Why should we believe in god.

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Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 09:30 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:

How was the religion of the Incas related to Christianity? Well, other than the fact that the Inca culture was obliterated by Roman Catholic conquistadores...


The same way the Inca people were related to the Catholics who conquered them. It's distant, but the relation is real. Religion evolves over time, and both the Inca tradition and Christian tradition evolved from, ultimately, the same source, the early cults of the Earth Mother and Sky God.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:07 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
The same way the Inca people were related to the Catholics who conquered them. It's distant, but the relation is real. Religion evolves over time, and both the Inca tradition and Christian tradition evolved from, ultimately, the same source, the early cults of the Earth Mother and Sky God.
Having lived in Peru for a month several years ago, I can tell you that these religions have a lot more to do with one another now than they ever did before contact. Go to some of the little villages in the altiplano and you'll see churches that have nativity scenes in which there are alpacas and condors, and in which Jesus and Mary look like they're from Cusco and not Bethlehem. Other religious decorations and beliefs and festivals have been preserved, too. Just like every other 'spreading' religion, there is a neat hybrid that emerges, much the same as a pidgin language.

Now, I doubt that any direct continuity of culture can be resolved between the indigenous religions of the Americas and the indigenous religions of the Middle East and Europe.

It's estimated that the first humans entered the Americas around 30,000 years ago. Clearly many millenia had already passed since any geographic overlap with peoples of the middle east. Furthermore, this is long before the establishment of towns, of agriculture, of sedentary populations, so people almost certainly lived in very small groups.

As you know far better than I, Christianity began as an indigenous religion among a very small group / groups in the levant, and most of the Christian story / tradition was NOT derived from Judaism or Jewish texts -- it was novel. But it hardly matters because 3000 - 4000 years ago the earliest Jews themselves were a small minority group amidst many other indigenous belief traditions.

The same is true for the Incas, who came to be hegemons only very recently (within the last 1000 years).

So the point is that even if you can find genetic and linguistic roots between all humans on earth, so many novel things have been added to so many small groups over so much time that the Inca religion and the Roman Catholic religion really have lost any of the original culture that existed when they diverged.

And if you comb over these traditions and find common beliefs or rituals, it's more likely a convergence of belief (given the roles that religion takes in all societies) than preservation of an original belief. Kind of like how butterflies and chickens both have wings, and they both have common ancestry, but they evolved wings completely independently of one another.
 
UnMechanics
 
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 02:49 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;36765 wrote:
Not everyone has that interpretation. The "virtuous heathens" go to the "Limbo Minimum Security Unit" of Hell. In medieval europe there was great controversy over the question of whether virtuous heathens / virtuous pagans could find a way into Heaven or not, and whether a baby who died before baptism would be saved. So while some believe as you do, your point is not a universally held conclusion nor has it ever been.



Yes but that idea originates from Dante's Inferno, they live in hell in a heaven or sorts except they have no contact with God. It's a idea of fiction, though the modern debate over those who don't believe in God going to heaven is drastically different
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 05:42 pm
@UnMechanics,
Aedes - You make excellent points, but I do not see how they dispute my claim. Again, the relation is distant, but the religions in question evolved from common ancestors. Chimpanzees and humans are quite different, but we both have common ancestors. The relation is much the same between distant religions like Catholicism and the Inca tradition.

You asked how the two were related, and the relation is their common ancestry, however distant.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 08:32 am
@Didymos Thomas,
UnMechanics;36933 wrote:
Yes but that idea originates from Dante's Inferno
No it doesn't, it existed from the earliest days of Christian theology. Thomas could provide better references than I, but this long predates Dante.

Didymos Thomas;36958 wrote:
Again, the relation is distant, but the religions in question evolved from common ancestors. Chimpanzees and humans are quite different, but we both have common ancestors. The relation is much the same between distant religions like Catholicism and the Inca tradition.
Well, I guess my point is that at some level everything is related but for the purposes of this conversation their only significant relation has to do with the ubiquity of spirituality and religion among peoples of the world.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 01:42 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Well, I guess my point is that at some level everything is related but for the purposes of this conversation their only significant relation has to do with the ubiquity of spirituality and religion among peoples of the world.


Which means they have something more in common than one culture colonizing another.

That ubiquity, according to some, is extremely important.
 
awoelt
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:09 pm
@MITech,
If I could prove there was no god (this will never happen) I would tell no one and continue going to church. We need religon in society. Many gospel principles help us in life. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints and I can not name one thing that will not help in life, with or without a god. Even prayer helps. It gives you a good feeling and makes you think a bit. My church beleives this is the Holy Ghost. I agree, but this feeling does happen with or without a god (but this feeling does increase my faith in god along with other things about my church). FYI: my church is known as the Mormons and people have been saying it was us who married little girls to old dudes and still practiced polygamy. We once did preactice polygamy but it was to help us get across the plains.
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 07:10 pm
@MITech,
We only really need religion in society as an omnipotent law system, if the Big Brother state of 1984 comes into being, for example, it renders the thing somewhat less useful than most currently perceive it to be.
 
Miranda phil
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 04:41 pm
@MITech,
Having religion and praying is a good way to escape from reality which, right now, is pretty bad.
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 06:06 pm
@MITech,
They are far better ways to escape reality than prayer. Talk to a God that you create, or set yourself a productive task? Study for an exam, or just for the sake of studying, or maybe make a shelf. All good distractions.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 08:31 pm
@Kolbe,
Kolbe wrote:
They are far better ways to escape reality than prayer. Talk to a God that you create, or set yourself a productive task? Study for an exam, or just for the sake of studying, or maybe make a shelf. All good distractions.


