Belief Systems and discussions thereof

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Bruce

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As we got into some discussion of faith, prayer and such related to the current political climate, I thought it appropriate to give a place for such discussions. I ask only that all comments made here be done with the utmost care. What people believe, they have the right to believe. Let us not put people down because we disagree with their position. Let us openly discuss differences, freely exchanging ideas without judgemental words that can and will offend.

Don replied to comments I made to Jack in this thread: https://forums.ross-tech.com/showthread.php?19181-2020-US-Presidential-Election

Bruce: I really do envy you your faith, particularly the simplicity of your beliefs and your trust that prayer will in someway be beneficial in reminding your God to grant wisdom to whoever wins the election. I have exactly the same desire (regardless of the fact that I'm not a US citizen) that whoever leads your country will be wise - but for me, this outcome has nothing to do with prayer and it certainly isn't a matter that an omnipotent deity will control - except, I guess if you believe in the inevitable fate of destiny (i.e. Kismet).
Don, I am suprised that for a second time in these forum messages you have spoke of the "simplisity of (my) belief and (my) trust". Could you explain precisely what you mean by "the simplicity"? You see, I do not believe my belief to be simplistic. As a man of training in applied science I found myself at odds with what I was taught as a boy. So, I have read and studied philosophy, science, math and others in my search for what I should believe. I assure you that I have come to a non-simplistic conclusion that for me, God is real, He exists, and He is one in whom I can put my trust. Please accept that it is not a simplistic belief but rather an informed belief, founded through study that continues to this very day.

I do trust that the God I believe in hears his people's requests and that He measures their requests and considers them. So I trust that prayer has influence on his action and my reading and understanding of the writings in the good book support my belief.

I thought I wrote that ALL leaders need wisdom and should receive some for they certainly are not demonstrating as a group that they possess any. All elected officials and all who serve the people should posses wisdom for they must find a way to communicate with each other during times of great unrest. When passions are high, communication is extremely difficult. It is the wise leader who can find the means to speak to and work with all to bring positive results. (Of course, if we wish to be contrarian, we can argue "whose" positive results - true? On most any point we can find a reason to argue - but it is my hope that we are seeking common ground. That through this discussion we might know and understand each other better.)

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On Wisdom:

Shall we argue what wisdom is? Or better, whose "wisdom" shall we choose? Well I have stated my side: God's wisdom is what I would like to see our leaders posses. Reason? Man's wisdom has failed us time and time again. God's wisdom - treating all as if they are a member of our very own family - that is something man has (we have) failed to do - no matter what faith or non-faith we hold. We have not treated all as if they were our sister or brother. No, we have promoted the differences between us and we do not, as societies, love others. We have work to do to reach a level where we hold all to be equal.

Imperfect man is driven by greed and power to serve himself. Can we believe that those choosing public office as their career (another subject for another day) desire to use their office for the good of the people? Can we believe that man on his own will do good? In the 10,000 years of man's recorded history, where is the good man has done? Wars, brutality, hate, fighting, theft, and on and on have been the mark of man in every civilization continuous thru time. How then can we feel man has evolved to the point where man can figure a way (the way) forward? Seems to me, man just keeps going - doing what man does, surviving the day with some doing far better at the expense of many others, repeating this, generation upon generation. (Why do we have poor? Why are some denied the right to the medicine and care they need? Why are not all held equal?)

No doubt, man has evolved. Man has more knowledge then he ever had before. Man has more wealth. He has conquered many diseases. He is improving the environment in some ways. Given the evolution of man, why has man failed to solve the problem of proper discourse without all the prejudice, innuendo, and frankly mean spirited dialog? Why is it that man cannot communicate without rancor? If we are so evolved and smart, why do communication problems remain? Why do prejudices remain?

Is the Wisdom of man adequate or should we all be seeking something beyond man to help us do and become better?

