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Old Dec 12, 2010, 10:29 PM   #1
Huntn
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Being a Competent Theist

Can you honestly answer these questions:

1. How did you become aware of your God?
Childhood Indoc?

2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?
Ancient book?

3. How did you decide that God is perfect? An assumption that the vast knowledge required to create all things as we know it equates to perfection? Is perfection contrary to expecting to be worshiped?

4. How did you decide God is omnipotent? If a being is really really powerful, do you have the perspective to judge the limits of it's power? Can power be so vast that it's possible God exists in a hierarchy of powerful beings of which we no nothing?

5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance? Is it because God created you, God's power to destroy you or thoroughly mess up your spiritual life?

6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship? How do you know God wants to be worshiped? That is what church says as they collect your donations?

6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?
You might as well ask, how did you decide that mutual respect is important in every relationship you have except the relationship you have with God that relegates you to a slave with no rights to a contrary opinion? It's God's way or the highway.

My answers:
1. I'm not sure of a divine being who calls himself God.
2. I was taught as a child from the Bible.
3. I have no idea if God is perfect. First I have to decide if God exists, what God is and wants.
4. I don't know if God deserves my allegiance.
5. I have no idea why a all powerful and wise God would expect his children to grovel at his feet.
6. There is no exception for God. If the relationship is not mutually beneficial and respectful it's not a relationship worth having.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 10:38 PM   #2
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If there really was a God, we would not have yet another thread about "Is there a God??"
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 11:37 PM   #3
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People need to stop asking the religious to be reasonable and answer logical questions.

Religion is by its very nature illogical.

People don't expect cultists to be logical or reasonable. But the reality is that most (if not all) religions are really just cults who grew large enough to become acceptable.

Don't expect rationality from them...
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:53 AM   #4
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Childhood Indoc?
I flatly refused to go to Sunday school when I was very young. Apparently I put up a pretty serious fight and won. Never quite figured out why my parents wanted me to go to Sunday school so much, as both of them grew up in very religious families and absolutely hated it.

As for asking rational questions about irrational belief: do not expect satisfying answers.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:55 AM   #5
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Title aside most of these questions are very personal and between God and the so called theist (Christian viewpoint). I can't accurately decide my feelings, opinions, when it happened etc in any way that would make sense. I doubt it would make sense to some of my fellow Christians because like I said much of this is personal and one-on-one.

Can I honestly answer these questions? Yes. Would I even attempt with a provoking title such as yours? Absolutely not.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 01:56 AM   #6
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Title aside most of these questions are very personal and between God and the so called theist (Christian viewpoint). I can't accurately decide my feelings, opinions, when it happened etc in any way that would make sense. I doubt it would make sense to some of my fellow Christians because like I said much of this is personal and one-on-one.

Can I honestly answer these questions? Yes. Would I even attempt with a provoking title such as yours? Absolutely not.
So no?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 02:38 AM   #7
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So no?
Um..

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Originally Posted by renewed View Post
Can I honestly answer these questions? Yes.
So um, read?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 09:12 AM   #8
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1. A lot of these questions have a deep bias towards Abrahamic faiths.

2. Competent theists would probably spell it thusly.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 11:31 AM   #9
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Um..



So um, read?
I read between the lines.

The lines that go "I know the meaning of life but I'm not telling".

I've never met a religious person who actually understands their "faith" or even their own beliefs. In fact the very nature of "faith" is defined by a lack of understanding.

So your either a religious anomaly or your just trying to sound wise and aloof.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 11:38 AM   #10
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Though I wouldn't consider myself the most competent, I will give it a go...

1. How did you become aware of your God?
I had been comtemplating different gods and concepts of gods for numerous years, but as an atheist, I was not interested in worshipping any of them. As I began to explore Christianity, I found it to be a lot different than I ever expected. It reached me in a very interesting way through scripture and various sermons and the more I investigated, the more I liked about it. Eventually, I felt prompted by what I believe was the Holy Spirit to give my life to Christ. It has been an amazing ride ever since.

2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?
The Bible. Specifically, Jesus stating that we should love god with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.

3. How did you decide that God is perfect?
The term perfect is broad and vague. It can mean different things to different people and in my opinion shouldn't really used in describing god unless you get specific with it. For example, I have no problems saying God has perfect love or perfect justice.

