Author Topic: Question for Theists; Why does god require faith?  (Read 2382 times)

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Offline Agga

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Question for Theists; Why does god require faith?
« on: November 24, 2009, 03:14:15 PM »
When I was a christian the idea of faith in god was, of course, fairly prevelant.

However, faith is believing in something for which there is no proof, right?

Ok, hold that thought.

When I was a christian every other christian I knew, including myself, stated that Jesus had made himself known to us, that the holy spirit permeated us and spoke to us, and that the father had spoken to us too.

Now, here's the rub.

If we believe(d) that god had made himself known to us as we had claimed to others, therefore having evidence for his existence, then why was there any faith needed after that event?

Surely faith is unnecessary for those who have evidence that god speaks to them and thus exists?


My wife has just asked me;

"Is faith just a convenient 'get-out-clause' for things that you're actually unsure about?"


Thoughts?


Agga :)


Edited thread title.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 07:28:46 PM by Agga »
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Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 04:08:36 PM »
Your wife's a smart cookie dude. For most people, "God" is just the spackle they use to fill in the cracks of their knowledge.
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Offline anthony_retford

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2009, 04:17:56 PM »
Kudos to your wife Agnastic, and since Raymond started with a building analogy I would think a god is the cement of most fundies' being.
People are 'erroneously confident' in their knowledge and underestimate the odds that their information or beliefs will be proved wrong. They tend to seek additional information in ways that confirm what they already believe.
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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2009, 04:27:03 PM »
Well, in the last couple of minutes she's just confessed to me that she's an atheist!  How about that, eh?  You think you know someone... ;)

She thanks you both for your kind words too.  :)
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Online wheels5894

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2009, 04:37:03 PM »
Since we are mentioning wives can I take the idea along a little? Husbands and wives, when they are made such in marriage, promise to each other to be faithful i.e stick with one partner. Now, any partner has to have faith that their partner will stay true to them alone. How ever long the relationship, there is past evidence that this is true. The snag is that the evidence does not indicate the future so that although there is evidence there is still need for faith.

I expect that a theist would say that they may have experience god in some form in the past but as this is not continuous they need faith that god will still stay with them. 
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2009, 06:10:02 PM »
Hey, wheels.

I expect that a theist would say that they may have experience god in some form in the past but as this is not continuous they need faith that god will still stay with them. 

If they did, which I agree they well could, then I'd probably bring up the issue of the promise that god will never leave them.

Could it be argued, then, that they don't really have faith if they don't believe what god has promised them?

:)
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Offline Zankuu

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2009, 06:15:37 PM »
For most people, "God" is just the spackle they use to fill in the cracks of their knowledge.

Zing.

I like that. Your own quote?
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Offline dloubet

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2009, 06:37:43 PM »
As in any discussion of faith, already the two definitions are being used interchangeably. Stop it.  ;)

Having religious faith that your wife is true to you alone would be like insisting they're faithful as you kiss your children of different colors goodbye while exchanging a hello with the hunky repairman who enters as you leave for work. It would be a fingers in the ears, eye's shut, lalalalalala kind of thing. That's just stupid.

The "faith" we actually have in our partners is the level of confidence inspired by their behavior. It's not religious faith because it's based on evidence. It's based on things seen.

But it's just weird that theists come here to try to prove the existence of their god when, according to them, the god doesn't want us to be swayed by proof. So WTF is up with that? If the god character doesn't want people forced to believe in it through proof, what happens to the people that do? Are they sent to the supposed hell when they die, or some special roped-off section of heaven?
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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2009, 06:59:44 PM »
As in any discussion of faith, already the two definitions are being used interchangeably. Stop it.  ;)

Having religious faith that your wife is true to you alone would be like insisting they're faithful as you kiss your children of different colors goodbye while exchanging a hello with the hunky repairman who enters as you leave for work. It would be a fingers in the ears, eye's shut, lalalalalala kind of thing. That's just stupid.

The "faith" we actually have in our partners is the level of confidence inspired by their behavior. It's not religious faith because it's based on evidence. It's based on things seen.

Agreed on that.

Quote
But it's just weird that theists come here to try to prove the existence of their god when, according to them, the god doesn't want us to be swayed by proof. So WTF is up with that? If the god character doesn't want people forced to believe in it through proof, what happens to the people that do? Are they sent to the supposed hell when they die, or some special roped-off section of heaven?

Spot on.  This is some of what I'm getting at.

