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Thread: Why are we here- a religion thread

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    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Why are we here- a religion thread

    Now, I was in the shower this morning debating my own mortality and figure Iíd ask the question on here- why are we here? Not on a wrestling forum, although if there is a God, God knows what he thinks about this place, but why are we on the earth?

    Is there a God watching, waiting to judge? Is there a son of God waiting to return?

    I struggle with most religious concepts but hate the idea that my whole life is meaningless and Iím going to die into nothingness. Surely thereís something out there? Perhaps not.

    Anyway, feel free to share thoughts and views. And tolerate otherís views.

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    After one dies, there is nothing. Life is basically pointless.

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    Ok, I'll bite on this.

    I think most people would consider me pretty irreligious, and I'm generally of the opinion that the only perspective that actually makes full sense is the agnostic, but that's not the full story. I'm not really into the doctrinal side of organised religion and I wouldn't go as far as to say I have any kind of actual belief in the existence of a god, but have come to accept that for one reason or another I essentially conceive of the Universe as if there is. But I don't think that any of the main religions have some sort of inside track on the others.

    There's a whole lot more to how I think than that, but that's the headline.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  4. #4
    I'd be interested to hear more about why you think that way.


    Full disclosure for this thread: I'm an agnostic apatheist. I don't know if there is or isn't, and I don't care either. Until there's proof that there's a god, why live like there is? Pascal got his wager backwards.

    So why are we here? The same reason that everything else is here. To spread our genes as far as we can. That's literally the only real reason that we're here. Apart from that, yes, life is meaningless. When we die, that's it. On the plus side though, humans are the best species at evolving, so we have all this nice stuff like keyboards and central heating and coffee. And with all this cool stuff that we have, and the knowledge that it'll all be over in 80 years or so, I think that the only option is to enjoy yourself as much as you can. Nothing else makes sense.

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    I will answer, but the word I'd have to pick you up on is 'think', because that's not really what I am describing. It's more that no matter how much I analyse it, in which position I tend to be strongly agnostic, when I'm not thinking of it consciously I will typically revert back to thought patterns and actions consistent with a belief in the existence of some sort of God. I imagine, rationally speaking, it's because of the ubiquity of those kind of thoughts in our culture historically. I think along the lines that have been set down for me.

    On the more analytical end, I tend to believe proving the existence or non-existence of God is logically impossible, so any kind of certainty on the question is folly. My own take is probably closest to the Universal Unitarian thinking, in which so long as you aren't harming anyone you can find your spiritual material anywhere, from the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita to Euclidean geometry or A Brief History of Time. And I don't that any being worthy of being called God would demand you'd follow it, though that does sound petty enough to be a human invention.

    Pascal's wager wasn't backwards. It makes perfect sense on it's own terms. My issue would be to question those terms.

    There you go Sheep, and hope you aren't regretting asking!
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
    I struggle with most religious concepts but hate the idea that my whole life is meaningless and I’m going to die into nothingness. Surely there’s something out there? Perhaps not.
    I'm comfortable with this. I think our problem as a species is thinking we have to be here for some greater purpose other then life. Think how much more we could accomplish if more people lived their lives worrying about the now instead of what may be when we pass on. Thinking like this really keeps us from doing as much as we can as a species imo.

    That said I also dont think our death is the end of what we are. I believe our energy moves on to something else when it leaves our body.

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    I'm not very religious at all ; I mean I celebrate Christian holidays but beyond that, I don't really care. I do think our lives are meaningless but I don't think its really the end when we die. Do I think we go to heaven or anything like that? No but I can't believe that I'm in this body and then when I die, I become nothing. I think of like an afterlife, where you don't remember it but you're put into another body so to speak... I believe this because if not, I will live on this planet for however long and then when the sun burns up, i'll be dust in the ground from billions of years. I can't wrap my head around that

    Then to get a little deeper, I think of why i'm in this particular body and not some other, more successful vessel as it were.

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    Southern Discomfort The Dude's Avatar
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    I used to be completely atheist and even quite anti religion.

    After coming out of hospital around 2010 something changed and I now consider myself agnostic. I just don't know. I even respect religious people because at least they have some sort of purpose and generally believe in something good. I never understood Satanists. If you're going to believe in something, at least believe in something good. That being said, at lot of the music I tend to like is either very anti religion or worse but I'm not bothered.

