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Author Topic:   What Do You Believe?
Posts: 14615
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0

Message 16 of 26 (694666)
03-26-2013 4:07 PM

Phats Belief
I believe that God exists and is relational to humans through the character and humanity of Jesus Christ. I realize that my belief originated in cultural bias, but the circumstances surrounding my conversion were of such persuasive emotional impact that the events were quite valid in my mind and heart.

There are three levels in a basic relationship formation. (1)knowing about someone(2)meeting someone and (3)knowingsomeone.

Despite being raised Methodist and attending church out of parental obligation(sporadically in my teen years and beyond) I never really thought that there was a need to attempt to meet or to know God...(through Jesus Christ, of course) until I was over 30. A particular girl whom I knew had invited me to church at a rather charismaniacal church known as Disciple Fellowship. I attended, unimpressed with the emotional circus and yet intrigued by an inner feeling that I could not quite identify. After roughly five Sundays attending and feeling impacted somewhat by the sermons, I answered an altar call and met Jesus Christ. Yes, I know it sounds scripted) but I literally changed my entire inner awareness and perception(or rather it was changed) from that point onward. This is why I find it puzzling how others can claim with equal candor and conviction that they have never met neither God nor Jesus. It was so obvious to me. It would be like meeting your grandmother and then later denying you ever met her. Yes, I realize that Jesus has no corporeal body, but the Spirit lives in others and the way that you verify that you interact with Jesus is through the collective and/or individual bodies of others. At least, that is how it was and is for me.

These days, I work at a secular job scanning groceries and I also volunteer with the State of Colorado mentoring kids(17-24 years old) who want to get out of gangs. It is a calling I am good at as I have the emotional awareness and connection with teen thoughts and feelings. I am no stunted adult, however...I hang with my own age group occasionally and have grown intellectually and emotionally by leaps and bounds the past five years. I attend a church called Tha Myx...it is a Hip Hop themed ministry that reaches the inner city of Denver and that is very relational and humble in regards to serving the needs of the inner city community.

As far as my online life, I am Phat at EvC and thugpreacha on You Tube (and formerly on Blog TV) and I enjoy discussing spirituality with many people. I don't worry about unbelievers ending up in Hell, for I believe that God gives many chances to show people the reality of the necessity for communion. (No, we don't have the freewill to change reality)

Member (Idle past 375 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006

Message 17 of 26 (694672)
03-26-2013 5:37 PM

I believe there is a reality external to us that actually exists. I believe we can learn about this reality through the use of our senses, either natural or enhanced, and our intelligence. I believe that individual humans are fallible and foolable in both our senses and our intelligence, but the more people who perceive the same thing, the more reliable those perceptions become. I believe the scientific method is the best method we have so far in coming to reliable conclusions about reality. I believe that out current best evidence and most reliable conclusions therefrom demonstrate a lack of supernatural influences of any kind in the natural world. I believe all conclusions about the real world other than the most mundane are subject to revision based on new evidence or better explanations of the evidence we have.

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

Howling about evidence is a conversation stopper, and it never stops to think if the claim could possibly be true -- foreveryoung

Member (Idle past 135 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004

Message 18 of 26 (694743)
03-27-2013 4:37 PM

I believe what many of you have listed.

I also would add:

I believe we are more than the sum of our parts.

I believe that although humanity may never ultimately know how or why we are here, it is still better to exist rather than not imo.

I believe "being" or existence is perhaps intrinsic in the cosmos.

I believe we ultimately assign our own meaning and value to our lives for better or worse.

And like the song says,

"I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.

Edited by 1.61803, : No reason given.