Either there's living a religious life because of a personal visit from jesus or there's living a religious life by faith, as god/the church states that he requires.

Also, what happens to the people that were supposed to have met jesus personally along with the disciples?  Then there's noah, and moses, mary, mary magdalene, jonah, and not forgetting adam and eve... I mean, the list goes on and on.

Clearly there's a two lane motorway here.  The slow lane where most of us have to struggle with faith because we have no evidence at all for god's existence and the fast lane to heaven where the ones who've apparently spoken to him personally have no struggle with faith.  Faith can't be a requirement for these people because they would have KNOWN god was real.
That doesn't take into consideration all of the people who've allegedly seen angels doing their work or who've had clear prophetic dreams.

It seems very unfair on the rest of us who are expected to believe by nothing but the words of others (fallible humans) and also seems like "faith" and "knowing" are in blatant contradiction.
Either a modern-day believer has faith or they know.  The thing is that it's a principal of the christian faith to live, but more importantly believe by faith!!

Why exactly does faith become so important?

 :?
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Offline IAmFirst

Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2009, 07:48:58 PM »
When I was a christian the idea of faith in god was, of course, fairly prevelant.

However, faith is believing in something for which there is no proof, right?

Ok, hold that thought.

When I was a christian every other christian I knew, including myself, stated that Jesus had made himself known to us, that the holy spirit permeated us and spoke to us, and that the father had spoken to us too.

Now, here's the rub.

If we believe(d) that god had made himself known to us as we had claimed to others, therefore having evidence for his existence, then why was there any faith needed after that event?

Surely faith is unnecessary for those who have evidence that god speaks to them and thus exists?


My wife has just asked me;

"Is faith just a convenient 'get-out-clause' for things that you're actually unsure about?"


Thoughts?


Agga :)

I fully agree with your OP and your wife's addition to the idea. What believers might say is something simplistic, like, "Well, we can't see him now, can we?" Ugh. Maybe something more along the lines of "our faith is for the future and events we can't control but need guidance." Double Ugh.

I'd point out that most believers don't need "faith" to prove an existence of Jesus or God. They will simply refute by saying our most favorite and stupid phrase continuing the everlasting circle: "It says so in the bible!"  &)
2nd of all, if all you believe in is peer-reviewed papers, you won't go very far in life...

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Online wheels5894

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2009, 05:23:29 AM »
Agga,

Your wife's though is very interesting. I had not though of it like that before. I suspect that it describes the majority in the pews of Christian churches who have never had any experience of the divine. They are encouraged to think that an afterlife actually exists and that they ought to be getting on with making sure they are in the right place by doing what they are told in church but without any reinforcing experience to help them. I wonder how may like that might be susceptible to some rational thought.

The small minority of people, like Skylark on these forums, claim to know god and thus no longer need faith. The one person I do wonder about, though, is the pope. As Christ's vicar on earth, does he really think he has a direct line to the deity or is he just as not quite sure as most people? It might be a worrying thought for Catholics if their leader is unsure!  :)
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2009, 10:06:45 AM »
Agga,

Your wife's though is very interesting. I had not though of it like that before.

I hadn't either, wheels.  I find her quite interesting too sometimes, like when she smoothly drops it into the conversation that she's been an atheist for some time but hadn't thought to tell me about it!. ;)

Quote
I suspect that it describes the majority in the pews of Christian churches who have never had any experience of the divine. They are encouraged to think that an afterlife actually exists and that they ought to be getting on with making sure they are in the right place by doing what they are told in church but without any reinforcing experience to help them. I wonder how may like that might be susceptible to some rational thought.

Well, I can tell you that during my experiences of church life I could think of a few christians there who hadn't ever had the experience of a personal visit from the spirit like I thought I had, but were believers on either the grounds of (and I use this term loosely) 'intellectual discovery' or because they were worried about being wrong about god so had faith that he was there, just in case they were sent to hell!
I'm betting that you're right and that there's quite a few pews that are filled by similar people.

I suspect that many of them would be susceptible to rational thought if you could get them away from the church structure that'll keep pulling them back to believe that they were under spiritual attack.

That's a good one, that... "If you start to have doubts about leaving the church then it's merely the devil trying to take you away from jesus and you need to stay here and be prayed for".  Yup.  okey dokey.  Convenient.

However, it’s a powerful deterrent and kept me going back to church for longer than I’d really wanted to.
I think that becomes more like a fear-based reaction than a faith-based response.

