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Author Topic:   What Benefits Are Only Available Through God?
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 1 of 438 (528486)
10-06-2009 9:53 AM


I am currently an atheist.
I am not an atheist because I have something against religion, I am an atheist because I have no reason to be otherwise.

I don't have anything against religions or going to church. I used to be a practicing Catholic and went to church every week. I used to be an alter boy (yes in the Catholic church, no I never had any of those issues), listen intently when the priest talked, and took communion and other sacraments very seriously.

I never had a problem. I never felt oppressed or lied to or cheated or mislead as some people can be treated in more... "fire-and-brimstone" type church settings.
There was nothing negative about my relgious environment.
There were many positive things. A sense of community, a sense of peace, a time for reflection and forethought.

I don't go to church anymore, though. Or have anything to do with religion or God. It's not because anything pushed me away. It's because nothing held me in.

I became an atheist when I realized that there's nothing unique about the benefits I was getting through my honest efforts towards God and religion.

All the benefits I used to get from God and religion were easily duplicated or exceeded by mundane activities. I joined sports teams, I hung out with friends, I enjoyed the company of family, I discovered private reflection was possible (and with less distractions) when practiced outside the religious environment. I have morals, I have love and success, I'm happy and healthy, I'm at peace and I have no discomfort towards issues like the afterlife or other unknowns.

My problem is about the possibility of any unique benefit within the realm of religion. Currently, I cannot imagine a better life than the one I'm living (given the situations of the world that are beyond my control, anyway... like others' crimes and hatred). But, just because I can't imagine it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Am I missing something?

Is there something that is worth obtaining through God that can only be obtained through religion (or God) that I don't have already?

It's quite possible that I went to the wrong church or didn't do everything I was supposed to. So my personal experience of not finding anything special about religion may be misleading.

If a personal, interested and capable God exists I would expect there to be some sort of special feeling/benefit/experience that is only available through religion or God. I have yet to find such a thing, or be informed of such a thing. If anyone actually knows of such a concept... that is, really knows (you can support your position)... please provide whatever details you can here so that I can try to understand for myself and see if I actually am missing such a thing.

If you are unable to support your position, but you'd still like to answer... please do. But please indicate that you are unable to verify that what you're saying is actually a part of reality. Unverifiable experiences, ideas and thoughts are still very important and beneficial in their own way. Acknowledging them as such will allow us to skip the quibbling over their actual veracity and focus on discussing their potential merit.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by iano, posted 10-06-2009 11:03 AM Stile has responded
 Message 5 by Peg, posted 10-08-2009 9:08 AM Stile has responded
 Message 6 by Aware Wolf, posted 10-08-2009 12:11 PM Stile has responded
 Message 17 by onifre, posted 10-09-2009 1:34 PM Stile has responded
 Message 21 by Phat, posted 10-19-2009 10:00 AM Stile has responded
 Message 33 by GDR, posted 01-19-2017 1:49 AM Stile has responded
 Message 70 by mike the wiz, posted 01-30-2017 12:54 PM Stile has responded
 Message 107 by goldenlightArchangel, posted 02-15-2017 1:06 PM Stile has responded
 Message 226 by foreveryoung, posted 05-26-2019 10:25 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 4 of 438 (528633)
10-06-2009 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by iano
10-06-2009 11:03 AM


Nothing I don't already have
iano writes:

You'd be judged on what you did know, not on what you didn't

I like to think so too. If I am actually getting judged, it sounds like the fairest way to do so.

A relationship with the one who made you and to whom you must give an account strikes me as the most obvious thing you're missing - to put it positively (you get to know God personally) and negatively (you avoid God's wrath expressed against your sin).

I understand I may be missing a chance to get to know God personally. My question is more along the lines of what are the benefits of getting to know God personally? What can be obtained through a knowing God personally that cannot be obtained by any other experience?

As far as the negative is concerned, I am not afraid of God's wrath for the reason you gave above... that I will be judged on what I know (if God indeed exists and has wrath).

Are you a distant 7 year old or are you a bubbling-under-the-surface 13 year old. I can only speak from my own experience (which is not uncommon amongst believers) in saying that a 'bubbling-under-the-surface' response to descriptions of God and what he offers (both positively and negatively) tend to occur quite close to conversion. Note that a 'bubbling' response can get downright antagonistic and angry and rejecting of God, as your last defences to Gods asserting sovereignty over your life get dismantled down.

This is exactly the question I'm trying to pose. What is there to be bubbly about? Is there anything to be bubbly about? How are the post-bubbly "converts" different from me right now? What if I'm at the stage of being 7 and am unable to move to being 13? I can't seem to identify any sort of desirable difference at all. I can't see anything that would indicate that "something is up." I can tell you that I have absolutely no "defences" as to God asserting sovereignty over my life. To my knowledge, He hasn't tried.

