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Thread: Religious Debate

  1. #1
    Champion of the World Jeebus's Avatar
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    Religious Debate

    An interesting turn took place in the "Chicken vs. Egg" thread. One that was asked to be made into it's own thread due to the possible subject matter that can follow, and it's obvious delicacy. That subject is why You believe in God. And why you are sure he exists.

    The delicacy touched on, I (while not being a mod I remind you) would hope to make some rules that should be followed so that this thread can remain good natured, and not get shut down.

    Since it is very very delicate, I hope that everyone will respect everyone else's opinions. We were not all raised the same, and we don't all have the same belief system, so please, take this as a touchy debate.

    No down right bashing will be allowed, and I hope that the mods can catch anything said (which I know they will. Excellent work kids.) that goes against any moral standards.

    I hope to see both sides of the spectrum in this thread, and I hope that everything can be discussed with a level head.

    So folks :
    If you are religious person and believe in the Almighty, please explain to me why.
    If you are not a religious person, please explain why not.
    If you are neither, and just undecided, we'd love to hear from you also.

    Thanks alot everyone, and I look forward to seeing everyone's point of view.
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  2. #2
    . Delphi's Avatar
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    You first.

    Do you believe in a Supreme Being? If so, which one or ones?

    If a person adheres to one major religion and is conscientious and moral, if he chose the "wrong" religion what happens to him when he dies? Does he go to hell or cease to exist? Or does he still qualify for whatever eternal life is served up by the "right" religion?

    Is there room for religion and evolution to both exist to some extent? Could they both really be the same thing?

  3. #3
    Champion of the World Jeebus's Avatar
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    I am not a religious person. The idea that something "all powerful" has created us in his likeness and watches over us seems too much like a horror story for my likeness.

    I do not believe in a Supreme Being for no other reason then there is no proof of such a thing to exist. Now I know you can probably go into a sort of debate on the fact that I personally have not seen an atom before, but yet I believe that they exist, and it will just boil down into science.

    But also, how can I believe one thing I'm told, and not another? I'm not quite sure to tell you the truth. Just such a concept is to far gone to really grasp.

    I was born Catholic, and I was a church goer for most of my childhood (forced mind you, but I attended none the less) and yet, it all seems like a story to me. The bible, in my eyes anyway, seems like a fictional epic told in the style of Bram Stoker's Dracula, in that it is a story written by many people, surrounding the same idea.

    And as you said about if someone chooses a different religion than the "right one", what will happen to that man or woman? It's just loopholes that you should see through into how many loose ends there are in the bible itself. Why would a person go to hell just because they didn't follow Christianity?

    About the religion and evolution question, I believe there is room for both. As I said, I respect all people's belief system (well to a point anyway. Everything has it's limit) and so if someone needs religion in their life as well as science; all power to that person. But I personally am an Evolution Man. It seems far fetched for someone to decide to create such and such, or change this or that. Evolution has been proven. They see similarities in animals all around the world, and from bones from millions of years ago.

    I may have left some unanswered questions, but it is late and my mind is trailing off. I must be off to bed as I can now only get five and a half hours sleep. Good night, and if there are more questions to be asked of me because I overlooked something I should have written, or left complete open arguments, please let me know.
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  4. #4
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Oh what the hell, I'm kinda bored.

    Obviously being from the South, I grew up around Christianity, Baptist-type in particular. I half-ass followed that till I was in my teens, ie, old enough to actually think about this stuff and try to reconcile it with my strong scientific/analytical side.

    Needless to say religion didn't win that argument.

    Its a major irony that I'm currently one of the most spiritual people here (note that I differentiate that from "religious").

    I don't believe in a God as contemporary Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, define that concept. I do however quite strongly feel a power beyond "this" world.

    I don't call it God, because God is an old man sitting in the sky hurling thunderbolts. My interpretation of the ultimate reality, the soul of the universe, is not an external power. Its the underlying source of being to all things.

    Its a form of pantheism, in a sense, feeling that God is in and a part of all things, but it runs deeper than that. I also draw heavily on gnostic ideals, the idea of the inner light inside. Buddhism is the most familiar of these ideologies, though Christianity went through a similar phase early in its development (interestingly, the Gnostic school of Christianity referred to the creator-God outlined in the Bible as a deceiver and a false God).

    My belief is that all things are truly an expression of this ultimate reality; that the inner "glow" that represents the essence of each person is the unity with that power. Not necessarily in the physical universe, but on some level this unity exists.