Quote
The small minority of people, like Skylark on these forums, claim to know god and thus no longer need faith. The one person I do wonder about, though, is the pope. As Christ's vicar on earth, does he really think he has a direct line to the deity or is he just as not quite sure as most people? It might be a worrying thought for Catholics if their leader is unsure!  :)

The trouble with that is that none of us can know god simply by thinking our way logically into that relationship.  We've either had a personal contact or we haven't.
Unfortunately for skylark god requires faith from us these days and to not observe that is to blatantly ignore god's word in the bible.  Ignoring god = unrepentant sin = bad = hell!

Hmm.  Contradiction there?  Seems so.

The pope is a brilliant example, wheels. 
He either has faith or he doesn't.  IF he has faith then he has to be applying a certain amount of uncertainty in his speeches (orders) to the catholic brethren. 
So far as I’m aware he often speaks to catholics about his faith.  I could be wrong but I seem to remember hearing him talk about quite often.

How does he hear back from god... through prayer isn't it?  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  He must have lived by faith to begin with, surely?  As far as I'm aware the pope isn't born with the knowledge that he'll become pope one day.  I thought that the catholic church elect a pope, don't they? 

Faith must have come before his election to popery.  What happened when he became pope, did he suddenly stop having faith because he got a personal visit from god?  Hmmm.


Cheers, wheels.

:)
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Online wheels5894

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2009, 10:23:58 AM »
Quote
However, it’s a powerful deterrent and kept me going back to church for longer than I’d really wanted to.
I think that becomes more like a fear-based reaction than a faith-based response.

Yes, I think fear is a significant factor for all religions. Of course, for Muslims it is worse as they can literally be killed for leaving the faith. Yet Christians, accepting an afterlife as part of their belief must be held in some fear of missing the boat and going to the fiery place. (My wife and friend reckoned on this, though and the friend is bringing the bread and my wife the butter to make toast down there!  ;) ) More seriously, i do think there are quite a lot there for the 'fire insurance'.

Also there is the social aspect of a church. My wife isn't interested in the religion but sings ina  church choir and enjoys the social side of things - perhaps atheist churches? (whoops that's the Church of England isn't it?) 
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline gonegolfing

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2009, 11:03:49 AM »
When I was a christian the idea of faith in god was, of course, fairly prevelant.

However, faith is believing in something for which there is no proof, right?
Ok, hold that thought.
When I was a christian every other christian I knew, including myself, stated that Jesus had made himself known to us, that the holy spirit permeated us and spoke to us, and that the father had spoken to us too.
Now, here's the rub.
If we believe(d) that god had made himself known to us as we had claimed to others, therefore having evidence for his existence, then why was there any faith needed after that event?
Surely faith is unnecessary for those who have evidence that god speaks to them and thus exists?
My wife has just asked me;
"Is faith just a convenient 'get-out-clause' for things that you're actually unsure about?"

Thoughts?

Agga :)

Hi Agga... Long time no chat. I hope all is well  ;)

What's the point of faith for believers ?

''Heb 10:38  Now, "the Just shall live by faith. But if he draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him."

As a former theist, I looked at this verse and was lead to believe that it wasn't speaking about the doctrine of justification by faith, rather it was about living a daily life by faith. I felt that I was looked upon by god as being a just person by having a daily faith or confidence in god. "Just" of course meaning morally upright and exemplifying proper behaviour. Again, the above verse does not say "saved by faith" but rather the just are to "live by faith"

In having this faith or confidence in god and living it in a daily practical way, I felt I was obeying the verse and of course bringing pleasure to him.

This was the way it was for me and I'm sure many theists today. For them, faith becomes more than just belief in god: It becomes an expression of daily action for god.

They're simply obeying what the good book says!! They believe that in the end, if doing so, they get the lollipop.


Being "just" without delusion, is the mark of a person with the highest integrity.

Cheers

 









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Online screwtape

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2009, 11:20:04 AM »
Since I started reading and posting at this site I have had huge problems with the idea of faith.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately and Agnastic’s thread encouraged me to post my thoughts.  So, soup to nuts, here it is.

The first problem I have is the very amorphous definition of the word.  Xians and others use the word to mean whatever they need it to mean at the moment.   It can range as follows:

1.   Faith is religion – what is your faith? 
2.   Faith is trust – I have faith in my wife. 
3.   Faith is loyalty – I am faithful to my wife. 
4.   Faith is believing without evidence – god wants us to believe by faith. 
5.   Faith is some kind of mechanism that keeps you religious – you just have to have faith if you have doubts. 
 
