Author Topic: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?  (Read 1925 times)

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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 05:52:46 PM »
You could just decide flat out that they were wrong, that they were the ones making faulty assumptions based on claims with no evidence.
However, this would be very small-minded of you. (To put in a different way, it would be mighty Christian of you.)
But these men aren't stupid, not by a long shot.

And their evidence is?
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2013, 06:23:30 PM »
Let me respectfully rephrase my statement anyway: 'The rejection of any idea must be done under the premise that a separate, and contrary idea is true.'

Stated like that, it makes total sense. I interpreted your earlier effort to say that somewhat differently.

From my perspective, you're working too hard on this. But I'm not you, and you certainly have to approach the questions you have in ways that make sense to you. Where I cannot imagine why anyone would think there is a god, given what I see as the track record of religion, I realize that others do look at the world differently and if a god seems as likely as any of the possible explanations that you will have to be the final arbiter of that question for yourself.

Here iis something I often ask dyed-in-the-wool theists, for which I've never gotten an answer (though I have gotten excuses). I don't expect you to answer it no matter what your current beliefs are, but you might include it in your thoughts. It goes as follows: Why do we get so many versions of one religion on this site? Why have we never had two theists who agree on all aspects of their religion? Why do all versions appear to be individually specced out by those individuals who each claim to have the whole truth, or something close to it?

These inconsistencies are consistent, if you will, with personal wants, needs, desires and fears, conveniently combined with cherry-picked biblical lore. And not consistent with universal truths, which I tend to picture as more compelling and less open to customization.

The question I would hope you ask about this is "Why, if God is true, why are there so many variations of his story?"

I'm enjoying this discussion that you've started. Since I was never a serious christian I probably should stand back and watch from now on.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Bluecolour

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2013, 07:23:24 PM »
^Thank you.

Offline wright

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2013, 07:51:46 PM »
Quote
While I admit to seeing religious belief as irrational, I have clear memories of my own irrationality in that regard.
First: Try and understand my position.
I'm very frustrated. Imagine that you are in a room full of ex-atheists who had been converted to Christianity. In no time they begin a discussion about their new-found beliefs, remarking with incredulity how they had ever believed all the irrational premises and contradictions of atheism:
'I don't know how i could have ever thought that'
'I know it seemed very logical at the time, but now i realize how much my emotions tampered with my
better judgement'
'It clearly wasn't based on reason. It was so highly unscientific and so full of contradiction'
Sitting in that room listening to those men what would be your first thoughts?
You could just decide flat out that they were wrong, that they were the ones making faulty assumptions based on claims with no evidence.
However, this would be very small-minded of you. (To put in a different way, it would be mighty Christian of you.)
But these men aren't stupid, not by a long shot.
If you are like me however, you would use this opportunity to reevaluate your beliefs based on what you are now hearing. The fact is these rational and informed men find atheism ridiculous.
Unlike them you are still an atheist. Your logic makes perfect sense to you but is nonsensical to the men whom i might add are looking retrospectively at your position. Why?

If you take time to follow this thought through you will come to the eventual conclusion that there has to be something that is effectively preventing you from sharing their views. A dividing line perhaps between your views and theirs and you will want to know what that is.

Intelligence is not an indicator of logical thought and critical thinking, alas. The human race would be so much better off if that were true. I know several Christians I regard as smarter and more widely experienced than myself, including my Harvard-educated father. It's just that they refuse to apply their intelligence to their religious beliefs objectively.

Why believers fail to do this varies, and I agree that generalizing on that topic is unfair and often unproductive. Early indoctrination, fear of death, wanting social acceptance, simple credulousness and other motivations come into play.

As I said before, I don't hold that my atheism by itself makes me "better" than a believer. I have a number of irrational behaviors; I procrastinate about almost everything, for instance. It's where someone's god-belief has a harmful effect, on their life or others, that I see atheism as often offering an advantage.