    There's a series of analogies I always like to use. The first is a glass of water immersed in the ocean. You can point to the glass and to the ocean as discrete entities; yet almost paradoxically, you cannot point out where the glass ends and the ocean begins. You simply can't make the distinction. If the glass breaks, has anything truly been lost?

    The other concept involves a chain of islands. If the surface of the ocean represents the world around us, and each island is a person, it appears that all things are separate. However, looking at it under the surface, you see that this is just an illusion of convenience: the islands are all the same land mass.

    Concerning morality; the quality of person, and the choices that arise from that quality via causality, are the determinant of a person's final fate. A truly good person will experience what he/she deserves upon departing this world. True goodness and harmony transcend any dogmatic rules or ideas, as these are key not only to all religions, but to finding one's center.

    The individual methods of finding God aren't important, so long as the goal is reached.
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  5. #5
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, with regards to evolution and religion.

    In the framework of my ideology, Man evolved with God. And no, I don't mean this in the anthropocentric way it sounds like. It follows through for any intelligent species.

    What I mean is that the universe acted in such a way as to allow life to evolve...to express itself in such a way as to be more than total randomness (though it could be argued that we're random as well).

    God grew and developed with us as a species.....again separate, yet totally intertwined. Something in our wiring from waaaay back links our entire species to this phenomenon.

    As we evolved, so did God. Since I believe that God is expressed through us, we have become the high-end of that evolutionary process. Assuming we're only referring to us as a species; this doesn't rule out other more advanced intelligences elsewhere, either. I feel that something similar would occur with any sapient race.

    Its very much a duality of local v. non-local, macro v. micro.....the entire concept of discrete units that are simultaneously part of the greater whole.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member vocalmaster's Avatar
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    I'll hop in here....I most certainly believe in an almighty supreme living God.

    A creation must have a creator. Many of the great minds, such as Copernicus and Einstein knew that the universe was designed and understood this basic fact.

    Also, I've never seen anything create something greater than itself. It's not possible. Therefore, something greater had to create the earth and it's inhabitants.
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  7. #7
    . Delphi's Avatar
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    Jeebus, I'll respond to your post more directly tomorrow. Just wanted to throw out this idea for everybody else tonight:

    Usually a person is either pro-Creation or pro-Evolution, not both. Here's something that always cooks my noodle. I believe in God in more or less the "standard" Christian fashion. There's an orderly creation of the universe in Genesis- forget for the moment whether it actually occurred in 6 days or not. Evolutionary theory also has a progression in the species from simple to complex. Could it be that evolution and Creation are both describing the same order of appearance of organisms on Earth? Did God consciously start with unicellular organisms and develop more complex ones by changing their characteristics and it has been interpreted by some scientists as random evolution? Some people argue that the odds are too remote for a random sequence of events that resulted in humans and other higher life forms. Did God direct the mutations that led to higher life forms? Is evolution really God-directed mutation? I will chuckle inwardly if when I die I find out that the Creationists and the evolutionists both had it partially right. There, my noodle is cooked for tonight. Good night, all.


    Matt, you sure type fast.
    Last edited by Delphi; 06-24-2003 at 10:19 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member vocalmaster's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I might add that the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus cites in his own history book that Jesus and his brother James existed. He mentions them, only briefly and Josephus being a Jew would not have believed Jesus was the Messiah but he does record the fact that Jesus existed as did his brother James. Therefore, they were not fictional characters.
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  9. #9
    Steak and Eggs pusher's Avatar
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    The individual methods of finding God aren't important, so long as the goal is reached.
    Well put Power. I think of it as a mountain, with a few trails that lead to the summit. In some, the terrain is more difficult than in others. Some paths reach short of the top, others are straights, others curve and wind. None the less, the top should be our aim, this is where humanity is united. Atheist, agnostic, omnitheist alike. We know a lot about life these days, and if you stop for a minute, and contemplate the meaning of it all......you realize its time for you to do some squats, your bi's are really lagging
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  10. #10
    is numero uno Saint Patrick's Avatar
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    Re: Religious Debate

    Originally posted by Jeebus
    If you are not a religious person, please explain why not.

    okay, I'll bite.


    I believe in nothing. I'm an Atheist. I was raised in an atheist household. My parents never discouraged religion or anything, they just never pushed it.

    People get shocked when I say I don't believe in God. I respect other's beliefs, and I expect others to respect mine too.

