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Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Lon Tanner, Apr 15, 2016.
I agree with you Ike!
@Julie Stewart: Respect to you for keeping to your guns! It was easier for me as I went to a typically tedious English secondary school, where C of E really stood for agnostic or atheist. I can remember developing a strong interest in hypnosis and ASCs during the droning assemblies, with sanctimonious talk from people all we children knew was absent from less than virtuous lives. I think many Europeans are tired of the seemingly endless religious wars and disturbances and now have a much more secular mind set.
@Harry Kemp : I didn't find it hard because I was fortunate to have Sr Marie-Thérèse in my life at that delicate stage of my growing awareness of self. Any attitude other than hers could have instilled a much more negative reaction in me that would have informed the rest of my life. It was she who introduced me to The Golden Rule (or is it Golden Law?) which can be traced back about 4000 years and has been incorporated into most belief systems over the centuries. It is the ethic of moral reciprocity - "do as you would be done by". Sr Marie-Thérèses' gentle and unbiased guidance was a perfect example of this rule.
As for school assemblies - I was allowed to join after prayers for the secular announcements and didn't have to attend the Friday morning one at all because it was a full mass.
I benefited from the excellent standard of education that the old direct-grant Catholic grammar schools provided back in the 1960s and 70s and I treasure the value it has added to my life. For many years I didn't see her - but I sent the occasional postcard or letter and I received a birthday card form her every year. I visited her many years later when she was in a nursing home and nearing the end of her life. Over her last few months I visited 2 or 3 times each month and she remembered our earlier conversations of course. She wanted to know about my life, friends, boyfriends, studies, travels, husband, daughter, jobs. I asked her if she was disappointed that I had remained a non-believer and she said "No, I love you."
As for my death and it getting closer and closer. I'm not afraid of "after" because there is none .... I've filled out the paperwork needed to donate my body to medical research after which it will be incinerated (maybe some parts will be pickled!) and return to its basic atomic form. No service, no grave, no marker. I will live on in the memories of family and friends who outlive me - eventually there will be no-one left who actually knew me. And so it goes.
The cause of my death is an unknown of course and I have slowly prepared for however it may happen as far as I can. I have built good, strong, reciprocal personal relationships and invested in financial planning. If I have a long illness I won't be alone (unless I do something to drive family and friends away), if I need prolonged treatment I'm insured and if I need to be in a nursing home the cost is already covered. If I die or am killed suddenly in an accident, as the result of a physical crisis (heart attack, stroke) or an act of nature then that will be harder for those who have lost me than for me. I don't worry about it - it could happen this evening between me shutting down my computer and climbing the stairs to bed.
Each morning I wake up and take a few seconds to heighten my awareness of what I want to achieve that day, who I will see, who I can help .... and each night I take a few seconds to assess the day I just lived, note what needs to carried over to be finished and if I did right by others.
Sr Marie-Thérèse sounds an exceptional and inspiring woman that she did not feel the need to attempt to indoctrinate you or try to threaten you with the promise of damnation. Certainly not the average religious person I have met!
As for an afterlife, I personally think there might be one, but it will be lacking any gods needing to be worshipped or praised, purely an extension of this life.
If there isn't, then it will just be like an interminable sleep and a release from some of the less pleasant aspects of this world.
Something either exists or it doesn't, regardless of anyone's beliefs.
Yes, most definitely true, Ken. But this also means one of the following:
1. All religions are completely wrong, or;
2. All religions are completely wrong, apart from one, which is 100% right, or ;
3. All religions are wrong, except for one which has some things right.
4. Some religions have some things right.
5. All religions have some things right.
Apart from adding one or two categories modifying some of the statements, I think this must logically cover all the possibilities. This is why my position is mostly atheistic, but with the acceptance that I don't know.
I agree - and that is what SR Marie-Thérèse taught me. Left to my grandmother (who loved me and I loved her - we were very close in many ways) - I could well have developed a bigoted opinion against religious beliefs. But I know that a god or gods exist in the many world views of other people and that he/she or they don't exist for many other people. And that the majority of people follow the Golden Rule to some extent.
I'd have to say that I was pretty much a non-practicing Christian before I met my wife. She really helped me become the "Christian" husband she always wanted, but never got. We don't live the Christian life that we probably should, but then again, how many Christians do? Wife and I are simply proud of what we believe in.
Funny thing about being a Christian. Often, some nonbelievers will point out your mistakes, as if being a Christian means you are also supposed to be perfect.
Boy, Ike, you are so right about this! Two BIG "thumbs up" for your reply.
I hope I didn't say anything along those lines @Ike Willis ? If I implied such it wasn't intentional.
My post was just something I observed from people I associate with. It wasn't aimed at any poster here.
There is a huge difference between believing in the existence of God, and believing that any particular religion is right, or even partially right.
The Bible says that now we see as though we were looking through a dark glass; which means what we can see or understand is pretty foggy at best. Add to that the fact that pretty much everyone has their own interpretations of what just about everything in the Bible actually means, and there is bound to be confusion.
Additionally, God is a spiritual being, and you can't find spirituality by reading a book, or studying laws of nature. So, when people try to determine whether a god exists by using intellectual studies; it just does not work, and people will naturally come to the conclusion that no god exists because they cannot prove it.
