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Author Topic:   Do We NEED God?
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(2)
Message 25 of 224 (673669)
09-21-2012 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Phat
09-20-2012 10:43 AM


Needing help is not the same as needing God
Phat writes:

Throw the books away. Start from scratch. God by definition. Write your own book. Make your own definition.

I think this is an excellent plan. We are all different people with different needs. Therefore, we all need our own solution to the problem of "inner emptyness."

The only requirement is that this God cannot be your own superego. He/She/It has to be an actual Being apart from yourself.

Wait... what? Why?
Why are you making this a requirement? Why do you want to restrict how other people may decide to deal with their inner emptyness? I just don't see the connection. It seems a bit like you're stretching beyond the boundaries of where you should stop trying to control other people.

Phat writes:

Perhaps God won't ever make a return appearance to simply bail us out. Perhaps She foreknows that life will become more and more difficult until we globally learn that consensus is preferable to anarchy.
(Message 12)

Did you just suggest that maybe God won't help us out until we get fed up enough to help ourselves out?
Perhaps God doesn't exist and people just get fed up on their own and take a stand after dealing with too much flak.

Phat writes:

The general idea is that imperfect humans will eventually fail and that the savior will return to save His own.(who, by the way, are "whosoever". )There is no excuse that God picks His favorites, given that whosoever believes will be saved.) This only poses a problem for those who refuse to believe. Even those who can't believe will eventually be given enough evidence to cast a free vote aye or nay.
(Message 11)

I notice here that at the end you mention that even those who can't believe will still get a shot at acknowledging that God exists and everything could work out okay.
With that in mind, do you still require that God cannot be your own superego or that He/SheIt has to be an actual Being apart from yourself?

I should note that I don't think atheists should supplant their own superego in place of God. I think that is pretty much just as strange. I think the best way to deal with our inner emptyness is to acknowledge that we have an inner emptyness and to deal with it. Some people don't even have an inner emptyness (lucky ducks!!). But for those of us who do, I don't see a reason to invent a "great and powerful" anything in order to deal with it. If that works for you, then great. If God is that great and powerful thing and makes you feel better... awesome. If your own superego is that great and powerful thing that helps you out... good for you! But I don't think any great and powerful anything is needed. I'm quite happy to accept that I have a certain inner emptyness sometimes. I'm able to simply deal with it and accept it as a part of myself being me (a human with unique quirks).

Phat writes:

We need God because we are either unable or unwilling to lay aside our own wants and desires enough to solve the major problems of the world. Wars have always existed, for example, and dont appear to be getting any less violent. Human greed is as pervasive as ever.
(Message 9)

I think you mean that you need God because we are either unable or unwilling to lay aside our own wants and desires enough to solve the major problems of the world. Why do you think everyone needs God to do this? Why do you that one solution would work for everyone for such a major issue that affects such a vast number of different people?

Wars have always existed And the one answer of "God" has been used to try and fix these problems for many, many years. But, as you say... human greed is as pervasive as ever. It doesn't seem like this one answer has the desired goal of fixing the problem.
Maybe it's time to let go of your human greed of this one solution as a "fix-all" for anything and everything. Perhaps it's time to open your mind, let go of the greed, and look at all options for all the innocent people involved to get the satisfaction they're looking for and deserve. Your clutching grasp on God as "everyone's answer" is part of the problem, not the solution. One day we will have to accept that people are different and that their solutions are not necessarily going to be the same (or even give respect to) our solutions. But, as long as they don't harm us... why should we require them to have the same solution, or to respect our solution? What's the problem? Is it our pride?

I am pessimistic in my expectation that humans shall ever overcome these problems on our own.

I am only pessimistic that humans will ever overcome these problems with a single solution. If we can free ourselves of forcing everyone into a single cannister of what we think is right... we will then have the tools necessary to dig ourselves out of these issues.

Phat writes:

I personally believe that we humans need a Creator/mentor all wise guide that encourages and inspires humanity to fulfill our best aspirations.
(Message 1)

I don't think so.
I think all we need is to recognize that different people need different tools to help them deal with the issues we all face.
Doesn't really seem all that complicated.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Phat, posted 09-20-2012 10:43 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Phat, posted 09-21-2012 1:55 PM Stile has responded
 Message 122 by Phat, posted 12-13-2014 4:15 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 33 of 224 (673709)
09-21-2012 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Phat
09-21-2012 1:55 PM


When it's Friday, all I NEED is a Keith's
Phat writes:

The issue of control also comes up, and apologists often mention that one hallmark characteristic of many atheists/agnostics is the insistence upon having a freely chosen life free from the control of any deity or organized religious influence.

I don't insist on having a freely chosen life. I just don't see anyone or anything else being in control. Kind of like moving my arm. I've never felt God or any deity move my arm, just me. Same thing with control over my life. I've never felt God or any deity control my life, just me. This doesn't mean I'm insisting that I must be free to make my decisions... it's just that I don't think anything else is capable of doing anything as I'm the only one who's ever been "in my head" so to speak.

People like me, in contrast, seem to crave the need of an outer agent of control and feel lost would we have to live in a universe free from such control.

Very understandable.
And we're just two different people. See how different our feelings and needs are? How different do you think all the feelings and needs are for an entire country? How about 7 billion different people?
Maybe the only NEED is for there to be more than one answer...

Phat writes:

Stile writes:

I notice here that at the end you mention that even those who can't believe will still get a shot at acknowledging that God exists and everything could work out okay. With that in mind, do you still require that God cannot be your own superego or that He/SheIt has to be an actual Being apart from yourself?

Well.... I DO want God to exist, if thats what you mean. In fact, I believe that God exists apart from our imagination of such a Deity. To throw that away would be to throw away my inner hope for a rescuer more powerful than myself.

