Do you believe in a God?

.. or many Gods, no Gods, or maybe practice abrahamism?


I'm just curious to see the responses here. Was talking about this with a fellow threadlesser before and thought I'd open up the floor to discussion.


As for me, I'm kind of in this weird limbo. Growing up, I went to church every week and followed and grew up on what was told to me...all these scriptures and passages about God, and I believed them. But as I grew older and more disconnected, this figure became less and less real to me. There are times in my life that I cant find any explanation to other than some spirit amongst the Cosmos, but God? Questionable. My faith has been tested multiple times, especially these past few months, and this God we speak of has become as credible to me as a childhood imaginary friend.


disclaimer: this may be a sensitive topic to some people, so keep it clean. all opinions/views welcome

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celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

I like how none of the three theories of numbers really provide a good explanation of what the hell numbers actually are :)

For some reason I was earlier reminded of this:

...which makes me wonder, what is philosophy exactly? On the one hand I'd say it's a science as much as, say, sociology is a science, and yet somehow it feels separate from this scale. Like it's a meta-science, a study of 'quality thinking' which can be useful to practitioners of all sciences but on its own seems to spin in circles.

Another feeling I've always had about psychology (which was sort of reinforced by Jelly's examples of what philosophy actually does in the real world, like the flat table etc) is that it's almost a glorified and bloated version of common sense, a.k.a. 'not being stupid'. But there I'm probably thinking logic rather than philosophy.

Morkki
Morkki profile pic Alumni

shirtflirt, you are right, a seemingly simple rock is also a wondrous thing. Life is just more complex. I'm just saying that "it just happened" is as much a cop out than "God did it". Science is trying to dig deeper into the mechanisms of how exactly atoms clumped together in ever more complex constructs but that still leaves the question of why does the universe do that? Why does stardust collect together to form a thing that replicates itself and wonders why it exists?

I'm just saying that if there is a God I hope it knows how to write a good story.

shirtflirt

yeah, def not picking on you morikki but i saw you post that.

i'd say, judging by the last 20k years of human history it's been a pretty wild story.

shirtflirt

philosophy used to have a very important purpose in furthering math and science.

not sure what it's good for today excetp internet blogs about god lul

shirtflirt

"parallelish on Jul 29 '12 at 11:11pm i was talking about someone drawing energy from the universal field and transferring it to someone else using just their body and mind sounds fishy to me.

but if your saying this universal field is just the magnetosphere, then i agree we should be able to harness the energy from it, but we would need some type of device. "

you mean like tesla and his 'free energy' idea?

sweet n sour
sweet n sour profile pic Alumni

man I feel out of my depth, someone get me some arm bands

jellyes I think I get what you mean and you might be right, it may not be enough to dispute an omniscient and omnipotent being but I do think it is enough to dispute a just anthropomorphic omniscient and omnipotent being and I think it's safe to say that that is what most people who believe in god think god is like (even though most of them don't seem to want to tell me because I'm an immoral atheist with nefarious motives) if the omniscient and omnipotent being is not anthropomorphic I don't really see any reason to label it god to do so I think is misleading.

when I say I want a secular world I mean in the sence that most northern european countries are secular or at least as secular as they can be, I don't want to get rid of religion, or at least I don't want to get rid of the good bits and despite what people may think I do recognise that there are good bits. here's dan dennetts thoughts on what should replace religion, good old dan dennett.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5tGpMcFF7U

shirtflirt

replace religion? it's been around longer than civilization.

shirtflirt

and religions change all the time that's why there's 48.,000 versions of everything. there's literally something for everyone. the thing we are all choosing to dance around is that christianity has dominated the world for the last 2000 years and we're only now awakening to a certain extent to see that the 'innovations and creations' the greeks and roman's were "discovering" were already created in different parts of the world. my point? we're still dealing, even with most history, with a version of the truth.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

"God makes whatever kind of creatures he darn-well wants to" - that's probably a good summary of my beliefs on the subject. heheehheh I like that :)

I guess the argument is not so much against the existence of a God who would create an eyelash mite, (if there was a God, I'd prefer him to be the sort who would make an eyelash mite than one who sticks to baby deer and hummingbirds), but rather against people who imagine 'God made nature' and picture only the big and pretty things. Also I do have an issue with people disagreeing with evolution (and I full well realise that most people in this thread arguing the pro-God option are not those people :)

Jelly, that is again mega-interesting stuff. Man I have a ton of reading to do!!!

consider that the world is fundamentally bad for humans and god produces the best of all worlds. which is to say, with god's help we only lose 1% of babies each month, but without god it could be 45%. no configuration of the universe would allow it to go 1% without there being another really big bad thing happen, like a major increase in tsunamis.

this, though, again doesn't work for me. God didn't inherit the world as its custodian, so that he's fixing bugs in the system and making the best of it. He made the whole thing. What would be the limitation outside of his immaculate self that would make it necessary for there to be a certain amount of crap?