    Sometimes I get paranoid that my actions in everyday life decide what will happen to me after I die. I usually try and shrug this off as mental health.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    I never understood Satanists. If you're going to believe in something, at least believe in something good.
    Do you know what Satanist believe in? Not Satan. Not nothing negative. They worship self. A lot of people read into the name too literally. Its a fault of their own. Their beliefs are based around doing what makes you the best person you can be. Look it up sometime. Its probably not what you think it is.

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    Southern Discomfort The Dude's Avatar
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    I meant literal Satanists. Not just somebody who doesn't believe in God or whatever, I have absolutely no problem with that.

    My mums an atheist. Like I said, I used to be. I'm just not entirely convinced there isn't something else out there anymore... Probably because I'm bat-shit crazy but hey.

  11. #11
    Literal Satanists as someone who worships the Devil? I have never met someone in real life who does that. Please point me to them. I wanna know where they get their beliefs from. Is it made up? Do they have a text?

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    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    I mean they are asking for trouble with a name like that.

    It is an interesting name theologically though.

    For many Christians Satan isn't a literal figure with a pitchfork but an idea more than anything else.

    The concept of sin in a biblical context is following your own way instead of the way of God who made us. That is basically what you have outlined above in the worship of 'self' so I guess calling it Satinisim means it is a rejection of God and devotion to the opposite ideology.

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    Southern Discomfort The Dude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ageless Stranger View Post
    Literal Satanists as someone who worships the Devil? I have never met someone in real life who does that. Please point me to them. I wanna know where they get their beliefs from. Is it made up? Do they have a text?
    Check out Sammy Duet. I like him as a guitarist, he's very good but yes he literally worships Satan and is proud of it. I don't really care.

    There is a text I believe.

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    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    I m very Christian, cos to me it is the only world view that make sense in 3 ways.

    1) Free will. And because we have free will, we can choose evil. Which is why the world is suffering. Or we can choose love. Which is why despite suffering the world is worth living.
    2) consequence. Free Will also means consequences. U can choose to put your hand in the fire, but u canít choose not getting burn.
    3) God in a dilemma - itís like a loved one getting cancer. The more you love that person, the more you hate the cancer. Sin is our cancer. He has to judge sin, but he loves us. So what can he do?
    4) God solves his dilemma- now if someone takes the judgement on your behalf, you becomes a free man. Thatís the basis for Jesus. So holiness of God, in which to judge sin, is justified to bless us because Jesus has took the punishment on the cross. Justice of God, satisfied. Love of God, unleashed. Thatís why the cruxifition is so important to our beliefs.

    Thatís the threotical reason for my belief. I havenít even touch on personal experiences that form my beliefs. I wasnít born a Christian, I chose it.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






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    I don't want to get at anyone for what they believe, but I have to confess that I'd be a liar if I said I could follow that.

    I have gone back and forth with people in the past, but still have big problems with the written texts - there's a huge number of problems for me in how they are put together, how they come down to us, why they are in that form in the first place, and so on.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  16. #16
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    @prime time: I was only Christian in my adult life, having grown up hating God. But over the years I explored my own beliefs. As a Christian, I always find it very foolish when another Christian argues from the bible. It’s cheating, it is also a fallacy- arguement from authority- meaning, if I quote the bible and expect you to accept the authority from the bible, it’s never going to make you agreeable. after all isn’t the scriptures, God’s Word as I believe, the greatest authority for me but not for you?

    So it’s furtile for me to ever point to the scripture and tell you they are true, uncorrupted. Of cos it has passed through so many human hands - from Govts to the Churches to so many possible alterations. I can point to historical findings though that the Dead Sea scrolls which is the de-facto archaeology evidence of the earliest bible contains 95 percent accuracy to the modern day Hebrew Bible Book of Isaiah, but that’s besides the point. Your concern on ancient text is entirely valid.

    Now what drives my faith isn’t just a plain belief in scripture, or worst, a type of hybrid scientific faith where I stretch scientific reasoning to fit my own faith. I find my faith in the philosophical sphere, the logic in which only the Christian God’s redemption make perfect sense in this crazy world. Here’s why:

    1) if there is a God why suffer? - the bible explains it as free will. This is the basic tenet of other religion as well. Buddhists calls it Karma, Islam calls it a Trial (life’s a test), Christians calls it the original sin where Adam and Eve chose to rebel.

