How To Believe?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by China Cat Sunflower, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

    Oct 27, 2005
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    I don't know what that means, Flow. What is this Love that holds the universe together? I mean, I'm hip to what you're saying; I've done acid too, but in a real sense...what's love got to do with it?

  2. InLove

    InLove at peace

    Apr 22, 2005
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    Chris, you seem to be a very practical man. What holds your family together? What part do you play in this, and does it come from inside of you? Whenever what is inside of you is not sufficient, do you find that there seems to be something from outside that balances things out--say, maybe just the fact that your children trust you, and that makes all the difference?

    In the past, when things fell apart, what seemed to be missing?

    I am kind of holding my breath a little here, because I realize I am being rather personal with these questions, and they are tender ones. You can tell me to kiss off if you like, and I will understand.

    But would you intentionally hurt your kids? I know the answer to that is a resounding "no". Do you think that if you got to the point in deconstructing your programming where no doctrine or name came floating to the surface, would it change your answer? I mean, if you really got to this point, what would be left? I suggest you would be left with a choice. To love or not to love. To just be or not to be is a great question, dear Hamlet, but what follows? Be how? Be what? Be in what?

    No matter how you look at it, you are what you are. And I am what I am. In this moment and every moment, this is true. So, what do I do with what I am?

    (Thomas, forgive me, please, for what I am about to say, but I think you will understand why I am saying it.)

    If there is One, can this One be found in me? I believe so. If I can't find this One anywhere else, for this moment, can "He" come from within? If I choose to allow it. If I can only see it. Can I find this One holding my tiny solar system together? In this moment, I can, if I choose to see it (and I don't have to drop acid to do it, btw.) Can I see this One in the revolving seasons? That's a no brainer for me. Why else would those lillies and crocuses and weeds keep coming back every spring? Not to mention the lavender that all the experts tell me is not supposed to winter over, but it does! And...can I see this One in my child? Does my child see this One in me?

    Where does faith enter into this equation? I think it all turns on the hope that this Love, which somehow is inside of me, has chosen not only me, but my child, and my little solar system, and my flowers and herbs, and my very being. And since this Love is bigger than what is even inside me, I can look around and see it at work in every single moment. If this One has chosen to show Love, and I am part of this One who appears to be Love, then even a season of apparent death comes lovingly clear in another.

    I have rambled on....just want to see if I can help a bit. I understand if it doesn't, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. :)

  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Oct 17, 2005
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    My daughter believed there were people under the streets changing the stop lights....that was their job. Her belief system changed when I told her how the various light systems worked. Then they started putting little detectors up on poles rather than wires underground to monitor traffic....and I developed a new understanding. Then I had to tie a system in on a construction site with a computer that controlled a massive amount of lights to prevent gridlock and I had another understanding and a new way that I believed how it all worked.

    But now I know there are a variety of systems that control traffic lights...and depending on where you are it could just be a timer, it could be road sensor, it could be a laser sensor, it could be tied to multiple lights, or tied to a computer system...or it could be all of the above with a script identifying different parameters to decide which one ruled in which situation...

    So at first my daughter had a concept. And then I modified her belief system with my knowledge and input. And then through experience and education my knowledge was yet again increased to the point now if she were to ask me the question...I do not have the cut and dry answer I had 10 years ago. I can tell her I don't believe they are controlled by people underground...but I do not know exactly how they are controlled.

    ARRRGGGHHH. I just figured out. I don't know where the people work who are working on the computer systems that control the citywide light is perfectly possible, perfectly likely that they be in an undeground facility....My daughter could be right!

    And so could whatever you believe.
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Jan 9, 2004
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    Kindest Regards, China Cat!

    Absolutely awesome thread. I would say currently the frontrunner for '07.

    I see not only yourself, but others here as well expressing similar concepts based on different models. Like you, I feel I need "evidence" to confirm before I can honestly (to myself if no other) impute "belief." Where we perhaps differ is in what constitutes evidence.

    In these terms we agree. I cannot speak for others, I have seen things in my life that make me pause and consider, and ultimately believe. Some of these are "mundane miracles" as you put it, some are fortuitous coincidences, synchronicities, answered (and unanswered) prayers and such that constitute in my experience "evidence."

    I can relate to this pretty well, although I don't recall having the "If you believe God won't hurt you" thing pounded into me. It was there, in the background, and certainly factored (factors) into my reasoning, but it is not the primary motivation.

    Oh, absolutely! I can intimately relate to these words!

    I'm pretty sure you have seen my rationale before...if G-d is real, He can handle being questioned. Those who insist that questioning G-d is heretical have some (likely political) agenda they are trying to hide. If by the term "belief" they really mean "do as we tell you to, think like we tell you to think," I do not see the value in that. (How's that for traditional American independent reasoning?)