4. How did you decide God is omnipotent?
The Bible describes his omnipotence. I have only witnessed a small portion of his power so I must take the omnipotence on faith.

5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance?
Guided by the Holy Spirit, I feel that god deserves our love and our obiedence.

6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship? The Bible states that obedience and wisdom go hand in hand. From my experience, that is definitely true. When I obey God's teachings in any certain situation, I find additional insights are always discovered. When I rebel from God's teachings, I rarely learn anything until a time when I fall back into obedience. As for worship, that comes from love. The more I study god, talk to god, rely on god, and learn from god, the more I love god.

6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?
I question god all the time. Why did something have to happen? Why is the Bible so confusing? Why have I been put in this or that situation? Why can't I quit sinning? Why won't he heal someone I love? Why did he create man if he knew we were going to fall? Why does it appear that there are two creation stories in Genesis? Why is the church so screwed up sometimes? Why do I sometimes have doubts that he actually exists? If there is a way to question god, I have probably done it. Sometimes when I question God, I get an answer. Other times I am left hanging, which brings up a new question: Why did god leave me hanging on my question?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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I feel these questions are pretty off the mark, but then again, I can only speak from a Catholic perspective and I would guess perhaps other people see these questions as right on the mark. I feel, though, they miss the entire concept of God (at least as understood in the Abrahamic religions). I'll answer them, though.

1. I don't think there's a moment where I became aware of God. It was more a decision to believe that whatever caused the existence of the universe cared about what went on in it.
2. I don't believe God has revealed any expectations or rules to be followed. I believe, though, that he has made known the important things that constitute morality, and has promulgated that morality through a living, breathing institution. It's not about following rules, it's being free to do the right thing.
3. Here's where you really miss the Abrahamic definition of God. If God created the universe, then he is the standard of perfection for all things within that universe, simply by definition. There is no decision to be made that he is perfect.
4. See #3.
5. This is sort of an awkward question. I wouldn't ever describe my own faith as "owing allegiance" to God. I just try to do what's moral.
6. See #3. That said, I definitely question God in very much the same way as imac/cheese does.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post
People need to stop asking the religious to be reasonable and answer logical questions.

Religion is by its very nature illogical.

People don't expect cultists to be logical or reasonable. But the reality is that most (if not all) religions are really just cults who grew large enough to become acceptable.

Don't expect rationality from them...
Just as we should expect presumptuous arrogance from you?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Huntn View Post
Can you honestly answer these questions:

1. How did you become aware of your God?

2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?

3. How did you decide that God is perfect?

4. How did you decide God is omnipotent?

5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance?

6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship?

6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?
Wow. Your questions seem to presume much.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 01:06 PM   #14
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Bored at work, I'll play along....

1. How did you become aware of your God?
Childhood Indoc? Yes. Mom and Dad raised me Jewish. Went to religious school three days a week and temple on Saturday. Grew up Kosher, was bar-mitzvahed, know the value of a dollar (kidding!), etc etc.
2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?
Ancient book? Yep. Learned about the torah's teaching in religious school and from celebrating the jewish holdays at home. Also, once a week, religious camp where we also learned more (while trying to get to third base at night).
3. How did you decide that God is perfect? An assumption that the vast knowledge required to create all things as we know it equates to perfection? Is perfection contrary to expecting to be worshiped? Just the opposite, grew out of the need for religion and therefore do not believe in god.
4. How did you decide God is omnipotent? If a being is really really powerful, do you have the perspective to judge the limits of it's power? Can power be so vast that it's possible God exists in a hierarchy of powerful beings of which we no nothing? See #3.
5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance? Is it because God created you, God's power to destroy you or thoroughly mess up your spiritual life? You owe god your allegiance as much as you owe your parents the same. When you are a child, you should do what they say, within reason, of course. When you are an adult, you should still respect them and seek their guidence but make your own decisions and not have a blind allegiance to do whatever they say.
6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship? How do you know God wants to be worshiped? That is what church says as they collect your donations? Never really got this one. Is god so needy, he created mankind just so he had someone to kiss his butt and worship him? Why would a being like god need to be worshipped. Such a silly idea.
6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?
You might as well ask, how did you decide that mutual respect is important in every relationship you have except the relationship you have with God that relegates you to a slave with no rights to a contrary opinion? It's God's way or the highway. See #3.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 02:16 PM   #15
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Wow. Your questions seem to presume much.
Yet according to AP one is aloof for not wanting to answer them.