    2) every human sins, because we are not perfect. and if I am suffering due to my sin, which is an result of my own imperfection as a human, what gives God the right to punish me? A God who says to me, unless u are perfectly obedient to me, you go to hell- what type of “loving God” is that?

    3. however if a God which governs the universe tells me that He chooses who to go to heaven based on merit, meaning, God loves me who have some sin more compared to a murderer who has more sins, it would show a weird God who kinda love someone more than the other based on some divine line in the cosmic. What kind of”loving God” is that? (Btw this is the basic tenet of Islam- submission, but never assurance)

    4. So then I believe in a being so perfect that no man can enter his presence, and such a God is neither worth my love and worship, only fear. Then came Christianity. And they say - yes you are not worthy, not even a tiny bit, unless u are perfect of which there is none. So God being the justice can’t just forgive anyone, but being love He must love us. In this dilemma, He solves the issue by sending a sin offering - one that takes our sins and allow God to exact his judgement on- thus freeing us from the obligation of being perfect before we can go to heaven. That’s the cross.

    These are my personal argument for the case of Christianity, and what makes me believe. If you are truly interested, here’s a great extract that deals with the fundamentals of my belief:

    Last edited by JacobWrestledGod; 01-14-2018 at 03:14 AM.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






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    OK, that was a lot clearer. There are a few things in there we can probably draw talk about some more when I get more time to post but in the meantime, thanks for clarifying.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  18. #18
    You start off your argument with "if there is no god, why suffer". I'd just like to ask you why does having no god preclude suffering?

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    It starts if there is A god why suffer, not no god.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

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    Oops. I can't read.

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    I think what I have taken away from that is that it reads to me more as a defence of a position, rather than a really convincing argument for it. Beginning with the idea of suffering might be a part of that. It's something that you need to explain if you want to start with the idea of a loving god, but if you begin from a position of a complete blank slate it becomes a stranger place to start the argument from.

    When I was studying history I covered a lot of renaissance Christian stuff, and what was a big problem for me was that I have heard a lot of people try and square an omniscient god and the idea of predestination with free will. And though I have heard many arguments, I have never seen one that is really satisfying.

    As to the textual accuracy, 95% over that amount of time is remarkable. But even 5% is huge when we are talking about something that purports to be the definitive word of God. And that's one book, and doesn't even factor in all the other books - not to mention the decisions about what went into the bible in the first place.

    I find a lot of wisdom in there in places, but I don't have the confidence to elevate it beyond that.
    Last edited by Prime Time; 02-05-2018 at 09:38 AM.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  22. #22

    Why we're here

    I understand in a secular world i'm probably stepping into the Lion's den but I am a believer. I believe God is who he says he is and I believe he wants to work things for our good (Romans 8:28). Christianity manifests itself in a lot of ways, and a lot are masked to be of God and are not. I can tell you from experience that on my own, outside of Christ, I am not a good person. When I make the rules and I set my own standards, i'm an angry bitter upset person and the bible is designed to let us know how far we fall. We all have our own opinions of God but if he is who he says he is, a savior who died for people that may mock, hate and never come to him- that is the ultimate sacrifice. When I opened the bible for the first time I was willing to take the risk of him being who he says he is or the biggest fraud in the world. I wanted the latter to be true so badly so I could stick it to my own family. Weird thing happened on that journey though and I started to believe.

    I can't explain it all to you really, but I do know I love who I am in Christ and I'm man enough to admit I could never survive this thing called life without Jesus.

  23. #23
    To me the burden of proof is on the person who makes an extraordinary claim. To speak of the specifics of god: ie God and his son, requires proof for me to believe. But if it helps people get by then good for them. If they need it for a moral system and it works for them, good for them

    Question is can one be agnostic and believe in purpose and have a moral system. Absolutely. How we live and the work we do affects everything around us and could live on after we die through our loved ones. Believing in an afterlife made life less meaningful to me. I felt why do school, why do work, why love, when this life is such a short stint in front of an eternal life. Once I left behind the religion that was put into me, before I was old enough to think, I wanted for the first time to live life to the fullest., to make an impact while I still could. This doesn't mean living wildly. It means living honest, loving to the fullest, and seeing things through.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 02-25-2018 at 04:38 AM.