Actually, that's not what I meant. I was trying to point out that in one section you seemed to say "it's okay if you're an atheist, if God does exist then you'll be provided with that evidence when you die and you can decided then." But this sentiment seems to vanish for when someone else wants to make their own superego God... or not acknowledge a God or higher power in anyway. I don't think you should throw away any of your beliefs, I think they are extremely valid simply because they are important to you. I just want to suggest that other people's beliefs (or lack of beliefs) are equally valid simply because they are important to them.

Phat writes:

I suppose in all honesty I don't ever see myself(and by extension humanity) able to solve life's toughest issues.

Maybe.
I can see it working out, though. All we need to do is be okay with different people thinking differently.
It's not very hard, we all do it for most things already. Do you care if I spend my money on clothes or video games or stamps or my vehicle? I think we just need to mature to a point where we can extend this same courtesy to the freedom of thought. Why should anyone else care what I think about life, the universe and everything?

We already celebrate differences like choice of shoe colour or favourite football team (unless it's not the Dolphins, then you can just go to hell).
We are making progress in celebrating larger differences like sexual partners and what constitutes a "family."
One day we will extend this celebration of differences all the way into religious beliefs.

But I do hope you continue to believe, Phat. We certainly don't need any more of me around... what would I do then, if all my unique coolness is gone, I'll just be another everyday fuddy-duddy

So, do you still think WE need God?
Or do you think that maybe only PHAT needs God?
If you still think WE need God, do you have any specific example or situation you can describe that would show a difference that would require everyone involved to NEED God?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Phat, posted 09-21-2012 1:55 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Phat, posted 09-22-2012 12:39 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 44 of 224 (674048)
09-26-2012 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by GDR
09-26-2012 2:18 AM


Making Sense
GDR writes:

All of us, atheist and theist alike have a dream of leaving their mark on this world that endures past death. It might be kids, a beautiful painting or piece of music, a scientific breakthrough, a medical cure or even improving the lot of the less fortunate. I know that you will disagree but if we are the result of just a mindless collection of particles then the fact that we feel that way makes very little sense to me.

Really?

I mean, I don't think we actually get purpose or motivation from evolution. Evolution is just an explanation, it's not really a thing that has a "purpose." But if we want to stretch the definition of the word, I would say that evolution's "purpose" is to survive. Live long enough to reproduce. Something along those lines.
So, let's say that is true, that evolution's purpose is to get things to survive.
Taking that into account, you find it improbable that we could possibly evolve a mind that thinks about enduring past death?
If the whole point of our lives is to live, you find it strange that we think about living... longer? That doesn't make much sense to me.

But, like I said, I don't really think evolution has a "purpose" anyway, so I don't really have much of a point.
Just wanted to say something. Maybe my fingers wanted the excercise of typing... :]

Edited by Stile, : This post contains 87 bazillion more wubwub. Vive le robolution!!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by GDR, posted 09-26-2012 2:18 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by GDR, posted 09-26-2012 11:12 AM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 46 of 224 (674074)
09-26-2012 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by GDR
09-26-2012 11:12 AM


Re: Making Sense
GDR writes:

Atheists, like anyone else are desirous of being remembered for what they have accomplished after they are gone.

Right. I was trying to say that attempting to create a legacy that leaves the world a better place can be seen as an evolutionary advantage because on following through, you give a better chance for your species to survive.

But I also don't think everything has to have "an evolutionary reason" for existing in order for there to be no God. That is, I can imagine some crazy messed up nonsense. Some of which I'm sure has nothing to do with me living or reproducing or surviving (me or my species as a whole). Yet, I don't really see that as a reason to think that there must be "something else." To me, it's just a side-effect of having intelligence. Intelligence, obviously, can have some serious survival benefits, it just may come along with a bunch of side-effects that have nothing to do with survival benefits.

So, I suppose my main point is that perhaps thinking of a beneficial legacy is just something our intelligence allows us to do. As in, our intelligence also allows us to experiment, formulate and create alcohol and drugs. It could just be a side effect of having intelligence, which is a really broad description-word.

My mini-point, that I don't find all that big of a deal, is that I can actually see where the desire to formulate a beneficial legacy could easily help the species survive and therefore have an evolutionary-like motivation or purpose. Wanting to be remembered after death -> drive to do lots of good things while alive -> good things helps species survive.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by GDR, posted 09-26-2012 11:12 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by GDR, posted 09-26-2012 1:54 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply
 Message 199 by Phat, posted 01-12-2017 7:46 AM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 86 of 224 (714957)
12-30-2013 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by Phat
12-27-2013 8:42 AM


Gambling on God
Phat writes:

I Need God. Evidence is irrelevant. Desperation is the call

...

So...in line with this topic...at this point in my life I need God. Further, I need God to help me. Perhaps He wants me to help others, but all I can do at this moment in this post on this forum is to be honest. Is it any wonder I still gamble?

I wonder if it's possible that you are "addicted to God" in the same sort of way of being "addicted to Gambling."

In gambling... you fight against all odds, hanging on for that "one big win" that's going to take care of everything and grant you all the money you'll need to never worry again.

With God... you fight against all evidence, hanging on for that "one big (second) life" that's going to take care of everything and grant you all the love and happiness you'll need to never worry again.

The similarities, to me, are obvious.
You can't stop gambling because the lure of the money-happiness to you personally is overwhelming.
The desire for unlimited funds to ease your worrying overrides the scientific evidence of the odds.

You can't stop needing God because the lure of the love-happiness to you personally is overwhelming.
The desire for unlimited life to ease your worrying overrides the scientific evidence of reality.

You want these perfectionist ideals of lots of money and lots of love/life... so much so that you're willing to do whatever it takes to keep up your addictions. Of course, your addiction to God is a lot more socially acceptable than your addiction to gambling.