But then I have never understood the concept of prayer from a God's perspective. I view God's relationship with humans akin to the relationship between humans and ants; even if this all powerful being listened to the pleas of the ants that she created (it's possible I guess) - prayer should not be necessary since God would have the same motivation to grant POTUS wisdom because of the wider needs of the rest of the ants!! The concept of prayer introduces the notion that it's beneficial to honor the deity and that the deity can be pursued in some way to act differently; it kind-of suggests that the deity's prime-directive can be changed, or said another way - it suggests that the ants know better than the deity!! Being a non-beilever can be so complex!!:(

Anyhow, I don't mean to question your beliefs - they are YOUR beliefs and they make sense to you in the same way that mine make sense to me!!
How could any of us understand from God's perspective? By the very definition, God is greater. How could any lesser comprehend and understand completely the greater? Can we understand the universe and all that is there? We cannot fully grasp and understand the vastness of the universe any more than grasp and fully understand the vastness of God and His ways. We simply do not have the capacity at this time to do so.

What we can do and what we actually do is measure what we can see and understand. Through what we understand, we can begin to process how things may be. It is no different with God. We look at how God has behaved. We learn the reasons behind the behavior and we plan based upon what is known.

In the Bible there are several stories where God did change his plan and actions based on the prayer of a believer. Perhaps you would be willing to consider what this article says: https://www.faithgateway.com/keep-praying-god-changes-mind/#.XvstmucpB3g

The article does not suggest that God's "prime directive" will be changed. In fact, the article states it very clearly that the very nature of God is unchangeable. Still, decisions made and actions planned were changed and since they were in the past, why would that not be true in the present?

(Well, the Bible as a reference is only good if one believes the examples cited are true. When one rejects those as being true, then my counter-argument is meaningless, right?)

Certainly, when we make guesses as to what may be the reason behind things, we are exercising faith. Science requires us to have faith that the pursuit of truth through science is an answer. Likewise, belief in God requires faith that the promises made in the scriptures are real and will come to pass. Prayer serves the purpose of honoring the deity - of giving praise to the One in Christianity - Judaism - and by Muslims to Allah. But it also demonstrates the faith one has in the beliefs held. Given that prayer changed outcomes, faithful prayer can indeed change God's actions.

The problem of your analogy is the presumption that God is controlling and makes each of us do as he pleases. Consider this: if your parents made you do all things their way, how would you have developed into the "you" you are? Would you have loved and honored them or would you have resented their control? I contend that God is no different than our parents in this regard. He wishes for his children, as we are called in the Bible, to be that which He intends, just as loving parents do. He does not force His intention upon us. He does not control the choices we will make. He simply knows which I going to make before I make them and if any control is applied, it is that He sends people into our lives to help us consider our choices.

Your question is a vexing question: Is God not all knowing and all powerful? Is He not able to make things the way He wants them?

God gave man free will. What is that? God accepts that some will reject Him and His ways and that is ok by Him. It is not what He wants but He does not control all things of man and in this world as some may suggest. No, He put man on this earth to be His agents and He gave them a brain with which to decide - "Will I do things God's way, or will I do things my way."

Free Will. God knows who will choose Him and He knows who will reject Him. It is His desire for all to know Him and believe in Him. He does not force His way on any. However, He does surround each of us with people who He uses to influence our directions and opinions. God's control in human matters comes through other humans. Rarely are there records of God taking action directly himself.

People blame God for natural disasters and all sorts of things. I contend that those that do so do not understand the nature of the God in which I believe. God is not acting on the physical conditions of this world. Man was given the responsibility to maintain and manage that which God had created. Why would a God who loves his creation do things that kill, maim and destroy? I think natural phenomena just happens: volcanoes erupt; big storms brew and blow; disease happens. Some attribute these to the persona of the Devil.. to evil personified. I'm not one to do so... a discussion for another day.

No, I believe God uses people to respond to the problems that exist. He influences opinions and thought through other people. Is it so hard to accept that God's actions might be modified through the prayer of those who are in the situation? Might it be that a God who does consider what His people desire to do in working a problem, is seen greater because He is willing to have a relationship and hear what is being said? Would it not be easier to accept a God who hears and listens? By the way, there is no guarantee that God will respond as I ask in my prayers. He may choose to continue with the plans He has ordained. That is His right as my God! I accept that He is the authority and that His plan has always been to work "all things for His good purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Indeed, there are times recorded in the Old Testament when God did wield his power and forced a conclusion. We cannot walk away from that knowledge. It is ever present that the God I believe in could do such again. It is my hope and prayer that He would not choose that path. But should He decide on a path I do not like as being the only means to a proper and right end, I would willingly accept that conclusion even at the cost of my own life.
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Consider this:

The founders of this nation wrote this:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Did they mean that the pool of goo from which many believe we have evolved, created us? Or are they just simple minded ones who did not understand that man had evolved to a level where deity is not needed for understanding? (do check the backgrounds of the men who were called upon to write the Declaration. Some were simple men, not highly educated, not necessarily of high moral character. Others were the Creme de la Creme... highly educated and very capable people, pillars of society. It was quite the mixed bag.)