  24. #24
    The thing is, you don't need religion to have morals. It's simple evolution. Back in the days when we lived in small roving groups of 50 people and rarely met anyone else, unless they were a rival group fighting for resources, you HAD to be nice to everyone else. You cross the wrong person and you're out on your ear with no one to help you. The community pulled together to keep everyone strong enough to survive. Yes, it's become far easier to double cross people and get away with it these days, but that innate moralistic sense is still ingrained in all of us, and it's still very useful to a certain extent.

  25. #25
    For where morals come from, I'd be your choir. I believe the usefulness in religion is just explaining what people learned from life, and the less usefulness is stuff gearing people to rules they feel separate them to their individual gods.

    But if one believes in any of those gods, then they will find it all useful. I think the romance of religion is good for some people. It does the opposite for me.

    Still empathy is important to me.

  26. #26
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Because you mentioned it Benjamin I thought I might jump in because part of my journey to becoming a Christian involved looking at the evidence for Jesus.

    In terms of evidence, while there is obviously widespread disagreement amongst historians, theologians, philosophers and humanity in general regarding the teachings of Jesus, he is one of the historical figures we can say we know a whole lot about. In fact in terms of pieces of evidence speaking to their life and existence there is more independent pieces of evidence relating to the life of Jesus, than there is to the life of the likes of Cesar, Alexander the Great or Cleopatra, people who there is very little historical debate about. The surviving sources are also older and were published closer to the date they are accounting for (that is not that the pieces were necessarily originally written down closer to the date but that the actual surviving parchments, etc are physically older and closer to the date so less likely to have errors or changes). It should be noted that the majority of these texts are Christian texts but do also include a decent amount of Non-Christian sources as well.

    As to the accuracy of the pieces of evidence, well the gospels of the bible make some truly huge claims about Jesus claiming to be the divine Son of God, Jesus miracles and resurrection from death. However there are a number of things that speak to their accuracy:
    - The testimony of the disciples of Jesus can be considered trustworthy because they did not get any material gain from the claims they made, in fact they lived, harder, harsher lives because they continued to call Jesus the one and only God in a polytheistic society.
    - The different accounts have some crossover but do not give exactly the same accounts. This may seem counter intuitive but historical scholars actually look at people having slightly differing accounts as proof it was not something that was not made up specifically by a small group. If everyone says exactly the same thing historians will get quite suspicious that it is all intentionally falsified.
    - The accounts of the people who wrote the gospels actually paint the authors in a poor light, for example, Peter who is largely accepted to have dictated the book of Mark to his scribe and helper Mark, completely denied Jesus at one point and at others even disagrees with him. Similarly to the first point, his willingness to paint himself in a bad light speaks to the accuracy of what he is saying.
    - The usage of women as key witnesses. At the time these texts were written women would not be seen as reliable witnesses, if you were faking a story you wouldn't just wouldn't make them keys witnesses, yet in all of the accounts it is two women who are the first to find Jesus tomb empty.

    Having said that though, as Type said in the Christian faith there is indeed an element of your own faith and belief, for one thing all the historians who study this are not Christians even though the general principle that 'Jesus was a religious teacher who claimed to be the Son of God, died and was reported to have been resurrected' is a pretty concrete historical statement.

  27. #27
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    Oh, I can say without question that there was definitely a figure roughly corresponding to who we now call Jesus at the time. I mean if you do disregard the Christian sources as evidenc- which you actually have to do if you're going to be rigorous about examining the claims of that religion - then the whole picture becomes a bit murkier. But at the same time, there's enough evidence that clearly someone who fits the profile existed.

    My issues lie in the gap between proving Jesus existed, and proving that the claims are true: the Islamic reading of Christ seems just as plausible, and early Muslims were persecuted in much the same way as Christians, and yet both survived; and obviously, they can't both be right, given that both claim to be the true word of God. And that's just with competing religions. Then there's the perspective that he was around, but just wasn't the son of God. And finally, even if Jesus did claim to be the son of God, proving the existence of Jesus as a historical figure wouldn't prove the existence of God anymore than the existence of David Icke does.