All of these uses are valid, but they make having a conversation impossible.  It is like only ever using pronouns.  “He took the thing to him because he asked him to give it to him.”  Whom are we discussing again?    In college, my philosophy of religion professor treated it as items 2 and 3.  You do not have faith that god exists, but you do have faith in god.  He pointed out that the roots of the English word “believe” were the Germanic word “galauben” which means “beloved” or ”to hold dear”.  That was great, for the 16th century.  That is not how it is used these days, however.

If even we atheists are confused about it, I can understand why.  My conversation  here I think shows that.  I do not think SkepticX and I were ever quite on the same page. So it goes with religious discussions.   When I think I am attacking definition 3, the xian happily tells me he is talking about definition 4.  When I am pounding on the nonsensical logic of definition 4, he just smiles and tells me he means 5.  It could be they do that intentionally, just to push buttons or because they cynically know it will cloud the conversation.  I think most likely they are somewhat innocent and have no idea what they are talking about.   

I think there is an overlooked and important 6th meaning – a feeling of certainty.  How often have we read some xian say he KNOWS god exists and he has faith?  Every other post, it seems.  And what are they really saying?  That they think there is a god and that they are certain they are right.  No more, no less, though I suspect they do not understand that.  SkepticX did get that much out of it I think.  So, faith is often nothing but an emotion in most contexts of religious discussion.

In the future I will strive to be as specific as possible when speaking to theists about which faith we are using.  That keeps everything above deck, limits confusion and leaves them nowhere to hide.

Once the problem of definition has been solved and the theist and I seem to have agreed on what we are talking about, I have the problem of understanding what purpose faith has.  From an atheist’s perspective it is relatively easy to answer.  It is the trick of the holy man to keep his customer base.  When people show doubt and threaten to take their business elsewhere, tell them they just need faith.  When your rituals and dances fail to produce miracles, tell them they did not have enough faith.  When some young punk asks difficult questions, tell him he needs to have faith.  When your faith healing powers do not provide an immediate recovery, your faith was insufficient.  I am not the problem.  You are.

It is also the stress ball of the doubters who are afraid.  Not sure you believe in god anymore?  Well, just tell people you have faith.  Eventually you might believe it too.  And it serves wonderfully in this capacity.  Reinforcing these beliefs is required to maintain them.  I am pretty well convinced that is the real function of prayer too.  It makes the petitioner feel better, but mainly it keeps them religious.  As with the point that it is an expression of certainty, it can act as a shield to deflect contrary and inconvenient facts.  It is a statement that whatever you might tell them, they are not listening to you.

But from the theist’s perspective, faith is more difficult to explain.  It must be, because I ask all the time and I have never been given an answer.  “Why does your god want us to believe by faith?  Why is faith important to your god?  Why would a deity care about faith?  Why is this the criterion by which our eternal fate is determined?  Why not juggling skill or how we treat our fellow humans or how fast we can run?  Why is it something over which we have no actual control?”  Those are the questions I ask and I have never been given even an apologetic answer.  Nothing.  I have so far just been ignored.  And I have been hard pressed to think of anything that would be meaningful.  Sure, I could play the mysterious god card, but I think even the lamest xians here acknowledge it is an unsatisfactory answer. 

Why would faith be valued by a god?  I can understand, to some extent, why usages 2 and 3 might matter if the god is a particularly human, petty and vain god.  If I were a god, then my enormous ego would be assuaged by loyalty and devotion.  They love me, they really love me.  So, I might show my pathetic followers some favor.  You can see how it would be important to people to have that kind of faith.  But gods like me would be roughly the equivalent of modern day celebrities – insecure, needy, passive- aggressive, out of control, frequently drunk.  Look at the older pantheons of gods.  Their escapades were on par with Paris Hilton, the sisters Kardashian, or those Jon and Kate idiots.  But nobody believes in those gods anymore.  Well, except about a billion hindus.  But we westerners know gods like that are a sorry lot when compared to The God that modern abrahamists boast. 

When regarding The God, faith makes even less sense. The God is supposed to be beyond all that.  It does not need us.  It has no wants.  Flattery is a thing for imperfect mortals.  The God is supposed to be bigger to us than we are to ants or bacteria.  But do we care if bacteria notice us?  Do we care if bacteria are loyal to us?  No, we do not.  So why would The God care about our loyalty?   The atheist’s explanation for faith still makes more sense.  Or perhaps we are looking at the wrong version of faith. 

