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Theology

posted by kaptein_kaffe on - last edited - Viewed by 2.4K users

Discussing religion is generally a very bad idea on the internet, but there are a lot of down to earth and rational people on this forum so I decided to give it a go.

I want to hear your beliefs. Also, try to keep an open mind and show respect to other people's opinions. I don't care weather you're a fanatic catholic, fanatic atheist or whatever. Arguing about "who's right" is just a terrible cliche.

Personally I believe that there is a god. I'm not agnostic, I believe in god, but that's just my own spiritual reflection on it. I don't judge other religions and say that "this is right", it's more along the lines of Baruch de Spinoza's take on it where you see god as everything. Maybe there's a word for what that is, I don't know. I prefer to look at everything that is beyond our understanding with humility. Most of my religious knowledge lies within catholicism and I generally agree with the ten commandments, but I also believe that the religion is blurred for the sake of politics, ways of maintaining order and fanatic influences (edit: + things that are lost in translation). In short, I'm a read between the lines kind of guy.

My knowledge on the subject is limited, so it's possible that I won't be able to keep up with the discussion. I'd just like to hear your views :)

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  • I personally feel that if I was God (I know, it must seem presumptuous, but that's a hypothesis), and I loved being that I created, and I gave them free will, then I would be more proud of the ones who were wrong, but stayed true to themselves, questioned everything, and reached their own conclusions, than the ones who were rights purely by accident and were blindly following what someone else told them.

    I would also be proud of those who reached their own conclusions and turned out to be right, but I guess what I mean is that I don't feel that believing in me and praising me would be the point. The point would be that they tried to do the right thing, help people who asked for help, didn't hurt other people, and really thought things through before acting. Even if they ended up making mistakes.

    I guess the whole "you're punished because you didn't constantly praise me and tell me I was the best" just seems incredibly arrogant to me. Not the attitude I'd expect from a being who cares about people.

    Take a debate like this one, or the other debates we've had. I'll always respect someone who disagrees with me but makes a good case for it, uses arguments, explains their position, more than someone who agrees with me but just quotes me and adds "+1" or "that", or expresses their opinion in such a way that I feel almost ashamed they agree with me.

    Not sure if I'm making sense. Obviously, I am not God, nor can I ever truly understand what God is about since I don't even believe in him. But I just feel like believing or not isn't the point, the point is being good just for the sake of being good, and not acting because of the fear of punishment or the certitude of not being punished. I think if you're a good person, you act the exact same way whether you believe in God or not. It doesn't affect your actions, or only barely.
    If it makes a big difference, as in, you're helping someone cross the street but you'd push them under a car if you were 100% sure God doesn't exist, then to me you're not a good person at all, just someone who's being clever, binding their time and faking it until they die so they can get eternal happiness instead of eternal punishment.

    And I feel it would be incredibly unfair if such a person was rewarded over someone who's always been good just because it felt right and with no expectation to ever be rewarded for it, but just happened not to believe in God, or not in the right one, or not in the right way or something.

  • ^ Agreed. It seems egotistical, and what use would an all-powerful being have for ego?

    (I realize that this is an extremely volatile line of thought, so be assured that I'm only theorizing.)

  • @Secret Fawful said: People say God would have to be evil to do that to someone, but to be honest, if someone doesn't want to believe in a God or doesn't want there to be a God or exist with a God, then what why would God force them to love Him or exist with Him.




    I have a tendency to get rather deep in my ways of thinking regarding stuff like this.

    If I posit that God is absolutely good and perfect in every way and, given the availability of free will, I also point out that, compared to Him, I am a total screw up by any standard of comparison... then why ought He to allow me to exist in His presence at all? Why shouldn't I be obliterated from existence, or at least permanenty separated from He who is perfect? Grace in the answer. I don't deserve it, but He loves me that much anyway. Yet, I also have to accept said grace before it does me any good.

