59
   

Why believe in god? The theist perspective.

 
 
JPB
 
  6  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 03:41 pm
@fresco,
And MsOlga wonders why theists aren't interested in posting here? She's hoping for dialogue. Teaching comparative religions allows others to participate in that dialogue with at least some basis of understanding.

You're cynical of the "tolerance argument". I'm not surprised in the least. Without tolerance you're left with argument. Some folks would rather talk than fight.
hingehead
 
  5  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 03:54 pm
@JPB,
Quote:
Some folks would rather talk than fight


This has some resonance for me. On these boards I notice a lot of people attacking other people's experience (as opposed to opinions) as if hearing about someone's experience is somehow negating or attacking theirs. Really quite odd.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 04:04 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
Although I'm doubtful, I leave open the possibility that something exists that has yet to be defined.

If we consider the implications that derive merely from what science already knows about the Universe, then we know at a minimum that the Universe contains within it a fundamental quality of awareness, because left to its own devices, floating amidst the rules of physics, the "dust" of this Universe forms itself into life and thought. Science is telling us that these qualities are not imposed on the Universe, but are a fundamental part of it; a natural expression.

Many people consider science to be a cold an unsatisfying lens from which to view the world, but I don't think they've really considered the elegance and subtle beauty of what it's telling us.
George
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 04:07 pm
@rosborne979,
I'm about to tidy up and go home.
I'm really glad your post was the last thing I read.
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 04:19 pm
@George,
George wrote:

I'm about to tidy up and go home.
I'm really glad your post was the last thing I read.

It's rare that I get the opportunity to spread that meme. Glad you enjoyed it Smile
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 06:05 pm
@JPB,
Quote:
And MsOlga wonders why theists aren't interested in posting here? She's hoping for dialogue. Teaching comparative religions allows others to participate in that dialogue with at least some basis of understanding.

.... Without tolerance you're left with argument. Some folks would rather talk than fight.

Thank you, JPB.
That was precisely what I was hoping for.
A reasonably tolerant discussion, rather than a fight. (for a change! Wink )

I haven't had the chance to carefully read what's been posted here yet, but thanks all for a civil, thoughtful discussion so far. I hope there's more to come.



0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 06:45 pm
@JPB,
My cynicism stems from the idea that "intolerance" is produced by religious beliefs per se, and that elevating "religions" to a legitimate "field of study" merely reifies their ascribed status in the minds of believers.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:24 pm
@Ionus,
Quote:
Us Agnostics are invited too, I take it ?

Of course!
Some have already posted.
More "apatheist" contributions are to be encouraged, too!
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:36 pm
I'm with Fresco on the tolerance issue. I think we only tolerate that with which we either agree or at least have no conflict with.

Having said that, there's nothing like a study of comparative religion to remove the scales from one's eyes.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:40 pm
@George,
I always figured some theologians didn't believe.. not sure where I got that idea.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:40 pm
@Francis,
I figured some Jesuits didn't believe.. (watch the lightening strike)
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 07:45 pm
@ossobuco,
I remember seeing a (PBS?) documentary on the early history of the new testament, and the grabs of observations from theologians/historians from Universities with very christian names, talking about the political choices made in creating the church and the bible post Anno Domini made me think the same thing, but as has been pointed out a lot on these boards you can be a theist and not take the bible literally (or figuratively).
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 08:01 pm
@hingehead,
Sure - I don't remember ever taking it literally - maybe when I was seven, but even then... But I still had faith. But for theologians to not believe in a god, much less the christian god? I think I got the idea (some friends of the family were jesuits) that some theologians were very smart and had their own doubts amidst their careers. I figure I got this from my reading, and my reading is rarely defensible. I read moderately widely and fast and only bits of it stick.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 08:44 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

My cynicism stems from the idea that "intolerance" is produced by religious beliefs per se, and that elevating "religions" to a legitimate "field of study" merely reifies their ascribed status in the minds of believers.

I think the logic of your argument is confused. Granted, if there is no god, that makes theology pointless as a field of study. But religions, by contrast, are a near-universal feature of human societies. Nobody doubts they exist. So why wouldn't we study their similarities and differences just as any other field within anthropology studies any other near-universal feature of human societies—like comparative linguistics, comparative law, comparative anything? Why on Earth wouldn't comparative religions be a legitimate field of study?
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 09:38 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

. . . Granted, if there is no god, that makes theology pointless as a field
of study. . .

Not pointless, just with a different point.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 09:49 pm
@George,
George wrote:

Thomas wrote:

. . . Granted, if there is no god, that makes theology pointless as a field
of study. . .

Not pointless, just with a different point.

That would be a point I'm not getting. The term "theology" is ancient Greek and literally means "talk about god". If you are right and there is a god to talk about, theology is a valid academic subject. But if you're wrong and there isn't any, what's left for the field to talk about?
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 11:38 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Quote:
I like the moniker "apatheist".
I will use that word to describe some from now on, and if anyone asks me I shall say I invented it.
Quote:
In prayer, one looks outside of oneself for solace, answers, etc.
Actually no. In prayer one may be directing thoughts to "another" but I believe they are addressing the part of the mind that knows all, sees all, and if you cant keep it in check the result is autism. Keeping it in check and using it produces great atheletes. Prayer is a form of meditation more reliant on internalising, funnily enough.
Quote:
I think that looking within oneself is a far more mature way to deal with the problems of living.
Be wary of this. Trying to walk across a plank a thousand feet up will result in falling after half way. This is because people throw themselves off when they say "I am going to make it"...alien hand syndrome is also related to this.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 11:39 pm
@George,
That would also be true of Atheists except there is less chance of proving a negative. I had that argument on another thread.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 11:43 pm
@Setanta,
Dead wrong as usual. An atheist is saying I believe in NO God's existence. A Theist is saying they believe in God's existence. An Agnostic is saying they have no believe in either direction. An Apatheist doesnt care which one is true (I made up that word Apatheist....me....I did it.....all by myself...no-one helped).
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2010 11:45 pm
Where is C.S. Lewis when you need him.

Read Mere Christianity.

It's the best answer to your original question.


But, I'm a Buddhist. I know nothing. Very Happy
 

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