Author Topic: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?  (Read 25327 times)

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Offline Anfauglir

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I find this over and over again on this forum - what seems to be the simplest and directest question takes pages and pages of dodging and backsliding and ignoring until - maybe - you finally get an answer.

I'm sure there is a lot of discussion to be had about the psychology of it all, but I'm interested in a different question.

If there IS a god out there, and that god is as just and right and GOOD as most believers would have us believe - then why is all the dodging necessary in the first place?  Surely a god so good, so perfect, so right, would lead to discussions along the lines of:

Anfauglir: Can you explain why your god.....
Believer: (firmly) Yes.  It is because.....(specific and direct answer).
Anfauglir:  Ah, I see - that makes perfect sense.  Thank you.

Now THAT kind of god - the one where there was no need to dodge, no need to prevaricate, no need to shy away from "awkward" questions......THAT is a god that I could really get behind.  But these gods who are so tricksy, so convoluted, so demonstrative of so many negative behaviours that their believers have to dodge the questions and go into such lengthy apologetics......well, there just seems something suspicious about it all.

A truly good, truly godly god, would be very unlikely to raise any of these questions in the first place.  And it certainly wouldn't require the degree of evasion and goal-post shifting that we see so much of on these forums. 

If there was a truly good and godly god, it would be clear.  No nagging doubts, no endless arguments.  It would be clear and obvious to all.  The fact that it isn't may not necessarily mean there isn't a god out there.  But it sure makes it clear that there is something seriously wrong with the picture.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 04:36:26 AM »
A.D.D.  ??

Anfauglir:  Can you explain why your god...
Believer: (firmly) Yes.  It is because... Squirrel!!!
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 04:38:55 AM »
I think it's because that, deep down, theists know their god is a bunch of BS. Same reason they avoid going to heaven at all costs by, for example, looking at both sides of the street before crossing it, taking antibiotics (based on the theory of evolution, if I might add). In fact, the theists who act as if they actually believed what they claim to believe are few. Those are the ones that make the news by letting their kids die instead of getting medical help.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline William

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 05:00:23 AM »
I think it's because that, deep down, theists know their god is a bunch of BS.

I doubt they'd agree their god is a bunch of BS but they sure know how to exploit the depth and generous spread of the BS at their disposal :laugh:  Their ability to make and defend emphatic statements of faith depends entirely on the slippery uncertainty of their foundations.
Challenge anything they say and they can just dodge behind the shelter of some other biblical quote or piece of theological excusiology, or invent some brand new BS of their own right on the spot  :laugh:

Just recently I re-watched this old but awesome lecture by Sapolsky:

He gives a pertinent and useful description of the schizotypal personality, and the characteristics of the shaman - very useful insights into the human types and motives of the never-ending supply of theists marching against reason.
Git mit uns

Online LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 05:23:38 AM »
I think it's because that, deep down, theists know their god is a bunch of BS. Same reason they avoid going to heaven at all costs by, for example, looking at both sides of the street before crossing it, taking antibiotics (based on the theory of evolution, if I might add). In fact, the theists who act as if they actually believed what they claim to believe are few. Those are the ones that make the news by letting their kids die instead of getting medical help.

I disagree.  I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.  And I acted as if I believed.  I don't act any different now.  I have the same core values.  I just don't expect any god to help me.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 05:24:01 AM »
I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.

Can I ask, when (if?) you encountered the kind of sustained questioning that goes on on this forum, did you find yourself having to avoid addressing certain questions?  Did you feel that you were giving direct and pertinent answers?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline One Above All

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 05:26:43 AM »
I disagree.  I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.  And I acted as if I believed.  I don't act any different now.  I have the same core values.  I just don't expect any god to help me.

Your actions say otherwise. Why didn't you get a job clearing minefields, for example? Help people and have a higher chance of being taken to heaven early. Unless you didn't believe in an afterlife. Still, the chance to help poor people should be higher on your list than, say, helping yourself.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Online LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 05:30:59 AM »
I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.

Can I ask, when (if?) you encountered the kind of sustained questioning that goes on on this forum, did you find yourself having to avoid addressing certain questions?  Did you feel that you were giving direct and pertinent answers?

I tried but I found having my beliefs questioned frustrating to the point that I just preferred to stay out of challenging discussions and hang around in jokes and chatter or social discussions where I could contribute positively.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 05:36:56 AM »
I disagree.  I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.  And I acted as if I believed.  I don't act any different now.  I have the same core values.  I just don't expect any god to help me.