    Furthering that thought from a Christian perspective, given the previous statement that I should be destroyed and/or separated from God as a result of my comparative imperfection (ie. sin) one can surmise that if someone/something else were to become a sacrifice to take the penalty for my screw ups, then I would be able to avoid the consequences of those screw ups. Christians believe that such a man existed as actually to be God made into flesh, who Himself is/was also perfect, was willingly given as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for our screw ups, and if we accept that sacrifice then we are given reprieve from punishment.

  • @Avistew
    I can't speak for other religions, but I'm pretty sure Catholicism doesn't actually require belief to go to heaven--more of the good works category. Belief is good, and supposedly makes it easier to be good, but is not necessary. This, I think, is a more recent change in catechism, which says that anyone can go to heaven as long as they live good lives, regardless of belief (Yeah, I understand that the new pope botched this, but it still applies anyways).

    In contrast, if you believe in God but do bad things, then you would still be punished.

    Of course, there isn't a whole lot of talk about hell either, mainly its accepted that unless you're exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, you'll go to purgatory, which is like hell, but only temporary.

    To sum it up: doing good works in the name of the devil counts as God's work while doing bad things in the name of God counts as the devil's work.

  • @Alcoremortis said:
    To sum it up: doing good works in the name of the devil counts as God's work while doing bad things in the name of God counts as the devil's work.

    This reminds me of the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as ye will." (hence my belief that all religions are but separate paths to the same end)

  • @ShaggE said: This reminds me of the Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as ye will." (hence my belief that all religions are but separate paths to the same end)

    I never knew that. That's pretty awesome, though, that two pretty different religions have such a similar philosophy.:D

  • I was raised Protestant and went to Sunday school and everything, but I stopped going to church when I was 12 because it clashed with my wargaming club and I loved Warhammer more than Jesus. (still do!) My mum wasn't happy at the time, but my dad's always been atheist and he thought it was more important for me to do something social than something religious. (when I was little I thought it wasn't fair that my dad didn't have to go to church)

    These days I favour a semi-religious pick and mix of atheism, Discordianism and paganism. If I was going to convert to a 'mainstream' religion, I'd probably go with Hinduism or possibly Shinto.

  • I have a few 'beliefs' on the subject of religion and God. If anyone is offended by what I'm about to say that I'm sincerely sorry - it's not my intention to be malicious in any way (disclaimer ftw).

    [list]First of all, I'm agnostic towards the existence of God. To clarify, agnosticism is the belief that something is unknowable - I believe that it the existence of God is unknowable. I do, however, think that it's more likely that God doesn't exist because all of the evidence for its existence that I've seen is anecdotal, which, in the field of science, is unreliable.[/list]

    [list]Talking of "the field of science", I disagree with those who say that science shouldn't be brought into religion and that the two are separate. I think that this view comes from a misunderstanding of what science is. Rather than a specific doctrine or set of beliefs, science is the pursuit of truth and knowledge. Knowing this, I think that it is silly to disagree with what is held as scientifically correct without a proper scientific rebuttal.
    I think that religion is something which came about as part of sincere scientific study of the world - when certain religions were first established, most of the followers believed what that religion preached to be scientific fact. As certain claims get replaced by improved ideas, however, I think that humility and concession are both extremely important (i.e., people should swallow their pride and consider the new information).[/list]

    [list]On the subject of Jesus, I disagree with those who say that Jesus was, in whatever way, supernatural (that is, that he was the son of God, that he was God, that he was somehow in contact with God, etc.). I also disagree, however, with those who say that he didn't exist. From the evidence that's been presented to me, I feel that it is safe to assume that Jesus was an ordinary Jewish man (a Rabbi, in fact) who had some very advanced philosophical ideas on morality, most of which I completely agree with.
    I would even go so far as to say that claiming that Jesus was supernatural in whatever way detracts from his teachings. I think this because it sets him on a much higher level than everybody else, which is extremely contrary to almost everything he said.
    Here's a weird analogy to help illustrate my point: if everybody said that Stephen Hawking was a super-intelligent being or the son of some deity, it would discourage people from listening to what he actually has to say and, even worse, it would discourage people from trying to think as he does and elaborate on his studies.
    [/list]