They acknowledged their belief that they had been created and when they used the capital letter "C", they acknowledged God as their creator. And what did that Creator do in their mind? "Created all men equal, endowed them with certain unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." They acknowledged these rights came from the God who created.

With those opening words, the nation of the United States began... It took years to organize this thing we call the United States of America. But it all started by invoking what God had provided and set as the plan for the persons living here - they had rights, they were equals. Oh that the wisdom shown by these men would infect those we have called to serve us today.

I will pray for that Don, each and every day.
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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I'm focusing on doing or action.........

It doesn't hurt anyone to pray you would think right or does it when it wastes allegedly Gods time, further being impolite or time itself and people should be doing something that matters to fix the issue or focus on another?

Is praying just self pity or noble only when it's done too help someone else & AGAIN other than the one praying?

Is problem solving in ones thoughts potentially praying?

Let me see........ a person is hanging off a cliff and in their car is engulfed on fire & clearly are about to quickly expire, if I fail to act & ponder with prayers on asking for Gods help?

A. Do I just act and dive in to assist?
B. Pray God handles it while watching the news for the main event fireball NASCAR race hitting the wall?
C. Take a second to think, hey is there a better way to handle this & before rushing in and killing us all and is that a prayer or level headed thought being calm or fear and self centered or shear preservation?
 
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Bruce

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I'm focusing on doing or action.........
Yes, I would like to come to action. I just can't figure out what action I should be taking. In some ways, this discussion is an action - an effort to improve understanding. But, how do we know what action we are called to? That frustration and helplessness we referred to earlier keeps rearing its ugly head for me.

It doesn't hurt anyone to pray you would think right or does it when it wastes allegedly Gods time, further being impolite or time itself and people should be doing something that matters to fix the issue or focus on another?
My understanding is that God exists outside time. In fact, the good book speaks that the past, the present and the future all occur at the same time for God. Wrap your mind around that concept! So, is there any prayer that is a waste of God's time? I think some would say praying for things that would not serve God's purpose may be a waste of time. What do I mean? Perhaps praying to be rich might be a wasted prayer but hey, I don't see it as forbidden. Maybe God would bring others into a life and give them riches after a prayer. Who can say? Personally, I don't see me being wealthy as fitting God's good purpose. I have never prayed for wealth. I did pray for God to put food on my family's table when I had no income.

Is praying just self pity or noble only when it's done too help someone else & AGAIN other than the one praying?
Prayer is communication between man and God. Some teach it has to have certain form. Because I am Christian, there is a passage - and I don't remember the reference for I am not great at that memory stuff - where Jesus speaks of him going to the Father acting as our intercessor. I interpret that as meaning that He (Jesus) takes my funky messed up stupid prayers and manages to frame them in words that God the Father will accept and hear. I have an advocate in the court of God. That advocate is perfect and He knows my request fully, for I also believe I am connected to him by the "indwelling" of the Holy Spirit. - What a mouthful! To break it down would take me hours here. This article attempts to explain some of this far more eloquently that I might: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-interceding.html

Is problem solving in ones thoughts potentially praying?
I accept that concept. Yes. As we work through solutions, I do believe there are powers beyond us that may shape the way we think about things. More likely, we have conversation, a chat, and then the "aha" moment arrives. Some call such an answer to prayer.

Let me see........ a person is hanging off a cliff and in their car is engulfed on fire & clearly are about to quickly expire, if I fail to act & ponder with prayers on asking for Gods help?

A. Do I just act and dive in to assist?
B. Pray God handles it while watching the news for the main event fireball NASCAR race hitting the wall?
C. Take a second to think, hey is there a better way to handle this & before rushing in and killing us all and is that a prayer or level headed thought being calm or fear and self centered or shear preservation?
When someone is in peril, most of us will run towards that person and do what we can to help. I would like to think that in those moments, owing to my belief, my actions are guided by the things I have professed to believe. What does that mean? That God is going to help me find the right response to work His good purpose. Understand what I just wrote Jack. The possibility exists that that person hanging on that cliff may loose their life or be seriously hurt because there is a purpose in those outcomes. Meanwhile, my ability to help or not help may be a moment where I am being taught some valuable lesson. At that very moment in time, likely none of these will be obvious to me. Often I have found I have to look back after some time to evaluate what really occurred in that moment of crisis.

