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Author Topic:   Where Faith Comes From in the "moderate" Christian religions
Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 3821 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 1 of 132 (513091)
06-24-2009 8:42 PM


In a recent post I've thought about how "moderate" Christians come to their religion besides through the Bible (as to them it's not ALL literally true). If so, then on what do they base their beliefs? Any takers/thoughts?

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : To reset "signature" to smaller font size.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added the "in the "moderate" Christian religions" part to the topic title. Also changed the "all" to "ALL.


“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
- Stephen Roberts

“I'm a polyatheist - there are many gods I don't believe in”
- Dan Foutes

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has widely been considered as a bad move."
- Douglas Adams


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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3934
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 132 (513107)
06-25-2009 2:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
06-24-2009 8:42 PM


Some changes to message 1 done
See the "Edited by Adminnemooseus" note.

I wanted to more stress that this was NOT about the more extreme fundamentalist literal Bible Christianity.

Also, I have edited your "signature" at your profile, to make the text a finer print. That way your "signature" does not so dominate the content of your messages. I also strongly suggest that you not activate your "signature" for all your messages, especially if you are posting more than one or two messages per day. I find it annoying to get hammered by that much "signature" text in a lot of messages. And you don't want to annoy the Adminnemooseus.

Feel free to note that my administrative "signature" is rather huge. But I do that for adminstrative purposes, and even then I don't always activate the "signature".

Adminnemooseus


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Adminnemooseus
Director
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Message 3 of 132 (513110)
06-25-2009 2:20 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

Peg
Member (Idle past 3863 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 4 of 132 (513117)
06-25-2009 4:39 AM


personally I believe spirituality is built into all humans...this is why so many have some belief in a God/gods of some sort.

Even those who dont believe in God/gods, they do believe in something that caused our being, ie evolution....this shows that even if one doesn't believe in a God/gods, they still yearn for knowledge, meaning and wisdom. We all do this because IMO we were created in the image of God and therefore we possess his qualities and creative ability.

So besides the bible, faith/belief is a part of our nature. And how we choose to exercise that need is a very personal thing based on our perceptions,life experience and environment.


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Woodsy
Member (Idle past 2308 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 5 of 132 (513120)
06-25-2009 6:51 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Peg
06-25-2009 4:39 AM


So besides the bible, faith/belief is a part of our nature. And how we choose to exercise that need is a very personal thing based on our perceptions,life experience and environment.

This doesn't make the beliefs true, nor is it evidence that they are true. Personal experience is not valid evidence of the supernatural, as it could merely be internally generated.

If, as you say, this tendency is innate, the fact that religion is widespread is not evidence for the truth of religion either.

Some other kind of evidence needs to be presented to be convincing to non-believers.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 15455
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 6 of 132 (513121)
06-25-2009 7:03 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
06-24-2009 8:42 PM


Moderate Musings
Teapots&unicorns writes:

In a recent post I've thought about how "moderate" Christians come to their religion besides through the Bible (as to them it's not ALL literally true). If so, then on what do they base their beliefs? Any takers/thoughts?

Most of the churches that I have attended have advocated the idea that the Bible is inerrant and though symbolic, without error. Only recently have I been introduced to the idea that the Bible was anything less than perfect. To me, that was and is irrelevant, though. I believe that the essential Word is living and active, that the Word is the character of God, personified through Jesus Christ. Of course I cannot prove this assertion, thus it remains a personal belief.

Are my beliefs illogical? Yes, most definitely. I don't need to rely solely on the Bible for my personal beliefs, though my critics contend that my God is in fact a made-up imaginary friend.My personal conversion experience, however, was quite real to me, and carries a lot of weight in my decision making process pertaining to belief. :)


"All that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery--[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."--C.S.Lewis
* * * * * * * * * *
Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important.~T.S.Eliot

This message is a reply to:
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Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 3821 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 7 of 132 (513128)
06-25-2009 7:31 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Phat
06-25-2009 7:03 AM


Re: Moderate Musings
Are my beliefs illogical? Yes, most definitely. I don't need to rely solely on the Bible for my personal beliefs, though my critics contend that my God is in fact a made-up imaginary friend.My personal conversion experience, however, was quite real to me, and carries a lot of weight in my decision making process pertaining to belief.

