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Why I chose to believe

 
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 01:42 pm
Let's establish this at the outset:
I want to believe. I have always wanted to believe. . . .
In something . . .
This, in spite of being acutely aware that those who wish to believe become immediate candidates for the stupid stick and the caverns of credulity.

But perhaps I am no different from everybody else. Perhaps we all wish to believe. Perhaps we wish to believe that our course in life is correct or, at least, well directed. I don't mean to split hairs. Whatever you may call it, have we not all bound ourselves to a life course based on wanting to 'believe'?

I could be wrong about others, of course; but this is initially about my own search. Your comments are most welcome.

I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith but lost hold on it when I was about 14. We may muse about Crusades, Inquisitions, the Reichskonkordat and other excesses; but the short reason is it was not what I wished to believe. I had my own ideas of cosmos and conscience. And surely, I thought, they were of higher standard than what I had been taught.

For, after all, this God the preachers invoked had a great deal of explaining to do. 5000 years of human 'civilization' filled with war and sickness and every type of oppression. All the while, I kept hearing that a righteous life would gain a heavenly reward. Reward? You float around the universe? And you had to die first? Then there was this idiocy about how a loving God could assign infinite torture as retribution for finite sin. It all seemed to make sense only if there were no God and priests had been using fraud to control the masses. Certainly, fraud had to be involved, for whenever political or commercial powers felt the need to wage war, they always seemed to rely on the clergy to provide cannon fodder.

I developed a humanistic approach to satisfy my conscience while allowing me to set standards of my own. It seemed to be working. But then I began to wonder about that stupid stick. Was I deceiving myself? What of those Bible thumpers who repeatedly knocked on my door? They must be dupes, I thought. Really, I should set them straight. And, it would help assure me that I had avoided the stick.

So, I challenged them on the human misery concept. How could a God of love allow war and crime and sickness and death? I knew I had them, because all one needed to do was look around to see a world out of control. Sure, the politicians and intellectuals had plans, but . . .

They answered that the God who created our world is not the god who controls the world. . . . Now how would they explain that? What about God's power?

Of course, being Bible thumpers,they resorted to the Bible against my initial reluctance. However, I cut them some slack for the time being so I could get the message. They started in the Garden of Eden. (of course, where else?) I had never considered the direction given to the first human pair had assigned them to an indefinite life on earth. I also had not been aware that the consequence of their disobedience was not torture, but non existence, death.

So after this sunny beginning, what happened? Read over into Genesis chapter 3. Here, I know, many accuse God either of a flawed creation or an outright trap designed to cast humanity into degradation. I have a different understanding. If we were created with internal qualities of love and fairness, would it not be logical to assume love and fairness to exist abundantly in the heart of the creator? And what about power? Notice God's power never was questioned, only his truthfulness,
Quote:
You certainly will not die.
and God's intentions for creating man:
Quote:
For God knows that in the day of your eating it, you will be like God, knowing good and bad
So, both the entity controlling the serpent and our first human parents chose to rebel.

You may think it would have been justifiable for God to zap everyone on the spot and start over. But, God's power was not questioned, only his integrity. After pronouncing judgement on the rebels, God made a promise in verse 15, that a 'seed' would come to bruise the serpent in the head, namely to end his rebellion. The entire Bible describes how this is to come about.

I choose to believe this is not mere allegory, but a reliable account of our world. I have additional reasons, of course. I'll be happy to post them here. I will also try to entertain your comments and objections.

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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 11,498 • Replies: 58
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timur
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 01:55 pm
Quote:
Perhaps we all wish to believe


As far as I'm concerned, your guess is unfounded.

Are you afraid of being alone?
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 01:57 pm
@neologist,
So this is why you choose to guess about the unknown the way you guess about it?

Very interesting, Neo.

Theists have managed to sell the notion that "belief" (a word used to disguise a guess) is something extremely valuable. So people who are not theists seem to think that "guessing" (and using the word "believe" for the guessing) is something to seek and aspire for...then to brag about...to hold out as a virtue.

I respectfully suggest that it is not. In buying into it, you have, in effect, bought snake oil.

Make guesses if you choose...although guessing about the unknown is not intrinsically better than simply acknowledging that all one can do is to guess.

But call your guesses...guesses; call your estimates...estimates; call your suppositions...suppositions.

