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Author Topic:   A less bizarre discussion of religious beliefs.
AZPaul3
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Posts: 6636
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 1 of 54 (890275)
12-29-2021 7:41 PM


In the thread "Do you have Questions for a Gnostic Christian?" jar expressed an interest in exploring our beliefs.

Propose this thread for that discussion.

Maybe something I said sparked his interest. Since it was jar's impetus I'll let him frame the discussion.

Faith and Belief forum, please.

I wouldn't think this exclusive to jar and me. Others may want to chime in to tell us how nuts we both are, but I have no objections if jar wants to make this exclusive.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

  
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Message 2 of 54 (890277)
12-31-2021 9:25 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the A less bizarre discussion of religious beliefs. thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
jar
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Posts: 33891
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 3 of 54 (890281)
12-31-2021 10:59 AM


a few preliminaries
I would like to start by outlining a few points I hope you will accept as being axiomatic.

First, that I believe that there is a god and that after I die, I will be judged. That is not a statement of fact beyond the simple fact of stating what I believe. It is not a claim based on rationality, evidence or reason beyond the fact that I was born into a Christian family, raised in a Christian environment, educated in a Christian school and am a registered member of one of the recognized Christian sects.

Second, that my beliefs will have had some impacts on my behavior over time.


My Website: My Website

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Tangle, posted 12-31-2021 11:28 AM jar has replied
 Message 5 by nwr, posted 12-31-2021 12:06 PM jar has replied
 Message 6 by AZPaul3, posted 12-31-2021 12:15 PM jar has replied
 Message 41 by Greatest I am, posted 01-06-2022 2:14 PM jar has replied

  
Tangle
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Posts: 8486
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 4 of 54 (890282)
12-31-2021 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
12-31-2021 10:59 AM


Re: a few preliminaries
Jar writes:

First, that I believe that there is a god and that after I die, I will be judged.

Is the result of this judgement binary - heaven or hell for all eternity?

Second, that my beliefs will have had some impacts on my behavior over time.

It would be strange if they didn't.
Do you attend church every week, pray, get involved in community stuff?


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 10:59 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 1:24 PM Tangle has replied

  
nwr
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Posts: 5971
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 5 of 54 (890283)
12-31-2021 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
12-31-2021 10:59 AM


Re: a few preliminaries
I would like to start by outlining a few points I hope you will accept as being axiomatic.

I don't see those as axiomatic.

I do, however, see them as beliefs which are not threatening to anyone.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 42 by Greatest I am, posted 01-06-2022 2:17 PM nwr has seen this message

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 6636
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 6 of 54 (890285)
12-31-2021 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
12-31-2021 10:59 AM


Re: a few preliminaries
I would like to start by outlining a few points I hope you will accept as being axiomatic.

I accept that you were acculturated in a christian environment. I was not. I accept that your beliefs are deep set in your psyche and are honestly felt however you represent them. I claim the same position.

And, of course, all of us act in accord with our acculturated personality. It cannot be other than that our beliefs guide our actions.

I have to accept your axioms. I have no choice, reality being what it is.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 10:59 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 2:42 PM AZPaul3 has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33891
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 7 of 54 (890294)
12-31-2021 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tangle
12-31-2021 11:28 AM


Re: a few preliminaries
Tangle writes:

Is the result of this judgement binary - heaven or hell for all eternity?

I have absolutely no idea.

Tangle writes:

Do you attend church every week, pray, get involved in community stuff?

No, in fact I seldom attend church at all these days. Or stores or bars or ...

I do pray quite often, do get involved in community stuff, do actively support a church with time, knowledge, advice and contributions.


My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Tangle, posted 12-31-2021 11:28 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 33891
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 8 of 54 (890295)
12-31-2021 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by nwr
12-31-2021 12:06 PM


Re: a few preliminaries
They are axiomatic in the sense of statements about my beliefs; unquestionable and self-evident.

My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by nwr, posted 12-31-2021 12:06 PM nwr has replied

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nwr
Member
Posts: 5971
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 9 of 54 (890296)
12-31-2021 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
12-31-2021 1:25 PM


Re: a few preliminaries
So they are self-evident to you.

Fair enough. But that's not what I normally mean by "axiomatic".


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Tangle
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Posts: 8486
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 10 of 54 (890297)
12-31-2021 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
12-31-2021 1:24 PM


Re: a few preliminaries
Jar writes:

I have absolutely no idea.

Judgement does suggest some kind of reward or punishment though doesn't it? Somebody is deciding something?

