Why Believe????

mac1

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Please don't take this the wrong way, but how many people here actually 100% believe in a God of any description?

Am I the only person who visits this site, that does not believe in God? It certainly seems that way - Why all the definate belief from you guys? Don't get me wrong, I'm no atheist, but I don't believe anything blindly. Have all you guys (and girls) seen something to make you believe? How many of you believe blindly due to your social background? Is anyone else completely undecided like myself?

- - - - please dont take this post the wrong way. I am merely curious to the reasons people believe what they do. I would never ever presume to judge or question anyone's belief system, but are you all simply going on "blind faith" - just seems strange to the likes of me - thats all.
 

foundationist

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I guess belief in God comes from 2 main avenues - being told that there is God, and experiencing something that feels like God.

I'm one of the latter - general life experience has given myself a sense that the notion of a Concept of God (beyond all human comprehension) as like an active conscious aspect of the Universe (but not at all restricted to it), exists.

Nowadays the order inherent in the Universe, and the complexities of life, tell me that belief that all material existence and life came about through an utterly random chance event seems utterly illogical.

I guess I should also state that I would also say not that I "believe" in God, but that I have "knowledge" of God - or that I "experience" God.

However, the word "God" is one of those terrible subjective terms that means different things to different people. I really don't accept a personal anthropomorphic God concept that many religions do.

I guess it's all really hard to explain - which is why I try and include it all in the Chronicles of Empire writing.

As for certainty - I don;t accept that. Spiritually I feel the only things I can be wrong about are the details - but rationally I do quite accept that my personal opinion and personal experience are precisely that, and do not define objective reality. Therefore I am quite prepared to be wrong.

However, whether I am or no is really irrelevant in terms of my final expectations - as I am not cowering for any concept of "Salavation", I am happy to just flow through life and see if anything happens at the end. I sincerely think there is - had an NDE at 18 which gave a few hints ;) - but even if there isn;t, I won't be conscious about the result, and therefore can feel no disppointment in the metter. :)
 

Dave the Web

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Because something inexplicable touched me. I cannot explain. We feel things in life and many times we cannot put words to them. I think here the same is applicable.
 

mac1

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had an NDE at 18

Wow! That is truly facinating. Would you mind telling me about it here (or on a new post or personal message), or is it too personal? The subject of OOBE's and NDE's has interested me for years, as you know I tryed astral projection (without success) myself for a while. Such an experience as yours would likely convince me too.
 

foundationist

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It didn't actually convince when I had it - at least, rationally. I was probably at my most rationalist then, coming out from science A-levels and then taking a psychology A-level.

I was faced with the rationalisation of the experience in biological terms - but that never actually felt convincing. But I couldn't rationalise it as a "spiritual" experience because I never understood what the concept meant (still being reactionary to organised religion at the time didn't help).

Nowdays, on a rational level I simply accept it as a subjective experience.

It will be in my writing - there's an exact description in Chronicles of Empire, and I refer to the conclusions of it a few times in Emperor.
 

exastra

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people believe in God because they need/want a sense of divine justice; and are comforted by the thought of some higher power applying order to the chaos.
 

brian

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People are comforted by the belief of any of their opinions being correct. Applying that reasoning to the belief or no of God is setting up a straw man to the principle.
 

Cloud Woman

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Who wouldn't be comforted by the idea that there is no death? But who do you trust claiming to have the answers?
 

Dave the Web

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That God exists shows there are bigger mysteries in life. The knowledge is a two-edged sword. If there is God what else is there? What can harm us beyond ourselves and our species? the existence of God promises the existence of the unknown and the existence of the unknown compels us to fear.
 

Paul3c

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I was "taught" to believe as a youngster. But that belief never really meant as much as it could until twelve years ago. Something happened which, for want of a better phrase, I'll call a religious experience. Since then, my faith has been very real, and very much mine. Although there have been times of great doubt too.
 

Siege

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Why? No, never mind. Having recently stopped spending time at a Christian message board, I dealt with people who seemed to think any trace of doubt was an indication of wavering faith. On the other hand, I have met people who have beliefs which are diametrically opposed to mine, yet who hold them just as strongly as I do. Human logic says one of us must be wrong. I acknowledge the possibility that it might be me.

Getting back to the OP, religious experiences aside, I think one reason I believed as a teenager was I felt there had to be something better than my reality, that there had to be hope, peace, and a place where I was accepted somewhere, that this life couldn't be all there was to things. An atheist might say, "So, needing some such place, some such thing, I made one up." Certainly, the message I received from Christianity met those needs.

Another reason I took to belief early was a child's wonder and awe at the universe. I still remember saying, "OK, so yellow and blue make green, but why should it be that they make green instead of brown or purple or some other color?" I'm happy to say that that child still does live within me.

As an adult, I'll give you this reason. I suffer from clinical depression, and I've faced some rather unpleasant things. My belief has sustained my life, and probably saved it a time or two. I have poured my troubles out to God in tears, and sought and received comfort. My faith is as much a part of my world as the air I breathe and, I would argue, just as necessary.

Finally, as the daughter of an engineer, and programmer, I believe because it works, because my Christian beliefs have given me simple, efficient coping methods. Without it, no doubt I would develop other coping methods, but they'd be clunky and inelegant, a kludge for the soul.