I am a Christian.
I believe wholeheartedly the tenets of my Christianity, not because i was taught believe them but because they make sense to me as an individual. This is not to suggest that other views and religions do not make sense, but that when held up to the scrutiny of my rational mind, i find that tenets of the Christian view are more convincing.
I do not think that i am stupid or in any way mentally impaired. When listening to arguments of the atheistic standpoint i do not feel particularly uninformed. Being a Christian does not make me more intelligent that anybody on this site. I cannot however take the fact that you hold different views as inference that you must know better. If atheism is the inevitable destination of all logical and reasonable thought, then i think and reason as much as anyone. WHY DO I STILL BELIEVE IN GOD?

Am i missing something? Some sliver of knowledge, some defect in my reasoning, an unresolved personal bias or prejudice?
What? What am i missing?

One's religious beliefs are largely dependent on culture and early socialization. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you're most likely from a Christian family and did most of your growing-up in a predominately Christian culture (the Americas, much of Europe). Do you really think that played no part in your personal beliefs and biases?

I don't think you're an idiot or mentally lacking in some way. All you're missing, as best I can tell, is experience and education. That you're admitting doubts about your faith, even in the anonymity of the internet, speaks well for your honesty. Again, I encourage you to read about atheism and religion (from academic, non-sectarian sources; objectivity on this topic is important) and continue to engage with atheists, here and elsewhere.

If you're wondering "when" you will suddenly deconvert, be aware there's no universal schedule or method (if only!!  ;)). My own coming to atheism was a gradual process; I can say roughly when it happened, but there was no definite "Aha! Good grief, what an irrational person I was yesterday," moment.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline The Gawd

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2013, 07:55:19 PM »
Allow me to address the quote that Parking Places just cited.

Rejection of an idea doesnt require at all another idea to fill the rejected one's place. There is nothing wrong with "I dont know" if you indeed dont know, and the current model you hold is demonstrably wrong or irrational.

For example.

The light in my room just went out. One theory could be that a fairy flipped the switch. I dont need to come up with an alternative to reject that idea. AND I would look at the alternatives: bulb burned out, power outage, didnt pay the bill, etc before I came up with the fairy theory.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2013, 09:29:27 PM »
The Gawd, I don't think that's what Blue meant.  No, you don't have to fill it with another idea.  But rejecting an idea does entail believing that a better one must be out there to be discovered.

Because if you didn't believe a better one was out there to be discovered, then why would you be rejecting this one in the first place?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 10:07:16 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline anthony_retford

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2013, 09:58:02 PM »
The book itself arguably contains some of the most inspired writings in human history.

I taught in Saudi Arabia to young adults from 2004 to 2007. What I noticed was that the students were quick to tell me that the Koran was the most inspired writing that mankind had ever known. And this was applied to a blood thirsty book just the same as the Bible.
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 Tero

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2013, 11:20:34 PM »
There are no convincing arguments against atheism. But maybe it's because I'm an atheist.

Christianity is a collection of values and behavior. Nobody asked you to chsnge any behavior. But you can achieve all that on your own. No minister needed.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2013, 09:40:08 AM »
Am i missing something? Some sliver of knowledge, some defect in my reasoning, an unresolved personal bias or prejudice?
What? What am i missing?

I don't think you've told us enough about what you believe to understand what you are missing. 

It could be you are missing the concept that an idea "making sense" is not enough.  Lots of ideas make sense.  The real question is whether an idea matches reality.  If a beautiful idea that fits perfectly with what you believe does not correspond to reality, then the beautiful idea is wrong.  The old Greeks thought they could understand the whole world by sitting on a chair and reasoning it out.  Four elements made a ton of sense to them.  But that is not reality.  They were wrong. 

In what way does your xian belief correspond with reality?  And I do not mean for you to answer "there really is a god and jesus really was his only son".  kcrady already laid out a method for you to deal with claims and observed results to help sort it out.