On shirt's question of can I really not imagine a world without suffering, I actually cannot. Suffering means feeling. If we didn't feel, we'd be robotic. Suffering means compassion. If nothing bad happened to anyone, who would you empathise with? Empathy wouldn't exist. Suffering means heroism, in whatever form. Suffering means self-sacrifice. Suffering means leaning on each other to get through things. I cannot imagine what the human race would be like if we were all a-ok all of the time. Also suffering is not caused just by us - the very process of living, and the fact that we are moving through life towards death, means suffering fear of the end. A creature who never suffered would be pretty alien to me.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Why does stardust collect together to form a thing that replicates itself and wonders why it exists?

This. I've never heard that basic question phrased better than this. I think we're a long way from finding out, though.

shirtflirt

"I really not imagine a world without suffering, I actually cannot. Suffering means feeling. If we didn't feel, we'd be robotic. Suffering means compassion. If nothing bad happened to anyone, who would you empathise with? Empathy wouldn't exist. Suffering means heroism, in whatever form. Suffering means self-sacrifice. Suffering means leaning on each other to get through things. I cannot imagine what the human race would be like if we were all a-ok all of the time. Also suffering is not caused just by us - the very process of living, and the fact that we are moving through life towards death, means suffering fear of the end. A creature who never suffered would be pretty alien to me. "

few things. 1) it's mythical to believe one can not know happiness without sorrow/ compassion without selfishness. i used to think this was true, as i assume you do, but this is only part of a way of thinking. night is the opposite of day; it's part of it. 2) suffering means feeling? to whom? feeilng is feeling; whether or not you are taught to label our faculties would not necessarily negate the experience of 'hearing' for example, if you didn't know what a 'sound' was. you learn to feel pain, you learn to 'fear the end' of life. you realize not everyone fears death, right? that is NOT a universal. 3) if we cannot imagine a better place for future generations how can we hope to change the current condition?

your reply solidifies my feeling that you are more comfortable reading about life, and intellectualizing the experience of life vs going by your own experiences. so many people end up going down a road of sterile experience or worse, an existence that is constantly comparing and contrasting things one has read to the actual world. your experience is your truth.

shirtflirt

"elandinestern on Jul 30 '12 at 1:08pm Why does stardust collect together to form a thing that replicates itself and wonders why it exists?

This. I've never heard that basic question phrased better than this. I think we're a long way from finding out, though."

why would we assume that there is even a 'why'? to begin with? that is very human and shows a real sense of uncertainity. which is fine, we should be able to live with uncertainty

shirtflirt

"this, though, again doesn't work for me. God didn't inherit the world as its custodian, so that he's fixing bugs in the system and making the best of it. He made the whole thing. What would be the limitation outside of his immaculate self that would make it necessary for there to be a certain amount of crap?"

and to say it's crap or useless to us doesn't mean it's useless.

shirtflirt

and then there we are, in the void, where we've always been, until the questions start up again.

however, don't you find it rewarding when you make one clean streak through an entire dusty table top? then you're like "i'm gonna do this side, then that side, and pow, it's clean" and then it is so. cos you're god. lol

shirtflirt

make a new perfect table, more perfect than all the rest

parallelish
parallelish profile pic Alumni

you mean like tesla and his 'free energy' idea?

yeah

also i don't think there will ever be free or even really cheap energy in a capitalist system. but thats getting into politics.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Also I heart Dan Dennett! Where did you find all these cool guys? That was long but quite interesting.

shirtflirt

in a capitalist system HELL NO but in a free, egalitarian system...you betcha

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Ok that table is perfect. I want that table.

On the suffering versus joy thing, I still think you're not imagining it fully. Imagine if there was only light, but no darkness. You would still see the light, it would be the same, but your experience would not, because you would not know that there was any alternative to it. We do not marvel at the air, air just is. But if we lived on a planet with no atmosphere and air was a precious commodity, we would cherish it.

