When talking to many people, I get the notion that many Americans have grown up in a Christian church. Along side that, many leave the church because of something that the church did to them or they had a bad experience or they just didn't agree with it.
I want to know what peoples experiences are with the American Christian Church is, and if this drove them/opened their eyes to not believing in God. Also, if you once believed there was a god, what was the moment that you stopped believing there was and why.
- I don't want this to be just a big bashing session on Christians in general, I actually want to hear your experiences, if you don't mind sharing.
It's not really something to be remembered - that would be too religious. I would suggest, though, that you consider the underlying assumptions you use to justify your beliefs and knowledge - that is, if you haven't already. For most people, those assumptions are a mishmash of unrelated points that don't offer much support for anything when put to the test. Sorting them out can be messy, but I've found the process fascinating.
Even worse the underlying religious assumptions I used to believe true were not even my own really. I had hand-me-down assumptions that are taught as facts. And of course we have the story "doubting Thomas" to quell the skeptics. What? You are just supposed to believe this one particular story, but be skeptical of all other religions? Does that make any sense at all?
Almost all theists fuss and fidget with their knowledge that prayers aren't answered - only declared, after the fact, to have been answered - and a requirement that they must declare that prayers are answered - just don't test that belief because it shows lack of faith.
In other words, they are given required assumptions along with a requirement not to assume they are so. It's nothing more than a big mental knot.
Gallop. I don't really disagree with anything you've said except that I believe you've missed his point slightly.
I haven't missed the point, Mike. Yeddie failed to make one.
In my opinion he's not suggestion that you believe in Jesus. I believe he's asking that, if you allow even the remotest possibility, then you should explore every possibility.
What he suggested specifically: "If there is a 1% chance that God really exist [sic], why would you not try to find him?"
My answer: lack of evidence.
1 in 100 odds seem awfully generous. If there were 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion odds, would you try to find him? I cannot say for certain without evidence either way-- no respectable scientist should-- but I think the probability, based on reason and evidence from other sources, that the personal God of the Bible exists is virtually zero. As such, "finding him" is wasted time. I'd sooner hunt for leprechauns.
We haven't even touched the tenets of Christianity: (1) Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit, (2) the death, descent into hell, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, (3) the holiness of the Church and the communion of saints, and (4) Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful.
Yeah, sure. And Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse. What are the odds that this complete load of crap is true? One in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion (and keep adding "trillions" until the Ning server hard drive fills up).
Now if this person came up to me throwing $20 bills into the air and then claimed I would find a million of these at this location, I would go.
The analogy still fails.
There is not the slightest shred of evidence for God. None at all. There is only the endless parade of quacks and hucksters insisting that cute babies, pretty rainbows, holy books, abstract mathematics, and acid trips are evidence for God. They are not.
A more accurate analogy is that a person comes up to me throwing purple $11 bills into the air and promises I'll find millions of dollars at a certain location.
I'm not allowed to say, "there is no God" - only that there "probably" is no God. The doubt I have would not prompt me to get out of my chair to look under my desk for the promised $20 m. I'll confess that, if a random stranger said I would find $20m if I turned my head - I confess I would do that much - but no more.
You can say what you like.
I say: show me your evidence for God. There is none, so I don't believe you. It's that simple.
I am saying that if there is any slight chance of eternity - hell or heaven - why would you risk the chance? Why would you spend your whole life waiting for evidence and not searching for evidence? You can sit in a chair all day and wait for a check from work to arrive at your home, but if you don't actually work, then you will never get a check.
I don't mean to be repetitive, but I just don't understand why you wouldn't try. Like personally search for Him. Read the scriptures, ask God to reveal himself to you. Hangout with those who know Jesus. Putting in an effort that will change your life forever. It is worth a try.
Hey, you think none of us have looked for gods? Read my story and then tell me why your god doesn't exist. http://spoonheim.blogspot.ca/2009/10/atheism.html
I am saying that if there is any slight chance of eternity - hell or heaven - why would you risk the chance?
Burn in the fires of hell forever or sing praises to the Great Leader in heaven forever. Paradise bears an awful resemblance to totalitarian North Korea.
Even if I believed in the heaven and hell of Christianity, which I don't, both are an eternity of utterly pointless misery. You lose either way, so there's no reason to care which form of torture God subjects you to.
Why would you spend your whole life waiting for evidence and not searching for evidence? You can sit in a chair all day and wait for a check from work to arrive at your home, but if you don't actually work, then you will never get a check.
That's an assumption fallacy. I've spent my whole life educating myself, including getting an advanced degree, and reading voraciously about nature and science: the best means we have for understanding the universe. I've spent plenty of time in chairs, but with books in my hands, studying, or at universities, not twiddling my thumbs.
I don't mean to be repetitive, but I just don't understand why you wouldn't try.
I've explained my reasons. I don't believe in God and Pascal's wager is useless cynicism. I cannot muster a sincere belief in God any more than I can muster a sincere belief in leprechauns. If God is real, than pretending to believe isn't going to fool him: he'll know I'm actually an atheist.
What part of that do you not understand?