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by saab93f, posted 03-27-2013 4:54 PM 1.61803 has responded

Member (Idle past 25 days)
Posts: 265
From: Finland
Joined: 12-17-2009

Message 19 of 26 (694744)
03-27-2013 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by 1.61803
03-27-2013 4:37 PM

I am an unbeliever, atheist if you like. I believe that people are principally good and that goodness comes back at you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by 1.61803, posted 03-27-2013 4:37 PM 1.61803 has responded

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 Message 20 by 1.61803, posted 03-27-2013 5:05 PM saab93f has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 135 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004

Message 20 of 26 (694745)
03-27-2013 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by saab93f
03-27-2013 4:54 PM

saab93f writes:

I am an unbeliever, atheist if you like. I believe that people are principally good and that goodness comes back at you.

Bully for you. I believe I'll have another beer. thats some goodness I'd like to toss back!

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

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 Message 19 by saab93f, posted 03-27-2013 4:54 PM saab93f has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005

Message 21 of 26 (694749)
03-27-2013 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
03-23-2013 11:33 PM

"Belief" means different things...
The word "belief" has different meanings...and unfortunately, as with many similar words in the English language, this spawns confusion.

To "believe" a hypothesis means that an individual has determined that the hypothesis is the most likely, most accurate among competing hypotheses. For instance, if I believe that the sky is blue, I'm making a statement about my model of the objective world around me.

However, one can also "believe in" something - typically a principle or moral standard. For instance, if I say that I believe in democracy, I'm not actually making a statement as to whether or not democracy actually exists - I'm simply stating my support of the idea of democracy, that I think democracy is a good thing.

This double-meaning causes problems when the two usages of the same word are confused. For instance, many people do not "
believe in" evolution because they think that evolution is "evil." That's a statement of support, but their confusing it with their model of how reality actually works.

A more neutral (maybe) example would be communism. A person believe that communism exists, and yet not "believe in" communism.

I believe that the only rational way to determine what is factually true about the external world around us is through extensive and repeated observation and experimentation, a process of continual self-correction striving towards greater and greater accuracy over time.

I believe that, unless a hypothesis can be falsified (ie, a set of hypothetical observations would invalidate the hypothesis, or at least make it less likely), that hypothesis is meaningless and imparts no knowledge. The rational response to such hypotheses is "you have absolutely no way to know that, and so any conclusion you've made is simply made-up." This encompasses (to varying degrees) most definitions for the word "god," making such things exceedingly likely to have simply been made-up.

I believe that, by questioning my beliefs and testing them, I can gradually become less wrong about my model of objective, external reality.

I believe that the observable, repeatable effects on personality of such things as alcohol and other drugs (particularly psychoactive medication) and especially brain damage invalidate the hypothesis of the "soul" as an extension of the mind, the personality and memories, beyond the brain. After all - if supposedly after you die you can go on being yourself, thinking and communicating, in the absence of any brain at all, why should your memories or personality or cognitive abilities be impaired by changes, either chemical or injurious, to the brain?

I believe, due to overwhelming evidence, that the Earth is billions of years old, that there never was any global Flood, that humans are hominids are apes are mammals are vertebrates and so on, and that every living thing on Earth is in our family tree - just to widely varying distances of relation.

I believe in the value of sapient life, and in the freedom of choice and expression for all who are capable of it.

I believe in limiting suffering, and maximizing happiness, for everyone, from the individual level on up.

These two lead me to believe in helping others, financially or otherwise, when possible for me to do so. This includes supporting things like universal healthcare, medical research, taxpayer-supported fire protection, taxpayer-supported education, etc. It also leads me to not support war in the vast, vast majority of cases. It also means that I can find at least some common ground with anyone who agrees that we should all love our neighbors.

I believe in trying to understand the facts of the world around me to my best ability, even if those facts are uncomfortable or unpleasant. I believe that the acquisition of knowledge never makes anything worse; that reality is just as good or bad as it is regardless of our awareness of it. I believe that it is most helpful, then, to have the most accurate understanding of the world possible, so that we might be able to accurately predict our own actions and thereby influence objective reality to be better, as opposed to making it worse in our ignorance.

