quote:I don't even claim to know for sure, but this I do know: we're talking about two different paths, here. One path is the path of making conclusions from evidence, without bias or prejudice.
The other path is simply choosing what fantasy you like best. Just making things up with your imagination.
Surely only a great fool would think that the second path is the path that leads to truth?
Well I can't argue with that. However, having been raised in a scientifically inclined family, I would like to think that we are not all bound by the same logic where choices are concerned. For example, though you feel the other path is based on fantasy of ones choosing, what does one make of the evidence provided by the scriptures?
This brings me back to my earlier statement, when I said that not all God and faith experiences are created equal. There are those who are not raised in religious families and come to explore the implications of God and faith through means of research and evaluation.
I think that the Truth you mention, is not as simple and obvious as we may feel. I think the foolish behavior is attributed primarily to those who think they know more than others on the matter.
The facts are, that no one holds any authority over the other where truth and origin are concerned. This would imply God and Faith as well. I guess it all comes down to respect and sincerity. However, mankind has been plagued with such issues since the dawn or recorded history. Which raises an even more interesting point. Why is it that humanity as a whole seems driven to share a common belief?
To my knowledge the scriptures contain a host of measurable facts and claims. The biggest being God's claim to Creation. I think, those who overlook these facts are shooting themselves in the foot where truth and sincerity is concerned. I also believe that if someone truly wanted to learn about God(religion aside), that cosmically... provisions has been made to do so.
To my knowledge the scriptures contain a host of measurable facts and claims. The biggest being God's claim to Creation. I think, those who overlook these facts are shooting themselves in the foot where truth and sincerity is concerned.
The scripture do contain a host of facts and claims. Those that pertain to the mechanisms of the universe are unremarkable similar to those of other surrounding cultures and really didn't advance the understanding base much - errr well not at all.
In fact not one single paradigm shift in human understanding of the physical world has ever come from a revealed or literal reading of the scriptures! This is truly a remarkable fact when one considers it.
After a discovery is made there those who will go back and find some correlation in the scriptures to some new understanding but it is always a posteriori and are always contrived.
Here is my abbreviated score card for the two paths that Crash was talking about...
Scriptural Revealed Truth Science/Observation/Hypothesis ----------------------------------------------------------- -- 1. Spherical Earth 2. Heleocentric Solar system 3. Newtonian Mechanics 4. Atomic Structure of Matter 5. Sub-Atomic Particles 6. Particle/Wave Duality 7. Nuclear Powered Sun 8. Maxwell relations 9. Relativity 10. Old Earth 11. Galaxy content of the universe 12. Relativity 13. Mendelian Genetics 14. DNA ....
For example, though you feel the other path is based on fantasy of ones choosing, what does one make of the evidence provided by the scriptures?
So you didn't have the imagination to make up your own fantasy; you had to cling to someone else's. So what? You still picked and chose. Haven't you ever been to Barnes and Noble? There's a dozen religions with their own books.
There's no "evidence in the scriptures" that supports the existence of any supernatural beings.
I think that the Truth you mention, is not as simple and obvious as we may feel.
By definition, self-deception isn't at all simple or obvious. I mean, that's kind of the point, isn't it? If it was transparent, how could it work?
Why is it that humanity as a whole seems driven to share a common belief?
Common belief? There's more than 30,000 different sects identified in the world, and that's just the estimated number of Christian groups.
You act like you've never been a member of a church. Acrimonious disputes about minor issues of dogma are a universal feature. If it's one thing that typifies the human religious experience, it's discord. Controversy. Even violent struggle.
In an age when religious disputes are sending airplanes careening into New York's greatest skyscrapers, isn't it foolish to suggest that there's any "common belief" among the religions of humanity? They can't even agree on how many gods there are.
To my knowledge the scriptures contain a host of measurable facts and claims.
Sure, and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is set in a real city, Verona. I know it exists because I've been there. But one true fact doesn't prove a lie. The Bible may very well make mundane true statements; those statements don't establish any particular credibility in regards to supernatural claims.