What I'm asking is that if you don't believe in God because of the Bible, then where do you get that belief from? (If you answer "from God," why didn't He talk to you before you picked up his bestseller?)


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Replies to this message:
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 132 (513137)
06-25-2009 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
06-24-2009 8:42 PM


Speaking from my observations, believers in this category fall into a few subcategories:

1) Personal revelation. Often their particular experience is not revealed lest it be questioned, but they often admit that it is not useful for anyone other than themselves. The "why" of this experience is considered unknowable, and highly insulting if their rigor is questioned.

2) "The WORD is still alive." This subcategory, following the strong tradition of anthropomorphism, maintains that the divinely inspired parts of the Bible will make themselves known. In other words, the wheat will separate itself from the chaff as a conscious entity. There does not appear to be any explanation for this other than certain parts "resonate" more with the reader.

3) Peer pressure. This group was raised as Christians and their belief is based solely on that fact. Ultimately most justifications for their faith are based on incredulity that their upbringing was deeply flawed; it would be like someone pointing out that you don't *know* that your sister/brother is actually biologically related to your family at all.

4) True ignorance. Some people never think about it at all. This may be surprising for people who come to a forum like this, but large swaths of the population have never considered the question of religion at all. These should be distinguished from #3 because they are not incredulous of the possibility of being wrong, it just never occurred to them.

I have probably missed some, but we can add them as they come up.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 15455
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 9 of 132 (513140)
06-25-2009 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Teapots&unicorns
06-25-2009 7:31 AM


Believe It Or Not
T&U writes:

What I'm asking is that if you don't believe in God because of the Bible, then where do you get that belief from? (If you answer "from God," why didn't He talk to you before you picked up his bestseller?)

My conversion experience played a large role in my belief, as I said before. I will admit that confirmation bias has probably also played a large role, as well as the fact that I feel I can't very well discard my belief unless I am as equally convinced that it is not real as I previously was convinced that it was and is real. :)

Edited by Phat, : fixed gaffe

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Aware Wolf
Member (Idle past 354 days)
Posts: 156
From: New Hampshire, USA
Joined: 02-13-2009


Message 10 of 132 (513142)
06-25-2009 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Teapots&unicorns
06-25-2009 7:31 AM


Re: Moderate Musings
It's my contention that for some Christians - and maybe folks of other faiths - justification of their belief is not all that important. They have always believed in God, at first because Mom and Dad told them it was so, and continue to believe in God because it works for them. They like the idea of a Higher Power that loves them and comforts them, and who, to some extent, holds them accountable for good behavior. They are well aware of the lack of hard evidence for God, but it doesn't bother them. Why should it? They're living their lives the way they want to live it, and they're happy. If other people want to get bogged down in philosophical mumbo jumbo, good for them. Meanwhile, they will continue to go to work and to church and raise their families and say their prayers.

I guess in phage's 4 subcategories they would fit best into 4, but I hate to apply the term "ignorant" to them as though that were their most important feature. Some (many?) of them are anything but ignorant of the arguments for and against, but it doesn't affect them any more than the argument for and against a playoff system for college football.

Edited by Aware Wolf, : spelling

Edited by Aware Wolf, : More spelling


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Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 3821 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 11 of 132 (513143)
06-25-2009 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
06-25-2009 12:17 PM


Re: Believe It Or Not
If your "conversion experience" played that big a role, then what was it like? Was it a bunch of evangelists saying "we'ew better, come play w/ us," was it a revelation as expressed earlier, or was it the influence of friends and family around you.

Also, if you cannot discard your belief because your are convinced it was real, then why did you pick it up in the first place? If it is too hard to discard it now, then why did you pick it up before?