On unverifiable differences:

1) Any sense that there are things about you that are evil, wrong, ugly, ill-fitting, hateful, disgusting, depraved etc. find new compartments which are absolute in nature.

...

That gives you a peace 'beyond all understanding' knowing that all will eventually turn out well.

I already have a sense of peace "beyond all understanding."

It comes from understanding that some things are beyond our control. Ever since I understood that I'm unable to control all things, I'm able to be at ease with the knowledge of all the extreme attrocities constantly happening across the globe. Those that are from my own mistakes, as well as those that are from other's purposeful malice. I do what I can, but in understanding that I cannot do everything I want I achieve a powerful sense of peace that is certainly "beyong all understanding."

2) (More) Peace with the world.

As above, I already have peace with the world.

3) True meaning from life.

Realising oneself a created being whose purpose has been set by a Creator, allows you to relax about your place in the world.

I'm already relaxed about my place in the world. Realizing that I'm a created being whose purpose has been set by a Creator isn't required. Realizing that I can do what I set my mind to (within my mundane limitations) is what grants me such a relaxed feeling.

4) Tied into all of the above is the opportunity to begin living life as you were meant to live it. If God then life without God is life spent digging a hole and filling it in again - no matter whether you're a President of the United States or the lowliest sweatshop worker. All purposes that aren't Gods purpose for you is vacuous

What would come into my life if I were living it the way I was meant to? Another "sense of peace" that's equivalent to what I already have?

Throughout your entire post, I couldn't identify a single benefit that I'm actually missing. I fully admit that a relationship with God, or religion, or a any number of other possible avenues can also lead to feelings of being at peace with the world and being relaxed with one's place in it.

I'm not looking for a simple description of the things that come from your religion or your relationship with God. I'm not saying that such things can't be obtained through religion... that seems contradictory to fact to me.

I'm looking for things that come uniquely from your religion or your relationship with God in the sense that they cannot come from anywhere else.

Everything you've mentioned about having or gaining is already available to me through methods which do not involve God or religion (as far as I can tell). Perhaps (for brevity's sake if nothing else) it would be best if you picked one thing which you think best describes a unique aspect that is obtained through a relationship with God that cannot be obtained otherwise.

I think this is a good point for me to admit that even though I claim to be an atheist and have no interaction with God... if such a thing were subtle I may not notice it. That is, I may indeed be living the life that God wants me to... and I just don't know it. However, I don't think so on the sole basis that it is irrational to think things for which there is no evidence. But, just because something is rational doesn't force reality to be that way. It's just our best known method for getting to the bottom of things.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by iano, posted 10-06-2009 11:03 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by iano, posted 10-08-2009 12:19 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 11 of 438 (529382)
10-09-2009 8:23 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Peg
10-08-2009 9:08 AM


Relgious texts are too confusing
Peg writes:

So what you are missing is the opportunity to live forever and to see your dead loved ones again. Happily they, and ALL those 'in the memorial tombs' will recieve a resurrection under Gods kingdom. Anyone who has died, has paid their debt to God (sin) So they will be resurrected to be given a 2nd chance at life.
It is a wonderful hope that is only possible thru God.

I don't want to get into Bible verses and a discussion of what the Bible "really" means. I'm certainly no expert on Biblical quotations. The Bible has been interpreted by many, many different people (all who've studied it much more than I have) with many, many different conclusions.

All I can say is that I must remain honest and open about reality. That means that the confusion of the Bible is not helpful to me in understanding truth. I don't mean confusion in the sense that anyone who reads the Bible becomes confused. I mean confusion in the sense that so many different people can read the Bible and come to so many different conclusions (some contradictory to each other) that they all hold to with a fervent passion.

Therefore, I am unable to honestly go to the Bible for help in truth about this world. I am equally unable to honestly accept anyone's word about what they say the Bible means.

Therefore, this stuff you say about me missing things in the afterlife... all I can say is that you may be right. But you also very well may be wrong. And, since there's nothing either of us has to show objective truth about the afterlife to the other, your guesses are only as good as my own or anyone elses.

While you say I'm missing an opportunity for a beneficial afterlife... if you happen to be wrong, I wouldn't be missing anything. Since I have no way to tell, all I can do is keep an honest and open view and wait for more information. If such an afterlife does exist, and if God is just, I'm confident that I will not be blamed for sticking to the same principles that God Himself respects (honesty and reason). Therefore, I won't be missing anything at all. Therefore, I am not missing any "hope" towards such a thing either. And, contrary to what you just said, I did not attain this hope through God, yet I still have it.