Multitudes of professing born again folks either lack inspirational and intelligent mentors within the churches or never get grounded in good inspirational fundamentalist churches and so forth.
yes, i agree buzsaw. fundamentalism, in general, has neither intelligent and inspirational mentors, nor good churches. and that's why people drop out of it -- they see through the idiotic crap hurled at them.
let me tell you about my journey through fundamentalism.
i was raised as an atheist, and a militant one at that. my father is (probably) an agnostic (he doesn't talk much about it), and my mother is about as evangelical as atheist can get. both of my parents hold degrees -- my mother has a masters in classical studies (greece and rome) and my father is a ph.d. in mathematics, and is a graph theorist with an erdos number of +2. for non-math-majors, that means he's a big person in his field -- he's co-authored papers with people who have co-authored papers with the biggest name in graph theory.
as a child, i had an interest in the sciences, specifically natural history. dinosaurs. by the age of 10, i understood all about the geologic column, the law of superposition, radiometric dating, etc. i knew a bit about the evolutionary history, in general, of most of the life on this planet. i owned fossils, textbooks, etc.
at 13, i converted to christianity. i listened to the classical music channel/npr a lot, and the local jesus station was stronger than anything else in town. it took over at least 5 whole numbers (not decimal points) on the radio dial, and periodically would seep into the station i listened to as i went to sleep. on night, i decided to see what the mumbling was, and tune in. listened for a week, and converted. it wasn't a story about jesus, either. it was abraham, and god having a plan, and all that.
i started going to church. the first place i went, i didn't really enjoy. it was big, and fake, and everyone had poofed hair. the youth group was learning why not to listen to metallica's black album (omg, it has a snake on the cover, it's totally satanic like whoah). it struck me then -- and i was 13 -- as goofy paranoia, and i didn't even like that kind of music. my only other memorable experience there was them laughing at me.
i drifted around for a bit after that. a friend from middle school invited me to his church, and i went to that. they were a store-front church. real fundy. soon after i joined up going to their youth group, they got a real building. i went there for years -- but i started noticing problems immediately.
for instance, i asked my youth pastor why we were selling things in the lobby. as a 14 year old, that just didn't make sense to me. doesn't jesus frown on that sort of thing? "well," he says, but i interrupt, "no, i pretty distinctly remember him overturning the money changers' tables because they were turning a profit in the house of god." ...no good answer, just some weasling about why it was ok for them to do it.
about this time, i started noticing their utter disdain and fear of the outside world. they told me a story once about having to remove a homeless person -- that just didn't seem right to me. jesus walked around homeless. would they turn away jesus? why is a church refusing to help the very people god said they should?
i had made friends with this girl that went there. she was an atheist; her parents made her go. it quickly became obvious that i was the only person there she actually felt comfortable talking to, because i wasn't spouting "jesus" 24-7. as i got to know her, i became more and more aware of the effects of rabid fundamentalism on a family. constant fights with her parents over stupid stuff. they continually break into her room, and burn anything that wasn't a bible. cds, books, letters, pictures. i watched her find more and more ways to rebel, taking up smoking and drinking, and anything she could do behind her parents' backs. i tried to explain this once to her step-mother, but she just didn't understand: keeping your child locked up isn't love and protection. it makes them want to run as far away as they can, as fast as they can. forcing religion on her was pushing her away.
at this point, i started to hear the creation v. evolution debate. my youth leader was a relatively smart guy. repaired computers. "we can't deny that microevolution happens, because they've observed it in a lab. we just don't believe in macroevolution. we believe god created every kind." "oh," i say, not wanting to get into exactly why what he said was wrong -- i was 15, after all. he was, by far, the most reasonable person, scientifically speaking, of the lot. the rest preached about a 6,000 year old earth, and that dinosaur were put there by the devil, and that kind of garbage. i knew even then that this is not the extent of religious belief. my friend's family would sometimes take me to their church, too. my friend's father was a geologist. studying geology and a YEC view are pretty much completely incompatible -- so he'd explained to me his views on things. day-age, and all that. which was how i reconciled what i knew about science with my belief in the bible at that age. but already the wheels of doubt where turning.
i bailed from my youthgroup just before it exploded. the pastor of the church (not my youth leader) got some lady in the congregation pregnant, and ran away with her. people in the youth group started talking about each other behind each other's backs. we started having youth services with more people on stage than in the pews -- everyone wanted to be a star. we had a crazy new member, and in came the laying-of-the-hands. the placebo effect doesn't work on me -- i never fell over, spoke in tongues, etc. people wondered why. my friend from middle school hooked up with this girl in the group, and rumors about their sexual life started flying around. my other friend, the girl from before, somehow got caught up in all this, and got blamed for spreading rumors. she says she didn't do it, and i believe her. she would have told me first, and didn't. anyways. i never went back.