I dunno... I can't really say for sure one way or the other. I can only say what it looks like from the outside.
You're the only one who knows what you really feel and how you really feel it.
It's up to you to be honest with yourself and identify what it is you're having issues with.

Im sorta puzzled with God lately. He has not given me what I ask for. Perhaps I can take solace that He knows what I need...but im still praying.

Maybe, as you say, God gives us what we need, not what we want.
Or, maybe, God doesn't do anything because He doesn't exist.
Or, maybe, God works through people.

My advice would be to take an honest evaluation of your current resources.
Then make an honest attempt at a realistic goal.
Then take steps that move you in that direction. Emphasis on steps... for difficult problems, it's never going to be just one thing that solves it. There will be multiple, small decisions that will add up and get you closer to where you want to be. The hard part is remaining focused and constantly making those decisions that bring you closer to your goals.

Note that the procedure I mentioned does not exclude God or religion.
Personally, I would exclude God or religion... I think your resources would be better spent on more reliable measures. But that's not required, and only an honest evaluation of yourself can rightly determine how much time you should be spending with religion.

Hope you had a good Holiday, Phat. Good luck in 2014


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Phat, posted 12-27-2013 8:42 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by Phat, posted 12-30-2013 11:33 AM Stile has responded
 Message 88 by Raphael, posted 12-31-2013 6:23 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 89 of 224 (715195)
01-02-2014 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 87 by Phat
12-30-2013 11:33 AM


Re: Addiction to Entitlement
Phat writes:

I've personally never really thought of God as an addiction---though I can see where religion would be one.

Again, this would depend on what "God" and "religion" mean to you.
Obviously, they mean many different things to many different people.
Therefore, you need to be honest with yourself about what the concepts mean to you, and what those ideas entail.

...while I still believe the notion that only God can help me attain transcendence. (Hence why everyone needs God.)

That makes sense.

If God exists, and if people need "transcendence", and if God is the only one who can help people with that... then, yes, everyone would need God.

That's a lot of "ifs," though. For me, anyway.

Perhaps a question---would people even want to have a relationship with a Creator if they felt they didn't need anything??

I don't feel like I need anything from God (or a Creator).
However, I would be extremely interested in a relationship with a Creator (God or not), if such a thing is possible.

I would be interested to learn if perhaps I should feel like I need something from this God/Creator.
I would be interested to learn if maybe there was some sort of master plan for this world or not.
I would be interested to learn what sort of moral this God/Creator may or may not follow.
I would be interested to learn how this God/Creator actually did create the universe.
I would be interested to learn how this God/Creator was created themselves, and what the difference between their existence and ours is.

I would want to have a relationship with a Creator for a lot of reasons.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Phat, posted 12-30-2013 11:33 AM Phat has not yet responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 90 of 224 (715207)
01-02-2014 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Raphael
12-31-2013 6:23 PM


Nothing works for everyone
Raphael writes:

I never wanna be that guy who just steps into an ongoing conversation, but I feel the need to speak up

Feel free, this is a very open forum. Your post seems entirely on-topic here... but just in case you ever want to say something that isn't on topic in the future... that's fine too. All you have to do then is start a new topic.

Therefore, science does not need to prove the reality of "a great other" in order to believe in one; it merely cannot. And probably should not, looking at history haha.

If you're saying that you don't need science to prove the reality of something in order for you to believe in it... I agree. You can believe in whatever you'd like.

You use the term "reality" as the standard for what is true and what is not. What is your standard for reality? What is real? Anything which science proves?

I don't know what my standard for reality is. It's not limited to "science" nor is it as open as "anything I read."
I think science is man's best known method for identifying reality.
I don't think it's the only one.
I think it's possible something better may be described by some genius one day.

So, since science cannot prove the existence of the supernatural, "God,"in this case, let's look at something that claims to be able to do that. Scripture. Is scripture valid? I don't know.

No, scripture is not valid.

It's had many tests and failed a lot of them. Some tests have passed. But, obviously, because of the many failures we know that much of scripture is not valid. Therefore, scripture alone cannot be used as a barometer because we cannot know if the part we're looking at is fact or myth/parable/story/analogy/best-guess-of-the-time.

I believe it is, and if we actually take a second to look at what it says, it might turn out to be a little different than what our presuppositions tell us.

That's excellent... for you. Unfortunately, I do not believe scripture is valid. So I'm afraid I cannot share in your acceptance of value in the text.

So, in response to you, Stile, God loves you man, you may not understand this or even know why He needs to, but He does. I encourage you to maybe open that book for yourself and see what's inside. I don't know what kind of person you are dude, or your story, but rest assured that even if you don't need him, he needs you.

That sounds like a good belief.
But, as it is based on your belief that scripture is valid, it is your belief. I don't intend to offend you, but (for me) I do not believe that these verses you've quoted have any validity at all, therefore I do not believe in your conclusion.

Hope this clears some things up!

I have no idea if you're actually right or not... you may very well be correct and I'm wrong. But, from my experience with scripture, I believe that you are mistaken.

Scripture teaches us that humanity is born with a need. We need to be saved. I think it's super easy to merely focus on candy instead of potatoes. Meaning we focus on our day-to-day needs and wants rather than the fact that we are utterly in need of something greater: life. help. grace.

This, I agree with. Kind of.
I do believe that humanity is born with a need... all sorts of needs.
Physical and spiritual.
Our physical needs are rather obvious.. things like food and water and (for most of us) social interaction and such.

I don't agree that we need "grace" in the "from God" sense (as I don't think the God you believe in actually exists).
I certainly do agree that we need "grace" in the "spirituality" sense... that is, I think we have an emotional aspect to our humanity and it's needs do exist; they just aren't as obvious as some of our physical needs.