My point isn't to say that religion and God should be downgraded or reduced in any fashion.
My point is simply to say that all people are equal, and all people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals, and that no one is capable of showing anything within this reality we all inhabit that would negate such a thing. So far, you are also unable to show anything that we know to exist that is unattainable without God.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Peg, posted 10-08-2009 9:08 AM Peg has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Peg, posted 10-09-2009 9:17 AM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 12 of 438 (529385)
10-09-2009 8:38 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Aware Wolf
10-08-2009 12:11 PM


Not trying to call religion useless
Aware Wolf writes:

A close friend of mine who is a Christian tells me that she has experienced a reduction of fear since becoming a believer. Due at least in part to her upbringing, she used to have an unreasonable fear of something happening to her (assault, robbery, murder, etc.) and nobody being around to help her. Since she has become a believer, that fear has subsided.

Thank you for your story.

I am not trying to say that religion and God have no value. I think they have lots of value. And, for some specific people, I even admit that religion and God can be the only way to obtain certain levels of peace, solace and happiness.

My point is to say that, equally, for some specific people (perhaps myself? Not really sure...), the same levels of peace, solace and happiness can only be obtained without religion and God.

Some people need re-assurance and agreement with others they respect (or a religious text that they respect) to reduce fears and get that self-confidence before they are able to proceed on the way to those levels of peace and solace.

I am saying that some people exist that need a firm foundation in objectivity in which to base their senses to reduce the same fears and get that same self-confidence before they can proceed to obtain those same levels of peace and solace.

I am saying that the levels of peace and solace are equal regardless of the path taken to them.

I agree that some people would benefit more from one path rather than the other, and which path is better would depend on the type of specific person.

I'm not trying to belittle religion or God.
I'm trying to show that when some particular religions claim to have "the only path" or any other claim to a uniquely subjective experience, then they are lying.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Aware Wolf, posted 10-08-2009 12:11 PM Aware Wolf has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Aware Wolf, posted 10-09-2009 3:49 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


(1)
Message 14 of 438 (529404)
10-09-2009 9:19 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by iano
10-08-2009 12:19 PM


The massive proportions of... nothing different?
Clearly you cannot appreciate the sense of peace that comes from forgiveness of your sin if you aren't convinced that you stand condemned already as a sinner before God. Your comment about lacking fear of God's wrath highlights that point.

I agree that I cannot appreciate the sense of peace that comes anything unless I have that thing.

My point is that I already have a sense of peace. The sense of peace I have is not lacking in any measureable way. As far as I am able to tell from the description you have provided, the sense of peace I have is just as good, or better.

If all you have is a "my peace is better than your peace" type of arguement, then all I have is a "no it isn't" response. I do not know if such a simplistic back and forth will show to be productive.

You haven't got peace with God. You are at emnity with God. So says God. Which means that the peace you have is illusionary - because it's peace with a world who is at war with God and on whom Gods wrath is being poured out.

Maybe peace with God isn't as good as the peace I have. How am I to know?

I cannot take your word for it, your word cannot instill a sense of peace within my mind. God can, however. And I am certainly open to God instilling anything within my mind that He sees fit. I have yet to become aware of any such methods, though. So I am forced to wait for more information. And, as far as your descriptions of "God's peace" go, it doesn't sound any better then the peace I already have.

So when you equate the peace you have with the peace I have, bear the above in mind. One is peace with God, the other is peace with satans realm.

I assure you (with as much assurance as you yourself also have) that my peace is not with satans realm. The dichotomy you present is false. Or, perhaps my peace is with God Himself, and I am simply unaware. Your refusal to admit such possibilities tips me off to think that truth and honesty may not be an important part of the motivations for what you say.

Relationship with God clearly can't come from anywhere else.

I agree. My point is that perhaps a relationship with God isn't all that grand of a thing. You certainly haven't provided anything that you have with your claimed relationship with God that I do not have. If you aren't getting anything that I'm unable to acheive, why should anyone pursue the same claimed relationship with God that you profess?

Wouldn't a relationship with God trump all your other relationships put together?

No, it certainly doesn't have to. But I do agree it certainly has the potential. However, you haven't been able to show that such a thing is true.

You skip over a relationship with God as if not standing back to consider how "BIG" God is, or how completely own world changing having a relationship with him would be.

If it's so benefically world-changing... how come my world is so similar (or better) than yours and everyone elses that claim to have such a relationship with God?

The facts of the way things are show that if you (or any of the others claiming to have) do indeed have such a relationship... then it's really not all that different from not having the relationship.

Crikey! Even knowing God exists for sure - leaving aside a relationship with him being possible - is a worldview changing event of massive proportions.

This is exactly what this whole thread is about.

If these worldview changes are of such massive proportions, why are you unable to show me any of them? Why are you incapable of even implying an area of my life that is lacking without them?

As ever, there is nothing irrational about God turning up and evidencing himself unempirically - given that there is nothing to prevent him doing so.

I have no problem with such a personal issue. Such things very well may exist.

You don't find God Stile, not by any method. God finds you by his method - salvation being by his grace - not by your work. So that none can boast.