    A big part of my problem is this. I don't really understand why a God would pass on the message at that point in time, using such an inherently flawed medium as the written word. If you actually had an exact word, a definitive commandment you wanted to pass on, why you'd pass that on through a form which is by its very nature interpretive, and was always likely to lead to differences in interpretation. It's now generally accepted that when you put a text out into the world that you lose ownership of it, that meaning is not author-given but is generated in a process between reader-and-text, and I have a hard time buying into the idea that God would take the trouble to craft this code by which we are meant to live but then put it out into the world in a way that meant a divergence in interpretation was inevitable.


    Boy, this is a bit of a downer of a post for a Sunday.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  28. #28
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    I think every one has very strong and valid points laid out. Of cos written word is, on closer scrutiny, a bad manner of passing down commandments and doctrine. There’s also the topic on suffering and free will that I myself have no fully sorted out yet, though I have my reasons for believing my God I doubt beyond personal experiences I can not convince anyone. I am just pleasantly surprised that we are civil enough to be having this conversation when basically I get bashed over my head by atheists/ non-believers and mocked at many times for my beliefs
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






  29. #29
    Woken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    The whole issue with a human's brain, is that when we are asked "If there is a God, a creator of all life, then what created that God?", we can't comprehend an answer. We cannot fathom how something, or someone came into existence from seemingly nothing, because there are aspects of life we have no vantage of, while in the thick of life on our level.


    There are billions of living organisms inside each human body on the molecular level, all individual, most serving entirely different purposes from one another within their lifetimes. They also reproduce, and respond to outside stimuli. Do they view the inside of a human as if it were a universe? If they ever broke out, would they even know they were looking at other Universes when humans walked by? Do they ponder what happens when they die?

    Perhaps we are merely microscopic organisms in a greater being, and though it indirectly created us, and needs us, we know nothing of each other's true nature, nor would we ever even if faced with the truth? Maybe that greater being is merely a microscopic organism comprising something else? And none of us would know where life began, nor ended- after all, you can't see the forrest for the trees.






  30. #30
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kleckamania View Post
    There are billions of living organisms inside each human body on the molecular level, all individual, most serving entirely different purposes from one another within their lifetimes. They also reproduce, and respond to outside stimuli. Do they view the inside of a human as if it were a universe? If they ever broke out, would they even know they were looking at other Universes when humans walked by? Do they ponder what happens when they die?

    Perhaps we are merely microscopic organisms in a greater being, and though it indirectly created us, and needs us, we know nothing of each other's true nature, nor would we ever even if faced with the truth? Maybe that greater being is merely a microscopic organism comprising something else? And none of us would know where life began, nor ended- after all, you can't see the forrest for the trees.
    I love those thought experiments. The more I learn about the human body the crazier and more complex this whole world seems because that is how detailed we are and yet we are pretty small compared to the bigger things in this universe.

    To what Prime said, I disagree about removing the Christian authors, most historians will accept the gospels for the reasons I outlined above (there doesn't appear to be a falsified story there). With the resurrection they will label it as a resurrection 'experience'. Obviously historians disagree about what the claims Jesus made mean or how true they are.

    In terms of why he chose to spread his word at that time. I have an unsubstantiated theory that it was because it was the first time ever that a large enough area had been made safe for people to travel through and spread the news of what had happened (being the Roman Empire). I may be wrong with that though so feel free to poke as many holes as you like.

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    Sam, my point is that if you are trying to ascertain things about the life of Jesus as a test of Christianity you can't accept the Christian texts as evidence, because they are the things being tested.

    It's a basic principle - you can't find the proof for the religion within itself but only in other sources that might validate it.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  32. #32
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    I love that this thread has exploded and there’s intelligent, civil conversation happening.

    I’m more inclined to be on the religious side of this. I think as others have said, it’s important to realise the concept of “faith” has an element of believing without understanding everything. A lot of faith can be based on immensely personal encounters that make you believe. Encounters that can’t easily be explained. I don’t understand everything and never will, which often leads me to question it.

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    ^ I'm not sure if it was meant to be arguing this, but it's actually a pretty good reason as to why I resist the forms of any one organised religion, but am more inclined to finding your spiritual material in any number of places.