I just don't see any difference between mundane (non-God) spirituality and "supernatural" (God) spirituality.
Actually, in my experience, mundane spirituality is more powerful than supernatural spirituality, but I think this sort of conclusion is different for all people.

Here's a thread I started on the topic of what religion includes that cannot be achieved without religion:

What Benefits Are Only Available Through God?

Feel free to make a comment on that thread, if you'd like. This forum doesn't have any issues with posting to old threads. The only thing is to try and stay on topic as much as possible. And, personally, I'm very vain and like to make links to all my old threads all over the forum. I won't be happy until there's at least a thousand posts to every thread I started!

Here's another (more recent) thread on my thoughts about mundane human spirituality:

Human Spirit

Feel free to join that conversation as well.

This is a vary large forum with lots to talk about. I hope you have fun looking around here

And we're all broken in some way, aren't we? He heals. It's Jesus stuff.

I agree that "we're all broken in some way." We all have our pasts.
I just don't agree that Jesus is required for the healing.

Jesus may certainly be required by some people for the healing (depending on their personality and experiences).
But certainly not for all.

If you're wondering... I also do not think that my method for spirituality and healing and everything would work for all people.
I don't think anything works for "all people."

There are lots of people. Some are very similar, and others are very different.
It's those differences that guarantee that one single method of anything isn't going to work "for all people."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Raphael, posted 12-31-2013 6:23 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by Raphael, posted 01-03-2014 12:13 AM Stile has responded
 Message 92 by Phat, posted 01-03-2014 3:45 AM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 93 of 224 (715294)
01-03-2014 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by Phat
01-03-2014 3:45 AM


Re: Nothing works for everyone
Phat writes:

so to you, truth is relative and not absolute. I understand.

If truth was absolute, it would be the same for everyone.
Trivially, this isn't true.

Therefore, truth is relative until it is the same for everyone.

Things would certainly be easier if it were absolute, but alas, this is not what we see.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Phat, posted 01-03-2014 3:45 AM Phat has not yet responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(2)
Message 95 of 224 (715300)
01-03-2014 10:04 AM
Reply to: Message 91 by Raphael
01-03-2014 12:13 AM


It's just you, when you sleep
Raphael writes:

I see. And that's where we differ, right? You believe that since there is uncertainty, it cannot be trusted. At least that's what I'm assuming, could be wrong.

Yes, that's where I'm coming from.
It doesn't mean it's absolutely wrong, or completely useless or anything like that. It means I am unable to trust it so I am unable to assume conclusions are valid based on it's message alone.

I believe that scripture is valid. I don't think I need to prove it is, though we could go down that road.

No need to prove it to me, there are millions of examples of people who think that scripture is extremely valid. I wouldn't deny such a thing.
If you do want to go through the exercise for other reasons... feel free to start a thread on it. There's even a whole Bible Study forum here for such things. If you do, I could explain to you how it is not valid for me. (Or, maybe, I haven't heard your explanation yet and it will resonate with me and I'll convert! )

I don't think you're here because you're hoping someone will give you the magic answer, quelling all doubts, convincing you to make the shape shift into a religious person haha.

I don't think "the internet" is a very good interface for finding such an answer. But it's a decent start to get the mind ticking...
I do, however, already consider myself very religious in a spiritual way. Just not in a way related to Jesus.

All I can say is I was lost, and now I am found. Me. Tony. He changed my life.

It's always good to hear when people find that aspect of inner connection for themselves.
It sounds like you're very honest with yourself and your beliefs and you make sure your thoughts align with your experiences. This is the most anyone can ask for, it is an unending source of strength and confidence.

I guess it's a faith issue right?

Yup. As far as I can tell, anyway.
The important thing is to be honest with yourself and make sure your faith lines up with your experiences and your thoughts.

If you research Christianity, or Jesus, or any specific religion, and it "speaks" to you, and you can feel comfortable with it's claims... then I would guess that you're on the right path.

If you're only in church 'cause your mom and dad tell you to go, or only going through the motions of any spiritual activity just because friends and peers go that route... then I don't think you're going to find any answers where you are.

I think this is true for Christianity, and I think it is true for whatever-my-religion-is... I think it is true for all spiritual matters. The point of spirituality is to find answers to questions that may not have answers. What those questions are, and which answers will satisfy them will be different for different people. It is up to each of us to be honest and find out the important questions and possible answers for ourselves. Not from what other people insist they should be.

Some of us will need absolute answers.
Some of us will need concrete answers.
Some of us will need open-ended answers.
Some of us will need incomplete answers.

It can be difficult to fathom how different people can think so differently from ourselves. But the evidence that this is true is plain for everyone to see.

It is as basic as some people like vanilla, and others like chocolate.
It's as serious as some people want to have children, and others do not.
But the principle is the same.

No one can decide for you which flavour of ice cream is best for you.
No one can decide for you whether or not you should have children.

No one can give you the religion or spirituality that is going to answer the questions that you need answers for.

You can learn from other people, and I think that's a great plan.
You can see what works for others, and see if it may also work for you.

But, ultimately, you are the one who rests with your ideas when you sleep at night.
You are the one who judges if you feel at ease or not with the priorities you hold as important.

If others decide such things for you, you will always be somewhat uncomfortable... you will always be eating vanilla when you actually want chocolate.

Maybe you're searching for something better? Maybe I am. Maybe we all are?

I'm always searching for "something better."

It's up to you to figure out what you're doing.
But I'll guarantee "we are all" not wanting any single thing. People are too different.

I mean, look at this: Learn to Hold your Breath.

There are people who try to not breathe.
Breathing! The most simple, everybody-does-it thing for all humans... and there are those of us who train in order to do it as rarely as possible.

It doesn't matter what it is... you'll find people who search for it, and others who don't.

Spirituality is about figuring out what it is that you want to search for... and then taking steps to reach that goal.

