Why do you believe in god?

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Khethil
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 05:00 am
@Justin,
Good stuff!

I don't, at all. But I'm hoping its ok that I answer "... why I think some do" from my perspective;


  • ... because it fills a void
  • ... because it feels good
  • ... because 'this can't be all that I am!'
  • ... because the prospect of no continuance is too horrible
  • ... because everything seems to 'just fit'
  • ... because so much happens that isn't explainable


Thanks
 
MITech
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 12:38 pm
@Khethil,
But we have been able to prove everything that we don't know from science. Like how the earth was created or is the world flat or round.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 01:33 pm
@MITech,
There is always going to be something unexplainable, MIT. Otherwise, there would be no explaining in the first place. As Kethril said, it fills a void. Some people are greatly affected by this, other are not.

I don't see a void, I don't even see a point!, with God anyways. Science cannot ever prove everything in my opinion, because I'd be compelled to live a less boring frame of mind if you know what I mean.
 
MITech
 
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 04:44 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Why can't science prove everything? It only takes time that's all, even if its an infinite amount of time.

People may want answers now, but why through this crazy idea of God? Science has beeen able to show a finite reason for wehy things are the way they are. God is just theis irrational entity which does make sense to be the reason for anything or to fill any void. Its lack of thinking.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 12:32 pm
@MITech,
Quote:
I can see where faith would be a form of trust. Trusting that your pastor or preacher is right and thus doing what he says, which is to have faith in not only the man who is telling you to have faith but to have faith in God. Faith in God is determined by which God you are being led to have faith in.


Perhaps, but I have another take.

Visionary experience is rare, and mystical experience even less common. Both are well outside the mainstream; most visionaries and mystics are laughed at in their own time, only to become internationally popular long after their passing. These people will need a great deal of faith to stand up to the ridicule. The faith is in the reality of the experience. The visionary has his experience and paints or composes a piece of music. The mystic has his experience and calls it Heaven or Hell, Nirvana, God, Satan, ect.

Certainly, people can have faith in a pastor's words, or in the popular dogma. But there is another kind of faith to be considered. Most people probably think their faith should involve blind belief in someone or something, and they probably prefer life this way. But I think if we look at the visionaries, many of them subjecting themselves to absolute poverty so that they might work, we see that their art is something beyond the art of most. And if we look at the great mystics we see that their sort of faith was quite different than the faith of most people.

Quote:
Why can't science prove everything? It only takes time that's all, even if its an infinite amount of time.

People may want answers now, but why through this crazy idea of God? Science has beeen able to show a finite reason for wehy things are the way they are. God is just theis irrational entity which does make sense to be the reason for anything or to fill any void. Its lack of thinking.


Science can prove everything and still not answer every question. How will science tell me which career will make me the happiest? How will science tell me who to marry?

Does the notion of God answer questions, or the experience? See, the idea of God cannot answer any significant questions about life. It's just an idea.

Science can tell us a great deal, but what's the point? Belief in God does not necessarily contradict anything science has established. You say God is irrational, how so? We have to be careful, because some conceptions of God are irrational and absurd, but not all. So let me rephrase the question: is there not a single notion of God that is rational?

Belief in God does not suggest an absence of thought - just look at Aristotle, St. Augustine, Dante, and the countless other theists who managed to think a great deal.
 
ariciunervos
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 02:31 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
How will science tell me which career will make me the happiest?

How can science tell you what will happen in the future ? This sounds more like a question for a gypsy woman and her crystal ball. Science could only speculate on the subject. If you provide some answers like what your talents and aptitudes are, what country, city and ...environment you grew up in, what expectations you have from life, what you consider 'happiness' to be, etc, then science can aggregate those answers, press the result against some statistical, sociological and psychological data or studies and spit out a speculative answer. However it won't predict you will accidentally infect and kill your family with a virus you brought home from work, if the answer was `virus researcher'.

Of course science can't predict the future with absolute certainty, what kind of question is that ? Is it even worth asking ? Is it a scientific question ? Predicting earthquakes and hurricanes is useful, I agree, but why would you want to know what your birthday gifts are before you get them ? But it's not about the birthday gifts, it's about more important stuff. Future job, future wife, future happiness. The future is scary stuff, isn't it ? Damn science can't predict the future with certainty and we must take risks and possibly end up unhappy.

What is it with this insecurity about the future ? Isn't this insecurity what led to imagining a "Divine Plan" we all are here to fulfill ? If something good happens to us we "thank God". If something bad happens then "God works in mysterious ways". Either way, we have God holding our hand. How about death ? After-life ? The future is scary stuff.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
How will science tell me who to marry?

Who to marry in order to ... what ? Have healthy children and perpetuate the human specie ? I'm sure a geneticist could give you some pointers. Also a bearded dude who lived in the eighteen thousands in Austria would tell you that you want to marry your mother and you don't even realize it.


Didymos Thomas wrote:
Science can prove everything and still not answer every question.