Your actions say otherwise. Why didn't you get a job clearing minefields, for example? Help people and have a higher chance of being taken to heaven early. Unless you didn't believe in an afterlife. Still, the chance to help poor people should be higher on your list than, say, helping yourself.

Well, I was in a war; worked in a refugee camp.  Not quite a minefield.  Was a homecare nurse until my employer threw me under the bus for being sick.  Used to always get chastised for keeping cases open too long.  I wasn't a fundie.  Didn't think you had to be "righteous" to get to heaven.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 05:42:07 AM »
Well, I was in a war; worked in a refugee camp.  Not quite a minefield.  Was a homecare nurse until my employer threw me under the bus for being sick.  Used to always get chastised for keeping cases open too long.  I wasn't a fundie.  Didn't think you had to be "righteous" to get to heaven.

My apologies. I was wrong.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline junebug72

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 06:02:39 AM »
First of all questions, about the origins of life are not simple questions.

Second they are defending their man made religions.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_paine.html#XXwlhVIMq06zWg2d.99

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 06:07:16 AM »
Well, I was in a war; worked in a refugee camp.  Not quite a minefield.  Was a homecare nurse until my employer threw me under the bus for being sick.  Used to always get chastised for keeping cases open too long.  I wasn't a fundie.  Didn't think you had to be "righteous" to get to heaven.

My apologies. I was wrong.

No worries.  Will stop at eating babies, though.  My cholesterol is too high.   ;)
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 06:10:57 AM »
No worries.  Will stop at eating babies, though.  My cholesterol is too high.   ;)

Dunno about mine. I just came back from a blood test, actually. I hate having needles shoved into my body, but it's necessary to do a check-up every now and then. I hope my cholesterol isn't high from eating all those cheeseburgers[1].
 1. I haven't had any in years, so now I miss them.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 09:19:47 AM »
Second they are defending their man made religions.

If I made a religion, it wouldn't be so shitty that I couldn't explain nearly everything. I think it's because many men made it, via committee.



Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 09:22:05 AM »
Can I ask, when (if?) you encountered the kind of sustained questioning that goes on on this forum, did you find yourself having to avoid addressing certain questions? 
I will jump in on this one too, since I officially swore off gods/belief about 6 months ago... 
I never encountered the straightforward questions like I see here.  I ran into unbelievers, but they were never ones to challenge my fundie views.  I had questions wallowing around in my mind for years - beginnings of what you see on here (especially about things I read in the bible), but I shelved them and tried to build my faith.

Quote
Did you feel that you were giving direct and pertinent answers?

I guess I have to point out my experieince in the evangelical community (especially the more fundie and this is across numerous churches/cities I've been in) tend to circle jerk a lot, so they never hear real questions from the "outside." 

I think that's why you see a few of them show up here, give broad, rambling sermon-type pronouncements and then leave in a huff the first time the "godless" respond.  They are used to the circle jerk where everyone nods their head at their SPAG brilliance and quotes another personal favorite verse.  It's really a sick scenario, from what I can SEE now stepping out of it.

I once "thought" answers like "well, you won't see that becasue you don't have faith or god hasn't opened your eyes," or the "fool says in his heart there is no god" were the end all type statements - debate over. 

I struggle now with a creeping self-loathing that I believed all that stuff for so long and was such a dunce... yuck
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Energized

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2013, 11:19:20 AM »

....

If there was a truly good and godly god, it would be clear.  No nagging doubts, no endless arguments.  It would be clear and obvious to all.  The fact that it isn't may not necessarily mean there isn't a god out there.  But it sure makes it clear that there is something seriously wrong with the picture.

But that's their "out", isn't it?

The whole of the new testament rams home the notion of faith in what can't be seen. It's such a common theme with the gospels of MMLJ. Have faith and you can move mountain, believe I am who I say I am, etc... With this repetitiveness, it's almost as though the fundie expects things NOT to be clear because they have to have faith to gain their heavenly riches.

What I find more irritating are the fundies who don't give the answer of "I don't know" and leave it at that. They come here (and elsewhere) thinking they're going to convert everyone to their religion and they do it in such a smug and prideful (sinful) way that they can't admit that they don't have an answer to a question you pose. They have to have the last and final word. Look at any of the debates between the fundie anchors on Fox (Faux) News and the atheists. When the atheist is clearly making more sense than the anchor, the anchor blathers on and on at the end and cuts the atheist off by going to commercial.

Happens. Every. Fucking. Time.

Psychologically, I tend to agree with OneAboveAll - perhaps deep down they don't really believe, but they have to win the argument at any cost to keep up the charade.