CJ
 

Elizabeth May

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Hi seige and welcome aboard! Yes there's still a universe of wonder out there. Sometimes people might ask 'why believe?' and I'd return the answer 'why not?'. Existence and the human mind are both still very inexplicable. Some answers given are far too easy to be acceptable. So long as there remains abject mystery then anything is quite possible. Skeptical reductionism would prefer we just stopped thinking of possibilities and accept their own particular brand of dogma. That's not something I intend to suffocate my own exploration of life with,
 

Cloud Woman

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Why believe anything? We trust our sources of information and relate them against our experiences. If they tally we can accept that information unless refuted elsewhere. So I guess the belief issue is one of using sources against experience. What that experience is I don't know.
 

brian

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Certainly true - and the human animal is capable of a very wide range of experiences. :)

I guess that reflects in our great variation in language, culture, and belief.
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

some very interesting replies to this topic.. ones that i should like to reply to as well :) however, i will simply reply to the thread topic with this post and then move along :)


why believe... hmm... that's a great question and one that can be quite rightly answered with "why not?"

in my own case, i was a believer at one point and became an unbeliever. not in the existence of God as a lingua franca to describe the universe, per sey, rather the "concept" of God.

when i was young i was 'saved' at a Chrisitan summer camp... upon reflection, i cannot say if i was saved because that's what everyone else was doing or if it was a singling out. in either case, there was a "spritiual experience" that was had.. and it started me down the road of spiritual exploration that has wound up with me practicing Buddhism.

i've gone through just about every permutation that you could care to... from Western Mysticism to Eastern Alchemy, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Zorastorism and so forth :) for a while, i though that nothing would be able to reconcile the flaws in those thelogoical constructs and ethical systems.

basically, it all boiled down to one question that could not be answered in a satisfactory way by any of the other traditions (with a possible exception of Taoism). the question is thus: Where is this "I" that you speak of so highly? Where is this "I" that you think that you are?

i searched and searched but could not find a place where "I" began and the parts quit being parts. Buddhism has, in my opinion, the answer to this question and it is quite startling and, once understood, completely changes ones world view. their answer is "there is no I."

one of the other things, that for me was highly significant, is that the monotheistic traditions are pretty defined and stiltified now. it is impossible for me to believe that a book is both the Inerrent Word of God and at the same time, written by a guy that poops behind a bush. these are irrconcilable differences and the insistence upon accpeting every word of the Holy Text, as the Word of God, is not something that i can do. actually, it's classic Meme Theory grafted to religion.... interestingly enough, Buddhism seems to be the only world religion that doesn't qualify as a meme... go figure :)

the Buddha says not to accept any of his teachings based on respect for him or any religious teacher or teachings, for that matter. one should test the teaching for oneself and only afterwards should one decide to accept it or not. it's a very scientific method of religious pursuit which is a novel thing in and of itself for most Westerners.

whew... was this on point? sometimes i tend to ramble and just sort of zig and zag around the stated topic :)
 

Iacchus

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Bigmacscanlan said:
Please don't take this the wrong way, but how many people here actually 100% believe in a God of any description?

Am I the only person who visits this site, that does not believe in God? It certainly seems that way - Why all the definate belief from you guys? Don't get me wrong, I'm no atheist, but I don't believe anything blindly. Have all you guys (and girls) seen something to make you believe? How many of you believe blindly due to your social background? Is anyone else completely undecided like myself?
A couple of links if you're interested. And, although this is more about the manifestion of my beliefs, these experiences did occur during a period after my beliefs had been shattered ...

And yes, I believe it's appropriate not to believe in God "blindly."

http://www.dionysus.org/x0501.html

http://www.dionysus.org/x0901.html
 

iBrian

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Vajradhara -

Are you suer Buddhism is not a meme? Actually, perhaps that's another discussion. :)

Iacchus -

Fascinating stuff, though there's too much on your site for me to read and get an idea of the specific threads of thought running through everything. Do you have an actual summary page detailing how your ideas shape? I'm curious to see how you fit Dionysios with Christianity. So if you could possibly point myself towards a conclusion chapter or similar, that could be most useful.
 

Iacchus

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I said:
Iacchus -

Fascinating stuff, though there's too much on your site for me to read and get an idea of the specific threads of thought running through everything. Do you have an actual summary page detailing how your ideas shape? I'm curious to see how you fit Dionysios with Christianity. So if you could possibly point myself towards a conclusion chapter or similar, that could be most useful.
Hi Brian,

I tried doing something similar to this with my Overview Page, but never quite got around to finishing it. Shame on me! Yet the thing of it is, I have spent so much time and money and resources on this project -- with very little response from others -- that quite frankly, I've been finding it hard to motivate myself. It's a big project that never seems to end. I also began working on the book in 1989 (it's not quite finished), which was quite some time ago, and the longer it seems I wait, the more difficult it is to relate to as well.

However, after having been on hiatus the past five or six months, after discovering PhysicsForums.Com -- yeah that's right! -- and making well over 1,400 posts! (PF 2.0 and PF 3.0) -- I think it's about time to get back to work on the book (primarily), and forget about any major improvements I can make to the webpage, as this hasn't seemed to pan out so far. I really do need to get things wrapped up with the book and ready for publishing (even if that means having to do it myself).

So much for my own problems anyway! In answer to your request for a summary I will try and give you a brief summary of the chapters and show how they relate to each other and perhaps that will help? Except that, due to its length, I'm going to hold off until my next reply, which hopefully I can get to shortly, Okay? :)
 
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