Like personally search for Him. Read the scriptures, ask God to reveal himself to you. Hangout with those who know Jesus. Putting in an effort that will change your life forever. It is worth a try.
I had read the entire Bible before I was eleven years old. Such are the wonders of Catholic "education". The Bible is the one of the reasons I don't believe in God or Christianity, which is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.
If I asked you, in all sincerity, to start searching for and talking to leprechauns and asking them to reveal themselves to you, would you do it?
If I advised you to start hanging out with those who claim to know leprechauns, would you do it?
Would my assurances that knowing such people would "change your life forever" inspire your confidence?
I am saying that if there is any slight chance of eternity - hell or heaven - why would you risk the chance?
Interesting question. It's hard to respond, though, since your God and your religion aren't the only one.
As stated by MikeLong - you did miss my point slightly. I saying you should explore.
When I say I am not religious, I am defining religion as a set of rules that allows you to have a relationship with God and ultimately get you into heaven. I do not follow a set of rules to get me a relationship with God. Jesus paid my penalty, therefore I can have a relationship with God. It isn't about my works, it is about his work on the cross. It might sound the same, but totally different.
You say, "Tell me God exists and I will ask to see your evidence, and you will have none. Tell me the earth is 6000 years old and I will assure you science shows it is much older." Can you show me evidence that God doesn't exist? What if I were to tell/show you how people are healed in the name of Jesus each and ever day. When we pray for healing, people are healed. When we pray for things, they happen. Is this the universe? How can you explain it?
"When I say I am not religious, I am defining religion as a set of rules that allows you to have a relationship with God and ultimately get you into heaven."
Mate if you followed no rules you would be more of a deist, not a christian. To be a christian you have to follow all sorts of rules to have a relationship with god and get into heaven. One rule is you have to believe the bible is actually the word of god and basically accurate in what god wants to tell us.Another rule is you have to believe this god impregnated a human woman and that her son was 100% human and also 100% god despite what simple mathematics tells us. Another rule is you have to believe that this person torture and death means we can somehow get into heaven. And it was not even like he was tortured all that badly, humans have done far far worse to one another all the time. Another rule is you have to believe that there is only one god who is somehow also three separate gods, one of which had a summer job at being human.I can go on forever on all the rules you have to believe to be a christian compared to a Muslim, Buddhist or Jew.
"Can you show me evidence that God doesn't exist? What if I were to tell/show you how people are healed in the name of Jesus each and ever day. When we pray for healing, people are healed. When we pray for things, they happen. Is this the universe? How can you explain it? "
The problem is that it is nearly always impossible to disprove a negative. I mean can you show me evidence that fairies don't exist? Hell i would even settle for evidence that bigfoot does not exist?
Lastly , do you honestly think that Christianity is the only religion with miraculous healing. There are cases of this throughout every single religion. So if i can show you cases where a Muslim, Jew or Buddhist was miraculously healed after pray, would that prove those religions are true?
Seeing my name in your post makes me need to explain. I was contending that your position was even stupider than the respondent had imagined.
"Can you show me evidence that God doesn't exist?"
I am sure you must be aware of the magic Teapot which is in orbit around Titan. Some dummies, for some strange reason, refuse to accept that this Teapot even exists. However none of these deniers have been able to PROVE their claim. This lack of proof is, in itself, PROOF that the teapot does exist. I'm sure you are completely happy with this line of reasoning.
"show you how people are healed in the name of Jesus each and ever day"
Of course but would you mind asking your buddy, Jesus, why he hates amputees? I forgot. I mean, a miracle is a miracle, isn't it? Why do all these "miraculous cures" consist ONLY of cures that COULD have taken place naturally (or were, in fact, only maladies of the mind to start off with)? Please ask Jesus for a sign - not a big one. My girlfriend is missing the last digit of her little finger. Please get him to replace it (squeeze it in among the thousands of miracles he performs daily).
There is a Heathen on this board (the similarity of spelling is NO accident, I'm sure) whose position deserves restating:
I therefore, from a philosophical standpoint, say that their claim is not even a valid one to consider.
It's not so much that I'm saying there are no gods, although I am, I am saying that gods do not even fall into the realm of claims worth evaluating further - which is even more affirmative, in my epistemology, than saying they do not exist.
I will start with the last question. If the guy looks like he needs the dollars more than I do, I may not bother and besides very few people go dishing 20 million dollars randomly on the street. Am too cynical to believe that would be the case. I may just tell him to bring me the money.
Yeddie, you must be aware of Pascal's wager. It has been responded to here several times over. So again, how would you know out of the pantheon of gods that your mythical character is the one? Isn't that a case of special pleading?
If whatever has been said about gods were true, it wouldn't be up to us to look for s/h/it. I think the entity would bother to make itself obvious for everyone.
And you are wrong on us not choosing to believe. A person believes as they are convicted and no way else. If you want me to change my belief, provide with me evidence, let me consider it and if am persuaded by it, I will change my beliefs until then, don't say what you can't justify!
So the Jesus you follow tells you that things he has for you in some magical place is better than what you have here! Why not ask him to take you there directly? Isn't it a case of madness to believe that you are here being prepared for a life as a spirit form, whatever that is, in another place?