I have had discussions on a lot boards over theology and if the christian I am "debating" says "I don't know" I usually stop the debate and thank them for an honest answer. If they're being genuine with this admission, my hope is that the doubt will fester to the point they start to question the rest of the bullshit they believe.

Seriously, fundies - "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable response to a question. If you can't admit you don't know and start shifting goalposts, you lose what little respect you'd gained up until that point.

E.
'O pitiful shadow lost in the darkness,
Bringing torment and pain to others.
O damned soul wallowing in your sin.
Perhaps it is time to die?'

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2013, 11:21:46 AM »


I struggle now with a creeping self-loathing that I believed all that stuff for so long and was such a dunce... yuck

I don't choose to feel that way.  I prefer to put God/Jesus on the shelf with Santa Claus.  Someone who served a purpose in my life for a while but now doesn't.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Energized

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2013, 11:30:14 AM »

I struggle now with a creeping self-loathing that I believed all that stuff for so long and was such a dunce... yuck

Me too. When I think of the relationships I ruined with this nonsense I feel so guilty.

E.
'O pitiful shadow lost in the darkness,
Bringing torment and pain to others.
O damned soul wallowing in your sin.
Perhaps it is time to die?'

~Enma Ai, Jigoku Shoujo

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2013, 02:14:08 PM »
Can I ask, when (if?) you encountered the kind of sustained questioning that goes on on this forum, did you find yourself having to avoid addressing certain questions? Did you feel that you were giving direct and pertinent answers?

At the time, I did not think I avoided anything and I thought all of my answers were direct and on point, but looking back, I can see a lot more circular reasoning and obfuscation that I had no idea I was doing at the time. I believe that at times, our faith and convictions no manner what they are placed in can be hindering to our ability to think and process data efficiently and correctly. Our brains seem wired to find ways of confirming what we believe and that is why I think change can be such a difficult process.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 03:04:49 PM by Truth OT »

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2013, 02:51:23 PM »
Showing up here, where there are tens of thousands (well, a few dozen) potential converts, and most believers seem to say to themselves "Wowsers, this should be easy!" Apparently it isn't.

I can't speak from experience because what little belief I had was long, long ago. But I've always sort of assumed that those who really believe do so without giving the subject much thought, and they have no idea how unset in stone their own justifications are. Let alone anything about how inadequate their self-knowledge about their own religious mind is. 

Mostly because they've never really thought about it, and hence they soon find themselves tripping over their own words as they try to put them in a form that both they and we can understand. Which apparently is not possible. So they hope that we atheists will say something that qualifies as useful feedback, of the positive variety, of course. We keep forgetting to do that.

But since they are mired in their own misplaced certainty, there isn't much else they can do. Except leave in frustration. Which most end up doing.
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Online nogodsforme

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2013, 04:07:20 PM »
Remembering my JW days (years) I can tell you that we were instructed not to listen to any kind of arguments that might undermine our commitment to the religion. We were not to associate with unbelievers except when actively Witnessing. And, when Witnessing, we were not to engage the sinner directly in real conversation, ie, do not listen and respond to what they said or give real answers to questions. We had our script, literally memorized and rehearsed ahead of time; we were supposed to work it into the discussion, no matter what the person said. 

It was like hard sell sales training: don't accept no for an answer, overcome any objections by repeating the features of the product, and if the person is not receptive, do not waste time in conversation. Move on.

That's why I distinguish the JW's from sneaky (and wealthier) cults like the Moonies and Scientology. There are no front organizations, celebrities or newspapers like the Washington Times to overtly or covertly promote JW viewpoints. We never lied to people about why we were on their doorstep; we never "love-bombed"  lonely teenagers, or tried to con all a person's inheritance money out of them.   We did not have any secret agenda or tricking people into coming to a Kingdom Hall and then not letting them leave. With the JW's you know exactly what you are getting into. And yet, people still join! Amazing. :P

