@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:
Yes, well I entirely agree, but I expected that to be MY perspective, not yours. (A believers).
In any case, I don't think the phenomenon is all that different regardless of which side of the argument a person might be.
But in this case, if you comprehend the nature of conflicting opinion, and the subjectivity of belief, then what actually makes you correct?
It seems bizarre to me that we can have this conversation but at the end of the day your belief will dictate that you have to turn round and say (if only to yourself) 'But I'm actually right, Jesus is the son of god etc.'
But of course at the end of the day I will say that I'm right, Jesus is the Son of God. If I didn't think that, I would not be Christian. Just as at the end of the day you will say that you are right, if there was a Jesus at all, he was just another guy, and the whole Christian thing is one big bunch of baloney. If you did not think that, you would not be agnostic or Atheist.
It can't be just opinion. What is the difference between belief and opinion? It seems ridiculous to 'have the opinion' that Jesus is the Son of God. Where did you get that opinion from? How do you know? How did you arrive at that conclusion?
I know some of it because I have spent a substantial chunk of my now quite lengthy adult life researching and studying the history, archeaology, geology, mythology, etc. surrounding the JudeoChristian stories and myths, and while I believe many of the 'myths' are symbolism or allegory to illustrate larger truths, I find the core of the belief to be plausible despite intense effort on my part to reject it. I arrived at that conclusion because of the verifiable evidence and I know Jesus is the Son of God because of my personal and very real relationship with that Being.
What evidence do you have that there is no such Being? How do you know? How did you arrive at that conclusion?
It makes much more sense to have a belief in something like that. Beliefs are more easily taken as unquestionable. This is what gets Dawkins so hot under the collar. 'Opinion' makes it look as if you've weighed up a load of evidence or something, you haven't really, you've accepted a system.
That would depend on what you mean by 'accepting a system'. If you mean the trappings, hymnology, ritual, routine, disciplines, expectations, doctrine, and dogma of the Church, all are entirely extraneous to and unnecessary to my 'beliefs'. I have been quite ecumenical for a very long time now and long ago gave up the notion that God requires any particular set of words or routines or rituals in order for us to be acceptable. The rituals and doctrine are comforting and meaningful for many, and for that reason I respect them and even participate in them when worshipping with this group or that group, Christian and non-Christian alike. But they are external trappings, and I think Christians err when they almost or in effect make the rituals, trappings, and certain words objects of worship rather than focusing on the living Christ.
I don't think you were/are wrong, nor do I think you explained yourself badly at all. I just think you are now seeing an additional perspective and this is expanding your point of view somewhat. And I think it speaks well for your maturity that you are able to see and understand a concept beyond your own prejudices. So many of us are unable to do that.
I was a christian (very serious christian) until I was 13, which may sound quite young, but I'm glad I was since it gave me the insight of what it is like to 'conform' to a set of beliefs (and really believe in them).
There's approximately 6,706,993,000 people in the world. If I was the one with the 'correct' opinion it would be all to convenient. Laughably so.
I think the very first step to getting closer to the truth is acknowledging how little of it we actually have.
That's my main argument against religious belief in general- there have been millions of religious /belief systems through the ages. It is all too convenient that the one you were raised with/stepped into just happened to be the 'correct' one, and all the others are false.
(My dad, (the bloody Calvinist) always quips back 'Ah! But do we choose religion, or does religion choose us?' Which kind of solves the problem though some back-handed type of argument, but I still think that's all too convenient.)
That's why my personal doctrine is to take the admonition to not judge quite seriously. I know my relationship with God is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I have seen such relationships transform whole families and groups into happier, more productive, more gentle, more kind people. And I have seen the worst that religion can be too, and the hatefulness, judgmentalism, and arrogance when people presume that religion can be demanded, required, imposed and/or any who do not adhere to the doctrine are inferior or damned. That phenomenon is not much different from politics when a particular ideology is promoted as the only acceptable one and any who do not adhere to it are judged inferior or damned.
I have often wondered if anybody ever came to know and love Jesus by being told he or she was going to hell. I have wondered if anybody ever changed parties by being told they were selfish, hateful, bigoted, racist, corrupt or whatever because they belonged to another political party. And I think sometimes our prejudices, resentments, and rejection of heavy handed dictates and opinions of others, whether religious or political, can in themselves become a kind of dogmatic religion that prohibits us from seeking higher truths. And I think such negative phenomenon makes the world a much less pleasant place than it otherwise would be.
For me spirituality is awareness of power and presence that is larger than we mortals. It can be experienced in the course of, but is not dependent on the rituals and routines of religion or religious labels.