Jar writes:

I do pray quite often

Is this the usual oneway conversation?


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 1:24 PM jar has taken no action

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33891
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 11 of 54 (890298)
12-31-2021 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by AZPaul3
12-31-2021 12:15 PM


Re: a few preliminaries
Great.

Then on to the next steps.

I see religions as paths and guidelines. They establish a mutually agreed upon standards of conduct. But I do not see any such thing as the one true religion. All of the evidence seems to indicate that ALL religions are purely human creations.

Since I was born into a family deeply rooted and active in Christianity, educated in Christian schools I identify as a Christian. But that's about a restrictive an identity as inclusion among mammals. Trying to narrow things down I am a member of the Anglican Communion which narrows things down about as much as including myself in primates. As with other classifications there is a continuing attempt to place labels so I could say a member of the Episcopal Church USA and then down to current diocese and parish and to the ultimate assurance that there is very likely at least one other Episcopalian that holds beliefs similar to those I hold.

So, what value to I see and how do my set of beliefs effect my behavior?

I mentioned that I believe that I will be judged after I die. I also believe that just as in any trial, neither I or anyone else can know the outcome until after the verdict and really not until some sentence is rendered.

Believing that I will be judged has several ongoing effects on my behavior. I honestly try to evaluate my acts and try to do what is right, not in some big effort but rather in the small everyday stuff. I fail far too often and so almost certainly will be judged to be guilty. If I get forgiven though I believe it will only be through the leniency and grace of the judge.

Which brings us to a difference that have been pointed out many times over the years here at EvC.

I believe (but hopefully will be able to present reasoned arguments in this case) that Jesus' life and not his death is the major gospel to be found in the New Testament and that the same basic message can be found throughout the varied cultures and fold tales and fantasies that make up the Old and New Testaments.

I believe that some entity called Jesus likely did exist and was a Messianic Prophet.

I believe that individual (or individuals if a composite creation) was absolutely and totally human and lived for about 30 years or so.

I look at the recorded sayings attributed to that character and while they are certainly not unusual or unique do seem to outline a socially advantageous path to follow. The basics are found in most all religions and so I have spent many decades also examining Taoism and Confucianism (one primarily oriented to the duties of the individual and the other towards the duties of the ruler), Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and to a much lesser extent the various Hindu and related religions. The common themes of duty both of the governed and the governor can be seen from Balzhiser's Feast (Mene mene tekel ...) to the Eight Fold Path.

So why do I believe that Jesus was simply a human (while here among other humans)? That goes to the concept of resurrection and ascension. Here I'm definitely off into unchartable waters.

If a GOD, a supernatural critter existed it would not be subject to natural laws. It could die and get reborn or recreated as often as it desired. There would be no miracle involved. And I believe in miracles.

A GOD dying and being reborn means absolutely nothing if seen as a human even. A dead human being brought back to life is impressive though. A totally human Jesus being killed, resurrected and then ascending to some afterlife though implies that GOD can do stuff that does not follow natural laws and so might even apply to another dumb human like me.

It's a self-serving rationalization without any supporting evidence, yet there it is in my belief system. It's the steppingstone towards the judgement which really is a significant factor determining my behavior.


My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by AZPaul3, posted 12-31-2021 12:15 PM AZPaul3 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by AZPaul3, posted 12-31-2021 5:22 PM jar has replied
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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 6636
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 12 of 54 (890299)
12-31-2021 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by jar
12-31-2021 2:42 PM


I see religions as paths and guidelines. They establish a mutually agreed upon standards of conduct. But I do not see any such thing as the one true religion.

I’m thinking my views on religion are pretty much known to you. I’m not a fan to say the least.

All of the evidence seems to indicate that ALL religions are purely human creations.

Indeed, this is an observation with a very high level of confidence by the intelligentsia in the discipline. I don’t see in you one to ignore the obvious (as obvious as tentative science can make) and I personally think reality has a good hold on your psyche … except in this one glaring case, a persistent belief in this woo.

Somehow your spirit (which cannot be defined let alone located) exists after your physical energies (which is all we know to actually exist) have dissipated and your remaining matter is shredded into other cycles. I recognize you can’t give details like what color your robe is as you wait in line to see the boss or whatever because you're just a little fluffball of spirit, but you believe something (your conception of a god) is going to do its thing (at some place not in this universe?) by judging your actions in this life by some standard you perceive from the myths of biblical jesus (feed, clothe, do onto others, etc.) ending with a judgement of you can’t say resulting in a punishment of you don’t know what.

