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God and religion
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Do you believe in God?
yes
65%
 65%  [ 30 ]
no
28%
 28%  [ 13 ]
a little
4%
 4%  [ 2 ]
not sure
2%
 2%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 46

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Roseless
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:21 am    Post subject: God and religion Reply with quote

okay, i get asked all the time if i believe in god. the thing is i really have no idea. i mean somtimes i believe that he helped me tell but then i think back to all the praying i did to make the abuse stop. it's kinda odd. i prayed and he never answered. so i guess i gave up on him. I know that there is the whole creationism versus evolution thing. I personally believe in evolution. both sides have their faults but i'm leaning to the scientific side.

i think that god and religion is just something someone made up to make us fight over something. Or that god is just something we can use to blame for things. people say all things happen for a reason. so, basically their doing this: *points up at sky* "god did it". i dont believe. i think that if there was a god and he loved us like the bible says, why on earth why would he let so many bad things happen to us? I dont mean anything against people who do believe. if you do, that's great. I'm just saying u hear people fighting over it all the time. So, what are you supposed to do?
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny, I was talking to my wife this very evening about this very topic, but the discussion was from the aspect of why as a minister, I've tried very hard to keep any direct references to the Bible out of my posts (I'm a partner of a survivor). I do this, not to discount the value of God or what the Bible says about treating others, but to keep from appearing like a Bible-thumper, who feels that all things evil can be conquered by reading Scripture. I do NOT think that is the case. While religion offers an excellent stabilizing force for those properly dedicated to its practice, and while I personally believe that God will rid the world of all evil, I also feel that the complexities of emotions involved in many situations, like CSA, just aren't addressed in Scripture. The need for professional counseling outside of one's place of worship is very real. I think ministers can be good sources of support, but they do not replace a qualified mental health professional.

Now, why God permits this kind (or any kind) of suffering to take place becomes a fairly involved bit of doctrine, which this isn't the place for; rather, I'll reinforce my YES vote with my views that disputes over the existence of God don't disprove his existence; scientific knowledge doesn't disprove creation; the abundance of different religions doesn't mean the one true path can't be found; the presence of evil doesn't mean God isn't paying attention.
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Roseless
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's a good point...but i have one question. (i still do not mean to offend you and if i do, i offer my most sincere apologies.) How can you prove that there is a god? you just can't exactly prove either side of the conflict. science isn't good enough to prove evolution or creationism. so, what proof do we have? basically all we have is what people tell us. that's something i don't like. when you're a kid you parents tell you that god is real and that you have to believe this. Luckly that's not what they say to me. We have a choice. but people seem to just say, this is how it is you have to accept it or you're not...i can't really say normal but i think you understand my point.

I really do not see the point in praying when you know that what you're praying for will not happen. In a way, what i prayed for did happen. It just took a while. so i guess i could say that God gave me the strength and answered my prayers but something is holding me back from actually believing. Several of my friends have invited me to church but instead of saying, "i dont go to church, i'm just not religious" i make up an excuse... So, i guess my vote should have been a maybe...
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ivonne
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't particularly believe in God. Come to that, I don't particularly believe in science either. I see both of them as a way of explaining the world. In my mind the world doesn't need to be explained. It's there. It needs to be experienced.

Science to me is a little more useful than religion because it produces theories and uses them to create wonderful things like vacuumcleaners and washingmachines.

I agree with Rose about religions producing discord among people. More wars have been justified with religion than anything else. I don't think it is the actual cause of war. That I think is greed and overconsumption, the other affliction that we as a human race suffer from. Religion however becomes the rallying point.

If we didn't have religion at all, I suppose we would need something else to kill people over. Racial differences would probably be the next best thing.

Personally I distrust anybody that is convinced that they are right. Being right makes you think others are wrong. Pretty soon you'll start thinking the others are stupid for not believing you. The next step is they are not like you, they aren't fully aware, not fully human. They are bad people. They are not like us. They are evil... Demonization is the first step towards war and mayhem.

Ivonne
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took so long preparing my response, Ivonne was able to slip one in there...I'm not ignoring her points with this post, I just haven't fully digested what she's saying...so, moving on to Roseless' last post:

Don't worry, no offense taken...and since this is the "open debate" page, it's all good!