If we consider belief without evidence, I cannot imagine why The God, the god that allegedly gave us these big giant brains, would want us to not use them.  I cannot fathom why “he who has not seen, yet believes” would be specially blessed, or blessed at all, for that matter.  He who has not seen, yet believes should be ridiculed and outcast.

If we consider faith as some external mechanism that maintains religious belief, I think the concept is a fallacy.  It does not fly.  Believe in the Tooth Fairy.  You say you cannot?  Then just have faith.  Do it.  The eternal salvation of your teeth depend on it.  Still cannot do it?  Don’t feel bad.  Neither can it.  We all know this, even theists.  When this is pointed out, they usually try to change which version of faith we are talking about.

If we consider the last version of faith – the emotion of certainty – it becomes meaningless from a theological point of view.  Telling someone they need to have faith is the equivalent of saying “be happy”.  If only it were that easy, there would be no need for Prozac and there would be no atheists.  Likewise, proclaiming your deep faith is like telling the world how grouchy you are today.  Who cares?  To the point, why would The God care about that?

There are only a couple of options left that make sense and none of them are happy news for xians.  Either The God is not what they think it is – omnimax, dignified and perfect – and is actually a petty, insecure, drunken god like myself.  Or The God does not care about faith.  And if it does not care about faith, where does that leave the faithful?   
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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2009, 11:28:22 AM »
Hi Agga... Long time no chat. I hope all is well  ;)
Hey, Golf, good to hear from you.  I've been wondering where you'd gotten to.  You've been on my mind a lot recently (in a totally platonic, non-creepy sort of way by the way).   ;D

Quote
What's the point of faith for believers ?
<snip>
Ah yes.  Very true.  I should've been more specific about this.  I'm pondering on the point of faith in god's existence, rather than the point of living by faith in the context you've described.
My bad.  I should have clearly separated the two in the OP / thread title.

But hey, your context is just as relevant here.  When I was a baby christian I understood living by faith more to be about living by hope. ie that we had to trust in god to take care of our daily needs, which leans to the side of blind faith that he was there to begin with and would help us when we needed him to.
When he didn't it was because in all his infinite wisdom he decided that we needed to learn from a struggle that day.

But with hindsight and a few more years experience, your understanding is far more accurate. I'd agree that many christians see it that way too.

"A faitful christian" is the term that relates to your context.

"A christian with blind faith" is probably more accurately related to my context.  &)

Quote
Being "just" without delusion, is the mark of a person with the highest integrity.
Yeah I agree.  Acting from fear of punishment isn't really an action borne from integrity is it.

Thanks for your post, Golf.  Hoping that all's good with you too fella.

Agga :)
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Offline changeling

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2009, 01:57:51 PM »
Screwtape,
Thanks for that reply. I am saving it in my documents for future reference.
These are my thoughts exactly on the subject of faith, but I am unable to put it into words
as well as you did.
The level of dumb they have to sell, is only made remotely possible by the level of flocking their sheep are willing to do in the name of rewards for no thought. quote: Kin Hell

"Faith is the enemy of evidence, for when we know the truth, no faith is required." Graybeard

Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2009, 02:03:42 PM »
For most people, "God" is just the spackle they use to fill in the cracks of their knowledge.

Zing.

I like that. Your own quote?

Sure.. But not really an original idea. Just a re-wording of a timeless flaw in god-belief. If you like the phrasing though, feel free to run with it. I officially relinquish my copyright to the fine folks of WWGHA.  :D

Edit: @ Screwtape - great post by the way. If there was a hat to throw money in, I'd drop a 10-spot.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 02:10:20 PM by RaymondKHessel »
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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2009, 05:04:01 PM »
screwtape.

With your post you've effectively flown over in the Enola Gay and dropped an atomic bomb.  As far as I'm concerned you've just completely layed waste to the thread.


Basically, that post has got the be THE most comprehensive summary of religious faith that I've ever seen on this forum anywhere.

I mean, jesus-titty-fucking.  That congeals all that I've felt but, like changeling, haven't been able to verbalise.

If you were here right now, and you were gay, I'd go down on you as a reward for that post!
I'm saving it to my documents too.

I'm humbled.


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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2009, 08:33:35 AM »
I'm glad you liked it.  I've wanted to get that off my chest for a while. 
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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2009, 12:11:26 PM »
Yes, Screwtape, very well thought out. In the past I had been far too lazy to think that hard about anything!