Yes, I know. You've told me many times in many different topics. And, again, I continue to assure you that I try my very best to be as honest and open to anything that may be God's method of finding me. It just hasn't happened yet.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by iano, posted 10-08-2009 12:19 PM iano has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


(1)
Message 15 of 438 (529407)
10-09-2009 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Peg
10-09-2009 9:17 AM


Re: Relgious texts are too confusing
Peg writes:

the resurrection is not an 'afterlife' for the reason that the resurrection is about living again in the flesh ... its not going onto another place such as heaven

My apologies. I seem to have been slightly confused, I understand now.

The only hope mankind have is the resurrection. And you are right, all mankind are equal and they will all equally share in being resurrected to life.

From this quote from you, it seems I would have no quarral. I may not believe that it's all a part of reality (and I admit that my believe doesn't make such a thing so). But even as a possibility, I don't think I have an issue with such an idea. Thanks for your input.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Peg, posted 10-09-2009 9:17 AM Peg has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 16 of 438 (529412)
10-09-2009 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by tuffers
10-08-2009 12:42 PM


Likely not "all"
tuffers writes:

A lot of Christians (maybe all Christians) have permanent anxiety issues about their god and what he could do to them. Maybe that's not such an issue if you voluntarily become a believe later in life, rather than suffer indoctrination from birth.

I would say that different people accept information and find comfort in different ways.

Perhaps some of the Christians you speak of that have anxiety issues are simply on the wrong path for their own personal, specific journey to peace.

I can see how if someone would be more comforted by objective knowledge instead of subjective ideas... then a belief that the Christian religion is in fact correct would be a cause for certain levels of anxiety.

...to put it lightly

Sounds like a case of putting religion ahead of the actual virtues that religion stands for. Honesty really is a comforting virtue. Although sometimes being honest isn't what is traditionally accepted in society. Such areas tend to cause their own anxiety. Again, it would depend on the person to subjectively identify which anxiety would be easier to deal with in order to finally feel some peace.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by tuffers, posted 10-08-2009 12:42 PM tuffers has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 19 of 438 (530128)
10-12-2009 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by onifre
10-09-2009 1:34 PM


Euphoria Eushmoria
onifre writes:

Are you simply relying on the Abrahamic religions for this?

No, I am looking anywhere and everywhere for something that can be labelled as "better" then what I have... if such a thing exists. The community here is mostly Abrahamic-related, however, so that's why my wording was more geared that way.

Have you taken a look at Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism, Janism, etc.)...?

Yes. In fact, this is kind of where such an idea of always-on-the-lookout-for-possible-improvement comes from.

My issue is more with how restrictive some relgions can be. Restrictive in the sense of "you can only get what you need from us." Eastern Philosophy (in my limited experience) isn't constrained by such an arrogant claim. It seems ironic to me that Pride is considered one of the worst forms of sin by the same relgions that hold such a sin so dearly at their deepest levels.

Many acheive certain levels of spirituality that is claimed to be euphoric, or something like that.

From what I can tell, these levels of 'spirituality' are the same levels we all experience at one point or another in our lives. They are just easier methods to re-create such feelings. Easier for those who do it, anyway. "Easy" is a subjective thing that would differ from person to person.

As for the levels of euphoria... I fully believe that it's describing the same feelings where words always fail. Feelings such as Christmas morning when you got "that present" as a kid. Or maybe that time with friends when everyonen was joking and someone said something so incredibly funny you couldn't stop laughing for 20 minutes. For some it's the unbending feelings of acceptance and love that come from close bonds with deep experiences with friends or family.

I think all those types of feelings/experiences are all one and the same "euphoria" that everyone talks about. They're all undescribable, over-the-top, words-fail, most powerful emotions ever imaginable... all that sort of stuff.

Again, I didn't, but as one should expect from any faith-based belief, it's a lot to do with inner acceptance rather than objective results.

Personally, I think it's more a fact of "different strokes for different folks." People are different. It only makes sense that the paths to euphoria/enlightenment/peace/solace/happiness... are going to be different for each person.

Some paths will be easier, some will be harder. Just because something works for someone else (or even everyone else) doesn't mean it will work for you or me. To me, such varying methods just makes sense with something that is so subjective in nature.

I could be wrong though... which is also what this thread is about.

Are you looking for salvation, an aftelife, or something like that?

I'm not looking for anything specific. Although I'd say I'm more looking for things that we can show to be real. In that sense, I'd say I'm veering away from any type of afterlife/resurrection ideas. Such things are inherently "beyond" our current state, in which case it's impossible to show that they are, indeed, real. Therefore, it's not really worth investing too much time into. Sort of a cross-that-bridge when I come to it type of deal.

As far as my current self-status. I'm really good. This part here:

Stile writes:

I have morals, I have love and success, I'm happy and healthy, I'm at peace and I have no discomfort towards issues like the afterlife or other unknowns.

