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why do you believe

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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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who would have thought a subject would stir up so much debat. much more so than politics and war. why do people care and get upset about what another person believes. i believe certain things and i respect those views of people who dont share my beliefs. we are a free country after all and are allowed to believe in whatever we want without fear of persecution.
i dont shove my beliefs down anyones throat and i expect the same from others.

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Posted : July 4, 2009 11:22 am
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
Trusted Member

i agree with speee1dy.

i enjoy learning more about other people's beliefs and the histories of culture and lifestyle, but i do object to being told that there is something wrong with me because i do not practice as others do.

i realize that many feel it is their duty to "serve" by bringing as many people to their way as possible, but no one has the job of "fixing" me.

i am not perfect, but i do have morals and a conscience. these things can exist outside of a place of worship or outside the watchful eye of the congregation.

so, however you come by your joy, i am happy you are able to achieve it. please allow me to exist as i choose as well.

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Posted : July 4, 2009 12:23 pm
mcdoug
(@mcdoug)
New Member

There was a man that I worked with for years. I knew he had been in prison when I hired him, but he had changed since then. One day after we had become good friends he opened up to me. It seemed at first that all his criminal behavior was a result of a heroin addiction. His crimes had escalated into capital offenses. He was given a 15 year sentence in a maximum security prison. Soon he found himself at odds with other inmates and was also able to continue drug use behind bars. As a result he ended up in isolation in the worse prison in the state. He began to hear a voice that frightened him. Not voices, one voice, that was deep and sinister. At first he thought someone was playing tricks on him, but he soon realized he was the only one that could hear it. The voice demanded that he follow it's command or sometimes it just mocked him. It didn't speak all the time, but when it did it would startle him with it's volume and intensity. He found himself thinking he was crazy. One day while he was shaving the voice told him to slash his throat. He watched in horror as his hand dragged the razor across his throat. It was as if the hand belonged to someone else. The guards found him covered in blood and fighting with himself. After a week in the hospital he was returned to his isolation cell. He hadn't heard the voice in days. That night as he tried to fall asleep the voice suddenly spoke to him shattering his hope that it was over. He looked out the small view he had into the night and started praying to God. He promised that if God would help him he would never use drugs again and would never engage in criminal activity again. Suddenly a cross appeared in the sky and he felt a sense of well being through his whole body. When he finally went to bed he wondered if the the cross was just an illusion or a symptom of insanity. He waited for the voice but it didn't speak to him the next day. He waited for days, but it never spoke to him again. He kept his promise and never used drugs again and he said surprisingly he never felt the need to use them again. I've never forgot this conversation, nor the effect it had on my own life.

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Posted : July 6, 2009 3:22 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

mcdoug, i really like your story. it does show the power of what people believe. i too worked with people who had been in jail for manslaughter. he was the nicest fellow youd ever want to meet. i know manslaughter is different from murder in that it was not intentional. but you get the drift of what im saying. this fellow too turned his life around and made great things of his life the last time i spoke with him.

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Posted : July 6, 2009 2:53 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

The marketplace of ideas has always been a place where the truth claims of Christianity (as well as the evidence that supports them) has flourished. While it is true that we live in a land where we are free to pursue truth wherever it may reside, that freedom does not promise that we will find truth where we wish it to be. If we do not care about reality, we are of course free to to ignore it, but we abuse our freedom when we condemn others who are concerned with truth and who attempt to vigorously pursue it in the maketplace of ideas.

I for one want to know whether or not what I hold to as truth is in fact true. To at least a high degree of probability I can only know this if there is good objective evidence for it. Experience of others (or even of my own) might be interesting and thought provoking, but wthout the ability to verify them or even interpret them, they provide no real objective evidence. The subjective can help to confirm truth as truth, but it cannot establish truth as truth. If what I understand to be truth cannot be supported with objective facts, then I have no reason to continue to hold it as such.

That is not to say that what I hold as truth I have come to do so lightly or haphazardly. On the contrary, truth can be identified as truth precisely because it has the ability to remain resilient in the face of objective criticism. Without rational and objective examination, truth will always remain anonymous and unknowable.

I, therefore, do not see the open and honest quest for truth via open and honest public discussion as persecution or attempts to throat push.

JG

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Posted : July 7, 2009 4:03 pm
Michaelds9
(@Michaelds9)
Advanced Member

How about a thread

What do you KNOW?
Know = provable by scientific method rather than BELIEVE which is an opinion of faith?