How can I prove there is a God? I'll try some brief points, not going into a tremendous amount of detail, since sometimes skeptics are hard to convince...not implying that you're a skeptic, just not yet convinced of the existence of a Creator (and I'll refer to God by that label to segue into my reasoning).
I like to presume that what is made requires a maker. The more complex an object, the more skill required of a maker. Houses require skill to construct, watches are incredibly complex mechanical devices, and we admire the skill of their designers and constructors. By the same token, the incredible complexity of the universe implies the existence of a supremely skilled Creator. The chemical processes within stars, the clockwork precision of planetary and lunar orbits (precise enough that even using the rudimentary computing power available in the 1960's, mankind could propel a space capsule 250,000 miles and know EXACTLY where the moon would be when that capsule arrived in orbit 60 miles ahead of the moon - that's a margin of error of .024%, and it wasn't the moon that was going to create an error...sorry, I'm a space program nut that geeks out easily when thinking about moonshots and how they were accomplished...), the amazing array of scientific measurements that show that Earth is perfectly and uniquely designed for human habitation (not sure if you're much of a reader, but a cool book on the topic is The Privileged Planet) - to me, and many others, it all adds up to proof of a Creator.

I'll digress for a minute to reflect on a neat creation-vs-evolution point. Now, this uses the term evolution in the Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest sense; I know there's other aspects to the concept. Anyway, survival-of-the-fittest states that each step survives by being just that much better than every other similar organism. It's just that much faster, stronger, more able, whatever, that it survives what others could not. We would expect that its bodily components would evolve to the extent required for continued existence, without the need to change further. Running counter to this belief is the capacity of the human brain. Scientists put a variety of estimates on how much of our brain we actually use, ranging from less than 1% to perhaps 10%. Why is the human brain so overly capable, if not required by evolution to be that way to maintain survival? And why is it that only humans possess language (which is more than just a trivial improvement on other animals' abilities to make noises as a form of communication)? The answer lies in a Creator's purpose for mankind, and how long we were designed to live (which is significantly different than how long we currently live)- another doctrinal issue I won't elaborate on here.

Does the existence of evil and suffering prove there is no God? By way of illustration, just because a useful implement like a knife is misused to commit murder doesn't mean it wasn't designed by an intelligent designer. An airplane is a great device, but just because airplanes are used in war to drop bombs doesn't mean they had no designer. Just because something causes harm or suffering doesn't remove the case for a maker.
So, just because humanity destroys its environment, causes devastating wars, can't overcome its greed enough to defeat widespread starvation even when there's more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone, can't eradicate illness, crime, violence, or perversions like CSA, does not mean there is no God - it offers overwhelming evidence that humans are sadly misusing their God-given abilities and the earth itself. The solution to the problem is coming...more doctrinal stuff...and I'll explain the dodge in a minute...

How could someone believe in God when they've never seen Him? Is seeing really believing? Not really. We all believe in things we've never seen. No one on earth has ever seen radio waves, television waves, x-rays. But no problem, because we observe their effects, by listening to the radio, watching TV, or marveling at the X-rays of our broken bones (which a recent fall from a ladder at work produced in abundance...) - oh yeah, there's gravity!! Never seen it, but I know it's there!
If we can accept that type of circumstantial evidence for the existence of things we haven't seen, what circumstantial evidence might we reason on for the existence of a Creator?