Your questions are great questions. They are the questions each of us must face and the difficulty is that no one can give you answers - answers that end the matter. All they can give are their way of responding. Once an answer is given, then more nuance and more what ifs will come. More questions, more dialog. Any who say they have the answers - they delude themselves with pride. Run from them.

You see I consider all this the process of life. Such process to me is the process of knowing God and His will for me. When placed in such situations, finding my way through and then evaluating why I did as I did, why the outcome was as it was, these are things I believe to be working in my life. Prayer is a continuous dialog God and I have. No, I cannot hear Him say words to me. But, I am convinced He surrounds me with those who have the words he wants/needs me to hear. And there is study... everyday, I crack the good book and read at least one verse. I am amazed how often that one verse I read will be an answer to a problem or question I have been thinking about. But prayer is a constant dialog with me... in my mind I am often asking God, "what the Hell do you want me to do now?!" (Should I be profane? Probably not. But it is the me I am.)

Don't think I am anything good. I'm not. I am messed up, do wrong things constantly, hurt people, act without thinking, speak with no thought.... and on and on... All I can say is that each day I am working to be better than I was yesterday. With the help of others, with help of the God I believe to be present and working in and through me, maybe on that final day, I will be all God intended me to be. Until that day, I will keep pushing to learn and be better.
 
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Bruce

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Sleepless night Jack?

I will listen to what Jordan Maxwell has to say and to present this evening. The few minutes I have watched has my attention! Thanks for posting this.
 
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DV52

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@Bruce: Wow, the enormity of your thread is amazing!! I'm not sure where to start in reply?

Perhaps I should commence with an explanation of my use of the "S" word (simplicity) in connection with your faith. First-off, whilst I can't recall my motivation in choosing the "S" word in your extract of my reply - I probably did intend the term to be a tad provocative (I hope that you weren't offended). However, most definitely - I never meant the word to be derogatory in any way and as you have identified, I have used the term more than once (in truth - I often borrow the "S" word when discussing religion with those of faith).

So, to explain - I have been where you are! I was raised in a devoutly religious family, I was educated in a series of faith based schools and even at an early age, I could recite the Latin form of the rituals for my religion (yes, I was raised Catholic) albeit they were just words without meaning to my then puerile brain!

However, with my passage through life - I have become what I like to call "a born again agnostic". I am attracted to this descriptor because I truly believe that ALL carbon based life units are instinctively and inherently "agnostic" before their minds are inculcated with religious teachings. So we all start as agnostic and in my case, I have completed the "belief" cycle back to it's pristine original state! Incidentally, my view is that no one is truly an atheist - those that claim this status simply haven't thought deeply enough about their belief system! But I digress - so, having had the benefit of sipping from both cups, I can look-back and make judgement on the difference - purely from my perspective, of course.

IMHO- the difference is "Simplicity" - by which I mean that being agnostic is less simple; it has stripped away the answers that religion previously provided to often the most profound questions as a believer! I can no longer rely on the " process of knowing God and His will for me" to explain anything about anything because such explanations are an anathema to agnostics!!

In a real sense (and again, IMHO), those with faith can bundle-up the answers to these often most difficult of questions into their religion. Alas by definition, us agnostics cannot do this - we are totally exposed to the reality of having to look elsewhere for these meanings!

Hope this clarifies my use of the "S" word (life is much more difficult for agnostics! :facepalm:)

Don
 
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DV52

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@Bruce: hmm.......... I'm trying to be circumspect , but I just can't resist making further comment to this part of your response to Jack:

Bruce said:
Prayer is communication between man and God. Some teach it has to have certain form. Because I am Christian, there is a passage - and I don't remember the reference for I am not great at that memory stuff - where Jesus speaks of him going to the Father acting as our intercessor. I interpret that as meaning that He (Jesus) takes my funky messed up stupid prayers and manages to frame them in words that God the Father will accept and hear. I have an advocate in the court of God. That advocate is perfect and He knows my request fully, for I also believe I am connected to him by the "indwelling" of the Holy Spirit. - What a mouthful! To break it down would take me hours here. This article attempts to explain some of this far more eloquently that I might: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-interceding.html
If we step-back from religious faith and look at the general concept of prayer directed to a deity - the construct simply doesn't make sense IMO ( incidentally, and this point has nothing to do with political correctness - I have never understood why "God" must be gender specific and referred-to as "God the father". What ever happened to "God the Mother", or "God of indeterminable gender"?).