You can't expect science to answer unanswerable questions like "Why stuff exists instead of nothing ?" or "If God's existence is infinite in time what did he do for an infinity of seconds before creating Man ? And how could an infinite number of seconds have passed until he created Man ? Isn't infinite time never ending in duration ?" These questions can't be answered by any means with any certainty, they're outside the scope of science.

What if the first intelligent member of the human species had the knowledge that the universe has always existed, that it goes through cycles of expansions and collapses and that life can appear and evolve from basic minerals in the right conditions. Would he ever think of gods if he had all these answers about his environment ? What if he was immortal ? No need for afterlife either. No death myths, no creation myths. No religion. But the first intelligent member of the human species was a mortal uninformed dumbass so guess what ! :whoa-dude:

What if, in year 310,000, when quantum mechanics are fully understood by a 3 days old person, we will be able to create atoms out of thin air, then make molecules and macromolecules from those atoms, and then proteins and life ? What if we find a way to "download" memories to new cloned bodies by rearranging the neurons in the 'empty' brains and essentially live forever ? What if we can create planets and galaxies and know the history of the universe to second zero. Can we then conclude we are gods in the sense we speak of gods today ? If so, what would drive us to think of another being, just like us, to worship and call God ?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 05:27 pm
@ariciunervos,
ariciunervos - I think you missed my point. My point was that science cannot answer all of man's questions. MITech asked "Why can't science prove everything?" and I explained, at least to some degree, the inability of science to answer all of man's questions.

Quote:
What if the first intelligent member of the human species had the knowledge that the universe has always existed, that it goes through cycles of expansions and collapses and that life can appear and evolve from basic minerals in the right conditions. Would he ever think of gods if he had all these answers about his environment ? What if he was immortal ? No need for afterlife either. No death myths, no creation myths. No religion. But the first intelligent member of the human species was a mortal uninformed dumbass so guess what !


I'd suggest looking into Buddhism. As a general rule, Buddhism does a wonderful job showing that science and religion are not contradictory, but that science and religion each have their place.

Sure, if the first man knew today's modern science religion would still exist. Not because of ignorance, but because man has spiritual needs. It's part of human nature.
 
ariciunervos
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 06:58 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:

Sure, if the first man knew today's modern science religion would still exist. Not because of ignorance, but because man has spiritual needs. It's part of human nature.


Spiritual need... hmmmmm... I know you don't like my "believers need an imaginary friend" theory but ... There's no actual need for belief in gods in humans similar to the need of mating or socializing, for example. It isn't an evolutionary trait of homo sapiens, unless you want to call atheists dysfunctional (or less of a Man) for not having this spiritual need "man has", as you put it, a need that is "part of human nature". And how do you explain that there are more and more atheists instead of believers, shouldn't it go the other way around in order to fulfill this need ?

It is a psychological need none the less, to that I agree, but it's not innate to humans and is based, in my opinion, on essentially nothing except Man's fear of the uncertain, of pain, death, on the perception of being isolated in his own mind, small and insignificant compared to the universe. Where do you think this "need" comes from ? What is its purpose ? What part of the mind or body does it satisfy in order for it to be a necessity or need ? How about that imaginary all powerful friend ? Very Happy
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:20 pm
@ariciunervos,
Quote:
Spiritual need... hmmmmm... I know you don't like my "believers need an imaginary friend" theory but ... There's no actual need for belief in gods in humans similar to the need of mating or socializing, for example. It isn't an evolutionary trait of homo sapiens, unless you want to call atheists dysfunctional (or less of a Man) for not having this spiritual need "man has", as you put it, a need that is "part of human nature". And how do you explain that there are more and more atheists instead of believers, shouldn't it go the other way around in order to fulfill this need ?


Man's spiritual needs do not require god. Man's spiritual needs can be cared for without the notion altogether. Atheism only refers to an individual's belief about god, and has nothing to do with an individual's spirituality.

And, yes, there seems to be an actual need for spirituality among human kind, just as there is a need for socialization. Spirituality seems to be a unique evolutionary trait for homo spaiens. Atheists are not necessarily dysfunctional, they simply fill their spiritual need without god. Nothing wrong with that.

Quote:
It is a psychological need none the less, to that I agree, but it's not innate to humans and is based, in my opinion, on essentially nothing except Man's fear of the uncertain, of pain, death, on the perception of being isolated in his own mind, small and insignificant compared to the universe. Where do you think this "need" comes from ? What is its purpose ? What part of the mind or body does it satisfy in order for it to be a necessity or need ? How about that imaginary all powerful friend ?


First, reducing god to an "imaginary, all powerful friend" is a negative stretch.