However, if you will search for God in a spiritual way, and just ask Him to show you that he exists, then He will come into your heart, and you will feel his presence.
Each person must discover God for himself, and it can only be done by opening your spiritual self, and not by studying the Bible, or any other religious book, to prove whether God exists.
@Yvonne Smith That truth was beautifully said.
As hard as I have tried to understand how someone could be an Atheist...I just honestly could not understand. But now I do. Atheists heads are filled with so much secular knowledge that they cannot hear God speaking spiritual knowledge to their hearts. Even when they might "think" they hear someone speaking in their hearts...that head knowledge jumps right in and drowns out "heart voices" with their "head voices" and tells them "that's would be crazy...don't even go there!" Head knowledge only believes what it can see, feel, taste, touch, or hear (as long as that hearing isn't coming from their hearts)
It is our hearts that hear God softly calling our names and it is our hearts that hear Him tell us that He is our Creator Father who loves us and wants His best for us. It is our hearts that He speaks all His Truth to. The Bible does tell us who God is, but it is our hearts that recognize the voice of our heavenly Father when His Spirit speaks to us. And it is Faith that fills our hearts and minds with the Truth that God does exist and that He alone is God. And Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. Faith is confident trust that God is who He says He is and that He will fulfill all that He has promised His children in His Word the Bible. Spiritual knowledge is based on Faith, Hope, and Trust....not in our fleshly body's five senses.
Knowledge is not a bad thing, but opening your head to fill with secular knowledge without opening your heart to fill with spiritual knowledge will lead only to an earthly existence and not an eternal one.
Both belief and unbelief require faith so, either way, both the atheist and the Christian has to accept a leap of faith.
I don't share that opinion, I believe that atheism is "lacking faith."
I disagree. The atheist has to accept at least as much that is unproven as does the Christian. It is the agnostic who lacks faith.
And I disagree. The Biblical concept of faith does not fit with an atheist's belief that there is no God. It is not faith that makes them believe that way, it is lack of proof.
That's fine. You are free to do so, but it doesn't make sense. You just made reference to the atheist's BELIEF that there is no God. Since he surely cannot prove that there is no God or any of the theories that he may have accepted in lieu of believing in God's creation, the atheist has a belief in something that he is accepting on faith. The agnostic, on the other hand, may lean one way or another, but he lacks the faith either to believe in God or in the non-existence of God.
Of course I'm free to do so Ken. That's what I love about your Forum. Actually what you are saying is not making much sense to me either. But Faith and atheism just doesn't fit together to me and I don't think you are going to change my mind on this. I suppose it's all in whether you see faith as a Biblical concept or a secular one. I only see it as Biblical and pertaining to believing in God. It is by faith that we do believe in Him. In my opinion it would be a lack of faith that that causes an atheist not to believe in Him. It is very simple to me, either you have faith and believe that God is who He says He is, etc. or you don't have faith and don't believe this.
I see faith as a word, which I am using correctly. The word does not refer specifically to Christian faith, but that's okay. I'll bow out of this discussion.
That's just it Ken. In this case (this tread on being an atheist) to me faith does specifically refer to Christian faith of believing in God or lacking that faith in believing in Him.
As I have said before, it is pure chance any of the religions today existing. It could just as easily have been the worship of Mithras, sol invictus, tree spirits, etc.
I have watched people in desperate need of a miracle who haven't received one. Anything 'unworldly' seems remarkably unwilling or unable to influence things for the good. You only have to watch the news to be convinced of that. As for voices in my or anyone else's head, l have worked in psychiatry for a long time and have met many people who are both good and have faith. However they have faith that the aliens are sending them thought waves or that the CIA/KGB/MI5 or some other organization are going to kill them. They clearly have utter faith in their beliefs and are unshakable in them.
I suppose, again as I have said before, a slight majority of us here in the UK do not believe in organized religion because of its bloody history here. Catholics burning Protestants;and vice versa; countless wars in the name of a god putatively of love and peace.
I also challenge anyone to read the bible and not be disgusted by certain parts of it. You can find parts that justify incest, murder and adultery.
I do not rule out the existence of a higher intelligence, but I don't think any religion here on earth has even a fraction of the truth. Religion to me has historically shown its inflexibility to change and this is why I'd sooner trust science and rely on knowledge than someone who talks about the word of god and their interpretation of it.
This is the truth @Ken Anderson - I don't lack faith - you are spot on when you say that it is agnostics who lack faith. And I believe that I live with an open heart - that is the basis of the Golden Rule after all, a rule which all/most religious faiths have incorporated.
With respect @Babs Hunt I don't have a head full of secular knowledge ..... any significant secular knowledge I might have is limited to language, words are my work. I'm weak in other areas of secular knowledge such as maths and the sciences, politics, geography etc - I have school-leaver level knowledge in those areas.
I think the word "faith" is misused. The dictionary definition is : "complete trust or confidence in someone or something" ..... I have plenty of faith in many people and things. The phrase "religious faith" is more accurate when discussing any religious movement including the Christian faith and of when discussing theism and atheism.