    [list] I also disagree with the notion that Jesus died for our sins. In fact, I disagree with the notion of sin. Morality is a subjective, human idea which has, according to lots of evidence, developed in humans over many thousands of years. In other words, it seems more sensible to say "morality is something which has developed around humans" than "humans are creatures that have developed around morality".
    Having said that, I think that morality is largely objective within the confines of human understanding. It bothers me to think that some nations are allowed to treat women as second-class citizens, for example, simply because "their morals are different to ours". I think that this view is ignorant of the truth. Ethics can be treated, to a certain point, like a science. I find that utilitarianism is the most effective discipline for this purpose. In order to find out whether something is unethical in terms of utilitarianism, you would attempt to predict the amount of happiness and pain that would occur as a result of each possible outcome. The one with the most happiness/least pain wins. Using this logic, things like treating women badly are clearly unethical. Many people of the offending nations or religions would argue that the happiness is greater than the pain, but it is the happiness of God rather than of humans, or they would argue that the happiness of a woman is less important than that of a man. I would refute these two claims by saying that they are unsupported and based on a circular argument, respectively.[/list]

    (END OF SUPERLONG POST)

  • @ShaggE said: I'm a Neo-Pagan. For those unfamiliar, it's a polytheistic, earth-based religion.

    I agree that this thread should remain civil. Everybody has their own path in life, and I honestly believe that they are all perfectly valid.

    Neo-Paganism is a blanket term for a lot of things, in the same way Paganism is a blanket term/insult which refers to everything which isn't Christian, Jewish or Islamic.

    I personally am not religious, I would classify myself as an Atheist. I don't have any problem with anyone practicing any religion unless it affects others, I had an argument with Scientologists for this reason.

  • @Fealiks said: [list] I also disagree with the notion that Jesus died for our sins. In fact, I disagree with the notion of sin. Morality is a subjective, human idea which has, according to lots of evidence, developed in humans over many thousands of years. In other words, it seems more sensible to say "morality is something which has developed around humans" than "humans are creatures that have developed around morality".
    Having said that, I think that morality is largely objective within the confines of human understanding. It bothers me to think that some nations are allowed to treat women as second-class citizens, for example, simply because "their morals are different to ours". I think that this view is ignorant of the truth. Ethics can be treated, to a certain point, like a science. I find that utilitarianism is the most effective discipline for this purpose. In order to find out whether something is unethical in terms of utilitarianism, you would attempt to predict the amount of happiness and pain that would occur as a result of each possible outcome. The one with the most happiness/least pain wins. Using this logic, things like treating women badly are clearly unethical. Many people of the offending nations or religions would argue that the happiness is greater than the pain, but it is the happiness of God rather than of humans, or they would argue that the happiness of a woman is less important than that of a man. I would refute these two claims by saying that they are unsupported and based on a circular argument, respectively.[/list]

    In our Chinesse class, our professor is a woman, and she has to talk about their customs for us to understand how her language work. They have different names for the Dad's Side family and for the Mom's Side family, for example. Always, but ALWAYS when she has to told us that kind of things, she always say maybe for us is machoism, but for them is custom. And for they is ok to be in that way. And for her is not machoism in any sense. They can break the custom by the way (And the Chinesse Goverment is trying to do that) but, after years and years of doing the same (Especially with the amount Unliterate people they have) is difficult to change.

    In a way, something similar happened to us when I and my family, went to a in a construction Mosque in Coquimbo, Chile. The guy in charge here give to us a tour (And we been in places we, as non-muslim people, we'll never get the chance to be again, mostly because those weren't finished) and explain to us in a way, they Take care of their Women. It's not like we are a second grade people, they think in the way the Women have to have an special treatement for protect their. (You can say is mostly the same thing as classificate us as second-grade people anyway, but, in the way he told us that, I was truly convinced he was talking about protect). *

    So, been in a some sort in contact with those explanations from, in a way, the source, make me understand they aren't doing that because they truly believe harm them is ok because they are different, they really believe is the best for everyone. Change their ways about those things from our view are wrong, if it's not from clearly understanding of their own views first, is pointless. Because they really believe is the best way to do it, for everyone sake.

    *Arab and muslim people, forgive me!

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