    One of the reasons is because there's a lot of F**ked up stuff that happens in the world (Violent, Deaths, hunger, poverty, suffering, etc). And if "God" is truly "God", then he has the power to stop it. That means if "God" Exists, then he willingly allows that stuff to happen. That's just completely sick.

    Even back in the day with Soddom and Gommorah, he destroyed entire cities because he didn't agree with their lifestyle (assuming that God exists and the Bible is true)

    The afterlife? Maybe we get re-incarnated, maybe we just rot in a grave, who the hell knows. Only one way to really find out I suppose.



    I think Forrest Gump said it best when asked if he had found Jesus,

    he replied "I didn't know I was supposed to be lookin' for him"




    Yes, I just quoted Forrest Gump.
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  11. #11
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    The whole existence of evil thing is just another facet of it.

    An external, omnipotent, omniscient God most suredly would have to be a cruel bastard to let such nastiness occur in a world of His creation.

    In my world view, evil is just a by-product of our struggles with the universe....the only intervention God will provide is that which we provide ourselves.
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

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  12. #12
    Big Brat
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    I believe in god, I don't believe though that you have to follow a specific religion to go to heaven, as long as your a good person and honest and have a good heart through your life, you will be rewarded in the afterlife!!

    As for those who do true wrong I belive theres a hell as well!! I truly believe we have an afterlife to go to, that this life is just a test to see where you belong in afterlife!!

  13. #13
    Mighty Wingman p_t's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jeebus
    it all seems like a story to me. The bible, in my eyes anyway, seems like a fictional epic told in the style of Bram Stoker's Dracula, in that it is a story written by many people, surrounding the same idea.
    My feelings about the book almost ecaxtly. It's been rewritten and reinturpeted so many times. Not degradeing it, but how do you even know what's right. Religion seems like accepted cults to me.

    But is there such a thing as right or wrong? Maybe it is just popular opinion.

    I'm an agnostic. Which means I don't particuly believe in anyone just that there is somethings beyond are control. The reason for that is it all comes down to love. No one seems to have control over that, so something does.

    I am a science over religion type person. I like to have proof to believe stuff. When people try to ask me suff like, "Where did this or that come from then", or "how can you just not care what happens to you when you die". I just simply tell them how can they, not knowing for sure if there is a simple answer. There is enough shiznit to worry about in my present life to put so much effort into something I don't know about and can't be proved. I think what's going to happen is going to happen.
    "Why is there always time to do things twice, but never time to do things right?"

  14. #14
    Grand Kaiser of h8 RG570's Avatar
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    Originally posted by PowerManDL
    I don't call it God, because God is an old man sitting in the sky hurling thunderbolts.
    = my journal title.
    altogether not so many bad ideas in here.
    i don't beleive any sort of higher truth can be explained, especially in this medium. Oh well. everyone comes to their own conclusions.

    Maybe later i'll tell some good stories though.
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  15. #15
    Banned Reinier's Avatar
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    I`m agnost...

    I was raised in an atheist home in a fundamentalist protestant reformed hick town.

    Science and religion are not opposites or enemies to me.
    They dont rule one another out except to those who read the bible like it is a history book, but its not, its a philosophic literature novel. Reminds me of those people i saw on tv in the appalachians who would dance around like crazy with poisenous snakes and get bitten and die, because it says if your faith is strong enough you can lift serpents in the bible, it only says that as an analogy of how faith gives you strength to do things you otherwise couldn`t. anybody should be able to figure that out.

    I dont see why some people think science and religion contradict.

    Stephen Hawking even says:

    Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe ? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

    I think when it comes down to it... I do believe the world and life started with something that does not fit in science.
    But i dont believe in an interventionist god who loves us and cares for us or punishes us.

    I believe there is a higher power, but i also believe it is highly anthropomorphized in Christianity, incorrectly.

    I also think Darwin is accepted too easily and too far.
    Living beings have many irreducably complex systems.
    if you have a mouse trap, it has a spring, a pad, cheese, a woodblock and a metal piece that smacks down.
    It needs each of these parts to be of any use whatsoever.
    according to the evolution theory, random mutations happen and they stick around accordingly whether they are useful to natural selection or not. however for a "mouse trap" you would need a random appearance of each of these parts. doesn`t happen.
    If one part of an irreducably complex system were to appear randomly, it would be ruled out again by natural selection because it is useless.

    Living bodies are FULL of irreducably complex systems, "mouse traps".

