am sure have surreptitiously visited bambi's 24/7 live webcam to stare in awe at the beauty of God's creation. (and possibly said 50 hail marys to cleanse themselves from the sinful viewing). (and I'm really hoping Bambi is not the cartoon Bambi - even the Bible is against that).

: You know what, I am not a saint. I don't know where my own vitriol comes from. Where is the love? The love in me, even. I mean, I started this post hoping to bring up this question and then revealed my own personal discontent, which surely is not an expression of the light of the spirit... but here's the thing, and the cards come tumbling down, as soon as i feel the digression from the light, as in my jab at the athies, and acknowledge it in my heart and acknowledge that I am responsible for blocking the light of the spirit out of my life, the light of the spirit pushes through the darkness of my own prejudice and I feel a lightening in my spirit... hmm... I'm not going to delete this post even though it may make no sense at this point -- it is a stream of consciousness experiential display of how my own prejudice caused me pain and how my own acknowledgement of spirit released me...
How do you know it's not your own spirit which has lightened itself by your acknowledgement? I wouldn't really class what you've just said as vitriol... I'm fairly sure most atheists aren't too uptight about porn - even if classed as one hand surfer addicts. :)

: What release is there for people who have no light of the spirit and must live in their prejudice until it festers into hate? Do they wreak explosion or just explode inside?
Prejudice. Is prejudice a preconceived generality? Prejudice is not hate, it doesn't have to fester into hate either. If you recognise within yourself the reasons for your prejudice - and anyone who is in touch with themselves should be able to - then you can come to a greater understanding of yourself. Is this not the journey of life, not something to be ashamed of? Perhaps you might be able to explain why you believe yourself to be prejudiced against porn and atheists :)

: The goal of this whole thing is love, right? I am wrestling with myself. My own spirit. (Not the piece mention above wrestled with by athiests at bambi's).
IMHO Love is often overused. It describes a variety of emotions, but rarely can you have love when it is not directed at something. "I love the world" is like saying "I think the dark side of the moon is beautiful"

: There is came again... does the light of the spirit clean us completely. No. For just a few breaths. This is why the numbing comformity of sects and religions can create distress -- because the lives become facade -- the growth comes in living, making mistakes, acknowledging, feeling releif and then wondering how we made the same mistake again...
Well I agree with the bit about the cult... if you choose to blindly follow a cult however, you can remain happy and many have done so.

: : I'm at the point of not believing in God as he is advertised by most of the religions I have read up on. I think that basic human nature has made us create an afterlife to combat our fear of death and the search for immortality. 'Cant live forever? Oh well, then there's life after death, no worries.' You were a bad person in life, Repent! no worries. Or the other way, you were bad, now you burn in Hell. Yeah that sounds like what a loving and forgiving God would do. Riiight. So who can blame those of us who dont know what to believe.
I think we may be very similar in this way, although I'm rather confused. You imply that you are neither an atheist or agnostic, however you find it hard to believe in 'advertised religions'. Ain't that what an agnostic is? As for life after death, of course everyone wants to believe in that. Hope that everything you achieve is not completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Religions in the past have been used to manipulate people, but that is not a logical justification for not believing in an afterlife.
How people live believing that whatever they do is meaningless is certainly beyond me. Everyone has their own answer to "What is the meaning of life?" there is no right or wrong when the answer comes from within. IMO it is only the individual who can work out what to believe. Threats of hell and promises of heaven mean nothing unless the belief in them is real for you. You can't make them real with logic or reasoning.

Thanks for the interesting post.

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