If one accepts the fundamentals of "God" (by which I mean the general rule about God that regulates the behavior and the thoughts of believers), it follows that the deity is omnipotent - meaning that the being is all powerful, omnipresent and all knowing.

If this is true - why is prayer necessary at all; why doesn't the fundamentals of God and that other religious precept- God lives in all our hearts - simply mean that the deity already knows our wants and aspirations without the need for prayer?

And perhaps more important, the fundamentals of God means that the deity doesn't need to be reminded about what's good for humanity or for the individual praying - and the assumption that the person in prayer knows better than the deity as to what's needed is a gross presumption at best - and outright heresy at worse!

And, if religious folk don't accept that there is a fundamental dichotomy between God and prayer - why is it that this omnipotent being uses a purely man-made principle of effort-reward? Or, said another way - why does the deity require its creations to pay homage before granting their wants (which are most often requests about personal benefits)? I would have thought that an omnipotent deity's world would be far, far removed from the world of its creations - a bit like the world of humans compared to the world of insects. Does any human get his/her jollies by ants paying homage ?

With the greatest respect and IMO, a more plausible explanation for the concept of God and for the purpose of prayer is that these are man-made. Fact is that our evolution and the success of man kind is fundamentally premised on our ability to solve problems; we always have needed to find solutions to stuff that we can't understand (it's about the functions of the left and right sides of human brains)! Look at our technology and what we have done to this fragile blue planet as evidence of this fundamental driver to our existence.

In our early development we constructed stories like Greek mythology and the multi Gods of the Roman empire, Think about the similarities between Greek Gods bedding women to produce human sons-of-gods and the religious belief in immaculate conception (how any sane person can believe this is beyond belief!). As we evolved, these constructs were morphed into monotheistic religions but they still gave answers to pretty-much the same questions.

In today's world, science has disproved many of the religious tenets of old - but faith still lingers for some - which is OK for those who believe. But it's not OK for those of us that don't believe!

And the persistence of religion since the time when humans crawled out-of the primordial slime is almost entirely due to the indoctrination of children when minds are most vulnerable! I know that many (including you) will disagree, but I find this practice to be unconscionable - there should be a universal law in every country that prohibits religious instruction until the age of reason

So in short, IMO - the sole, but not unimportant purpose of religion is to fill-in the banks in our search for answers until better answers are found in our continuing evolution.

Don

PS: as my time draws nearer to its inevitable end - these matters become more important. Notwithstanding my belief that religion is man-made nonsense, my strategy is that on the day before my last, I will convert to all religions - just in case!! :D

PPS: when we both shed our mortal-coils and we go to our respective places - I trust that you will send down a glass (or two) from the behind the pearly gates of heaven. I will be roasting in hell for my sins and for the blasphemy in these posts!! :facepalm:
 
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PetrolDave

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Notwithstanding my belief that religion is man-made nonsense
That sums up my feeling about religions too, to me they seem to exist solely to benefit the leaders of the religions who appear get considerable financial benefits and (sadly) in many cases apparent immunity from prosecution for multiple offences of child abuse and molesting.

But I do understand that many people find the concept of religion useful to them in their everyday lives and am more than happy for them to continue to believe, just so long as they don't make any effort to convert me :thanks:
 
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DV52

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That sums up my feeling about religions too, ................................... just so long as they don't make any effort to convert me :thanks:
Dave: IMO the need for (some) religious folk to convert the unfaithful is a separate topic entirely and the practice perhaps has reached its zenith in Bruce's home country where evangelicalism seems to rule supreme!

I'm not sure if Bruce follows this particular form of Christianity (and it really doesn't matter), but I'm convinced that much of it is meant as theater in today's modern world where everything for sale must be accompanied by entertainment! Religious conversion does indeed "sell" religion - it's just that the transaction requires payment in the form of belief, rather than money (and in some religions where a tithe is paid, both)

I think for the purposes of Bruce's thread, we should make a fundamental distinction between religion-itself and the organization behind the religion (i.e. the church) - and perhaps also, the related concept of spirituality which is often part of these types of discussion. You kind-of imply this distinction in your reply, but I reckon that there's value in highlighting the difference overtly because the motivation for the religious serves different purposes depending on what aspect of religion is being sold - I think!