...wasn't just an arguement. I really am very content and satisfied. This is more of a probe for possible-extra-content, then it is a desperate plea for help or anything like that. Or kind of a double-check to make sure I'm not ignoring something that actually does have some level of value for my type of subjective self.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by onifre, posted 10-09-2009 1:34 PM onifre has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 20 of 438 (530379)
10-13-2009 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Aware Wolf
10-09-2009 3:49 PM


Re: Not trying to call religion useless
Aware Wolf writes:

I think that lying may be a little strong. Wrong, I would say.

I agree that it may be a little strong. Sometimes I add in strong-sounding language on purpose to spark a bit of debate. Sometimes it just slips in there by accident. I can't remember which one this was

I do remember that there is not much difference between "lying" and someone who continuously insists that they have "the only path" to peace and happiness or euphoria while they cannot support their claim, and in fact are faced with contradictory evidence...

However, you are correct. I must admit that some people are just headstrong and misguided and not necessarily intent on misleading others.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Aware Wolf, posted 10-09-2009 3:49 PM Aware Wolf has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 22 of 438 (531698)
10-19-2009 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Phat
10-19-2009 10:00 AM


Re: Why Not God?
Phat writes:

You mention God, but never seem to have even pretended to have a relationship with Him. Or am I premature...

I suppose part of my problem would be that I'm not sure how I could have identified such a relationship. Which, again, is kind of what this thread is about.

I certainly believed God was real, and I certainly believed I was talking and sharing with God and He was comforting and walking with me.

Then I reached a point where I could attain all the same (sometimes larger) feelings of self-confidence, comfort, elation and peace without having to think of God.

I may have had a relationship with God, and now have found better sources for spiritual requirements.

Or, maybe I only thought I had a relationship with God, and I just didn't know I was mistaken.

I'm not really worried about whether or not God exists. I'm more concerned with where I am in life now, and if there's anything I'm missing. If you believe that a relationship with God would provide something that cannot be obtained otherwise, please feel free to attempt a description of such a thing. So far, no one is able to identify anything that is unattainable without God anyway.

That is, I'm not calling any relationships with God useless. I'm only saying that a relationship with God is not necessary for me (and likely others) to have a level of spiritualism that is equal to or surpassing the level of spiritualism that comes from a relationship with God.

And thinking about what you said, I think that what you have is freely given and is yours already, whether you acknowledge Him or not. Which leads to the question of why you would ignore Him...(is prayer that silly?)

Ignore Him? This sounds like your confusing my statements about ignoring the concept or idea about God that many people present as "the truth" without any reason to trust them. No, I'm not ignoring any actual "voice of God" that is knocking on my brain. At least, I'm unaware of doing such a thing, anyway.

I don't think prayer's silly. I just think it isn't necessary. But, if prayer is simply "talking to God" (or attempting to), then I do in fact pray and continue to do so. I just never receive an answer. In which case I continue to ignore the concepts of God that people present to me without any reason to actually give them credence.

But don't confuse this for ignoring "the real" God. Because I am very open to being "touched" or "contacted" by the real God. It just hasn't happened yet (as far as I can tell). I think it hasn't happened yet because there is no real God. I think God doesn't exist. But that wouldn't make me ignore any actual real communication that I'm able to perceive in any way. And I'm certainly willing to change my thoughts on such a subject given any sort of reliable evidence to the contrary.

OK, I will freely admit that I cannot prove Him. Next question?

A very healthy position. And one I respect.

But this thread isn't about showing that God exists.

This thread is about showing that the effects of God exist.

For example, a lot of God-believing groups tend to indicate that your life will be better (more peaceful, successful, comforting... whatever) if you believe in their God. My point is that there is no group of people (especially religious groups) that stick out as a group that "is better" than everyone else.

Therefore, either God doesn't help anyone, or God helps everyone equally regardless of their beliefs in Him, or God doesn't exist.

This thread is about those people who claim such things to actually show a real, observable effect of God that is unattainable without God. My current position is that such an effect doesn't exist. Even atheists are quite capable of reaching the highest levels of spirituality (peace, solace, comfort, confidence, success...).

If you think that God can grant such spirituality to atheists as well, without atheists even knowing it... I have no problem with such a position. Although it does acknowledge that God doesn't care if you believe in Him or not (which I think is a God actually worthy of respect).

Edited by Stile, : An edit from 4 years later is still an edit. Just some spelling mistakes. I mean spelling "creativities." I'm too good for mistakes... You're a mistake! Stop looking at meeee!!!!1


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Phat, posted 10-19-2009 10:00 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by Phat, posted 10-20-2009 2:02 PM Stile has responded
 Message 313 by Phat, posted 05-29-2019 3:41 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 24 of 438 (531936)
10-20-2009 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Phat
10-20-2009 2:02 PM


Facts vs. Possibilities
Phat writes:

Stile writes:

I may have had a relationship with God, and now have found better sources for spiritual requirements.