I do not believe that a person can "make" themselves believe something to be true or false. There is a reason that "make believe" is another word for "pretend" or "imagine." Thus the central tenet of Christianity, "believe in Me and be saved," is nothing more than an instruction for the unconvinced to just pretend. Only evidence can (or should) change a belief, it's not a "choice."

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.” - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by Omnivorous, posted 03-28-2013 9:30 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

Just being real
Member (Idle past 2567 days)
Posts: 369
Joined: 08-26-2010

Message 22 of 26 (694753)
03-27-2013 9:38 PM

I too consider myself an orthodox protestant Christian. I believe that the scientific evidence screams the universe and life to be the product of an infinite intelligent supreme creator. I believe that this creator has communicated to mankind through many people throughout history. I believe that these things have all been canonized over time into what we now call the Bible and that there are no new revelations coming or old ones left out. I believe that where all other religions and religious writings fail, that the books of the Bible can be demonstrated to be divinely inspired rather than human in origin and that the texts that we have today, though the originals are lost, can be demonstrated to be the texts originally penned by the authors.

In light of the above I believe that the scriptures reveal that God created mankind to have a free will, so He could express His love and giving nature in a relationship with us. And so that we could have a relationship with Him “in spirit and in truth.” The scriptures tell us plainly that God created the universe and all life in 6 literal 24 hour days and that this occurred roughly 6 to 10 thousand years ago depending on how you interpret the genealogies. I believe despite the claims by many modern scientists, that there is no substantiated evidence for a 14.5 billion year old universe or a 4.5 billion year old earth. Along those lines I also have looked at most of the two lines of evidence normally presented to prove universal common decent (fossil record and biology), and find it entirely lacking and based entirely on conjecture which is the only thing left if you reject special creation.

I believe that the scriptures teach that mankind fell into sin which caused much of the physical creation to also become corrupted from its original design. Spiritually our sin requires the punishment to be paid in one of two ways. The first is that we pay it ourselves by spending eternity separated from God in the torments of a real hell. The second is that we find someone who has lived a perfect life and never once committed a single sin, and have them die for us in our place. Unfortunately the earth is devoid of anyone who is completely sinless. But God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the sin debt in full. I believe that through faith in the atonement of Christ alone, apart from any works or keeping of laws or ordinances, we receive the gift of complete forgiveness and eternal life.

Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 962 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 23 of 26 (694763)
03-28-2013 1:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
03-23-2013 11:33 PM

Everything that Rahvin said (Message 21) is something I would say as well. His point about the difference in meaning between "believe" vs. "believe in" is especially important. So, holding firmly to Rahvin's useful distinction (where "to believe X" is rather like "X seems most likely to me, given what I know so far"), I would add:

I believe that ethics and morality are purely social constructs, essential to a sentient species that has evolved to depend on social organization for its survival.

I believe that the "proper rules" of ethics/morality are ideas that individuals and groups have to realize and adapt to as they go along; there will certainly be a large, common core about which virtually all "normal" people will agree, but "normality" is a gradient property in any population, so there will never be complete consensus.

I believe it's generally possible (and easily shown) that multiple solutions exist for any given ethical/moral problem, so a lack of consensus does not necessarily entail that one of two distinct solutions must be put down as wrong. (One of them may yield relatively less desirable outcomes in some situations, but ...)

I believe that no individual or group has ever realized or adopted a complete and perfect set of "proper rules" that apply successfully in all situations; there are certainly "general" rules that provide good guidance in a wide range of circumstances, but there will always be hurdles against, and uncertainty about, the specific path that constitutes "the greatest good" in a given situation, so any claim of completeness or perfection for a given code of ethics/morals is specious. (This is separate from the intrinsically imperfect ability of people, in spite of what they know, to conduct themselves in full compliance with "the greatest good.")

I believe that appeals to supernatural agency, supernatural judgment, and supernatural companionship are all varieties of deception, or at best a kind of wishful thinking that results from longing for desirable outcomes that we know, based on our real-world experience, are utterly unrealistic and could only come about "by magic."