As I understand (and I could easily be wrong given my agnostic position), Bruce's thread is more about philosophy of religion, rather than the merits of the church behind the religion - which opens-up a very different can-of-worms!! If I'm correct, then the related construct of spirituality fits neatly into this discussion as perhaps a viable personal alternative for some (not me) on the basis that religion is a rule based faith that unites a group of believers whereas spirituality concentrates on each person's individual value-set, irrespective of organized religious doctrine!

Don

PS: I'm not sure if UK has 7th day Adventurers (Adventist?) - but there seems to be a constant stream of ultra neatly dressed devotees constantly knocking at my door. I keep telling them that I'm a Satanist but it has no effect - can you recommend a strategy?
 
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PetrolDave

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In our previous house we used to get regular visits from Jehovah witnesses, until we asked/told them to add us to their "do not disturb" list - after which we would just see them on the pavement checking their list and not bothering us, result!
 
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PetrolDave

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As I understand (and I could easily be wrong given my agnostic position), Bruce's thread is more about philosophy of religion, rather than the merits of the church behind the religion - which opens-up a very different can-of-worms!! If I'm correct, then the related construct of spirituality fits neatly into this discussion as perhaps a viable personal alternative for some (not me) on the basis that religion is a rule based faith that unites a group of believers whereas spirituality concentrates on each person's individual value-set, irrespective of organized religious doctrine!
Don - a good point. I certainly believe in spirituality but, like my father, as a personal system which doesn't need or welcome input from terrestrial organisations.
 
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Bruce

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There is much here to unpack and which will take careful reflection in order to express concepts and ideas without judgement. To accomplish that reply, I will require some time. I still have not had time to view Jack's video in its entirety as I had other things going on this past weekend. I have not forgotten and I will share my views on the video with all.

To Don's point concerning :
As I understand (and I could easily be wrong given my agnostic position), Bruce's thread is more about philosophy of religion, rather than the merits of the church behind the religion - which opens-up a very different can-of-worms!! If I'm correct, then the related construct of spirituality fits neatly into this discussion as perhaps a viable personal alternative for some (not me) on the basis that religion is a rule based faith that unites a group of believers whereas spirituality concentrates on each person's individual value-set, irrespective of organized religious doctrine!
Don is correct about my thoughts. My intent is a thread about the philosophy of religion, for Jack's original questions go to the philosophical concept of an Omniscient Being and why would such listen to prayer. The concept of spirituality in my mind absolutely does fit within this discussion for it too is a philosophical concept.

What I ask is that we do not bash any form of practice. Rather, the idea is to explore the forms and the reasons for those forms. We will speak of our practices of our "faith" system. When we criticize, we will do so in the form of questions seeking answers and understanding and we will not condemn any who do not hold our own view. If we can agree on these principles, I think we can find much about which to speak.

For example Don, I consider this bashing:
I'm not sure if UK has 7th day Adventurers (Adventist?) - but there seems to be a constant stream of ultra neatly dressed devotees constantly knocking at my door.
While intended to be funny, and indeed I did chuckle, it bashes the 7th day Adventists for being ultra neatly dressed devotees. I plan to call out any who post such and I expect you to call me out if I do the same. You see, I do not see gain in making fun of the differences of how others conduct themselves - be it their attire, their speech, their practices.

I ask that we keep this thread a serious discourse on beliefs (the intent when questions were asked of me about my beliefs) and that we not get into the judgemental attitudes we all carry. None of us is free of judgemental attitudes. If we accept that all are created equal - another point from which this thread started - then none is superior to another. Dialog can then be freely conducted as none should feel threatened owing to the view they hold.

I look forward to the continued discourse.
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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   #16  

dieseldub

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Hah, I actually grew up a 7th Day Adventist. Once you dive deep into their worldview, it's, uh, interesting. More or less believing that those who don't follow the 7th day Sabbath are doomed and in the end times, the Pope will be the antichrist...

I am not kidding.