I'm not going to challenge any of your articles of faith.

None of them make a lot of sense anyway, jar.

Yet, in the rest of your world, as far as I can see, the earth is round, 545 nm wave length is green and disease is caused by bugs not by demons.

I wonder why the logical disconnect. Was the upbringing that strict or was there some epiphany? What was it that hit you in the head and knocked those few screws just ever so slightly loose? Grandma kept slapping you with the bible until you believed?

Some set of neurons got placed and reinforced that better should not have been. The nature appears strong so I'm thinking nurture did the wiring in that area.

I am so sorry that happened to you, but I'm glad your religious demon is at least small compared to others we see around here.

You're going to slap me silly now aren't you.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 2:42 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 5:48 PM AZPaul3 has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33891
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 13 of 54 (890304)
12-31-2021 5:48 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by AZPaul3
12-31-2021 5:22 PM


AZPaul3 writes:

Doesn't makes a lot of sense, jar.

Correct. I have already said that.

AZPaul3 writes:

I wonder why the logical disconnect. Was the upbringing that strict or was there some epiphany? What was it that hit you in the head and knocked those few screws just ever so slightly loose? Grandma kept slapping you with the bible until you believed?

Some set of neurons got placed and reinforced that better should not have been. The nature appears strong so I'm thinking nurture did the wiring in that area.

I am so sorry that happened to you, but I'm glad your religious demon is at least small compared to others we see around here.

You're going to slap me silly now aren't you.

Not at all.

But it was my nurturing that shaped my behavior. Even if all such beliefs are simply nonsense does that even matter?

Beliefs are of importance to the individual, but behavior has effects that go beyond the individual. Are there examples of my behavior that you can point to that might seem to justify the above quotation?

There are examples where belief driven behavior creates damaging consequences, the "Right to Life" and "Anti-vaxxers" and "Proto Fascists" that we see in the US today. Phat's disconnection from reality might be included as well, but those are not me.

My point is that beliefs, even those that are totally unevidenced, irrational, illogical and absurd such as belief in the supernatural are only problematic if they contribute to counter-productive and harmful behavior.

Quite often here (and unfortunately it includes me) the emphasis is on condemning beliefs rather than behavior.

Look at the quote from your post and see where it falls.


My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by AZPaul3, posted 12-31-2021 5:22 PM AZPaul3 has replied

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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8486
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 14 of 54 (890306)
12-31-2021 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
12-31-2021 5:48 PM


"My point is that beliefs, even those that are totally unevidenced, irrational, illogical and absurd such as belief in the supernatural are only problematic if they contribute to counter-productive and harmful behavior."

Discuss in no more than 3,000 words


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 12-31-2021 5:48 PM jar has taken no action

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 6636
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 15 of 54 (890308)
12-31-2021 7:50 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
12-31-2021 5:48 PM


But it was my nurturing that shaped my behavior. Even if all such beliefs are simply nonsense does that even matter?

Are you asking me if it matters if our behavior is governed by nonsensical beliefs? Of course it does.

Beliefs are of importance to the individual, but behavior has effects that go beyond the individual.

Why do you separate the two? Are beliefs not the cornerstone, the very basis from which our actions emanate?

Are there examples of my behavior that you can point to that might seem to justify the above quotation?

That’s the rub, jar. You seem a well centered bloke steeped in the reality of the human condition but you credit your motivation to your woo-woo religious beliefs which you admit are irrational. So, what I see is you are getting the right answers but by way of a faulty irrational algorithm. I've written programs like that. In the long term they come back to bite (byte) you, hard.

My point is that beliefs, even those that are totally unevidenced, irrational, illogical and absurd such as belief in the supernatural are only problematic if they contribute to counter-productive and harmful behavior.

I would counter that unevidenced, irrational, illogical and absurd beliefs in the supernatural are only problematic if they enter the human mind ... at all. The problems with these are they are too easily and too often manipulated for purposes of greed and blood. Whether such beliefs manifest in immediate direct harm in any specific situation is not at issue. It is faulty thinking, open to and responsible for some of the most barbaric abuses of humanity we have ever experienced and is no longer necessary in addition to being too damned dangerous to the species.

Behaviors based from evidenced, rational, logical, sane beliefs in reality don't seem to have these unevidenced, irrational, illogical and absurd results.

Look at the quote from your post and see where it falls.

You’re going to have to walk me through this. I don’t see it.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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