NathanMuir's reply nailed it.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 04:18 PM   #16
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Just as we should expect presumptuous arrogance from you?
Arrogance? Unlike the religious I don't presume to understand the meaning of life morality and what comes after.

It is not arrogance to understand that "religions" arise from "cults" it is common knowledge that Christianity was initially considered a "cult" before becoming a widely accepted "religion". The Church of Ladder Day Saints was also considered a "cult" and still is by many "Christians".

Scientology is another example of a "cult".

People are expected respect "religious beliefs" because they are some how made meaningful by the fact that millions of people believe in them.

Of course no one is expected to respect the views of cultists. I assume that most people have greater respect for the idea of Jesus being resurrected than the idea that Lord Vishnu (see Scientology). Simply because ALOT of people believe in these things.

Christianity is an elevated Cult this is a historical fact you can call me arrogant for recognizing this if you want....
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 04:23 PM   #17
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Arrogance? Unlike the religious I don't presume to understand the meaning of life morality and what comes after.
Yet you presume to understand all religion. The irony is astounding, to say the least.

Quote:
It is not arrogance to understand that "religions" arise from "cults" it is common knowledge that Christianity was initially considered a "cult" before becoming a widely accepted "religion". The Church of Ladder Day Saints was also considered a "cult" and still is by many "Christians".

Scientology is another example of a "cult".

People are expected respect "religious beliefs" because they are some how made meaningful by the fact that millions of people believe in them.

Of course no one is expected to respect the views of cultists. I assume that most people have greater respect for the idea of Jesus being resurrected than the idea that Lord Vishnu (see Scientology). Simply because ALOT of people believe in these things.

Christianity is an elevated Cult this is a historical fact you can call me arrogant for recognizing this if you want....
The arrogance is found in the fact that you assume your beliefs are some how better than than those held by religious persons.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:04 PM   #18
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I flatly refused to go to Sunday school when I was very young. Apparently I put up a pretty serious fight and won. Never quite figured out why my parents wanted me to go to Sunday school so much, as both of them grew up in very religious families and absolutely hated it.

As for asking rational questions about irrational belief: do not expect satisfying answers.
I assume you are Atheist or Agnostic?

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Originally Posted by renewed View Post
Title aside most of these questions are very personal and between God and the so called theist (Christian viewpoint). I can't accurately decide my feelings, opinions, when it happened etc in any way that would make sense. I doubt it would make sense to some of my fellow Christians because like I said much of this is personal and one-on-one.

Can I honestly answer these questions? Yes. Would I even attempt with a provoking title such as yours? Absolutely not.
I consider these questions to be very straight forward. It sounds like you are using the word "personal" as if you might be embarrassed to express these feelings in public.

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Originally Posted by imac/cheese View Post
Though I wouldn't consider myself the most competent, I will give it a go...

1. How did you become aware of your God?
I had been comtemplating different gods and concepts of gods for numerous years, but as an atheist, I was not interested in worshipping any of them. As I began to explore Christianity, I found it to be a lot different than I ever expected. It reached me in a very interesting way through scripture and various sermons and the more I investigated, the more I liked about it. Eventually, I felt prompted by what I believe was the Holy Spirit to give my life to Christ. It has been an amazing ride ever since.

2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?
The Bible. Specifically, Jesus stating that we should love god with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.

3. How did you decide that God is perfect?
The term perfect is broad and vague. It can mean different things to different people and in my opinion shouldn't really used in describing god unless you get specific with it. For example, I have no problems saying God has perfect love or perfect justice.

4. How did you decide God is omnipotent?
The Bible describes his omnipotence. I have only witnessed a small portion of his power so I must take the omnipotence on faith.

5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance?
Guided by the Holy Spirit, I feel that god deserves our love and our obiedence.

