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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.

 

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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.

The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted definition of the Christian faith, as used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and most Protestant churches. The Nicene Creed says essentially:

1. God exists, Heaven exists, an afterlife exists, and God created everything.
2. God sent his invisible spirit down from heaven to impregnate a virgin using magic.
3. Jesus was born of that virgin (Mary).
4. Jesus was God.
5. God makes people suffer forever in the afterlife unless they do what He says during life.
6. God tortured and executed himself (as Jesus) instead of torturing the people he otherwise would have tortured for not obeying him.
7. Jesus came back to life three days later and levitated up to Heaven.
8. Jesus will return someday to judge how well the living and dead did what God said.
9. God creates life using magic.
10. God must be worshipped and praised.
11. God speaks through the Prophets (in the Bible).
12. God created the church (presumably whichever one you happen to be worshipping in).
13. God holds newborns responsible for the times their ancestors didn't do what He said (original sin).
14. God allows this responsibility to be washed off with magic water (baptism).
15. The sign that Jesus-God has returned will be the dead rising (a zombie apocalypse).

If you believe what the Nicene Creed says, you are a Christian. If you don't believe all or most of it, then you're not.

I don't believe in the bible but I believe in a higher power...

Me too. One giant asteroid impact, supernova, or gamma ray burst and we're history.

Lol! Well done, good and faithful servant!

I'm a Christian, and I'm quite sure that I don't believe the creed according to @Gallup.

There is no all or nothing thing. We are all learning and growing. In Christendom, there is a long tradition that we cannot readily define God or what is right, those things are too big for us.

"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.  

Seems legit.

I'm a Christian, and I'm quite sure that I don't believe the creed according to @Gallup.

Note that Bob, as usual, mentions no specifics and offers no explanation.

Which parts of the creed does Bob not believe in?
Which parts does Bob say I have rendered incorrectly and why?

If you don't support the point you haven't made one.

There is no all or nothing thing.

The Pope and the Catechism of the Catholic Church seems to know more about the consequences of denying articles of Catholic faith than you do, Bob.

"Q. 554. Could a person who denies only one article of our faith be a Catholic? A. A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all. (Source: Third Plenary Council of Baltimore)"

"This new formula of the Professio fidei restates the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and concludes with the addition of three propositions or paragraphs intended to better distinguish the order of the truths to which the believer adheres. The correct explanation of these paragraphs deserves a clear presentation, so that their authentic meaning, as given by the Church's Magisterium, will be well understood, received and integrally preserved. [...] Such doctrines can be defined solemnly by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks 'ex cathedra' or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or they can be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church as a "sententia definitive tenenda". Every believer, therefore, is required to give firm and definitive assent to these truths, based on faith in the Holy Spirit's assistance to the Church's Magisterium, and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters. Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church. (Source: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI)"

"Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church." (Source: AD TUENDAM FIDEM, Pope John Paul II)

We are all learning and growing. In Christendom, there is a long tradition that we cannot readily define God or what is right, those things are too big for us.

According to the Catholic Church-- the largest church in Christiandom-- not only is your faith and morality defined for you quite readily, you have to believe "each and everything" or you're not a Catholic.

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)?

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?

Not necessarily. A religious naturalist or naturalistic pantheist-- such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking-- essentially uses the word God as a nonsupernatural synonym for Nature, the universe and its laws. (Richard Dawkins calls this 'sexed up atheism'.)

If you don't believe in a God that resembles Yahweh-- the perfect and all-powerful being that is worshipped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the creator of the universe and ruler of human affairs-- you probably don't believe in a supernatural God or a personal God.

It's always I KNOW THERE IS A GOD. how do they actually know if they never saw him?

Note that you're describing empiricism (testing claims using observable evidence) and requiring reason, which are both part of the scientific method: the best method we have for knowing what is really true.

It's encouraging that you think this way, seemingly by natural tendency, and are holding the God claim accountable by such high standards. However...

I believe everything has a purpose. The trees, bees, birds, flowers, bugs, etc.

...you'll find most folks on Think Atheist (including me) apply the same high standards to any position one takes regarding nature. You don't claim to know there is a purpose to everything in Nature, but you believe there is a purpose.

Why? What evidence and reason is there to believe that?

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.

From Gallup:

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.

From Savannah:

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.

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