There will be people who can help... but the responsibility must be on the individual in question. If not... then the ideas and experiences are not going to align for that individual (at least not completely) and therefore they will feel some level of "discomfort" that could be avoided.

Something more than this. Something greater. Our part in a greater story. Your part dude.

I am looking for my part in a greater story.

Unfortunately, Jesus is not "a greater story" for me. At least, none of the Jesus-people that have ever been shown to me by others or the Bible, anyway.
Jesus is a bit too detached from my experiences. Maybe one day He'll come to save me, and I'm all for that (or for anyone else to come and save me). But such a thing just hasn't happened for me.

But, for me, that's okay. I'm not looking for Jesus, and I don't need Jesus (as far as I can tell).
I have found my part in "a greater story" in life itself, doing what I can to help the people I love.

From what people have told me... Jesus brings Love and Honesty and Strength and Peace and Humility and Safety and Protection and Meaning and all sorts of other virtues.

But, for me, I already have those virtues without Jesus. Jesus doesn't add these things to my experiences. For me, I am more attached to these virtues directly instead of "going through" Jesus to get them.

I'm not ignoring Jesus or against Him... He sounds pretty wonderful. I just do not see His connection to reality that other people claim is there. If I can ever find such a connection (and in my search for "something better," I'm always open and looking), then I will pursue it further. But, for now, it's just not there. And, to me, this connection to reality is an important factor.

Not because I was a good person, or even good from my subjective perspective, not because I prayed a prayer or sang a song or made a confession or even attended a church, but simply because that's who God is, and it's yours too.

I understand this gift.
I think it's important for the reasons you've listed here because of the humility that goes along with it.
I just don't get this gift from God, I get it from life itself.

For me, getting such a thing from God doesn't work. Because of my experiences, I do not believe God exists. Therefore, I cannot fully understand getting such a gift from an entity that doesn't exist.

But I know that life exists, and I know that life is capable of giving such a gift. This is what works for me. And so I am fulfilled by it, completely... because it aligns with my experiences.

(I feel like this post got kinda long and preachy... sorry about that. Maybe I am just kinda long and preachy... )


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Raphael, posted 01-03-2014 12:13 AM Raphael has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Phat, posted 01-03-2014 2:33 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 97 of 224 (715506)
01-06-2014 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by Phat
01-03-2014 2:33 PM


Jesus - The only way?
Phat writes:

I did notice that you went out of your way to bring it up. We Christians always jump to attention whenever Jesus is mentioned, after all.

Bring what up? "Jesus?"
I didn't bring up Jesus. I was replying to a fellow who brought it up himself. He brought it up first in Message 88
But what if I did "go out of my way" to bring up Jesus? What do you think that would mean?

I have no issues talking about Jesus. I just don't think Jesus exists, or ever existed as depicted in the Bible.

It just seems that you consider yourself to have replaced Jesus...am I right so far?

No, that's not right at all.
Jesus isn't replaced with me. Jesus is replaced with the things Jesus stands for... Love and Honesty and Strength and Peace and Humility and Safety and Protection and Meaning and all sorts of other virtues.

It's more direct that way.

Like this:

Phat -> Jesus -> Love and other virtues
Stile -> Love and other virtues

In no way do I think I am Jesus.
Nor do I think that I am personally some embodiment of "Love and other virtues" (I'm not even sure how that would make sense).

I just don't see any reason to go through Jesus to get to the same destination.

The only thing that scares me about what you believe has to do with the scripture that suggests that we who feel self sufficient are blind since we don't acknowledge our blindness..(our need.)

I do not generally believe that scripture is very useful.
However, this statement of "we who feel self sufficient are blind since we don't acknowledge our blindness" seems like a wonderful statement of wisdom. I wonder if there's a Chinese Proverb saying the same thing?

Ah, here we go:

"Only through the eyes of others can we really see our own faults."
-Chinese Proverb

Sounds pretty similar to me.
Not that I have any attachment to Chinese Proverbs either... I just find it interesting that these pockets of wisdom pop up throughout pretty much every culture.

What part about following the virtues of Love and such do you think is not acknowledging my own blindness?
If there is such an aspect... how do you think Jesus could prevent this?

I am very interested in your response to my two questions above. If I am ignoring a certain fault, I would be happy to have it illuminated so I can make the necessary corrections (even go through Jesus, if He is the only way).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Phat, posted 01-03-2014 2:33 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Phat, posted 01-10-2014 3:43 AM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 100 of 224 (715936)
01-10-2014 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 99 by Phat
01-10-2014 3:43 AM


Re: Jesus - The only way?
Sorry, that was a bit ambiguous.

I meant the two directly above that paragraph. These two (bolded, at the end):

Stile writes:

No, that's not right at all.
Jesus isn't replaced with me. Jesus is replaced with the things Jesus stands for... Love and Honesty and Strength and Peace and Humility and Safety and Protection and Meaning and all sorts of other virtues.

It's more direct that way.

Like this:

Phat -> Jesus -> Love and other virtues
Stile -> Love and other virtues

Phat writes:

The only thing that scares me about what you believe has to do with the scripture that suggests that we who feel self sufficient are blind since we don't acknowledge our blindness..(our need.)

What part about following the virtues of Love and such do you think is not acknowledging my own blindness?
If there is such an aspect... how do you think Jesus could prevent this?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Phat, posted 01-10-2014 3:43 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by Phat, posted 02-18-2014 12:05 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 102 of 224 (719824)
02-18-2014 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by Phat
02-18-2014 12:05 PM


Re: Jesus - The only way?
Phat writes:

Stile writes:

What part about following the virtues of Love and such do you think is not acknowledging my own blindness?


Because you don't think or believe that Jesus is necessary.