    There is a logical fallacy, I forget the name, that reminds me of the story of the lemmings...(allow me to mix metaphors here, please)...if everyone is jumping off a bridge, will you jump too? Just because "everyone" says "this is what and how you must believe" does not make it truth...certainly not in the objective sense of the word. It might (or might not) constitute a relative truth for a particular people...but that in no way imparts objective reality for the whole universe. G-d IS, I am confident enough in my experience and in circumstantial evidence, to believe. Yet, like yourself, I do have enough inconclusive questions surrounding the nature of Jesus to cast doubt on my mental association of him, of where he figures into the process. As a teacher, a "wayshower" as wil puts it, Jesus certainly imparts great wisdom. As does Guatama Buddha, as does Moses, as does Solomon, as does many, many others throughout the history of the world's religions. Of course, without certain claims unique to Christianity, specifically the value and merit of his sacrifice and equally the value and merit of his resurrection, Christianity is "just" another religion. So I do struggle, because in my mind if Christianity is "just" another religion, then why should I put up with all of the hypocrits that are Christians in name only? Why should I retain all of these essentially worthless trappings? Why not return to an elemental religious spirituality such as shamanism? At least there is an honesty in the simplicity of shamanism that Christianity lost so very long ago. And somewhat like virginity, Christianity cannot regain that simplistic honesty and has no desire to do so.

    We all need to start somewhere. Taking others' thoughts as one's own is not inherently a bad thing. It is what you do with those thoughts that matters. I "believe" even Paul alluded to this in the book of Romans I so often quote, and elsewhere, about guaging all things and holding fast to that which proves itself good.

    Absolutely. I have addressed this very subject so many times here. But it is easy to lose sight of something very William James pointed out...there are two components to what we today term "religion," the institutional and the personal. Here in this forum we are free to express our personal search and how it develops, many of us through the stained glass of our institutions. But the institutions are those that drive civilizations, societies and cultures. I have seen you point to this before, that you felt "christian" only because you were born into it. To a great degree, you are correct. This society, and a great deal of the Western world, is culturally and socially Christian. That does not confer all of the rights of the Christian faith on every member of society, it simply means that Christian values form the legal and educational framework that supports the social infrastructure. Likewise in India, China and the Middle East. Africa it seems has a lot of Christian and Muslim influx, but the underlying foundation is still tribal and animist. South America again has a Christian influx, but is fundamentally animist.

    I love this... :D ...I can soooo relate.

    Good point wil! It does seem to relate to that famous quote from Gandhi about liking Christ but not Christians.

    I do think it is overly simplistic though, and in that sense inaccurate. A genuine follower of the path of Jesus I would have no issues with, this would be someone like Mother Theresa. I *do* have issues with those who claim the name of Jesus while bulldozing a contrary path.

    Good point. In the words of that famous philosopher Nike, "just do it." Of course, I say that now with vivid recall of how difficult it was for me to learn to ride a bicycle. "Just do it" requires a faith in oneself, a belief in one's abilities. Once we are at a stage in our development to accept that G-d exists unconditionally, then "just do it" makes sense. Until that point, as a child with wavering faith in my abilities, "just do it" might as well mean "forget about it" or "let someone else do it for you." Will G-d or the bear know you are trying to talk yourself into belief, probably. Neither will be deceived.

    Having said that, everyone must begin somewhere. Where else, but in "telling ourselves," even if by the words of others, what to believe. Once upon a time, "we" all believed the earth was flat. We believed because the authorities we trusted told us so. It was accepted and paradigmatic, a given. No thoughts developed that contradicted the established norm.

    It was not until Copernicus, with a little later help from Gallileo, that "heretical" challenge was offered to this given set of parameters, yet still the populace believed as they were led. It took a group of Portuguese mariners to circumscribe the globe to prove to the western world that it was indeed round. So today we operate from a new paradigm, and no thought is developed that contradicts this newly established norm.

    Yet, satellite imagery tells us the earth is pear will this affect our future paradigms? Obviously this is all example...I could as easily point to the development of electricity, relativity, even the "evolution" if you will of the Christian faith.

    If it works for you, great! If it helps you relate to your family, tribe and outsiders, and even to G-d, then who am I to challenge this? If it got you into jail, or compelled you to beat your wife, or otherwise failed to create a loving spirit in you, then I might see things a bit differently and suggest it may not be working for you.

    Of course He does.

    In some sense I can relate, but I am not fully convinced either way. True, I don't need Jesus for "the Golden Rule thing," but I had to learn it somewhere. If not Jesus, who? In a Christian culture, it seems only natural it would come from Jesus. Had I been born Chinese, likely it would be Guatama. Had I been born Iraqi, likely it would have been Mohammed. Had I been born Jewish, likely it would have been Moses. But it is a lesson, an elemental lesson, a fundamental lesson, a rudimentary lesson all of us need to learn. To have faith enough in our abilities to believe, to the point we can "just do it."

    Don't know if I helped you, but I found this exercise cathartic. I thank you for that. :D
  5. Cage

    Cage Spirit Guided

    Aug 31, 2005
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    All sin stems from lack of love, imo. Love was the way of the Christ man, and what that passage means to me is, to believe in Christ, you must believe in what he stood for, and that was love for father (Who is defined as love) and love for mankind. Love is a powerhouse spirit that when embraced, can heal all spiritual ailments. To live a spiritualy fulfilling life, love is a nescessity, imo.