I believe in the proposition that the emergence and continued presence of life in this universe is what creates and sustains purpose in the universe; I'm not able to grasp the concept of purpose in the absence of life.

I believe in the inherent ability of life as we know it to achieve continuous growth and diversification, yielding an ever expanding range of abilities, just by doing what it naturally does when given the chance; we don't know yet what life is capable of in this universe - our farthest-flung imagination may have merely scratched the surface.

I'm happy to be able to play my own brief part in the story of life's progress on Earth. If it should ultimately turn out that homo sapiens sapiens leads to an evolutionary dead end... oh well, at least we can say we really tried. Life is bound to have better luck some other time or place.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Faith, posted 03-23-2013 11:33 PM Faith has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005

Message 24 of 26 (694769)
03-28-2013 9:30 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Rahvin
03-27-2013 6:22 PM

Re: "Belief" means different things...
I believe Rahvin has covered the bases extraordinarily well, and I believe he's right.

"If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you can collect a lot of heads."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Rahvin, posted 03-27-2013 6:22 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

Junior Member (Idle past 2606 days)
Posts: 6
From: Phoenix
Joined: 04-10-2013

Message 25 of 26 (695986)
04-10-2013 8:46 PM

Hello, this is my first post here! I figured this thread seemed like a good place to start.

I consider myself a non-specific protestant Christian. I'm also currently a Theistic Evolutionist, believing that the Big Bang occurred 13 billion years ago and that life did in fact evolve in the Darwinian sense. I think this is 100% compatible with the idea that God created humanity, as evolution of species only occurred the way it did because the universe has the constraints that it does, which I think God set in place at the big bang.

I believe the Bible is inspired by God, but I think that many parts can be interpreted in multiple ways, often in ways that aren't obvious when you first read them without significant analysis. I guess in many ways I'm a "liberal" Christian.

I became interested in Christianity and took it seriously back in middle school, and in later years as I began to learn more about science and the natural world my creation position transformed into Old Earth Creationism, and then later Theistic Evolutionism after being inspired by people like Francis Collins and other things that I learned in high school and college.

Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005

Message 26 of 26 (696098)
04-11-2013 9:42 PM

God always was, is now, and always will be a God of Love
I am a Christian. I am convinced that the resurrection of Jesus is an historical event. I believe that the resurrection confirms the message that Jesus delivered and that the Gospels represent the best efforts of His early followers to accurately describe what Jesus said and did.

I believe that the Bible is a tool that God uses to speak truth to us, however, to believe that it is divinely inspired word for word gives us a very inaccurate representation of God and His desires for us. A god that would be complicit in having His people slaughter the Caanaites and then tell us through Jesus that we are to love our enemies and that we are to be forgiven as we forgive, presents an unbridgeable impasse. If we are to attribute genocidal violence to God then we are negating all of the other loving attributes that we might see in Him.

The OT is primarily a collection of books that documents the faith of ancient Israel and their understanding of God. Through the Gospels we can see how Jesus continuously referred back to the Hebrew Scriptures both to clarify the true nature of God as well as to clarify what God was doing through Him.

The Epistles primarily were about establishing the church but also to flesh out Jesus’ message.

I use the Bible so that I better understand the Nature of God and to understand the history of what He has done and what He will do in broad terms, but I look to science to understand how it was accomplished. As I’ve said numerous times before I consider science as a natural theology, which interestingly enough, is consistent with what the Bible tells us.

I believe that as a Christians specifically, but also as humans generally we are called to reflect God’s love, peace, mercy, forgiveness, justice etc into all of creation. We are called to love all of mankind and to be loving stewards over all life which of course entails the planet in general.

I believe that in the end there will be perfect justice for all because I believe in a loving and just God. I don’t know how that looks. It is a matter of faith which all goes back to the resurrection. In the end all theists believe in the same god. It is simply our understanding of the nature of God. I worship the nature of God that has been shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ and then confirmed by God by the resurrection of that same Jesus.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

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