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Posted : July 7, 2009 5:46 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

Belief is better defined as being convinced that something is true by supporting evidence that exists for it.

When I say that I believe something, that is what I mean.

JG

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Posted : July 7, 2009 7:16 pm
antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
Advanced Member

Michael:not everything is "provable" in a scientific sense. Science is nothing more than "man's knowledge" and is ever expanding. Things we now understand with science were once just ideas in someone's imagination. Scientific knowledge is great as far as it goes, but it is finite. There is so much more that we don't know and can't prove. God is infinite and will not fit into your nice little boxes to be taken apart and analyzed. That's one reason why I trust God more than I do science.

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Posted : July 7, 2009 8:30 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

Antiqueone,

You are right about the inability of science to demonstrate anything beyond the horizon of its current knowledge base. We know what science has shown to date, but we have no idea what it will be able to show tomorrow and beyond. I am reminded as we discuss this point of the French revolution when those who came into power under the so-called rationalist banner decided that patent offices were no longer necessary because the was nothing of any real value left to invent. 200 years later we can appreciate their folly as we look back on even just the last few decades of exponential scientific / technological development. We take for granted so many things today that would have been considered impossible or miraculous just a short time ago. What will tomorrow bring?

You continue by saying that since science by its very nature is limited, you would prefer to trust what God says rather than science. Again, I am in agreement with you here. However, your words beg THE big questions. Has God spoken? What has He said? And most importantly, How can we know it was really Him?

Now I am sure we both know that He has spoken and that He has given us a fingerprint on His message that let's us know that it was really Him. You did allude to it in one or two of yoir posts, but the issue truly deserves its place as the crux point in any discussion like the one here. That issue is of course this - Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead never to die again, or did he not? The veracity of Christianity stands or falls with the answer to this question.

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Posted : July 8, 2009 1:06 am
stephaniev
(@stephaniev)
Advanced Member

here's my nickel,and yes I expect 2 cents change, I was raised strict mormon,forced to go to church at age 5 I began sneaking out of class to hide in the bathroom until it was over. I have always been taught that "he" will love you no matter what. So then why is it that "he " only looks after me when I'm paying my tithing and attending meetings and functions? I believe organized religon is cult behavior look it up and tell me what you find. To this day my mother,(and I love her very much) is so involved in the church we nover see each other even though we are only an hour apart,it's supposed to be about family,then where's mine? I do believe in somethinge else what is it? I guess we'll all find out eventually.

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Posted : July 8, 2009 6:13 pm
trw
 trw
(@trw)
Expert

amen.steph

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Posted : July 10, 2009 9:47 am
antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
Advanced Member

Stephaniev: The standard for Truth isn't Mormonism.....or Catholicism, Presbyterianism, or Baptism. Each organized religious group tries to understand the Truth of the Gospel, but each misses the mark in one way or another....simply because we are human. The Truth is God's word, the Bible. Many translations, but the original Greek, Hebrew are still available to peruse. King James Bible is nice, but antiquated. English has changed and the meanings of English words have changed. While hearing what others think it says, we are not excused from studying it ourselves to see what it really says. The New International Version, The English Standard Version, The New King James all are easier to read for understanding. It is also good to compare English versions with French, Spanish or Japanese versions if you can.
Stepahiniev, IMHO Mormonism is a cult, which may be why you get the idea that organized religion is cultish behavior. Jim Jones, The Branch Davidians and others are cults as well. Mainline Christianity in the US has often fallen short of the mark, accepting doctrines that don't quite meet up with what the Bible teaches, or emphasizing one set of teachings and minimizing another. (We humans sure are arrogant and strong-willed, aren't we?)

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Posted : July 11, 2009 12:57 pm
Linda from Michigan
(@Linda_from_Michigan)
Trusted Member

AMEN.

