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So I am new at all this. I am going through a phase where I am unsure if I am still a Christian or not. I don't believe in the bible but I believe in a higher power... I just so happen to stumble across this and was curios. I always thought that atheist were the ones who worships the devil and wore black and danced around at night casting spells on people. That is what I was taught. Boy was I wrong. I have been friends with an atheist for like 10 years and just found out LOL.
Anyways, I have 3 amazing children. They are not baptized because I want them to make that decision for themselves. Yes, it did throw a big rock in the water when I put my foot down on that. But they believe in God and Jesus. When asked how babies are made I told them God took a little of mommies heart and a little of daddies heart and made a baby and put it in my belly. When my nephew died 1 day shy of being 3 months I was asked, mommy why did he die? As hurt as I was I said well sometimes God needs baby angels. So every year we write messages Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, etc. on balloons and let them go in the sky so he can see them in Heaven.
Now that I am on the fence on if I am still a Christian or not, I have no idea what to do about my children. Do I pull them away from it all? We don't go to church because I don't believe I HAVE to go to a church to praise God. But how do I interfere with what my children believe? Should I just keep doing what i'm doing and let them decided when they get a little older or what? My whole family are Christians and God comes up a lot. My family stays out of religious discussions with me because I always have something to say to contradict what they are talking about.
"In Christendom, there is a long tradition that we cannot readily define God or what is right, those things are too big for us."
Bit too convenient isn't it? That no matter what anyone does or says, they are able to justify it by finding some part of the bible that is ambiguous enough for them to relate to it?
Then to claim that we, filthy sinning humans, are too dumb and ignorant to comprehend Gods glorious and perfect being to have any clear understanding of "what is right".
So we are to believe there is a "perfect right" out there and we are being blamed for not following it, yet also it is claimed that we cannot even know what that "perfect right" is.
So essentially we are being punished for lack of knowledge that our creator refuses to make clear to us.
Dan Dennett even believes in a higher universal power. He calls it Gravity :-) I don’t really know if children believe in god in the same sense that most adults do. They just tend to “accept” what other people seem to believe. If they accept it for long enough they come to believe that they believe it.
You might like to look at this site Raising Freethinkers. There is also a book by the same name. Welcome to TA Savannah.
My higher power, electromagnetism, is more powerful than Dennett's gravity!
I won't waste any time calling on my higher power when Savannah's Yellowstone blows. I hope the SF Bay Area is far enough away.
From what you've said...it seems as though:
1. You aren't a Christian.
2. You believe in something "supernatural" (a higher power).
There doesn't seem to be any fence sitting here.
So as a very friendly question...why do you believe in something super natural (a higher power)?
This claim about purpose seems like a vestige of the God claim which, based on your other comments above, it doesn't look like you really believe at all.
I wouldn't say the higher power is super natural like aliens or anything like that. But God would probably be a supernatural power wouldn't it?
I believe everything has a purpose. The trees, bees, birds, flowers, bugs, etc.
I think that man's invention and perpetuation of God came partly from people's need to believe in purpose, and to become comfortable with their personal roles in society. In prehistory, before there was reading and writing and intellectual pursuit (and naive, intellectual folly), humans only had time for survival mode, and roles and purposes came naturally as opposed to a result of deeper discussion. One's "purpose" was to survive, and to play whatever role necessary to help everyone else survive.
I wrote another paragraph or two of the same rant I often repeat. And then I deleted it, for the short term benefit of TA readers! I should write a book, just to get some of these unwelcomed ideas out of my system. Savannah, the gist of what I'm saying is that I think it's normal to feel that "purpose" permeates our existence. It's how we evolved, before we invented language and intellectual interpretations of life, and corrupted it with inventions like religion, deities, and various other idealisms. Most of us like the feeling of connectedness with nature, and to each other. Where people go wrong is in their inventions intending to explain these feelings in supernatural terms. It's not easy (or natural) for all of us to pursue science, even when it's clear that there's no better way to discover and catalog reality.
Did no one tell Dawkins the purpose of space -- to keep everything from happening where I am -- and the purpose of time -- to keep it all from happening now?
Indeed. You do seem to be sitting on a fence when it comes to the supernatural.
If you believe in a "higher power" which could be described as the laws of physics or the laws of nature then no ... there is nothing super natural about it.
If you believe that everything has a purpose in an Aristotilian sense as in "the purpose of a tree is to grow and drop seeds and die" or "the purpose of a male human is to grow into a man, live, socialise and procreate" then no there is nothing (necessarily) supernatural about this.
However if you believe in some higher force that has a mind of its own then it's definitely supernatural. If you believe that each human has a roll to play in human history, that a specific person is specifically here to bring joy to others or that another is destined to travel the world and learn the special truth of the world then we are entering into the supernatural.
If you believe that there is an energetic force which washes across the earth and gives us positive energy encouraging us to be good and treat each other well and respect nature ... then it is most certainly supernatural.
If you believe in the ability of the dead to communicate with you or influence you in any way we are deep into the super natural.
If you believe that trees and mountains have any kind of life force, ability to communicate or mess with the human mind ... then it is definitely supernatural.
Can you see what differentiates the supernatural with the non-supernatural in terms of "higher power"?
I was a gravely sick five year old when I "saw jesus". He was as real to me as my mother in the same room. I had had jesus drilled into my head my entire young life. He was an invisible friend. Do I still believe jesus was physically there?..nah, no way. If I didn't know he supposedly existed, I would have imagined someone else. When one is scared, ill or emotional it's easy to experience things that appear to be physical.
Amazing how when the spiritualists contact the dead, the dead seem to play "guess my name, it starts with J". I have had Deja Vu, visions, I have predicted things that came true...some of my loved ones say I have a "gift", that I can read minds. I don't believe in any of it, If you are intelligent and observe, observe, and observe some more you will learn cause and effect patterns that others do not get. That's all it is to me. Any magician will tell you how predictable to human mind can be, and how quick we are to inject a spiritual or magical cause to a predictable result.
Okay. What you are describing is certainly supernatural. Spirits are absolutely without a doubt a supernatural construct. Thanks for explaining why you believe in a super natural higher order. It's really nice to get a concrete and clear answer to a basic question. One usually doesn't get a clear and concrete answer to a "why" question when speaking with those who believe in the supernatural. You certainly seem very sincere in your beliefs and in your openness to applying critical thinking to them.
the purpose of a tree is to grow and drop seeds and die or
the purpose of a male human is to grow into a man, live, socialise and procreate.
What happened to "and die"?
I dear. It's strange because I'm not afraid of death but I seem to have subconsciously omitted it. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???