6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship? The Bible states that obedience and wisdom go hand in hand. From my experience, that is definitely true. When I obey God's teachings in any certain situation, I find additional insights are always discovered. When I rebel from God's teachings, I rarely learn anything until a time when I fall back into obedience. As for worship, that comes from love. The more I study god, talk to god, rely on god, and learn from god, the more I love god.

6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?
I question god all the time. Why did something have to happen? Why is the Bible so confusing? Why have I been put in this or that situation? Why can't I quit sinning? Why won't he heal someone I love? Why did he create man if he knew we were going to fall? Why does it appear that there are two creation stories in Genesis? Why is the church so screwed up sometimes? Why do I sometimes have doubts that he actually exists? If there is a way to question god, I have probably done it. Sometimes when I question God, I get an answer. Other times I am left hanging, which brings up a new question: Why did god leave me hanging on my question?
Thanks for sharing. My observation is that the Bible is suspect if you are looking for undisputable truth and worship is a one sided relationship.

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I feel these questions are pretty off the mark, but then again, I can only speak from a Catholic perspective and I would guess perhaps other people see these questions as right on the mark. I feel, though, they miss the entire concept of God (at least as understood in the Abrahamic religions). I'll answer them, though.

1. I don't think there's a moment where I became aware of God. It was more a decision to believe that whatever caused the existence of the universe cared about what went on in it.
2. I don't believe God has revealed any expectations or rules to be followed. I believe, though, that he has made known the important things that constitute morality, and has promulgated that morality through a living, breathing institution. It's not about following rules, it's being free to do the right thing.
3. Here's where you really miss the Abrahamic definition of God. If God created the universe, then he is the standard of perfection for all things within that universe, simply by definition. There is no decision to be made that he is perfect.
4. See #3.
5. This is sort of an awkward question. I wouldn't ever describe my own faith as "owing allegiance" to God. I just try to do what's moral.
6. See #3. That said, I definitely question God in very much the same way as imac/cheese does.
Thank you for sharing. Why would these questions be off the mark as they all illustrate foundations of Christianity as I understand it, having been raised in it?

Regarding answer #1 that could be but I see no universal evidence, just the hope that something is looking after us. #2 sounds good except for the habit of the church to express punishment as the reward for disobeying very specific rules described in the Bible. The Church likes to think of themselves as the God experts. #3- I would argue strenuously that the power to create a universe does not guarantee perfection in all things that are important to humans. #5- What does the Church say about turning your back on God?

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Wow. Your questions seem to presume much.
They seem to be the foundation of the religious establishment, do they not? Where have I erred? Thanks!
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:08 PM   #19
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Where have I erred?
In spelling the word that unnecessarily loaded your thread title, as already noted (quite wittingly) by Gelfin.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:10 PM   #20
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In spelling the word that unnecessarily loaded your thread title, as already noted (quite wittingly) by Gelfin.
I'll see if I can get my spelling corrected.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:16 PM   #21
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I consider these questions to be very straight forward. It sounds like you are using the word "personal" as if you might be embarrassed to express these feelings in public.
Why? So that I can give reasons only to be turned down with the excuse that they are not empirical. No thanks. Have dealt with that in other threads, and in fact, you guys could have one huge thread called; "Religious folks come here to be knocked down. We pretend to be interested and then when you answer we rally in the troops and attack the hell out of you with science on our side."

You guys' arrogance would really piss me off if it wasn't so foolish.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:17 PM   #22
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Thank you for sharing. Why would these questions be off the mark as they all illustrate foundations of Christianity as I understand it, having been raised in it?
Depends on what flavor of Christianity. One could very simplistically interpret Christianity as merely following rules, but that's ignoring 2,000 years of theology that says otherwise. It has become rather widespread, unfortunately, to believe that Christianity is just all about rules, and people start having theologically untenable beliefs based on flawed interpretations of 2,000-year old writings, ignoring huge portions of that which makes up Christianity and Christian thought.

Unfortunately, even Catholics seem to be uneducated by and large about the Christian faith and fall into the same kind of simplistic black-and-white thinking that has become en vogue more and more.

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Regarding answer #1 that could be but I see no universal evidence, just the hope that something is looking after us.
I agree.

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#2 sounds good except for the habit of the church to express punishment as the reward for disobeying very specific rules described in the Bible.
Define "the Church."