As a Christian, I found the word faith used in many ways, as you say. It was confusing to me, but I was told that 'faith came by reading the word of God' and is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.'

So for me, another meaning of faith was understanding. I thought if I put in the time, I would have  understanding instead of confusion.

Scriptures like: Oh, ye of little faith....faith the size of a mustard seed, signified to me that there were degrees of faith. So I thought that the more work I put into reading scripture and the more time meditating and listening to the HS, then the more understanding I would have. After a while I got really tired (and actually bored).

Since I was too lazy to do the amount of reading and praying and meditating, I decided that I would just take the word of elders and preachers who did. I'll just believe whatever the word had revealed to them and ask God later about the stuff that didn't make sense to me now.

Therefore I suppose one can say: I had faith in faith (can things can get more warped than that?)
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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2009, 01:57:51 PM »
Excellent discussion going on here. Good OP Agga, and I too loved what screwtape had to say.

Raymond's analogy to spackle got me to thinking. I'm thinking religious faith is more like duct tape. Its a bad way to repair anything, and it doesn't fix it anyway. It barely qualifies as 'temporary'. Methinks that is religious faith in a duct-taped nutshell.

If unfilled blanks in our knowledge base make one uneasy, the use of religion and faith to fill them (or hide them, whatever) can indeed work wonders. Not on the universe, or on the planet, but inside some minds.

Its far more satisfying to be honest because I'm willing to say "I don't know" than it is to follow the ten commandments and therefore have to pretend I'm not lying when I say that "I do know". Do the faithful not recognize the convolutions they have to go through to claim that there is no such thing as evolution?

The amount of faith it takes to ignore reality vastly exceeds anything I can personally conjure up. Perhaps that's why I'm not a believer. I always thought I came to my senses. Maybe my senses came to me, or got here before I did, or something.  :D

Apparently faith gets one past doubt. And it works better if you don't actually know you have doubts. It works best if you don't think at all. About stuff worth thinking about, that is.

For any religious that read this, I mean it to cover definitions #4,#5 and even the unlisted #6 from screwtape's post. We should all start numbering faith for the different uses it has just to help clarify things for our believing friends. And to keep them from cheating (an act I notice wasn't mentioned in the ten commandments, so I guess its okay for them to do).

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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2009, 03:42:30 PM »
Excellent discussion going on here. Good OP Agga, and I too loved what screwtape had to say.
Cheers, PP.  But after screwtape's thorough post, I kinda felt somewhat inadequate and out of my depth!  ;D
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Offline Levan

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2009, 04:16:52 PM »
In the case of a young punk asking tough questions...

What should she say when the pastor just handwaves her questions with "you have to have faith"?

For example, "why did God tell Joshua to hamstring enemy horses and leave them to die?" "You have to have faith that it was for a good purpose".

Is there any specific action or question to ask that you would like to recommend to her?

Offline I am become relevant

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2009, 04:39:49 PM »
Some nice posts in this thread. The discussion is very one sided though.......
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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2009, 04:45:54 PM »
Excellent discussion going on here. Good OP Agga, and I too loved what screwtape had to say.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

The amount of faith it takes to ignore reality vastly exceeds anything I can personally conjure up.  

using definitions 4, 5 and 6, I am not sure how you get there from here.  I am not sure 5 - a mechanism that keeps belief in place - is even real.  Or, maybe I should say, I do not know what that is.  I do not think faith is the right way to describe it.  It seems to be a mental process to me, though possibly an involuntary one, where we make post hoc justifications for emotional decisions or beliefs in which we are invested.  Maybe it is strictly denial?  My background in psychology is virtually nil, so that whole idea is opaque to me. I'd like someone like Pony with a background in that to lay it out better.  If anyone has any suggested reading on the topic, lay it on me.


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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2009, 04:46:43 PM »
Some nice posts in this thread. The discussion is very one sided though.......

So add some diversity.
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Offline I am become relevant

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2009, 04:49:42 PM »
^ lol I thought about it, but Agga forgot to invite me :-/
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Offline Agga

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Re: Question for Christians; What's the point of faith?
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2009, 04:52:38 PM »
Some nice posts in this thread. The discussion is very one sided though.......

That's probably because, as usual, christians / theists don't answer these sorts of questions.  Generally they only like to preach the usual repetitions at us.

It never ceases to amaze me that when one of us asks them questions they seem to rarely, if ever, partake.

Funny that, isn't it.



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I thought about it, but Agga forgot to invite me :-/
That's because you smell. ;)
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