i drifted around aimlessly, from church to church, for another few years. went to another friends church -- they were pentecostals. the kind that clear the church of chairs at the end of the service so nobody gets hurt. they scared me -- i tried not to go there.
in college, i met this girl and fell in love. she was a fundamentalist. i went to church with her, and tried to be the best little christian boy i could be for her. but the doubt wheels, they were still turning. and i had been burned by religion before. not faith, but religion. she fell in love me, too. so she stopped talking to me: i wasn't christian enough for her, and she never got her neon sign from god. this happened two or three times, actually -- always with the interference of her church. a calvary church. i talked to church leaders, but i was always scorned as an outsider, even after going to their church for months, because i dared to think. i would tell them about different interpretations, and what the bible actually said, and how i felt, and that i thought a lot of their isolationist philosophies were dangerous and cult-like. that made me the anti-christ in their eyes, and reaffirmed the notion that i shouldn't be dating one of their flock. (i am truly glad she no longer goes there and that we are still friends)
and i haven't been to a church regularly since. i first noticed in that youth group that church felt dead to me. when they asked us to pray, i started going outside because i couldn't feel god when i was in that building. my (then-girl)friend's church felt the same way. and so has every church after it. it is positively creepy to watch everyone in a church feeling something, and knowing, in your heart, that it's not god. that it's either in their heads, or something far more sinister. she started to tell me once that she felt that too. and it is scary to watch how religion can be used to manipulate people. i knew that my faith in religion was over when i asked her pastor a very legitimate question about the bible... and not only did i stump him in front of a live congregation, but he'd never actually noticed the problem i pointed out. truly the blind leading the blind.
when i see threads like this, i understand. i have been on that path myself. the only thing i fail to understand is why i still have my faith; why i have come out reasonably unscathed. any one of those experiences is enough to make a person lose their faith. and trust me, i am leaving a lot of personal stuff out. i'm leaving out all of the guilt and fear, and the unfulfilled promises. i'm leaving out pain, and frustration, and lots of stuff i just don't feel like sharing. but this should give people an impression.
So let's not leave it implied. Let's get it on the table. This question is for all religious people.
If you had to choose between God or truth, which would you choose?
Which is the more important thing to value?
No fair saying the dilemma would "never happen" because there's "no contradiction." That's a doctrinal position based on your present belief--and a dodge. You don't know what the future will bring. This thread is sufficient evidence that such moments do occur in the lives of real people.
So if you're going to address the question, answer it. Is your God so jealous that he would resent it if you valued the truth more than him? Or are you free to tell the truth as you see it--even if doing so takes you into a realm where God is, to all appearances, absent?
Let's ask the corresponding question of our atheists, too. Just to be fair.
If you ever had to choose between atheism or truth, which would you choose?
buz: I observe individuals, families, cultures, nations and in fact the world and I see those Biblical based ones the more blessed, the more content, generally the more prosperous and the less evil and violent than most others.
Open face, wear egg.
Learn first. Travel. Observe. Then talk, if you must.
"The truth as you(I) see it" is not necessairly the Truth; never the less, my God wants me to tell/persue the truth as I see it - even if it takes me into a realm where God is, to all appearances, absent. That, however, is not the same as choosing between God and truth (or choosing between God and Truth) as you might be suggesting.
My God wants me to explore and learn by my experience. The more I do that, the more I choose Him.
quote:I observe individuals, families, cultures, nations and in fact the world and I see those Biblical based ones the more blessed, the more content, generally the more prosperous and the less evil and violent than most others.
Yeah, and you also base your opinion on the state of the entire world's climate by looking at how things are growing on your own property.
Let's ask the corresponding question of our atheists, too. Just to be fair.
If you ever had to choose between atheism or truth, which would you choose?
Truth, obviously. Atheism, for me, is not having any active belief in any Gods, just as most of us don't actively believe in fairies or unicorns. By definition, atheists are sticklers for evidence, and great respecters of it. So, if presented with convincing evidence indicating that any particular God or pantheon of Gods actually existed, then I'd happily go along with the apparent truth of their existence.
Not believing in Gods is of no emotional importance to me in itself. I just see no reason to do so. I'd still be anti-religious, only exempting one of the religions if it turned out that it was correct in respect to these newly discovered true Gods, which I think would be extremely unlikely, as religions all bear the hallmarks of local human inventions when their origins are examined.