    Or to put it another, without total proof I'd struggle to give any one thing total authority, but given that we cannot understand anything I try and pay attention to those encounters, regardless of what inspires them.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  34. #34
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Sam, my point is that if you are trying to ascertain things about the life of Jesus as a test of Christianity you can't accept the Christian texts as evidence, because they are the things being tested.

    It's a basic principle - you can't find the proof for the religion within itself but only in other sources that might validate it.
    Ok, I understand what you are saying and I think we were arguing different things. I am arguing for the proof of who Jesus was and that claims he made in his life. The reason I focus on that is because originally the idea of evidence was bought up and the whole of Christianity lives and dies on him. It even says in one of the New Testament books that is Jesus didn't live, die and rise again that everything else is for naught.

    The most accurate and detailed accounts of his life are the gospels so they are my go to text. Given that they are very 'partisan' sources I can understand your hesitancy to give them too much weight however in ancient history a lot of sources are like this. For example a lot of what we know about Julius Cesar is from his own diaries so to disregard the gospel accounts because they were written by potentially biased parties is in some ways to throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead historians will use these texts and account for potential bias and as I outlined above I think the gospel accounts are produced the most accurate accounts that were produced using multiple witness testimonies and within the closest times to the actual events they are speaking about, within 30-60 years of the death of Jesus (unlike other less credited accounts such as the book of Thomas made famous by the DaVinci Code which was written at least 100 years later, most likely more).

    To your point about proving the religion outside of the actual texts. Firstly I'd say there is no way God can be proved or disproved, especially a God that isn't pantheistic (part of this world). However I can talk about the difference it has made In this world. The main thing I think that speaks to a Christian world view is the virtue of love as spoken about in the bible, that is that love is an action where even when someone isn't loving towards you you still love them back. While this is not originally to Christians at the time Jesus originally spoke of it and John further elaborated in his letters it was a very different culture of ambition, conquest, slavery and inequality on a level that would seem huge even today. However from that doctrine of love to not just your immediate family and friends but all your fellow humans Christians have gone on to create the first schools and hospitals that were open to everyone and social support structures that helped the unfortunate. Of course there are countless examples of Christians not living up to this but the influence of the Christian worldview on the west cannot be overstated.

    For me personally I can see how that attitude has effected my life and the life of those close to me positively, how it has helped relationships thrive and strengthen even through tough times, how Christianity has given hope in times of darkness and how I am personally just a better person as a Christian than I was before.

  35. #35
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    I've been intentionally avoiding this thread because I knew I'd end up writing an essay but am glad I got involved, good to flex these muscles, since leaving uni I haven't really had much chance to really debate and discuss with people who disagree and care but aren't jerks about it.

    Fun stuff gents, really enjoying this all.

    Sorry for the double post.

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    Ha, based on the essay I'm not sure I am being clear, so just for the sake of clarity I will add this.

    The reason you can't include the biblical texts in this context is because you don't want to have a circular argument. You don't want to run the risk of something like this:

    The amount of information we have on Jesus validates the Bible. Most of that information comes from the Bible. Therefore the Bible is validated.

    Circular logic like that can't be interrogated or analysed and are better not offered as evidence but, as you say in the post above, have to be accepted as some sort of aspect of faith. The amount of information we have about Christ shrinks dramatically when you remove the gospels, but while that removes it as a reason for a sceptic to consider it, if you have faith that doesn't matter. I understand that.

    Personally, I am not a fan of attempts to try and ground religious faith in some sort of logic. My own spiritual leanings lie soundly outside the rational sphere and I find those philosophies far more compelling.

    It is an interesting point about early charity, but my understanding is that Christianity expanded a tendency that was already there in the Roman Empire rather than genuinely originated it - and that although it has a central place in the West such ideas had currency in the East a few hundred years earlier. I may be wrong though; I'm not an anthropologist.



    To come at this from another angle, I have had conversations with people who believe in God but who find their inspiration more in mathematics than in anything written down.
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

  37. #37
    Word Enthusiast Steve's Avatar
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    Faith is a tricky critter. You either have it or you don't, you know?

    As it pertains to historical evidence of Jesus, proving whether he existed or not in no way verifies his divinity, you know? I think I have a somewhat different perspective than many on this due to a specific life experience. My best friend back in the day dated a young lady who had been a member of the Branch Davidian sect as a child. She and her parents, even many years removed from Waco and all the stuff that went down, still absolutely swore that they witnessed David Koresh perform miracles.