Ah, but setting out on a productive task is no escape from reality but an intentional encounter with reality. The examples you give are examples of engaging reality.

Funny, though, that the same examples you give are also used by some people as religious practice.
 
averroes
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 11:08 am
@MITech,
We don't pray to God just to "escape from reality, we pray to find clarity and answers to problems. God gives us calm in the storm that we call life so that we can have a moment to stop and think of what to do. He doesn't give us answers, He lets us figure ourselves out with a little help.
 
awoelt
 
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2009 05:26 pm
@Kolbe,
Kolbe wrote:
They are far better ways to escape reality than prayer. Talk to a God that you create, or set yourself a productive task? Study for an exam, or just for the sake of studying, or maybe make a shelf. All good distractions.
I did'nt say prayer was the only thing that comes from religon
 
Kolbe
 
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 04:44 pm
@MITech,
And neither did I...I think. It was a while ago. Still all things that can be obtained from religion can be obtained without it. Hell, when I was Catholic it just gave me a low sense of self esteem because what I thought was normal was apparently horribly wrong. That's another thing for another time. Still happiness can be obtained from self worth and learning/training, clarity of mind can be obtained through simple relaxation techniques such as deep breaths. Even the achievement of heaven can be given to those who don't believe.

Averroes, if prayer is god's way of calming the storm of life, why can't we calm it ourselves? Finding a corner to sit in, crossing the legs, breathing deeply and just thinking did for me what it seems prayer does for you. It's more a psychological than spiritual thing, some might say.
 
Jose phil
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 09:37 pm
@MITech,
Should we believe in God because of Pascal's wager?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 05:58 am
@Jose phil,
Jose wrote:
Should we believe in God because of Pascal's wager?


As a theist, I never found his argument to be convincing. Instead, it seems like a remarkably egotistical reason for believing in God.

If God makes sense to you, believe. If not, that's fine too. Keep searching.
 
Jose phil
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 08:12 am
@MITech,
My sentiments exactly. But my Christian friend attempting to convert me has resorted to this tactic.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 03:41 pm
@Jose phil,
I'm not 'young', so I shouldn't be here. But I felt compelled to contribute to this...

Jose wrote:
My sentiments exactly. But my Christian friend attempting to convert me has resorted to this tactic.


Honest belief can't be forced or feigned. It's a natural result of the mind and heart that feels compelled to believe. Using the Wager to try and convince someone to believe is not only fruitless, but counterproductive.

I think you're on a good track - good luck
 
spacemonkey phil
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 07:02 am
@MITech,
MITech wrote:
For all of you religious people out there. Give us atheists a good reason as to why we shoud all believe in a god. What I'm trying to get at is do we even need to believe in a god? What difference would it make if we did or didn't believe in god?


Why should 'I' believe in a God?
As an atheist, I don't, and I suppose the answer a religious person would give to this would vary wildly depending on their beliefs. For example, if you believe that you can only get into heaven if you believe in God, that would factor into your answer. However, many people I know believe in God, but think that as long as you're a good person you can go to heaven - but they argue that God helps you become a good person. In my opinion, I think God can help people become better people (you hear a lot of stories about converted criminals, etc. How true and common these are I don't know, however), but that religion is a double-edged sword; some people think religion 'holds society back', such as attitudes to homophobia.

Why should 'we as a society' believe in God?
My viewpoint on this changes almost daily. Some days I think that society is better with God - it gives people clear (although, some could argue that there are contradictions within religions and that the morals are therefore not very clear) morals and can help get people through tough times. However, I do feel, as an atheist, that humans should be strong enough to 'not need' to believe in God. We should find our morals in other ways, and strengthen our society without the need for God. This, however, is completely based on my atheism, and so I am sure many people will disagree with me - I tend to find arguing over religious matters fairly difficult, because many arguments come back to the basic question of "Does God exist?"

As to what difference believing in God makes, I think it is far too difficult to tell, simply because, while we have had a society that almost unanimously believed in God, we have never had one which did not. Also, discoveries in science, etc., have made it almost impossible to tell what impact varying levels of religious belief in society has had throughout the years. I would also say that, because religion is so varied in nature and the way people respond to it, it is not, in itself, a 'bad' or 'good' thing. I think it can be both, depending on who it affects and how it affects them.
 
grasshopper
 
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 02:44 pm
@MITech,
Untill the end of my life i will be searching and collecting reasons to believe in God. I try to enlarge my point of view as much as i can, getting to know new people, new ideas and new 'worlds', helps a lot. While i am doing this, i feel deep inside that it is worth spending my life for it.
This is the biggest reason why i love God. The feeling i have deep inside, that comes to me while i am exploring and doubting at the same time(doubt: the only way for me to have will to discover something new about God.) is priceless. He is coming to me and with his endless love, welcoming me every time i get back and forswear i will never do them again. Seriously I wouldn't be welcoming a sinner or some jerk like me if i was God. That's why i believe in a higher power.
Maybe you are bigger and you think you are able to embrace all theese, just like God. Tell me how you do that so i will learn how to do it and this way i will be my own God.
Yes we are parts of him, yes we all have goods and bads in us. Thats what makes me believe in God. He is somehow sum of it all while keeping his clearness, pureness and goodness forever.
 
 

 
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