This would only make sense if you can show how Jesus is, indeed, necessary.
The fact that I've considered the option, and I'm open to the option, and simply currently think that the available information points away from your conclusion... doesn't make me blind. It just means that I hold "evidence" as a higher priority than "Phat's personal feelings" when attempting to determine reality.

I am open to being wrong (and I may well be wrong). If it's ever found... evidence supporting Jesus-as-necessary would convince me that Jesus is actually necessary.

I do actually acknowledge that I have a blindness to the truth.
In my experiences... the best way to deal with this blindness and get as close as we can to the truth is to follow all the evidence (not just the Bible).
Therefore... I follow all the evidence which currently says Jesus is not necessary.

There is no correlation between "not acknowledging my own blindness" and "not believing that Jesus is necessary" unless you can actually provide conclusive information pointing towards Jesus being necessary. Without that... you just seem unhappy that I don't agree with you.

Phat writes:

Stile writes:

If there is such an aspect... how do you think Jesus could prevent this?


If we enter into communion we are empowered by not only our own wisdom but of the wisdom of the One whom we are in communion with. Its a clear win/win in my eyes.

It may very well be a win/win in your eyes.
Unfortunately, I am stuck using my own eyes and I'm unable to directly understand what's in your brain ("your eyes").

In my eyes, I did "enter into communion" but I was not empowered by any wisdom.
Not only that, but I have never seen anyone show any sort of wisdom that would be classed as "Godlike."
I just don't see any advantage.

If those who are "in communion" have so much more wisdom...
why do they have the same problems?
why do they have the same fears?
why do they have the same propensity to hurt others?
why do they not have an increased ability to help others?
...if these things (and others) were actually present... then I would agree with you that there's something to "being in communion with Jesus."

But, what we actually see... is that there's no difference at all.
There's nothing special about Christians. There's nothing special about non-Christians.
We're all people.
Some are smart, some not so much.
Some like to help others, some not so much.
Some are diabolical, some not so much.
But there's definitely no dividing line between "the good and the bad" by way of being "in communion."

Therefore... by everything I actually see with my own eyes... there is no additional wisdom granted by being in communion with "the One."
If you can show otherwise, though. Please do, I'd be very interested in learning about it.

Phat writes:

If Jesus exists and is a conduit to God, is it still better--in your eyes---to attempt to develop your own virtues and character apart from the need for a boost or help?

That would depend on what God is actually like, of course.
But... let's assume that God is what He's generally espoused to be... all loving, all caring... that sort of thing.

Then, no, it would not be better to attempt to do things myself. If Jesus actually existed and actually was a path to God in such a good way... then yes, I would devote myself to Jesus.
I look for such a thing all over. Not just Jesus even, but everywhere.
That's why I keep asking you to show me a beneficial difference that is actually uniquely caused by Jesus... if such a thing existed I would immediately start to follow Jesus.

The same way that if anyone could show such a thing coming from any source I would immediately start to follow that source.

If so, do you believe that even in regards to communion it is better for the human society to have communion with itself---with no outside need of interference by a Creator?(If One actually exists).

I think human society should seek out benefits wherever possible.
If a Creator existed, and He is beneficial to us... then I think the population should be encouraged to seek Him out and have communion with Him.

Even if the Creator does not exist... but it can be shown that having communion with Him is beneficial anyway (some strange placebo effect, maybe?) then I would still say we should be encouraged to have communion with Him.

I don't have a problem with a Creator existing or not.
All I care about is the human population being able to connect with beneficial ideas.

Currently, "communion with God" seems to be beneficial for many people. I encourage those people to continue having their communion with God. (Regardless of whether or not He exists or even if we can know whether or not He exists.)

However... "communion with God" does not seem to be beneficial for all people. Some of those people are like me. I need something more than a feeling in order to devote myself towards a serious life-long idea. Communing with God doesn't add any benefits to me. But I can receive those same benefits from other sources. So... I seek out those other sources.

That's what people need to do.
Be honest with yourself and understand if you're actually finding the benefits you need from doing what you're doing.
If so... great! Continue in that direction.
If not... try something else. No one's going to send you to Hell for seeking love. That's just juvenile.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Phat, posted 02-18-2014 12:05 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by Phat, posted 03-08-2014 7:03 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 104 of 224 (721610)
03-10-2014 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by Phat
03-08-2014 7:03 PM


Re: Jesus - The only way?
Phat writes:

What does the evidence say in regards to the progress of humanity?

I don't know. I'm not very good at history.

Quite honestly, I sometimes feel as if posting here at EvC is a form of therapy as I wrestle with my own inner demons and try and understand my beliefs and values---often by reading what I post and seeing how far short I miss the proverbial mark.

Nothing wrong with that.
Personally, I post at EvC because I think it's an interesting subject. I'm basically just fighting boredom
I post for my own selfish reasons... because I want to, it's fun for me, and I like to test out ideas I have about certain philosophical things and see how they stand up to scrutiny.

Sometimes I like to pretend I'm a Crusader of Justice who posts to defend Truth in all it's forms!!
And, well, other times I like to pretend I'm a ninja... so take that for what it's worth

Jesus--->Phat---->Love and other virtues.
Stile---->Love and other virtues.

Fair enough.
It's my contention that we all need to sort out for ourselves the best way to go about this sort of thing.
I don't really have a specific view on how other people should do it. I think they should do whatever works for them... the only issues would arise if there was something obviously "not working" for them. Then, perhaps... they are on the wrong path.

That said, I do hold a few ideas rather strongly:


  • There is no one single way (Phat's ideas about Jesus or Stile's ideas about life or anyone elses ideas) that will work for everybody. People are simply too varied in their conceptual ideas.
  • No one has the right to tell me how to go about these things unless they can show their ideas to have actual, realistic merit. (This is just a personal-confidence/stand-up-for-yourself sort of idea)

What we need to figure out is how Jesus works through me...if in fact it is so.