I will admit that there is a possibility of being already influenced along with a combination of the other factors.


“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
- Stephen Roberts

“I'm a polyatheist - there are many gods I don't believe in”
- Dan Foutes

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has widely been considered as a bad move."
- Douglas Adams


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Phat
Member
Posts: 15455
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 12 of 132 (513145)
06-25-2009 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Teapots&unicorns
06-25-2009 12:34 PM


Re: Believe It Or Not
I'll discuss this more at length when I get home from work.. :)

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Perdition
Member (Idle past 2172 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 13 of 132 (513149)
06-25-2009 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Aware Wolf
06-25-2009 12:32 PM


Re: Moderate Musings
I guess in phage's 4 subcategories they would fit best into 4, but I hate to apply the term "ignorant" to them as though that were their most important feature. Some (many?) of them are anything but ignorant of the arguments for and against, but it doesn't affect them...

I agree. There are people who may have begun their belief because of their parents/culture/tradition/etc, but continue to believe for no other reason than that they want to. For a while in middle school, I was sort of in this group. I liked the idea of a parental figure in heaven who would watch out for me, and more importantly, a way for me to continue to "live" or be aware after death. As I got older, I realized that my wanting it doesn't make it so, and even though I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea that at some point, I'll just cease to exist or be aware of anything, I never the less believe that is the case.

any more than the argument for and against a playoff system for college football.

This is a bad argument because every one knows that a playoff system is the one TRUE path and anything else is just empty tradition. :P

Edited by Perdition, : spelling is very important...


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Teapots&unicorns
Member (Idle past 3821 days)
Posts: 178
Joined: 06-23-2009


Message 14 of 132 (513155)
06-25-2009 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Perdition
06-25-2009 2:06 PM


Re: Moderate Musings
I agree. There are people who may have begun their belief because of their parents/culture/tradition/etc, but continue to believe for no other reason than that they want to. For a while in middle school, I was sort of in this group. I liked the idea of a parental figure in heaven who would watch out for me, and more importantly, a way for me to continue to "live" or be aware after death.

Same here. I have a bunch of friends who can never answer if I ask them a religious question, and if I ask them why they keep worshipping, they just can't think of a response.


“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
- Stephen Roberts

“I'm a polyatheist - there are many gods I don't believe in”
- Dan Foutes

"In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has widely been considered as a bad move."
- Douglas Adams


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 2 days)
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 15 of 132 (513159)
06-25-2009 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Teapots&unicorns
06-24-2009 8:42 PM


I'm not a Christian any more, but prior to my deconversion I would have been classified as a moderate Christian. I didn't believe in the global flood or 6-day Creation, and I took the ethically abhorrent bits of the Bible to be the writings of men who used God to justify their own actions (just like religiously-motivated murderers or bigots do today). This is contrasted from when I was much younger, when I did believe those things simply because the incompatibility between what I was learning in science classes and what the Bible said simply never occurred to me until adulthood.

My faith at the time was basically based on an arbitrary choice to believe what my parents had believed. I was comfortable with believing - I'd done it since I was a child, I had a massive support group telling validating those beliefs, etc. I also really wanted to believe in an all-benevolent deity that guaranteed eternal life. I had "feelings" that I identified as God. I prayed frequently, and when some of my requests were "granted" I took them as confirmation of God's active hand in my life (despite the fact that my conclusion was based entirely on confirmation bias).

Really, for me, it was just sticking to what was comfortable. I had been raised in a Christian family, being told that all of these things were completely true by people I loved and trusted...when you're a kid (and even when you're an adult to a degree) that's all that's required for faith.

I only deconverted because I moved 3000 miles away from my family and stopped going to church. Without the constant validation of my beliefs, I was able to question those beliefs for myself free from teh effects of peer pressure. I can't say for sure what my beliefs would be if I hadn't moved...but I can say that the distance made it far easier. Herd psychology has a chilling effect on rational thought.


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