So, JW's don't pay any attention to opposing viewpoints. Like Mormons, we mainly associated with our own kind and were proud of being apart from the sinful worldly world. Not many real deal JW's are going to show up here, because they are told to be afraid of being tricked by the devil into listening to atheistic arguments that might even appear to have some truth in them. :o
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2013, 04:19:59 PM »
That's why I distinguish the JW's from sneaky (and wealthier) cults like the Moonies and Scientology.
I think it's known to a lot of forum members that I am going through a lot of crap right now.  Well one of the people who has actually shown me support is my friendly neighborhood JW saleslady.  When my power got turned off she did more than pray.  She brought me candles and 2 bags of ice.  She stops by regularly to see how I'm doing.  Yes, she prays.  But she acknowledges that my doubts can be directly attributed to absence of victory in my life.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2013, 05:16:40 PM »
That's why I distinguish the JW's from sneaky (and wealthier) cults like the Moonies and Scientology.
I think it's known to a lot of forum members that I am going through a lot of crap right now.  Well one of the people who has actually shown me support is my friendly neighborhood JW saleslady.  When my power got turned off she did more than pray.  She brought me candles and 2 bags of ice.  She stops by regularly to see how I'm doing.  Yes, she prays.  But she acknowledges that my doubts can be directly attributed to absence of victory in my life.

I never said JW's are not nice people. At least JW's are good for something, if only candles and ice.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 03:51:29 AM »
If there was a truly good and godly god, it would be clear.  No nagging doubts, no endless arguments.  It would be clear and obvious to all.  The fact that it isn't may not necessarily mean there isn't a god out there.  But it sure makes it clear that there is something seriously wrong with the picture.

But that's their "out", isn't it?

The whole of the new testament rams home the notion of faith in what can't be seen. It's such a common theme with the gospels of MMLJ. Have faith and you can move mountain, believe I am who I say I am, etc... With this repetitiveness, it's almost as though the fundie expects things NOT to be clear because they have to have faith to gain their heavenly riches.

I can see where they are coming from - but again, it's shading my point.  A super-loving godly god, worthy of being called GOD, would not require any apologetics, any mystery, any twisty thinking.  It would just be, end of.

I can see what Paul was heading towards in his point about the obviousness of god in everything there is, and I absolutely agree: we SHOULD be able to see god, in everything, all the time, without thinking or faith or "yes with an if or no with a but", as the good Rev.Lovejoy said.  But the trouble is that we do not.  No "proper" god is as clearly evident in everything as it ought to be. 

Like....imagine the best interior designer in the world.  If you walked into one of his houses, you'd see how every single thing fit together.  Every piece would match, every colour perfectly complement it all.  There would be no jarring colours, no unfinished bits, no live wires hanging out - it would all be 100% right.  Not the best analogy, but I hope its clear what I mean.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline epidemic

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 07:27:07 AM »
I think it's because that, deep down, theists know their god is a bunch of BS. Same reason they avoid going to heaven at all costs by, for example, looking at both sides of the street before crossing it, taking antibiotics (based on the theory of evolution, if I might add). In fact, the theists who act as if they actually believed what they claim to believe are few. Those are the ones that make the news by letting their kids die instead of getting medical help.

Well actually they do not have to believe their god is imaginary to have difficulty answering your questions.  The get our of Jail card for theists and the religious is simple.  God works in mysterious ways.  just like no one here can explain the initial origins of the universe, you simply press the I believe button that the universe came into existence by what ever means. 

So ask a religious believer, Why did god let that baby die, they can answer "because there was a purpose we can not understand at this moment." 

Some times they get roped into explaining something they thought they understood only to find out that it really was just another of gods wonderous mysteries.

Offline El Guapo

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2013, 08:05:59 AM »

I agree with epidemic. 

To quote Dawkins “I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.”
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 08:07:35 AM by El Guapo »

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2013, 09:55:28 AM »
The get our of Jail card for theists and the religious is simple.  God works in mysterious ways.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's a good thing that god operates in mysterious ways. Otherwise the religious would have no way to explain anything.
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2013, 10:55:15 AM »
If there was a truly good and godly god, it would be clear.  No nagging doubts, no endless arguments....

I saw a sign outside a church the other day; it read:  "Feed your faith, and your doubts will starve to death".  To the theist/believer, this adage sounds good, makes sense, and something to strive for.  Unfortunately, they do so with the false idea that "faith" is a good thing.  I think that a good working definition for faith is: "The effort to believe that which you know is not true".

And added to that, they feel that doubt is a bad thing, when in fact (as other adages suggest):

"Modest doubt is the beacon of the wise"

"Doubt is the mother of all knowledge."


So it is very saddening that the theist will view that sign with approval.  What it's really saying is: "Don't think critically"  "Just believe"  "Turn off your brain and succumb to the intoxicating stupor of faith".  "Feed your effort to believe that which you know isn't true, and the cognitive dissonance will fade."

So sad.
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Offline Danohk

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Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2013, 11:56:54 AM »
The world is filled with unreasonable people who have not thoroughly examined their positions.
I'm from the 80s, and the internet.  In that order.