And again, I don't see it as rules, and most Christian theology doesn't either. No one knows who is saved and who isn't, and those who are saved certainly are not saved just because they followed a bunch of rules.

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The Church likes to think of themselves as the God experts.
The Catholic Church sees itself as the representatives of Christ on earth. They claim a very narrowly defined authority on morality. It is their job to work as a body of theologians to more clearly define morality, as revealed by God, guided by the Holy Spirit.

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#3- I would argue strenuously that the power to create a universe does not guarantee perfection in all things that are important to humans.
If something creates a universe, anything within that universe is bound by that universe. If you create a game, for example, anyone within that game is bound by the game and simply change the game midway. If you're playing basketball, you can't suddenly say, "Missing the basket is more valuable than making it in." You can play the game as if it were so, but you aren't going to get very far. Being a part of the universe is even more restrictive because you can't decide to pick up your ball, go home, and start you're own game. You were created as a part of the universe and are bound to it.

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#5- What does the Church say about turning your back on God?
Not sure what you're asking.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:27 PM   #23
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And again, I don't see it as rules, and most Christian theology doesn't either. No one knows who is saved and who isn't, and those who are saved certainly are not saved just because they followed a bunch of rules.
I do. Most Christians do. I know for a fact I am saved and I know the way for someone else to be saved. It has nothing to do with me yet through the Bible I can point someone on to how to seek salvation.

Do you honestly not know if you are saved or not? You being a catholic I am assuming you consider yourself to be a Christian. If you do not know if you are saved or if your parents or friends are and if you will live eternally then that saddens me deeply. That is no way to live.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:28 PM   #24
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Yet you presume to understand all religion. The irony is astounding, to say the least.



The arrogance is found in the fact that you assume your beliefs are some how better than than those held by religious persons.
I don't presume to understand all religion but a basic piece of pretty much ALL religions is the claim that they (and only they) know the truth of things. The truth of creation the truth of morality the truth of salvation etc. All religions don't have the SAME ideals but all claim to have without exception claim to know the "truth".

And when did I claim my "beliefs" were better than anyone else's, in fact exactly what are my "beliefs".

Unlike the religious I don't wander around simply choosing seemingly random concepts to "believe" in. I don't ask the question "is there a bearded man in the sky who controls the entire universe" and then proceed to wonder if I should believe in said bearded man.

If there is no reason to ask the question than why should I spend any time considering it?

I'm sure you do the same thing weather you realize it or not. You probably spend a remarkably small amount of time questioning the reality behind the text(s) of Scientology or the book of Mormon, and hundreds of other totally outlandish ideas which really deserve no serious attention.

Its simply filtering we logically don't grant all ideas equal consideration, because all ideas are not created equal.

Yet everyone is supposed to take seriously the major religions of this world. To seriously question and consider the existence of god and heaven and the possibility that the world was created in 7 days 6000 years ago.

Because these beliefs are so widely accepted they are given a free pass through everyone's logic filters. Yet if these same ideas were only held by a tiny percentage of population those who actually believed in them would be dismissed out of hand as "cultists".
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:38 PM   #25
imac/cheese
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Originally Posted by Huntn View Post
Thanks for sharing. My observation is that the Bible is suspect if you are looking for undisputable truth and worship is a one sided relationship.
I will agree that my relationship with god is a little one sided. I get a whole lot more out of it than he does. He gets the occasional praise from a fallen man and a whole lot of problems, complaints, and issues that I take to him. I, on the other hand, get guidance, forgiveness, wisdom, insight, friendship, comfort, reassurance, and love.

If you are seeking truth in Christianity, I have found that so often it all starts with obedience and a desire to truly get to know god's heart. The bible can help you out with both of those if you read it with those two goals in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by renewed View Post
Why? So that I can give reasons only to be turned down with the excuse that they are not empirical. No thanks. Have dealt with that in other threads, and in fact, you guys could have one huge thread called; "Religious folks come here to be knocked down. We pretend to be interested and then when you answer we rally in the troops and attack the hell out of you with science on our side."

You guys' arrogance would really piss me off if it wasn't so foolish.
I have found that the arrogance of the atheists in these threads is often in direct proportion to the arrogance of the Christians in these threads.

Last edited by imac/cheese; Dec 13, 2010 at 05:47 PM.
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