But to the point - yes, man fears the uncertain, he fears pain and death, and the feeling of insignificance. These fears are part of the human condition, no? Because these fears are part of the human condition, humans must find a way to deal with these fears; religion and spirituality address these fears. These fears cannot be ignored, they have to be addressed in one way or another. Sometimes religion/spirituality fails to address these fears in a healthy way, other times religion/spirituality succeeds in addressing these fears in a healthy way. Religion/spirituality isn't the problem, it's the way we pursue religion/spirituality. Like politics, when properly practiced, religion is wonderful, but when abused, terrible.
 
ariciunervos
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 07:56 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Because these fears are part of the human condition, humans must find a way to deal with these fears; religion and spirituality address these fears.

So, being unable to rationalize this 'fear' by accepting the properties of the universe as we observe it, with its infinite size, and the concepts of life, the uncertainty of the future, with only death being certain (as observed in nature), homo sapiens brings in supernatural, unnatural, unreasonable concepts, that exist solely in his fearful mind, concepts needed to calm these irrational fears.

I know a good one, how about an all powerful, all knowing, `best that can be' man in the sky that created us, watches over us and takes care of us during our life, sends guardian angels to guard us and most importantly guarantees the immortality of our minds even after our brains become worm food. A real friend one might say! I move to rename the species to homo stupidus. All in favor ? Very Happy
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 08:23 pm
@ariciunervos,
Quote:
So, being unable to rationalize this 'fear' by accepting the properties of the universe as we observe it, with its infinite size, and the concepts of life, the uncertainty of the future, with only death being certain (as observed in nature), homo sapiens brings in supernatural, unnatural, unreasonable concepts, that exist solely in his fearful mind, concepts needed to calm these irrational fears.


I do not suggest that mankind is unable to rationalize these various fears. However, I would like to suggest that rationalization is insufficient when dealing with these fears. I can rationalize all I like, but just because some thought is intellectually sounds does not mean that the though carries weight in practice. For example, someone may be intellectually sound about hard determinism yet also feel and act as though they were free and not bound by hard determinism. Religion/spirituality does beyond just rationalization; religion/spirituality tends to offer methods that cultivate direct understanding of the human condition. So, instead of being intellectual scape-goats, religion/spirituality often offer the human being the opportunity to cultivate right understanding and right belief in a visceral way, in a way that allows him to deal with these fears on a day to day basis, and not just when rational arguments bombard him. We have to understand something here; some people have a deeper reaction to rational arguments than others. I know people who need nothing more than a rational argument and their whole lives seem to shift. Others require an experiential understanding. Religion/spirituality, at its best, provides that experiential understanding.

Quote:
I know a good one, how about an all powerful, all knowing, `best that can be' man in the sky that created us, watches over us and takes care of us during our life, sends guardian angels to guard us and most importantly guarantees the immortality of our minds even after our brains become worm food. A real friend one might say! I move to rename the species to homo stupidus. All in favor ?


Unanimous consent will not be found today. I have some serious theological concerns with the suggestion.

What is "all-powerful"?
What is "all-knowing"?
What is the "best that can be"?
What is a "man in the sky"?
What are "guardian angels"?
What is "immortality"?

A plethora of serious answers can be given for each of these questions. Some, under scrutiny, prove to be rather silly. Other answers might have some merit. But this gets to an essential question: Can man, with precise accuracy, express God in language?
 
averroes
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 08:00 pm
@astrotheological,
Though I am Christian/borderline Agnostic, what makes me believe that there is some higher authority is that when you look at alot of atheists, though they'll never admit it, they seem to be miserable inside. I just think there might be a sign behind that...
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 05:25 pm
@averroes,
averroes wrote:
Though I am Christian/borderline Agnostic, what makes me believe that there is some higher authority is that when you look at alot of atheists, though they'll never admit it, they seem to be miserable inside. I just think there might be a sign behind that...


Yes, many atheists seem to be miserable. But isn't the same true of theists?

I'm not convinced that pure belief in God or lack of belief in God makes any impact on one's happiness. "I believe in God" is not a magical happy phrase.

I do think that religion/spirituality offers a great deal of techniques and practices to help alleviate suffering. Seems to me that many atheists, especially the more militant ones, reject any and all spiritual notions - which means they reject those practices that could help them. Even the atheist has spiritual needs.

If the whole God thing doesn't make sense to you, Buddhism is a great tradition to check up on. I wish more atheists would understand that, God or not, we all have spiritual needs.
 
xris
 
Reply Thu 27 Nov, 2008 06:09 am
@Didymos Thomas,
im an agnostic and have a spiritual need and by experience believe that the soul is a possibility..my logical brain will not allow me to go further than that...if i did i would be lying to myself and be submitting to blind faith...how do those who believe overcome their inability to prove gods existance? Need and conviction can not be compatible for very long surely..
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 12:33 am
@xris,
God is a word. Nothing more than a word. The word represents an experience. Who cares which word someone decides to use? That's why I don't dispute atheists - it's perfectly fine to explain this experience without the use of deities. For me, the concept of God is useful. That's all.

From a purely logical perspective, agnosticism is the most appropriate position.
 
 

 
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