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Offline hickdive

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2013, 10:29:24 AM »
First: Try and understand my position.
I'm very frustrated. Imagine that you are in a room full of ex-atheists who had been converted to Christianity. In no time they begin a discussion about their new-found beliefs, remarking with incredulity how they had ever believed all the irrational premises and contradictions of atheism:
'I don't know how i could have ever thought that'
'I know it seemed very logical at the time, but now i realize how much my emotions tampered with my
better judgement'
'It clearly wasn't based on reason. It was so highly unscientific and so full of contradiction'
Sitting in that room listening to those men what would be your first thoughts?
You could just decide flat out that they were wrong, that they were the ones making faulty assumptions based on claims with no evidence.
However, this would be very small-minded of you. (To put in a different way, it would be mighty Christian of you.)
But these men aren't stupid, not by a long shot.
If you are like me however, you would use this opportunity to reevaluate your beliefs based on what you are now hearing. The fact is these rational and informed men find atheism ridiculous.
Unlike them you are still an atheist. Your logic makes perfect sense to you but is nonsensical to the men whom i might add are looking retrospectively at your position. Why?

If you take time to follow this thought through you will come to the eventual conclusion that there has to be something that is effectively preventing you from sharing their views. A dividing line perhaps between your views and theirs and you will want to know what that is.

I am a Christian.
I believe wholeheartedly the tenets of my Christianity, not because i was taught believe them but because they make sense to me as an individual. This is not to suggest that other views and religions do not make sense, but that when held up to the scrutiny of my rational mind, i find that tenets of the Christian view are more convincing.
I do not think that i am stupid or in any way mentally impaired. When listening to arguments of the atheistic standpoint i do not feel particularly uninformed. Being a Christian does not make me more intelligent that anybody on this site. I cannot however take the fact that you hold different views as inference that you must know better. If atheism is the inevitable destination of all logical and reasonable thought, then i think and reason as much as anyone. WHY DO I STILL BELIEVE IN GOD?

Your men in a room have made the all-too-common mistake of assuming that theism/atheism are equally valid arguments. They are not. You mention emotions and it is quite easy to determine that the truth is that which continues to be true regardless of any emotional attachment. Gravity is true regardless of whether or not I love it, can the same be said for belief in a deity? Atheism is simply the absence of belief. Give an atheist satisfactory evidence in support of your belief and they will convert because they have no emotional attachment to their position. Point to the obvious flaws in the 'evidence' presented for the existence of any deity and the believer will become defensive and often angry because they have an enormous emotional investment in their belief.

You still believe in god because you were raised that way and that has resulted in an enormous emotional attachment to your belief, so much so that whilst you apply reason and logic to other things in your everyday life your belief system is off in a compartment to which you unconsciously do not apply reason or logic.

...Let me respectfully rephrase my statement anyway: 'The rejection of any idea must be done under the premise that a separate, and contrary idea is true.'

That's isn't actually true. I can reject the idea of Santa without replacing him with an alternative. For the avoidance of doubt non-belief in Santa is not a contrary idea, simply an absence of belief in Santa and there is no burden of proof on me. If I wanted to present a contrary idea then the burden of proof would fall on me to present evidence in support of my position. Theism/atheism are not two sides of the same coin.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:16 AM »
Good post hickdive.  I'm reminded of this quote:

When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.  (Richard Dawkins)
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Offline hickdive

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2013, 12:50:39 PM »
TLDNR

That said, one thing did spring out i.e. your references to Dawkins and Crick asserting that DNA must be the result of a designing intelligence; citations please.

Thanks.

PS this is WWGHA, perhaps you should answer that here rather than another site's questions, just out of politeness.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2013, 04:55:36 PM »
Hickdive...what post is that responding to?
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Offline hickdive

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2013, 06:08:03 AM »
Sebastian Howard put his long-winded post into this thread and I responded to it here.

Unfortunately, I hit submit just as a mod created a new thread and moved his post there; leaving my response above looking forlorn and irrelevant :-(
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2013, 09:10:36 AM »
If you give me the link, I can put your reply where it belongs.
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Offline hickdive

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2013, 01:35:43 PM »
Thanks but I think my request for citation of the Dawkins/Crick panspermia allegation has been covered in topic by others.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Can someone explain why I still believe in God?
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2013, 11:21:30 AM »
So Bluecolor, you took the time to make a lengthy O/P, and numerous people have replied.  Why the disappearance?
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