Thanks for making me feel welcome, you've all given me alot to think about.
You're quite welcome; that's more acknowledgement than we often get from theist visitors here.
I'm familiar with the Atheistic arguments, they make strong points. The problem being that I'm also familiar with the arguments raised against them. Those that truly question know that there are no sure answers. In most of these cases what serves as evidence is only what one takes as evidence.
Absolute certainty is impossible. We don't reason to know, we reason to challenge what we believe. What we believe is decided truly not by what we know, but by what we can understand.
Absolute certainty is a rare thing, agreed. Still, it's also true that reasonable
certainty is capable of guiding our decisions in most cases. Thus, the titular question of this site.
May I ask why you self-identify as a Christian? What is it about the Christian doctrine that feels so true to you? Have you read the scriptures carefully? That might be a great activity for you, if you have not done so already. And you will certainly hear a lot here about contradictions in the scriptures. It's not so much the Christian doctrine that feels true as it is the Christian God. That above everything is what draws me in.
How are you separating doctrine from god, as the second (according to biblical scripture) dictates the first? The bible is supposedly directly inspired
by your god.
This might likely not make any sense to you but God really changes the way you understand the Bible. The book itself arguably contains some of the most inspired writings in human history. Even if I were to one day abandon Christianity, I would still read it. Ironically, to disbelieve I would have to first stop reading it.
Thanks for the comment.
Can you really not see how circular that is? Even when I was a believer, I found certain things in the bible nonsensical no matter how hard I prayed or studied them: God permitting Satan to torture Job, for instance.
I still find certain passages poetically lovely, and even morally relevant. But those are hardly exclusive to Christianity, and most of them predate it by millennium.
You've been very reasonable and supportive. I would rather not disagree with you, but taking your advise would make me guilty of self-contradiction.
You mentioned the demonization of opposing sides as a tactic used by Christians. No offense, (because i agree) but I find many Atheists to be guilty of that same fallacy.
So do I. You need look no further than the current misogynist shitstorm in the atheist / skeptic community; being an atheist is no guarantee of being civil or logical. I've had my lapses too.
Look at it: the common Atheist mind is indoctrinated (yes indoctrinated) or at least conditioned to the nearly spontaneous assumption that any held religious position is irrational and in some way inferior to his Atheistic position. Adherence to this false assumption gives him the confidence to go on stating his beliefs as if he were right rather than merely in doubt.
Careful, Blue. The one
commonality atheists have is their disbelief in god/s. While I admit to seeing religious belief as irrational, I have clear memories of my own
irrationality in that regard. I also do not hold such beliefs as inferior unless they clearly have a negative impact on someone's life. And disbelief is not
belief, anymore than a vacuum is a solid.
As you rightly said however, a persons confidence in their beliefs should not be mistaken as evidence of superior knowledge (this includes yours).
I believe that God exists, I am in fact confident of this. I however do not take my own self-confidence as an assurance that I am right, nor can I take my doubts as proof that I am wrong.
In truth every statement has to it a degree of uncertainty, this means that it must be tested by something other than itself. For the sake of reason alone, nothing is true and every argument is permitted.
In societies where dissent is permitted, statements should be argued, agreed. However, this does not mean every statement and argument is equal to every other. How well they are supported by actual evidence is the ultimate criterion.
At this point I'd like to thank WRIGHT for that incredibly insightful quote by Robert Heinlein.
You do not come to truth by any logically firm conclusion, you pick the idea that is best suited to your understanding and then you rationalize it. When your reasoning takes center stage, the truth dies.
Which is why rationalization by itself can't go very far. I would say when your prejudices and assumptions
take center stage, truth dies. Or rather, remains obscured. That's why we have empirical reasoning, and its refined form, the scientific method.
What exactly do you mean when you say "god"?My ideas on God are long and complicated, I would rather not discuss them now. Now, I am more worried by the apparent disposition I find in myself to believe those ideas.
Basically though I'm talking about Yahweh.
No offense Blue, but if you're here for insight into how to resolve your worries, discussing your god-beliefs will be unavoidable. Additionally, such reluctance can be seen as deliberate evasiveness to avoid having potential weaknesses in those beliefs pointed out to you. Theists being evasive causes many of the regulars here to bare their fangs. Just sayin'.
Question: If no other human on the planet had god belief, would you?I can't say.
What i can say though is that if every human on this planet including myself had no conception of god at all it would make my decision infinitely easier.
Again, your honesty is appreciated.
Thank you all for the time. Its really nice to be able to get this stuff out.
NP, Bluecolour. Theists who stick around aren't that common here, and you are one of the more honest and thoughtful ones in awhile. I hope you find some of our feedback helpful.