We've already discussed the huge capacity of the human brain. How does such a complex brain develop from a single fertilized cell? While that could be dismissed as genetic programming, the program couldn't exist in the first place without a programmer. Or a Programmer.
A ton of amazing facts about the brain are out there....I'll move on to something else: animal instinct. Somehow a honeybee can discover a flower, then return to its hive and, by means of a little dance, communicate the flower's distance and direction relative to the sun. Dances by other bees will attract attention to a newly discovered hive site, the suitability of which can be determined by the quanity of bees dancing the same way, and for how long they carry out the dance.
A 3/4 ounce blackpoll warbler knows to leave Alaska in autumn, fly southeast to the Atlantic coast, eating all the way, then wait for a cold front to carry it southeast toward Africa without the threat of troublesome tropical storms, continue this direction at 21,000 feet as it nears Antigua, not because it enjoys the cold and scarcity of oxygen, but because up there it finds the prevailing winds to carry it west to South America. 2,400 nonstop miles in three days and nights, right on target. The unusual route is shorter than an island-hopping trip would be, and keeps the warbler away from most predators. Its nonstop flight is possible because of its special metabolism, which if compared to burning gasoline as a fuel, would give the bird 720,000 miles per gallon.
Do instincts like those posessed by these two creatures (there's a "birds and the bees" joke in there somewhere) result from accidental mutations, or random chance? It just doesn't seem possible. The evidence points to a Creator.

Okay, I got way carried away responding to just one question. And I completely avoided doctrinal issues, like why we're here, where we're going, God's purpose for the Earth and mankind, how mankind's ills will be solved, how prayer works, etc.. But in the process, I purposely didn't quote a single Scripture. I hoped to use simple reasoning and verifiable facts to prove the existence of God.

Roseless, I agree with you that it's not reasonable in any situation be told "hey, just take my word for it", especially in something as important as religion. I don't automatically expect my children to embrace my faith once they've reached an age where they can decide such things for themselves, just because I tell them what I think is the right way to worship (although as a responsible parent I raise them with a strong sense of morals based heavily on my religious beliefs) - so too, I think all people need to do research into a religion's role in their lives, examine for themselves if they can be convinced of the existence of a Higher Power, and if they can agree with such a stand, then they can research the validity of the Bible, the power of prayer, why God permits suffering, what hope exists for the future, all the details about how life can be improved now and into the future through a belief in God.
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivonne, although I see that your view of religion is not as a powerful force for good, and your experience with Catholicism could possibly reinforce that view (so glad this is the "open debate" page!), I'd still like to address your point about "[not] trust[ing] anybody that is convinced that they are right." When it comes to religion, anyone who is serious about their religion should think it is the right one. Otherwise, why be involved in it? There is only one true faith, if you hold to the Bible; even Jesus did not agree with the notion of "all paths lead to God". Does that mean that I think only persons of my religion will be saved? Quite the opposite - God holds out a bright future for everyone.
Besides, it is not for me or for anyone else to judge anyone else - I can't, nor can anyone, see what God sees. You state a fairly rapid process from a person being convinced that they are right to demonizing the rest of humanity. A person with strong religious beliefs does not think that way, whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc...
You are right to identify many, many wars with religion. But to paint all religions with that brush is not fair.
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carter
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by carter on Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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carter
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by carter on Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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baypoint
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm still churning through my proof-of-God response, but I'll address Carter's last comment, by restating that phrase "To paint all religions with that brush is not fair". I see compelling evidence in your observations that horrible things are done by, and destructive attitudes are fostered within, CERTAIN religions. I was being overly generous with my sweeping statement about Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., since I've not practiced all of those faiths, and probably shouldn't speak for them.

But I've think that a certain amount of politics has now clouded this issue. Anti-American sentiment is NOT a religious view, even if some Islamic extremists have perverted the message of the Koran. Even the Bible talks of a holy war, but an accurate knowledge of Scripture shows the true context of that, and it doesn't involve Western countries trouncing all over Islamic ones, or any kind of human warfare at all. Religiously motivated politics runs counter to the whole point of Scripture anyway, regardless of how we think certain cultures are motivated.

To deny the value of religion based on the actions of misguided religious fanatics (and history is full of them, from the Crusades, courtesy of the ever-powerful Catholic Church, to the atrocities of the Inquisition (oops, the Catholics again), from the blessing of WWI troops by clergy on both sides of the war (what, blame God if you lost the war?? your religious brethren on the other side made out okay...) to the horrors of 9/11) is like stating that all men are selfish, disgusting pigs just because some males of our species abuse children. If I made the mistake of a sweeping generality about the positive qualities inherent in most religions, the mistake still doesn't invalidate the point about religion as a whole not deserving such a wide smear.
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carter
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by carter on Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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