**** can that "believe/belief" nonsense. It is not virtuous...and may well be something in direct opposition to virtue.

All that said, I thank you for sharing this introspection.



neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 02:02 pm
@timur,
I wrote:
Perhaps we all wish to believe
timur wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, your guess is unfounded.

Are you afraid of being alone?
Is that what you believe?
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 02:04 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Sure, Frank. It's a guess.

But I believe it. Very Happy
timur
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 02:07 pm
@neologist,
I'm not into "believing".

Just mild curiosity based on your own guess, as if numbers would make your stance stronger.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 02:51 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:

Sure, Frank. It's a guess.

But I believe it. Very Happy


Meaning you guess your guess to be correct.

You are approaching faith...which is the insistence that a guess is correct.

Not there yet...but on the cusp.
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 05:22 pm
@neologist,
Well done Neo. But I am continually astounded by those few of us who devote such time and energy in the hope of persuading or at least stimulating a coterie of complete strangers, at remote locations, mostly inimical, through the facility of an obscure website

Yes I know, what am I doing here anyhow
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 06:27 pm
Wanting to believe is, of course, a gateway. Allowing oneself to be enticed becomes easy. Not everyone wants to believe. Many want the truth, regardless of the consequences. I don't see how you fell for it, but, more power to you.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 07:21 pm
@edgarblythe,
I'll readily admit to the danger I courted by wanting to believe. But there is another consideration. Would you not say you wish to believe you have reached a proper conclusion, that your life course is well directed and your decisions are for good?

I suspect everyone of us entertains a similar wish. So the danger is double edged. And the only protection I can see from that danger is constant review of our bearings.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 07:23 pm
@dalehileman,
I consider all of you my friends, even those few with whom I have had contention, and regardless of whether the perception is reciprocal.
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 07:50 pm
@neologist,
I believe in me.
neologist
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 08:07 pm
@mark noble,
I believe in you also.
Sorry about the missed tithes. I don't believe in you that much.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 08:14 pm
@neologist,
neologist wrote:
I want to believe. I have always wanted to believe. . .

Why did you want to believe? And believe in what exactly?
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2014 08:20 pm
@neologist,
Point: How can an entity believe in anything other than itself, primarily?
For without such self-belief any secondary belief becomes redundant.
Not to trust in one's ownself negates one's ability to trust in one's ownself's decisiveness.
I know this is trustworthy information because I believe it is.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jul, 2014 12:07 am
@neologist,
Since we all use inductive logic, it is a truism that all human beings operate cognitively on general "beliefs". The further step towards religious beliefs is one well known natural move towards trying to make sense of what is ostensibly a meaningless existence. As such it is perfectly understandable. However, the use of the phrase "I chose to believe" is suspect on the following grounds.

1. All religious beliefs are embedded in group practices and language which supply arbitrary details of a particular historically developed narrative.
2. Some philosophers argue forcefully that "I" (the self) is a social construction whose "choice" amounts to a continuous attempt to establishing an "integrated structure" in the face of undercurrents of opposing social forces.
3. It follows from 2 that a "believer" will sometimes have a need to strengthen or test his integrity by social exposure (aka preaching). Your statement here could be deemed an example of that.



0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jul, 2014 12:56 am
@neologist,
N.B. "making sense" usually amounts to trying to establish the anthropomorphic concepts of "causality", "pattern" and subsequent "control" which are practical in areas of human secular experience.
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jul, 2014 05:41 pm
@fresco,
Well put.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2014 10:40 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:
N.B. "making sense" usually amounts to trying to establish the anthropomorphic concepts of "causality", "pattern" and subsequent "control" which are practical in areas of human secular experience.
I suppose that would explain why God explains his purpose in terms humans may easily understand. For example: we know God does not have a literal finger; but in Daniel chapter 5, what was perceived as God's finger inscribed the writing on the wall.
Romeo Fabulini
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jul, 2014 11:01 am
Neologist mate, in this thread have you told people you're a Jehovah's Witness yet? I only mention it because it's important to let them know you're trying to feed them your JW beliefs.
Maybe you're using this thread as a JW propaganda platform?
If so, I'm sure many people would like to ask you a few things about the JW's such as why you ban birthday cakes?..Wink
 

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