    Was it parlor magic? High level illusion stuff? Who knows? Bottom line is that they were convinced, as were many others, in his divinity. He proclaimed himself the Son of God, performed "miracles" to back up his claims, they believed.

    Am I comparing Jesus to a fucking psychopath like Koresh? No, at least not beyond the cursory. For all we know Jesus existed, claimed to be the Son of God and performed miracles to back up his claims, thus gaining believers. But who's to say that he wasn't just as much a false idol as Koresh, Marshall Applewhite or any other who had done the same in the centuries since? I know that's blasphemous to those who believe and I in no way mean any disrespect, but I have literally known and spoken with people who harbored just as much faith and saw it as just as blasphemous to insinuate that Koresh wasn't the Messiah.

    So... yeah. Just proving that he existed or even that he made the claims attributed to him validates nothing aside from the fact that he obviously had a group of folks who wholeheartedly bought what he was selling and did everything in their power to spread the word. At the end of the day, bringing anthropological fact into the mix won't ultimately have any impact on anyone's previously established faith or lack thereof. That's why it's faith. It shouldn't require any evidence. If it does, perhaps said faith isn't as strong as one may think.

  38. #38
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    I think for me the reason I bring evidence into it is because I would not be able to just accept that I'm lying or being wilfully ignorant to myself about something that has formed a cornerstone of my life. Yes there is an element of faith but it isn't faith in something that doesn't match with the world I live in

    In no way do I take offence in what you said there Steve it is actually quite an interesting viewpoint on things.

    Im interested in the people who find inspiration for God from maths if you would be able to elaborate Prime.

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    Woken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    I had a college math professor who swore on his life that everything that ever happens in life can be broken down into a mathematical equation. He always said everything in this world could be broken down into mathematics, and solved- as in, we could know the future and alter/manipulate time if we figured it out. He always pointed to flower petals and reoccuring numbers/fibonnaci spiral/sequence in nature as examples.
    Last edited by Kleckamania; 02-28-2018 at 07:02 AM.






  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSam View Post
    Im interested in the people who find inspiration for God from maths if you would be able to elaborate Prime.
    It's outside my realm, largely, but if you strip it down to just an idea of God, rather than to of organised religion then I think it's easier to grasp. If I've understood it even halfway correctly it essentially boils down to finding the cleanliness of mathematical certainty far more inspirational than any promised messages or the messiness of anything involving humans and society. I've even heard it said, if I'm not massively oversimplifying this, that "God" can be understood not as a being but as something inherent in the mathematical configuration of the Universe. I guess it's kinda where religion, philosophy and physics meet, at that point.


    To briefly turn back to the point about logic on the previous page, I think the reason I'm never convinced by arguments that rely on a logic for God is that it seems to me to be a trespass into a sphere where religion is not very strong. Ideas of rationality are so ingrained that to call something irrational has become an insult in our culture, but it isn't really an insult to say that God is an irrational concept if you go back to what the idea of rational means. Or maybe as irrational has become so loaded, perhaps I should say a-rational to make the distinction.


    Either way, the idea of God itself exists outside of the rational sphere - you can't test it, see it, or even measure it's effects, which you need to able to do for things like. Even the positive effects of religion cannot rationally, categorically be attributed to a God, so you can't even analyse it in terms of methods that you'd find in the Social Sciences. You can only attribute those affects to a divinity by taking a leap of faith. And when I say I conceive of the universe as if there is a God, I can't really create an argument for that based on any kind of hard logic, because it ultimately boils down this: I feel like there is. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Of course, it's perfectly fair to point out that just as to call something 'irrational' has become an insult of sorts, that there are plenty of people who've forgotten that rationality itself has its limits. Early scientists were far more aware of science as a mode of philosophy, one with its own boundaries, than I generally encounter nowadays. I've always hated when people accuse scientists of thinking they know all the answers because that's clearly not true and anyone who has actually done any legwork knows it isn't true, but there are a few people who think it's always the right tool to answer any question and there are things about the human experience that philosophy, the humanities, or yes, even religion, are far more equipped to handle.
    Last edited by Prime Time; 02-28-2018 at 09:36 AM.
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