Unfortunately... it is my belief that you are the only one who can figure this out.
I don't know that for sure... maybe someone else can instruct you how to live your life and you'll be okay with it? I don't know... such a thing just seems counter-productive to me.

My only advice is this (off the top of my head, anyway):


  • You will feel healthier (or "more comfortable") if you remove all strains/worries from your mind
  • Some strains/worries are just a part of life. Learn to live with them.
    ("Grant me the courage to change the things I can
    Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
    Grant me wisdom to know the difference.")
  • Be honest with yourself and attempt to identify your worries

    • If they deal with family/friends or work or finances or other mundane aspects of the world... make what small steps you can, when you can, in order to lessen their impact. No need to try to "stop them"... if you can, then you will as you take the small steps in that direction. If you can't... then at least you'll know you did all you can by taking the small steps anyway.
    • If they deal with just you (and possibly "the supernatural")... then the only thing you can possibly change (if you want to change anything) is you. Again... take whatever small steps you can to go in the direction you feel is best.

  • Be honest with yourself and attempt to identify your personal priorities

    • If they deal with mundane aspects of the world... make what small steps you can, when you can, in order to increase their impact.
    • If they deal with just you (and possibly "the supernatural")... then the only thing you can possibly change is you. Again... take whatever small steps you can to go in the direction you feel is best.

  • Being honest with yourself about your fears/priorities are the most important steps. If you're not honest at these steps... then all the decisions you make will be in the wrong direction for adding comfort to your mind.

In general... I don't think it matters if Jesus "actually works through you" or not.
I think it matters whether or not Phat thinks it matters if Jesus is involved or not.

If it's your personal belief that Jesus "has to be real!" or "really does help me!"... and you don't mind not having the physical proof for such a thing... then roll with it! Move past the junction of indecision and start getting to the actual results.

If it's your personal belief that maybe there's "something a little off" about this whole Jesus thing... and that something is really picking at your brain... then figure it out! You'll never be able to move past the junction of indecision until you deal with your doubts.

The important factor isn't whether or not you deal with Jesus.
The important factor is whether or not you do what you need to do in order to get past the junction of indecision so that you can start living your life in a way that feels "freeing" and "not constrained" and "at peace" and all that bullshit


This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by Phat, posted 03-08-2014 7:03 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Phat, posted 04-25-2014 12:47 PM Stile has responded
 Message 106 by mike the wiz, posted 04-26-2014 5:42 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 107 of 224 (725548)
04-28-2014 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by Phat
04-25-2014 12:47 PM


Re: Jesus - The only way?
Phat writes:

To choose to surrender to a higher power or not.

If this is the way you think the situation unfolds, then I hope it works out for you.
For me, this really isn't a choice or option that's on the table. It's just someone elses' idea of dealing with the unknown.
Please note, I'm not saying I'm refusing to surrender to a higher power... I have no problem with that and do it on a daily basis.
What I'm attempting to explain is that, to me, this is meaningless and therefore just "not considered." There doesn't seem to be any reason to give this idea any credence.

For me, raising the importance of this particular choice would happen whenever a higher power makes itself known to us. Until then, this remains as just someone else's viewpoint. And I hope it works out for them.

...I guess we could determine what it is that either works or does not work.

Ah... yes, the secret of life
Let me know if you make any progress.

My progress so far only leads me to believe that any specific idea doesn't seem to work for everyone. Therefore, we all need to figure out what it is that works for us.

The summation of our discussion as to whether Jesus is indeed the only way is based entirely on the agreeable idea that it is an individual decision and never one of contrived agreement...be it at church or be it at a discussion board.

Well, no.
I mean... that's certainly an aspect, but the summation is hardly "based entirely" on it being an individual decision.
There's also the completely objective, physical facts that show all of us that those on average who do spend their entire lives "with Jesus" do not end up with any discernible difference from those who do not.

This tells us that spending your time "with Jesus" has no effect on our earthly lives.
You can believe that your after-death time may be affected, or you can accept the evidence that's staring us in the face.

That's where the individual choice comes in:

-some people will rather focus on the weakness of evidence... that it never shows anything to be 100% true... and then they gain much comfort and happiness from the hope of an after-death blissful existence "with Jesus." There's nothing wrong with this.
-others accept the evidence for what it is... our best possible method so far of accurately describing our reality. And they gain much comfort and happiness from various other hopes and dreams and non-"with Jesus" factors. There's nothing wrong with this, either.
-some folks are even able to do some sort of combination of the two that I don't even understand. This doesn't make it wrong, though... it just makes is different. And, as long as it works for them... then it's also right.

The point is to honestly figure out which one you lean closer towards, then move in that direction. You'll be happier if you align your day-to-day thoughts and ideas with whatever it is you honestly lean closer towards. This is not a "you'll be happier in the afterlife" promise... this is a measurable, see-it-for-yourself kind of happiness that we can all experience today. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you'll feel better if you do the things you think are right vs. doing things you think are wrong or not-justified. Don't live your life for other people... there's plenty of other people living those lives already. Live your life for you, you're the only one with that option. If you don't do it, no one will.

In a nutshell: "The truth will set you free."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by Phat, posted 04-25-2014 12:47 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3037
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 108 of 224 (725551)
04-28-2014 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 106 by mike the wiz
04-26-2014 5:42 PM


Re: mikey masochist
mike the wiz writes:

I have doubts. But they only come during depression, so I don't trust myself any more.

I don't have depression (my condolences, it's not an easy thing). But I don't trust myself either I'm too... squishy.

I would say in a way, I have to believe.

Then it's easy... you should believe.
Unless, of course, you felt a pang of un-satisfaction reading that previous sentence... that's a hint that there's something you need to figure out first.