Ages ago when I was a teenager kind of trying to find what's true and what isn't... a phase I went through more or less unlearning what I took for granted as being truth growing up and questioning everything.

There's some powerful interpretations of scripture that, when fully believed, can certainly incite some great feelings of love and confidence and desire to spread those feelings to anyone else willing to listen. But then a couple pages later, they're telling you how people who don't believe as they do are all doomed and are terrible people.

Doesn't seem like a truly benevolent God to me to be so specific about who can be saved hinging on believing and worshipping a specific way. Dwelling on the thoughts of Christianity in general, you see that pattern repeated quite a lot with various sects of the religion. And then when you see the sheer number of different interpretations of the same beliefs (somewhere North of 25,000 different sects of Christianity from what I understand) how on earth are you supposed to disseminate who's specific interpretation of the same basic writings are the correct ones?

That's where I stopped attending anything organized religion altogether. However, I still recognize that there are numerous positives to be had from attending a church and believing. It's another community of local people to network with and have a feeling of you have eachother's back should one of you struggle. And of course the aforementioned interpretations of gospel that can instill some powerful positive feelings when fully believed.

I can respect that, but there's a part of me that probably won't ever to be able to fully believe again because of how much I question everything. So, I'm kind of in the boat of non-believer, but leaving the door open to the possibility that there is more than just the physical. Maybe just try to apply the golden rule as much as possible to life and don't get too wrapped up in specific beliefs and not discriminating against those who believe differently, so long as they're also not doing any harm. At the end of the day, who am I to judge if someone is getting some good positives out of their belief system and attending services that also allows them to network with people who have similar beliefs? If it's making your life better, by all means, jump in and believe it with everything you've got.

Just know that those who don't see things the same way you do aren't always going to be very receptive to being preached at and told we're going to hell for not believing the way you do. I think that first amendment freedom OF religion also means freedom from it if that's your choice.
 
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DV52

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For example Don, I consider this bashing:

While intended to be funny, and indeed I did chuckle, it bashes the 7th day Adventists for being ultra neatly dressed devotees. I plan to call out any who post such and I expect you to call me out if I do the same. You see, I do not see gain in making fun of the differences of how others conduct themselves - be it their attire, their speech, their practices.

I ask that we keep this thread a serious discourse on beliefs (the intent when questions were asked of me about my beliefs) and that we not get into the judgemental attitudes we all carry. None of us is free of judgemental attitudes. If we accept that all are created equal - another point from which this thread started - then none is superior to another. Dialog can then be freely conducted as none should feel threatened owing to the view they hold.

I look forward to the continued discourse.
Bruce: Point understood and well made!!

My faux-pas was indeed intended as an genial aside (solely intended to promote laughter- nothing more). I will try to limit my irreverent sense-of-humor to a dull roar in future replies - and I promise to spend time in the naughty corner for my sin (see- I still retain some of my Catholic principles) contemplating the difference between profanity and profundity!!

Nevertheless, I do expect transgressions of the ilk in my faux-pas in future replies. The subject matters raised by your thread can run deep in the human psyche. From your writings, it seems to me that your religious beliefs define who you are as an individual and I expect the same to apply for many of those of a counter view (incidentally, this is not true of me; my agnosticism is simply a dimension of me - it most certainly doesn't define me!)

So, in the spirit of the vast majority of religious folk for whom faith is not zealotry (I know that you fit into this category) and in the same spirit for non religious folk who believe that absolute truth never has just one face (I fit into this category) -mutual forgiveness will be an essential aspect for those replying to posts in this thread!!

Don.
 
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DV52

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Don - a good point. I certainly believe in spirituality but, like my father, as a personal system which doesn't need or welcome input from terrestrial organisations.
Dave: You certainly do raise the BIG questions!!! Your pointed reference to "terrestrial organisations" (meaning, I assume - related to the earth) begs the bigger question of religious belief in a God as an extra-terrestrial.

Normally, the general construct of God in most religions never seem to equate the deity as being an extraterrestrial, but by definition, I suspect that he/she/it should be labelled so - because the deity is not of this earth.

And of course, the principle of extraterrestrial deities in religion becomes unarguable in Xemu as the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" and in thetans as the immortal spirits of these aliens in the church of Scientology! Notwithstanding that no non-believer can disprove L. Ron Hubbard's religion, still a very interesting belief system for folk in the 21st century - IMO.