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Posted : July 11, 2009 1:17 pm
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
Advanced Member

this is another true story that happened to me.and no i was not being heavily medicated or just imagining. about 15 years ago a fellow insurance agent and i met for breakfast at a bigboy restaurant.after being seated we both went up to the breakfast bar .my friend sat down first and a man mid 40's, with a full head of silver hair comes up to the bar across from me and i look at him and smile and say good morning as i usually do with everyone i meet. he nods and i go sit down at the table where my friend has already started eating his breakfast. within 30 seconds of me sitting down this same gentleman comes up to our table holding a white book in one hand and a blank business card in the other. he says to me' do you know how rare it is for people to do what you just did by smiling and saying good morning to someone they dont know', at this point i reach out to shake his hand and being a man i have never felt a hand like this one .the mans hand was like gripping a soft cottonball.the man was not wimpy looking big frame not fat. ,as he puts the business card on the table he says ' ,would you mind putting your name and a phone number .' i say sure and put my info on the card, but now i'm curious what is on the other side of this business card .so i turn it over and all that is on it is a small cross with three letters surrounding the cross. i hand him back the card and say 'oh are you in the ministry'. he smiles and says 'you could say that 'and puts the business card in the white book ,and turns to walk away. now the fun part people!!!!!! within 3 seconds i turn to see him ,he's gone , no way he could have made it to the checkout and paid in those three seconds, i then turn to my friend and say 'well that was a little strange huh' my friend says' what are you talking about '. i say 'that guy who was just talking to me ' what guy'. my buddy says . my friend didnt see him ,hear him , NOTHING. what was going on in my life ? yes i was feeling the world was messed up and beating myself up. but i think how much that day said to me hang in there this too shall pass. i personally believe this was my guardian angel

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Topic starter Posted : July 11, 2009 2:51 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

"A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence."

David Hume

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Posted : July 14, 2009 3:40 am
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith Faith, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.

believe Be*lieve

v. t. [imp. & p. p. Believed; p. pr. & vb. n. Believing]

To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine. "

==========================

JG - There is no "blind leap" of faith. This is a modern revision of the meaning of the words "belief" & "faith" that is not consistent with their usage and definition in ancient times (i.e. when the testaments found in the Christian Bible were written).

Without clarity on this point, this entire thread becomes a hopeless display of miss-communication because, although all may be using the same word - "believe", those using it are actually using it to mean different things.

Today. in the modern mind, "believing" has become so fully detached from the idea of "knowing" that it has virtually come to mean "to embrace something without any supporting evidence", i.e. the "blind leap" of faith. The original relation of "believing" to "knowing", however, is much more intimate than today's language suggests.

To know something to be true is to have first hand confirmation that it is so. To "believe" something to be true is to consider it so based on convincing supporting evidence. One is not rational (knowing) and the other irrational (belief), but rather one involves having direct confirmation of a proposition's truth (knowing), while the other involves having a high degree of confidence in a proposition's truth that cannot be confirmed directly, but for which there exists persuasive evidence to support its claim to be true. To put things in proper definitional perspective: knowledge deals with surety, belief deals with strong probability.

It needs to be made bluntly clear that without some form of proof that a proposition is, indeed, true, there is no justification for "believing" it to be true in the classical/original sense of the word.

JG

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Posted : July 14, 2009 4:41 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Why has Science continued at Great expense to find the God gene in the Big Bang Theory. Is it because they don't believe, Want to believe, or do believe. Or do you just have blind faith that science has the proof there is no God.

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Posted : July 14, 2009 5:02 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

LIzard,

Are you addressing me with your post?

JG

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Posted : July 14, 2009 5:17 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Ha Ha
It's a general statement to anyone! If you want to respond, please do. However I would prefer you speak from your mind and heart not the Dictionary.

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Posted : July 14, 2009 5:27 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

Lizard,

OK. I can speak from both my mind and my heart, but I generally speak with words (ha ha ;)) and I think it is helpful to define what those words I am speaking actually mean (and what I intend them to mean) especially when so many these days use the same words in a totally different sense.

I do believe, but my belief is not blind, nor is it a leap. I believe in the original (and Biblical) sense of the word, not the modern sense.

That's the important point I was trying to make with my dictionary reference.

JG

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Posted : July 14, 2009 5:42 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Your Better off without the Dictionary. Good Comeback!

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Posted : July 14, 2009 6:26 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

Thanks, Lizard.

Also, please note that the bottom half of my "dictionar;y post" was me speaking (the "JG" part).

JG

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Posted : July 14, 2009 6:29 pm
jogetz
(@jogetz)
Advanced Member

It is a common misconception by many that religion finds its basis on nothing more than "an absolute truth (which is called so) without being observed". For those religions who urge that all their own truth claims must simply be "taken by faith", that is a fair description.

However, to say ALL religions are so is to paint with a broad stereotypical brush. It is encouraging to know that some see this only to be the case with the "basis of most religion". Indeed, not all are of the "take it by faith" category. It would be interesting to know which religions are not considered to be part of the "most". Which one(s?) has "absolute truth" which has been observed?