Define better.

Okay:

Better Sources for Spiritual Requirements:
-those sources that grant me a more powerful sense of spiritual ideas (happiness, comfort, peace, solace...)

Phat writes:

If I believe that God (even as a hypothetical concept) is greater, wiser, and smarter than I am, that type of relationship would most certainly provide me that which cannot be obtained otherwise. So I guess I am admitting that I need the relationship for selfish reasons. Kinda like hanging out with a Rich Uncle.

I don't have any issue with such a statement of your personal spirituality. I fully admit that God (regardless of His actual existence) can very well be the most gratifying and powerful source for spirituality for you.

I'm not trying to belittle or reduce anyone else's personal sources for spirituality.

I'm trying to say that for those who claim to have proprietary rights over any specific source for spirituality that they also claim is "the only way" for all others to obtain elevated spiritual status is laughable. (I don't think that you're claiming this)

Spirituality (as I believe you're well aware) is extremely subjective and personal. Because it is so subjective, the methods used by each individual to achieve high levels of spirituality are also going to vary widely.

It's obvious that God and religion are a very powerful method for many people to reach such levels.

But, because of the highly subjective nature that is inherent in "spirituality," it is practically impossible for any one specific path (even "God and religion") to be a useful method for all people.

Therefore, I am claiming that there doesn't exist a benefit that is only available through God.
In a more general sense, I am claiming that there doesn't exist a benefit that is only available through any single, specific spiritual method. However, this is EvC forum and it makes sense to single out the "God and religion" method for discussion purposes.

I admit that there may be benefits that are only available through God for certain individual people who are geared towards such possibility-based methods of spirituality.
Possibility-based in the sense that God is possible. And it's possible that God is the most powerful being ever. And it's possible that God is the most benevolent being ever... all those kinds of things.

But there will always be others (perhaps myself, even) who are geared towards more factually-based methods of spirituality.
That is, I do not gain any feelings of peace or comfort from thinking that God may possibly exist and may possibly be the most powerful and may possibly care about me and this world. I do, however, gain such spiritual feelings from certain facts, like the fact that no one knows what the afterlife is actually like, or the fact that no one knows if Gods really exist. These facts allow me to be feel justified and satisfied with my own ignorance on such matters.

Of course, if God's existence and benevolence and such can ever become a fact... I would find much happiness in such facts. However, while it remains only a possibility, I gain no such benefits. I do gain those same benefits through alternative facts, though, they just have nothing to do with God or religion.

The point of this thread is to:

1. Identify if there are any factually-based spiritual levels that I am unaware of that I can gain benefits from. If such things exist, obviously I would like to cure my ignorance

2. Identify that factually-based spiritual levels are just as valid or powerful as possibility-based spiritual levels. It doesn't matter what kind of spiritual feelings they are... what matters is the type of person gaining benefits from those feelings.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Phat, posted 10-20-2009 2:02 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Phat, posted 01-13-2017 2:49 AM Stile has responded
 Message 162 by Phat, posted 03-31-2017 3:51 PM Stile has responded
 Message 422 by Phat, posted 08-03-2019 2:26 AM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 26 of 438 (797216)
01-15-2017 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by Phat
01-13-2017 2:49 AM


Re: Facts vs. Possibilities
Phat writes:

In other words...and correct me if I am wrong---you basically claim that evidence would provide you with happiness.

In a phrase... sure.
The same way that claiming belief provides some with happiness.

There are many details and specifics along with that, but we can use such phrases as generalizations.

You once were a practicing Catholic who may or may not have known the God they worship, and yet you dutifully fulfilled your obligations as a Catholic until you came to the realization that you were as happy and content in your own brand of spirituality so that you know longer needed the franchise nor the promises marketed. You may have read the arguments between myself and Mr. jar and Mr. ringo. The basic argument which they use is that source is unimportant...God is a creation of human imagination anyway and if GOD exists, GOD exists...yet the source is irrelevant and the CONTENT (our daily behavior toward self and others) is the main trait. Would you also tend to agree with their argument?

Seems close enough to me, yes.

My argument, fueled by what I have been taught as well as what I choose to believe individually, is that GOD exists, that we humans get to know GOD through Jesus Christ, and that the triunity is established due to the fact that Jesus (and only Jesus) and GOD are united through the manifestation and possession of One Holy Spirit. Thus...when Christians talk about getting saved or born again or enlightened, they are suggesting that this missing element in peoples lives is in Holy Communion with this One Spirit that GOD, Creator of all seen and unseen and Jesus have.

Yes, I understand this summary of your position.

In contrast, you are proposing the idea that all individuals are different and thus why should all individuals be limited to seeking the same One Spirit. Am I close to stating this right?