Don
 
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   #19  

Bruce

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I wish to discuss Jack's post from Jordan Maxwell...
Maxwell states that we need to get in touch with the "God Force" of the universe, for he believes that force is controlling all that happens in our existence.

On that statement, he and I agree with the caveat that I see the God Force as God.

Maxwell also states that he believes the "God Force" is made up of superior beings who visited this earth and procreated with hominids to create humans.

Let's unpack his statement: He believes the God Force is the one who created humans. He believes it to be through procreation and it is the reason the link between the hominids and humans has not been found. I accept that reasoning to a point. In his statement he again is recognizing a force outside of man, a force that is superior, a force that is a creator, who made humans in the force's image.

The only place where Maxwell and I might differ is on the method by which the creation of man was achieved for I am not at this time convinced of alien God beings procreating with hominids to create humans. My mind remains open to the concept.

Much of Maxwell's presentation gives one pause.. so I decided to take a look at just his opening discussion of the Hebrew word Elohim. Immediately I found that his presentation, while true on the surface, did not present all of the truth. Elohim actually is an Aramaic word that comes from the Canaanites. No surprise here in that the Hebrews came out of Canaan and did use the Aramaic language until it evolved into their own Hebrew language. Early copies of the Talmud and Old Testament writings were in Aramaic. El means God. ilhim referred to the pantheon of Canaanite Gods. Elohim in the Torah is both singular and plural, the plural form never being capitalized. When used with the lower case, it was plural and could refer to god, gods, rulers, or superiors. When capitalized, it refered to the one God, the God of Israel who called himself Yahweh to Moses - "I am who I am", is the translation of Yahweh.

While I have not made an extensive study of the word Elohim, I began to see that Maxwell uses language to form his premises like we all do. I am not convinced that his use of language consistently represents the truths he would have us believe. As he himself said, believe nothing - investigate for yourself. Much of what Maxwell has to say is interesting but I fear much represents "fake news". If on first examination, I am finding that he did not discuss fully the facts about the word Elohim, then his entire presentation has to be taken circumspect - check his facts.

For those wanting just a bit of information on the word Elohim (and by no means would I call this a treatise on the subject) just read through Wikipedia's presentation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim

One other thing to keep in mind: In the Hebrew tradition, the name of God is never spoken. Yahweh is not spoken. The word is normally skipped when scripture is read. Elohim is permitted to be spoken for it does not use the name God told Moses..

Why bring this fact up? Hebrew is difficult to interpret especially when speaking about the God they hold to be above all Gods. Hebrew writings often do not directly refer to the name of God for they consider it to be blasphemy to name him. Like in Harry Potter, they might refer to God as "He who must not be named!" In doing so, they would write in a way that all knew about whom the writing was speaking but the writing did not mention the name. It leads to interpretation on our part 3200+ years later. We can all accept that language forms of 3200 years ago likely do not remain in use today making interpretations difficult.

Mr. Maxwell made one other statement about all of this that really made me wonder about his sources. He said that the Romans twisted all of Hebrew writings for their purpose and therefore we cannot trust any of those writings for truth or accuracy. If we are talking of the times and writings post Roman empire and now in the writings of the Roman Catholic church, I can accept his premise that such writings may be leading and may be designed to decieve. But Hebrew writings which have been found, pre-date Rome. Old Testament writings are older than Rome, Greece, Persia and perhaps even the Egyptian empires. The writings concerning Elohim are dated 1250 BC (by carbon dating). I think Mr. Maxwell would have us believe these are fake documents and are part of the scam perpetrated on us all. I'm having a hard time accepting such a notion when we have the historical documents.

Jack, thanks for posting his presentation. It certainly gives us something to think about.

Bruce

PS: spent quite a bit of time on this last night and was also thinking on Don's and Dieseldub's and PetrolDave's posts... more later...
 
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Jack@European_Parts

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Bruce,

First .......Thank you very much for your post!

I like questioning "EVERYTHING"!

It is why more recently, I have been reading CFR's and local CR law + quantum mechanics/physics & further asking myself "WHY, HOW & WHAT" causes things or the actions in result?

"WHY, HOW & WHAT" are coming to the JPPSG!

For me the Catholic Religion = Total & complete Betrayal!

Life is about what you do by GIVING FREELY of lifelong knowledge learned & not just making a buck to me!
 
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