Also try to envision what it would be like to not feel any discomfort ever. This would be your status quo. You would not know any other state. Ergo, you wouldn't be happy about not feeling discomfort, because it wouldn't be anything to feel happy about. It would be air. You wouldn't feel sorry for anyone, because they'd all be doing great too. It would be very, very boring :)

why would we assume that there is even a 'why'? to begin with? that is very human and shows a real sense of uncertainity. which is fine, we should be able to live with uncertainty

I'm not saying there is an answer, I'm saying that we can't help asking the question. Most of our endeavor on some level is aimed at answering that question. We haven't gotten anywhere, granted, but gosh we do try.

and to say it's crap or useless to us doesn't mean it's useless.

when I said crap there I didn't mean useless things (what's useless anyways? depends on your purpose) but crap as in bad things happening to people - tsunamis, lung cancer, worms eating through your eyeballs, that kind of crap.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Also I completely agree with sweet n sour when he says that he wishes for a secular society, meaning one where religion would be sufficiently divorced from the state and would not hold sway over legislation etc (like anti-abortion laws and that sort of human-rights-trampling rubbish), but simply have its place for those people who want to engage with it. Sadly it is the nature of religions to seek positions of power, as it's more or less what they were designed for. But maybe that's changing slowly too.

shirtflirt

"On the suffering versus joy thing, I still think you're not imagining it fully. Imagine if there was only light, but no darkness. You would still see the light, it would be the same, but your experience would not, because you would not know that there was any alternative to it. We do not marvel at the air, air just is. But if we lived on a planet with no atmosphere and air was a precious commodity, we would cherish it.

Also try to envision what it would be like to not feel any discomfort ever. This would be your status quo. You would not know any other state. Ergo, you wouldn't be happy about not feeling discomfort, because it wouldn't be anything to feel happy about. It would be air. You wouldn't feel sorry for anyone, because they'd all be doing great too. It would be very, very boring :) "

all you're doing is claiming all facets attached to ego and saying what if they weren't here? then yes, your ego would get very very bored but that is not life; that's your ego's life. you are not your ego...or maybe you are, and that's how you live life through a by proxy existence.

i've meditated on all those very things you propose and i tell you what, not being a slave to your emotions is liberating not impaling. it does not mean the absense of anything but more of a freedom to enjoy life and live less by these labels you listed.

your metaphor of the air is actually spot on, in that, we do not treat the air (or water for that matter) as pecious...why? because we're caught up in so many egotistical endeavors that we've ruined our only home and now, as we'll see, water will become ridiculously precious...as if it wasn't this whole time.

lidja, you're obviously well read. but i truly feel you're missing out on the experience of life by prescribing to a handful of preconceived notions and filling int he rest with the philosophies of others. have you ever heard or rread or listened to buckminster fuller? he's a great guy to learn about thinking, from.

parallelish
parallelish profile pic Alumni

lidja, you're obviously well read. but i truly feel you're missing out on the experience of life by prescribing to a handful of preconceived notions and filling int he rest with the philosophies of others. have you ever heard or rread or listened to buckminster fuller? he's a great guy to learn about thinking, from.

sounds like you want her to subscribe to your philosophy and forget all the rest.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

hahaha, shirt, you are a fun guy to have discussions with but sometimes you get way too new-agey for me :) You don't know much about how I live my life, (or how my ego lives its life :) and I don't know much about how you live yours. I'm keeping the discussion tied to things we can discuss in a meaningful way, or at least this is my intent. Saying things like 'your experience is your reality' is to me a tautology that leads to no further discussion, because it isn't something we can share.

You find me dry and sterile, and that's ok, but I'm not feeling very dry, or very tethered, over here. All is good :) The fact that we are different means we have things to exchange. If we were all the same, again things would get very boring.

shirtflirt

i don't have a philosophy other than just living life, going from your own experience, first. so yeah, i would teach that to anyone, my kids included.

forget all the rest? the rest of what

and like many others in this thread i posted a person of interest...point?

shirtflirt

so opifan said that as well, what does that mean, 'new agey'? i've heard it read it enough to the point where it's lost all meaning to me.

and i'm just reading what you're writing, as i assume you are of me. so that's where i'm deducing things from.

saying things like 'your experience is your reality' is definitely up for discussion but maybe you're unsure how to approach it?

parallelish
parallelish profile pic Alumni

i knew that wasn't your intent, it was just kinda funny how you worded it, especially when you don't know how buckminster fuller is.

shirtflirt

i don't know who he is?

he's all i've been watching for the past coupla weeks on the youtube.

shirtflirt

but you're right, i've never met him. and i think he's dead now :(

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

wait guys I have to google the buckminster fuller dude.

jmeaspls
jmeaspls profile pic Alumni

i think we agree sweet-n-sour:)

sorry again for making you frustrated with me

shirtflirt

haha parallel, you're twisting my head up.

enjoy, lidja, i haven't been able to find a shorter video than an hour or so.

and again, the main part of his story is after he turned 32 or 33 and 'started doing his own thinking' his words.

enjoy

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

ok, he seems like a cool dude :) or at least his Wiki paints him so.