Maybe figuring it out will lead you to believe more.
Maybe it will lead you to believe less.
That's something that no one can ever tell you, you have to experience it.

I can say, though... that if you do feel a nagging dis-satisfaction with your belief... it's not going to go away until you figure it out.
You then have to decide if you want it to go away or not... then follow that path.

also, I look at the things that have changed in my life, as it says we become "sanctified". I used to have a bad temper, and it literally does not exist now. I used to have a problem with lusts, for material goods and the usual kind, and that is pretty much gone now, mostly I walk in freedom. I used to curse a lot, but I don't know. I used to be very high strung, ready to pounce.

Sounds like a lot of good improvements! Well done

Maybe it was because of being closer to Jesus.
Maybe not.
Again... no one gets that sort of information, so no one knows.

I can tell you, though... that people get over tempers, and lusts, and cursing and all sorts of ailments/personal issues... people everywhere get over these things (some don't, but some do).
Some claim their success is due to Jesus.
Some claim their success is due to other things.

The only common factor seems to be that they're all human.
And again, on average: Those who surround their lives with Jesus do not have a higher success rate than those who do not, though. An interesting fact.

You see it says we are being made more like Christ, it's the Holy Spirit that leads us into "all truth" and cleanses us from sin. I have also grown in wisdom. It just doesn't seem like these evidences should follow if there is no truth to the life of God.

Really? Why wouldn't those evidences have followed if there was no God? It sounds to me like your story of self-improvement is pretty much the same that most people go through simply by growing up and becoming adults.

This, of course, doesn't prove anything.
Maybe God controls all these things, regardless of whether or not people believe in Him.
Then again... maybe all these things occur to all people equally (on average) because God doesn't exist and that's just human nature.

I don't know the answer to that. But I can tell you that saying such things would be unlikely without God is, well... ignoring the evidence of those around you who do not believe in God.

But if there is a glimmer of a chance that I am conning myself, no matter how the proof seems, I would want to know. I just want to know the truth, however painful, I am not against death, I've never had a problem with ending and when I am in depression, the thought of death even excites me, the atheist scenario, in that sense - has never bothered me because not existing is not new to me, because before 1981, I didn't exist for the whole time the universe did exist.

Unfortunately, I didn't create this existence... so I don't know the truth for such a matter.
But I can tell you one thing... and it's also unfortunate... there will always be a "glimmer of a chance that you are conning yourself."

If you fully believe in God -> there's a glimmer of a chance you could be wrong.
If you fully believe God does not exist -> there's a glimmer of a chance you could be wrong.

It's not a God-based thing... it's a people-based thing.

Just because you're human, on every single thing you "know"... there's always "a glimmer of a chance" that you could be wrong.
It's just a part of being human and existing here... we simply don't get a "reality measuring stick" to base things against.

I do agree, though... I would like to know for sure as well

Everyone with humility has to ask the question as to whether they are wrong. If I am somehow wrong, that would be a regret to me, for starters I would probably deeply regret fighting so hard against people like people at EvC. I could only say in my defense that if I was ultimately wrong about God, then the universe practically duped me, because when you speak in tongues, have the presence of God fall on you, and have your inner sins cleansed all just from believing, then if it is not true, then this is one bloody weird universe, or I am simply one very complex person. Lol

Speaking in tongues, having the presence of God fall on you and having your sins cleansed all just from believing aren't the only things that make this a bloody weird universe. There's lots of non-God things that make it weird too like: contortionists, sword-swallowers, hot-coals-walkers and all sorts of other fantastic things people can do.

Again, the feelings you felt seem to be feelings that all humans are quite capable of having. Some do it religiously, others do not. Some can control them, others can't. But "believing in God" doesn't seem to be a dividing factor between having those feelings and not having those feelings.

Regardless of all that... this universe most certainly is "bloody weird" and you (like most people) are also likely "very complex" (again, that's just how people are).

The only time I ever thought I met a "simple person" is when I haven't spent much time with them.
It seems to me, the more time I spend with any person I begin to realize just how complex they are. This would lead me to believe that all people are complex, and I'm just not aware of each person's "complexities" until I spend enough time with them.

Again, maybe all that stuff is from God.
But, again, maybe it isn't. We just don't get to know.

But truth I suppose, it what matters most to me. Those experiences are all true, you can count on that, but even those things aren't enough sometimes, when you are in a dark place.

If truth is what matters most, then you should start to investigate all the methods by which man has ever identified in order to describe "the truth." Find out which are more accurate than others... find out when this can be used and when that has to be used. Once you gain a better understanding of "truth" and how we can identify it (hint: we can't ). Then you can gather or invent the tools you'll need to discover the "most accurate truth" you're capable of. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the first one to actually find a method to identify real, definite truth!

P.S> It's a strange life, here is an example...

There's no doubt to this being a strange life. It most certainly is.
Maybe God and the Holy Spirit were leading you those days. Maybe they still are. Maybe they aren't.

This is what I know, though:

If you want to find a way to hold onto your beliefs... you will, eventually.
If you want to find a way to get rid of your beliefs... you will, eventually.
If you want to find the truth regardless of your beliefs... you will not. We just don't get to know "the truth" due to being humans existing in this reality.

My point is to be honest and identify "your wants" for the things you can control. Then your "eventually" time for getting to those points will be faster and sooner... which means you'll feel more peaceful faster and sooner.
Sometimes "your wants" can change, too... that's also a part of being human

Good luck, it can be a long journey.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by mike the wiz, posted 04-26-2014 5:42 PM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by Phat, posted 04-29-2014 2:50 AM Stile has responded
 Message 115 by mike the wiz, posted 05-02-2014 6:52 AM Stile has responded
 Message 124 by Phat, posted 01-10-2015 7:11 AM Stile has responded

    
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