    Sorry for jumping in; I thought I'd give my view...

  6. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

    May 8, 2006
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    No acid involved Chris...just lots and lots of years and years of experience and study my friend. Hang in there ! What we collectively see and believe IS reality.That's what living in the light really means.

  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Jan 9, 2004
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    Kindest Regards!

    I’d like to repose the question: “How does a person believe?”

    This thread is on the Liberal Christianity board no doubt because the issue of belief is with the Christian faith. But if I may, I would like to broaden the question… “How does a person believe…in anything?”

    I have in the past in various places seen a number of arguments raised to refute religion in general and Christianity specifically…yet those arguments seemed to me just as intellectually and logically shaky as those being refuted.

    Since we are not “experts,” certainly not in every subject and on every issue, we pick and choose which experts we prefer. One may choose to regard Einstein over Oppenheimer, one may choose to regard Moses over Jesus, one may choose to regard Darwin over (insert Creationist of choice here). It is in considering those whose views we value and prefer that we hone our “beliefs.”

    At least, these are some thoughts developing as I dwell on this subject…

    Anyone else wish to share their beliefs in this regard?
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Jan 9, 2004
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    OK, since no one else seems to want to take the bait...errrmmm, rise to the challenge...and I'm in a little better place to expand on my thoughts in this regard:

    What makes a person so "loyal" or "devoted" to a memetic subjective truth reasoning process to the point of denial of blatant objective truth staring in the face? To the point even of deception (of self if not others) in order to preserve a faulty memetic process?

    I don't know if there are complete answers, but it seems we all start with imprinting from our parents while even still in the womb. Add to that family (nuclear then extended) and perhaps religious indoctrination if the family are religious types. Then school and governmental / secular authorities, as well as peers. Then some precious few who actually enjoy thinking and learning go still further to be influenced by various "experts."

    It is my experience that critical thinking skills and active evaluation are a rare commodity. I have known many people, many of them good people as people go, who couldn't care less about thinking something through critically and analytically. Mom and Dad told 'em things were such and such and so and so, and that's what they believe to this day unquestionably, regardless of how silly whatever may seem to a rational mind. Superstition.

    Others get caught up in the teenage angst angry young man syndrome and find fault and conspiracy at every turn. With peers commiserating, such negativity feeds itself.

    Others I guess get caught up in the daily concerns of family and responsibility, and lose the time and effort to constructively evaluate. Perhaps this is why bumperstickers were created..."my kid is an honor student" on one side of the minivan, and "I voted for ... for president" on the other side. Bumperstickers and 5 second sound bites, enough to swing election campaigns. Right or wrong? Who cares? It works...on people who don't think.

    There are those caught in the tangled web of religious doctrine and dogma, confused by contradiction yet too timid to challenge. In the most extreme we would call this "brainwashing."

    A college degree of itself is no guarantee of critical evaluative thinking, there seems in my experience an inordinate number of over-educated idiots, parroting party lines and chanting textbooks chapter and verse, who can't remember to tie their own shoes. Cab drivers with Master's degrees.

    Yet there are a scarce few, an oasis of free thinking people, who stereotypically seem to hover around and feed off of academia in one form or another. Such people thrive off of interaction with other freethinkers. Such people over time begin to understand the limits of their own thought processes and memetic paradigms, and begin to self-evaluate and critically analyze themselves. And in the process, they begin to question.

    They begin to question the established norms that make no sense. Authority hands them canned answers up to the point that more questions are asked than answers are given, then authority becomes annoyed...

    Sometimes old memes die hard. Perhaps something deeply rooted in childhood lingers well into a critical evaluation era in a person's life, masked and hidden yet still holding influence on belief patterns and systems. Some old wives tale may be cherished as established fact, only to eventually realize that this is in truth not so.

    It is a frightening experience to realize one's way of thinking may not be factual, may not be correct, may not be truth. Perhaps this is why some hide and disguise as a self-defense mechanism, clinging ever tighter onto cherished fairy tales lest they slip away into the land of myth and unreality. Of course, truth being the subjective devil that it is, replacing one inadequate truth with another inadequate truth is self-defeating. One must exercise caution in which truths one adopts.

    We all pick and choose our experts, on religion, on social intercourse, on taxes, on science, on finances, on probably nearly every facet of daily living. Mom may be the expert on meatloaf, Dad on automotive troubles, Mrs. White in grade school on language (long forgotten but latent and effective), Mr. Jones on money issues, Pastor Brown on everything to do with G-d. One's best buddy on choice of beer or other beverage. All of these impact and affect our "beliefs." Some of which we choose, others we do not. All of it environmental "nurture" influence.

    Where am I going with this ramble? I don't know. I think our belief paradigms are far more complicated than a simple answer will cover. To point a finger and scoff at someone whose beliefs do not coincide is to blatently trumpet one's own ignorance on this issue. How do we believe? Indeed, how can we not believe, considering the impact and influx of thoughts that flood over us daily, let alone the course of a lifetime. The question I would think is not "how?," but "what?"

    Enough for now. G'nite!
  9. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

    Apr 24, 2006
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    It must and will eventually I believe.

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