I submit that Christianity does indeed have an absolute truth which has been observed, and that is why I believe that truth claim.

JG

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Posted : July 17, 2009 4:31 pm
dannyboy
(@dannyboy)
Advanced Member

a man has to know his limitations and i cant compete with the world renowned scientists on the other thread. but i can offer this , when is the last time you saw ,read or personally witnessed anything being evolved? like 25%or 50% of something .where are all those fossils of a percentage of something plant,mammal,human? take the creation before mans impact and wonder how perfect it was .clear clean water everywhere,nature balancing itself. the perfection of each living animal . each possessing the tools it needed to adapt for survival, until it's predator with a higher degree of survivability came along . but it was a balance. then throw in man, with his superior intellect LOL,and the ability to reason,make choices,? did he improve what was ? did he make the water cleaner,the sky bluer,more fish in the ocean? no ,my point is man is limited to his knowledge.my proof is the creation around us.how lucky we are to be exactly far enough away from the sun,how incredible the human body is,how everything just kinda fell right into place man are we lucky or what???? i believe luck didn't have nothin to do with it. and i am in awe of what HE created. no college degree needed for that.

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Topic starter Posted : July 18, 2009 5:28 am
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

Perhaps you do not understand what evolution is. It is a series of small little changes that are positively selected for over a long period of time that eventually accumulate into a more visible change in the organisms characteristics, behavior or physiology. For example, a few thousands of years ago, all humans had three sets of back molar teeth. Now, many people need to have the last set of molars removed (wisdom teeth). Obviously back then dentistry was not around yet people were still able to survive their wisdom teeth coming in. Why? Back in the day, our ancestors had very rough diets that required a lot of chewing. So by the time "middle age" (for them around 15-20, for us, teenage years) approached, the first two molars had actually ground down from all that chewing. Then the back molars would emerge and save the human from certain death--which would have occurred without sufficient teeth for chewing food.

However, as human diets changed, food became softer, and there was no longer any selective pressure on people to have large jaws that could accommodate wisdom teeth. In addition, dentistry developed enough to remove wisdom teeth. So, people with smaller jaws were able to both eat sufficiently and survive possible impaction from their wisdom teeth coming in. Hence, smaller jawed people survives, and that trait becomes more and more common in modern humans. And at the same time with the increase in better medical care and nutrition (making mothers bigger too), babies with large heads (not jaws necessarily, but craniums and hence, brains) were able to survive, and thus human brain size was allowed to keep increasing. At the same time, humans probably started wearing clothes and the need for body hair decreased. So, those people with less body hair were able to survive. Men might also have started preferring to mate with women with less body hair and thus women with less body hair became more desirable, passed more "hairless" genes onto the next generation of women (this is a form of natural selection called "sexual selection"--it explains why male birds are really brightly colored despite the fact that color might make them more susceptible to predators). So women might have evolved in this way to have less hair than men. All these characteristics change minutely from generation to generation in a large number of individuals and accumulate over time until eventually you have humans or other animals that look very different from the animal it is descended from.

That is what evolution is. There was no god necessary for ensuring survival of smaller jawed people, or hairless women, just the individuals themselves, their society and environment and the opportunity they encountered and took advantage of. Science can be really neat in explaining such things and I think it is amazing that we can trace characteristics in ourselves to such a history. Think of all the people that came before us, passing on their characteristics to the next generation, until finally we end up in the dentist's chair getting our wisdom teeth removed. Or in the hospital giving birth a large-brained baby that has the potential to grow up and design bridges or write a novel. Or in the shower shaving our legs to make ourselves look more attractable!;)

If you want to understand evolution on an observable level, I suggest you read "The Beak of the Finch" by Jonathan Weiner. It is about the experiments done by Peter and Rosemary Grant on Galapagos finches in the 1970's and 80's. They were the first researchers to observe evolution in action on an small enough time scale. It is a really terrific book and written for a non-scientific audience so I'm sure you would get a lot out of it!! Observing evolution and experimenting with natural selection phenomena is common for scientists nowadays. Most scientific, peer-reviewed journals offer thousands of papers with this evidence a year, but they can be difficult to understand without scientific training. Another book you might find interesting about fossils and evolution is "Your Inner Fish: A journey into the 3.5 billion year history of the human body" by Neil Shubin. It is written for a non-scientific audience so I'm sure you'd really enjoy it. 🙂

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Posted : July 18, 2009 8:32 am
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