Not quite how I'd word it, but pretty much.
I would say it more: "...all individulas are different and thus why should all individuals be limited to seeking the same path to peace, harmony and growth."

My other issue would be with your wording of:

Thus...when Christians talk about getting saved or born again or enlightened, they are suggesting that this missing element in peoples lives is in Holy Communion with this One Spirit that GOD, Creator of all seen and unseen and Jesus have.

What is the "missing element" that is being spoken of?
What does Holy Communion with this One Spirit that GOD, Creator of all seen and unseen and Jesus have?

What happens to a person when they have it?
What happens to a person when they don't have it?

Such questions... and the current answer of "no one can identify a difference" and "there doesn't seem to be a difference" is exactly what drives my conclusion towards the idea that this One Spirit is simply a path for certain people to their own peace and not for all people.

There is no group of "true believers" that is happier, better off, functioning more fully... than others.
There is no group of atheists that do such things.
There is no group of any sort of religious or non-religious people that can be identified as "enlightened" or "better" than others.

Such observations lead me to the conclusion that any religious or non-religious inclinations are completely irrelevant to reality... and only relevant personally.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Phat, posted 01-13-2017 2:49 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Phat, posted 01-15-2017 12:03 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 28 of 438 (797255)
01-16-2017 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Phat
01-15-2017 12:03 PM


Re: Facts vs. Possibilities
Phat writes:

Stile writes:

......all individulas are different and thus why should all individuals be limited to seeking the same path to peace, harmony and growth?

There may be many paths up the mountain but they all lead to the same top.

My point is that I think there are many mountains, each with their own many paths, all leading to the same heights.

My argument concerning One Spirit is that there is but one. every human on the planet doesnt simply have their own little relativistic spirit.

I understand your idea of such a thing.
I don't believe it.
My understanding is that there is not One Spirit. There is not One Anything with many facets. There are simply different things.

What are we at peace from?

Do you think there is really one answer to this question?
To me, the answer to this question is different for pretty much everyone.

For myself, I'm looking for peace from confusion. Clarity.
For someone who's starving to death, I'd guess they would be looking for peace from hunger.
For someone who's in a war-torn area of the world, I'd guess they would be looking for peace from anger, hatred and war.

I doubt extremely highly that there could ever be "one specific answer" to such a question that would satisfy every different person alive.

Does harmony mean acceptance of everyone's uniqueness?

No.
It means being able to live together without killing each other, without taking advantage of each other, without hurting each other.
You do not need to accept everyone's uniqueness in order to respect them as an equal person searching for peace.

Does this uniqueness prevent humans from sharing a similar goal?

Quite often, yes.

As for growth...what are we growing towards?

Whatever you'd like as long as it does not include hurting others.
Again, like your first question, there will not be a single answer that satisfies everyone. Such an idea is laughably silly if you have the slightest notion that different people like different things.

What are we leaving behind?

Whatever you'd like as long as it does not include hurting others.
Again, like your first question, there will not be a single answer that satisfies everyone.

You seem to think that somewhere, deep down, all people all want the same thing.
I don't think this is true.

I think that some people are similar and some are different.
I think this is rather obvious.

I think it's a fool's errand to attempt to force people to "all be the same" in any aspect.

Perhaps we should discuss the similarities and differences between harmony and unity.

To me:

Harmony is functioning as a single unit with a single motivation and a single goal.
Unity is "functioning" as a single unit.

...read this verse in John and tell me how it strikes you.

To me, it strikes me as John is very happy and content and wants others to share in the same.
Unfortunately, he seems to think that the only way is to do this through God. Reality begs to differ.
John seems very naïve to the fact that people are not all the same.
He seems to think that everyone feels things the way he feels things, and that everyone thinks the way he thinks.
Such an idea leads John to believe that all everyone needs to do is follow his reasoning and they too will be happy and content.

The sentiment is a great idea - having all people be happy and content.
The proposed method for bringing that idea into reality is fundamentally flawed - not all people are like John. John seems to miss this point entirely, and is hopelessly stuck wanting others to be exactly like him while being unable to understand that... people are different.

Does it seem exclusive or inclusive?

It seems like John wants it to be inclusive. But he does say some strange things like "9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours." This gives me pause in saying that John is entirely inclusive. Why not pray for the world? What is it about the entire world that John's afraid of?

Does it seem like something that Gods representative might say or does it offend?

Ha ha
No, it doesn't offend me at all. And yes, I can see a representative of God saying such things, for sure.
It certainly seems like John wants something good - for everyone to be happy and content.
He just seems a little naïve to the facts of the world, is all. Or maybe ignoring them on purpose?

John's idea may work for small groups of people - a classroom, a family, a wee town.
But that's only because people in such small groups tend to have very similar ways of thinking/feeling. It's likely that "all people" in these kinds of small groups may already have an affinity to the way John is, and agree with him. A few success stories like that would "go to John's head" and make him think that since he got 20 "strangers" to agree with him... then everyone must!