I guess new-agey for me is that sense of stating somewhat vague things that feel contrived to carry some sort of mysticism or depth when upon cold and detailed inspection they would reveal to hold few solid concepts. Now I do not by any means mean to insult you, and many things you say are fair points, fully interesting and often quite challenging to respond to. But every once in a while a new-agey one creeps through, or at least it seems so to me. Of course it could all be in my subjective interpretation, or even my lack of understanding of what you're trying to convey.

I guess the reason I'm protesting here slightly is because it feels all of a sudden as if you're trying to 'save me', and I was really viewing this more as a theoretical discussion than a self-help seminar. 'Just living life' is totally cool as far as philosophies go, but it really isn't for me :)

shirtflirt

well i see the bigger problem is that we're not understanding one another. sure, if i see someone or r read someone and i think, 'hey if they read or hear this person, maybe it'll open something up to them they were unaware of' i'm totally guilty of that. admittedly.

i'd like to know which of the things i've spoken of are too new agey though as i am under the impression of trusting my internal "compass" or gauge for lack of a better term when reading/learning about some ancient concepts that are no longer practiced today based on their conclusive uselessness. old ≠ better, in my mind. however, this veiled version of reality we have can not be trusted on the surface level either, imo.

"Just living life is totally cool as far as philosophies go" is this your understanding of what i'm talking about?

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

hahaha Buckminster Fuller seems an extraordinarily sweet man, but an absolutely godawful speaker. The number of times he managed to say the phrase 'faculties with which we may be endowed' in those nine minutes is next to awe-inspiring.

I much like the part where he talks about his appearance and why it is the way it is.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

yeah, I do think we're slightly at cross-purposes. But make no mistake, the part where you recommend someone and say 'hey check this guy out' is totally cool - we've all been doing that, and I've got absolutely no resistance to learning something new from whatever source.

Gosh, it would take me some work to track down the bits that I felt 'new-agey'. This blog grows so bloody fast. I'll try to point it out the next time it rolls around, is that ok? Also perhaps Eric can chime in when he has time and help out, though quite possibly what he meant by the term is something else entirely.

I must confess to have some inborn resistance to the repeated mentions of India and meditation, not because cool things cannot be found there, but because they seem so overused in the west, often in curiously watered down and semi-understood versions, as part of the general 'spiritualization' fad that seemed to hit us during the nineties. (When suddenly yoga became the grandest thing). Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of these things, and I fully allow for the possibility that your approach to them is genuine and thorough. I'm just recognizing a sort of slight prejudice within myself that may taint some of my comments.

shirtflirt

the fact that he's a godawful speaker, as you say, is reverence to the truth of experience.

and i'm learning something here too. the few things you've mentioned all deal with his outward appearance or sound...very telling ;)

shirtflirt

yeah i was picking up on that which is why i repsonded in kind. i take pot shots the same way you do at "India and meditation" with the philisophical ivory tower 'truths'. its' just what feels right to the individual. and the new age of the 90s happened in the 1950s originally. with some names like richard alpert (ram dass) timothy leary and some other very intelligent people.

the nineties was the material version of the spiritual truth, imo.

and trancendental meditation is amazing however i don't practice it. anything that brings you closer to the core of you, is going to benefit you.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

well most of what he said (besides the part about faculties with which we may be endowed :) was how awesome that other dude is. The part about ancient people approaching meditation (possibly spiritual study of any kind) for the benefit of others and modern people doing it to benefit themselves is also spot on, although it may be just confirmation bias - like, maybe in the ancient days there were also people who were doing it for themselves but the ones we have on record are those who sought to help others and thus were remembered by others.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

the fact that he's a godawful speaker, as you say, is reverence to the truth of experience.

see I have no clue what that means :)

and i'm learning something here too. the few things you've mentioned all deal with his outward appearance or sound...very telling ;)

ahahahahah now this sounds like you're trying to do an NLP reading of me :)

Also I've spent some time reading up on the Leary/ Castaneda/ Huxley bunch and my greatest conclusion was that there were some pretty heavy drugs involved in all that soul searching back there :) But hey, I did approach it all in my dry academic manner so possibly again I missed the gold.

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