Thanks for making me feel welcome, you've all given me alot to think about.
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.
Even still, everywhere people live with the lesser degree of doubt and a far greater amount of certainty in their beliefs. (I know this because i copied the last sentence of your text and posted it on a Christian network.)
The truth is so full of life.
They all agreed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I like everything you've said so far so I want you to consider some other things:
Rejecting a claim (a supernatural one in this case) is not a "belief".
No, it isn't. And yet while the rejection of a claim is not a belief, the rejection itself must be made on the premises of a separate and contrary belief system.
For example: You reject Christianity, that is not a belief. The fact that you reject Christianity however immediately shows that you have some other ideas you have taken as true that Christianity goes against. If not, you would have no reason and basis to reject it.
Next, while my roommate might sound arrogant to you now, consider that had you been a Christian you probably would have thought him very wise. In the same way many Atheists who might seem informed, intelligent and insightful to you, come across to many Christians, Buddhists and the like as vexatiously arrogant.
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.
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.
When it comes to the question of how accurate a belief is, a person's assurance in their beliefs is irrelevant. The question that matters is, what is the basis for their beliefs; what evidence do they have that their beliefs correspond to reality.
A worldview is as the name implies a point of reference. It refers not to data that I as a person receive but to the preset statements that will determine how i interpret that data.
This being said, what is crucial (you suggest) is the degree to which a persons worldview/belief corresponds with reality. The problem still is that when reality itself is what is under question the situation becomes much more complex.
Therefore you should know upfront that when you enter into any logical debate with a Christian, you will not be arguing the existence of God so much as you will be the Reality of God.
I think that the more fundamental question to ask is not "why," but "what:" What, specifically, do you believe?
I've tried as much as possible to reflect several of my views. As for what i believe concerning my religion, i think the Nicene creed pretty much covers all the basics.
Thank you all for the time. Its really nice to be able to get this stuff out.