John seems entirely ignorant to the fact that there are more people in the world than the 10 good friends he talks to on a regular basis.
And that those different people may very well be entirely different from John and his friends.

John seems the kind of chap to visit another place, and assume that everyone he talks to is exactly like him but just with "a few quirks" instead of making an attempt to get to know the locals and the local customs to see what, indeed, they're actually like.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Phat, posted 01-15-2017 12:03 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Phat, posted 01-16-2017 12:41 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 31 of 438 (797333)
01-17-2017 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Phat
01-16-2017 12:41 PM


Re: Facts vs. Possibilities
Phat writes:

I believe that all people do not want the same thing...except in that it be their own thing

I can't even agree to that

There are some people who definitely do not want "their own thing." Have you ever heard of people being "submissive?" Sometimes, this gets to the point where certain people don't want to make any decisions for themselves whatsoever... they want someone else (God even, if He'd do the job) make every decision for them.

Other people spend their entire lives searching for the way not to "want" anything at all (certain Monks and Eastern religions).

You can keep trying to come up with a single idea that works for everyone... it's rather easy for me to come up with people who do not fit the mold

Even my idea about "everyone wanting peace" is not something that everyone wants.
Some people want to hurt others, take things away from others, exalt themselves over others. I just have no moral problem sticking such people in jail or otherwise not allowing them to partake in "general society" with the rest of us who "want peace."

All people may well need the same thing.

This depends on what you mean

Like we both agree, all people need food, water, shelter.
And "mental health."

The issue is that you seem to think that "mental health" can be narrowed down to a single, specific idea that would work for everyone if they just let it. (Example: believing in God.)

My idea is that there is no single, specific idea that works for everyone, and we should acknowledge that people are different, and therefore have different mental-health needs.

You seem to be able to understand that people are different... but then refuse to accept that these differences might cause them to have different needs.

Then you offer single solutions that work for "many" (more like "some").
And when continuously countered with factual people who certainly do not accept such solutions... what do you do then?

Are they lying?
Is this a huge conspiracy against Christianity?
Is it possible that they really, sincerely, simply want something different? Simply need something different?

We are taught that many will seek the broad path and few will find the narrow path.

I fully agree with this statement.
I also think that if you're trying to sway everyone to any single narrow path... you're going to make many miss theirs entirely. You'd be doing more damage than good.

The whole analogy of many mountains, many paths sounds a bit like pantheism to me...

Could be. But just because others are allowed to follow different paths, doesn't mean you have to follow them, or even believe in them, or believe in anything other than your own path. It simply means you don't try to force your way onto others. If your way is so amazing, they will see it for themselves in time anyway. If they have better results elsewhere... why would you want that to be taken away from them? If someone else thought they were having better results than you, would you be okay with them taking away all your beliefs? Try to think of other people as equals, with equal opportunity to make their own choices based on their own personal experiences - same as you have.

As far as our willingness to accept Him should He knock, I can only respond by quoting Paul.

Rom 3:10-18 ...

Perhaps Paul felt that everyone needed to believe as he did.

Maybe. Sounds to me like Paul never spent any time with a happy child

But, seriously, it sounds to me like that passage should have some context around it. Sounds like half-of-something for some point someone's trying to make. Without the rest of the context, though... I can't make further comment.

For one thing, there are many people who honestly and openly seek God and simply have never found Him. Paul can say otherwise all he wants, just as he can say water isn't wet or that the sun isn't bright. Saying things that are false does not change reality.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Phat, posted 01-16-2017 12:41 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Phat, posted 01-18-2017 11:25 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4041
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 34 of 438 (797377)
01-19-2017 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by GDR
01-19-2017 1:49 AM


GDR writes:

I might suggest that by looking for benefits you were actually turning away from God.

Understood. Perhaps my phrasing wasn't as clear as it could have been.

First off: I was also not looking for benefits.

The Christianity that Jesus espouses in the Gospels is about not asking how you can be benefited but about how you can benefit others.

My personal philosophy is very similar.
My point is this:

The results of "the Christianity that Jesus espouses in the Gospels is about not asking how you can be benefited but about how you can benefit others" are exactly the same as simply "living by not asking how you can be benefited but about how you can benefit others."

Same idea, just removing the context of Christianity, Jesus, God and religion.

I realized that the context of Christianity, Jesus, God and religion didn't add anything to the actual idea of "living a good life and helping others."

In general:
The lives Christians lead are not better than the lives non-Christians lead.
The people Christians help are not helped better than people non-Christians help.

This realization is what led me to become an atheist.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by GDR, posted 01-19-2017 1:49 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by GDR, posted 01-21-2017 7:25 PM Stile has responded
 Message 39 by Phat, posted 01-22-2017 8:28 AM Stile has responded

  
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