    Therefor, I think the evolution theory is too simplistic.
    If anyone can explain to me where i go wrong if i do id like it

  16. #16
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    "Do you believe in God" is an irrelevant question because God means different things to different people.

    "If there is no God then who created nature?

    Nature is self creating.

    Then don't call it nature, call it God."

    Hindu proverb.

    In terms of some dude in the sky with a long beard I think that's about as likely as the easter bunny. But that doesn't make nature and the cosmos any less marvelous, intelligent, and beautiful than it is.

    Nature, God, Cosmos, whatever is far too complex and vast to be caged by human words and images.
    Last edited by hemants; 06-25-2003 at 05:57 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    P.S. Powerman, not sure if you knew but one of your analogies is also a Hindu proverb.

    "There is a pitcher in the water, and water in the pitcher, water flows outside. If the pitcher breaks there is nothing but water. So says the wise man"
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  18. #18
    Overtrainer.
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    Hemants. That's really beautiful.

    There is an all powerful being of some sort. But I think we are somehow a neccessary part of it.

    I agree that it is too much for us to ever understand so I don't think too deeply on such matters. I have had "clear moments" where I was certain there was a God. But the world is complicated enough without devoting your life to philosophising over a question that has mystified and aggravated the smartest philosophers since humans developed abstract thought.

  19. #19
    Ash "Money" Hegde Y2A's Avatar
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    God? No thanks. I respect the views of everyone, but I dont believe in God. I dont *really* care how we got here, but Im more inclined to go the evolution route. Im hairy like a monkey so it all makes sense. I believe that people have alot more power within then they give themselves credit for. I also believe in... I think its called karma. If you do good things, good things will come to you. If you do bad things, they will come back at you too. I try to treat people right because thats how I would want to be treated, not because I want to go to heaven or Im afraid of going to hell (since these places dont exist IMO).
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  20. #20
    Party of "No." Tryska's Avatar
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    erm...for my beliefs refer to DLs speech. he pretty much put it in better words with less typos than i ever would.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member flake's Avatar
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    I was brought up christian, realised I didn't believe a word of it, spent years not believing it but kind of umm'ing and arr'ing about it before finally becomming settled and happy with my self generally, since then I've never even thought about it.
    half the time I have no idea what you're talking about. the other half, I'm not listening.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Fightin Irish's Avatar
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    I'm somewhat in between. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. I went through 9 years of Catholic education. With that being said, I'm not 100% either way. I think because my parents were/are so religious it somewhat rubbed off on me. I do consider myself Catholic, but at the same time I find myself shying away from many of their beliefs.

    That being said, there definitley is no 1 definitive religion. Religion is used as a guide and nothing more. It has such a strong impact on society that most people feel the need to be a part of a religion. As long as you live a halfway decent life, you'll go to heaven (my spiritual belief). I guess because I do believe in life after death that is the main reason I consider myself being religion or believing in a higher power.
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  23. #23
    Hulking bulking bruiser Minotaur's Avatar
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    I'm nominally Christian, Eastern Orthodox to be precise. I was raised Roman Catholic but converted years ago.

    I do believe in a God, a Creator, a Force that drives existence, whatever that existence is. We know an infinitessimally small part of existence. I think anything is possible wrt existence.

    I don't necessarily believe that 'God' exists in and of Itself as a fatherly bearded old man, as traditionally depicted. But I think that the force that is God can take any shape or existence It wants.

    To that end, God could be Jesus or Krishna or whatever the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri 5 call their God or view It as. That's why I think that if you live a good life, that is, try to live as one with the universe and God, you will join with It later. No matter what rituals you follow, or what you call God.

    So I guess it's safe to say I'm spiritual but not religious.

  24. #24
    I win.
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    I'm agnostic also...


    I believe "God" was just used as something to explain the unexplainable in the old days. Now that we have advanced in science, there is no use for a God. I like Delphi's point that since there are so many religions, what happens if you are believe in the wrong God? How can there be more then one God?

    I do believe in a supreme being because there is just too many things that cannot be explained by science right now. The most obvious being how space itself was created. As far as we know, a creation must have a creator. I imagine the universe we live in is just part of a much bigger universe, which in turn is part of bigger one. Sort of like the space atoms and electrons occupy.

    I would also check out www.christianburner.com for more insight into this thread topic.

  25. #25
    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
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    My views are too l33t for you all. I'm not going to type anything out, I don't need to. I've never felt the need to share my understanding of the universe with other people. I think it's something you should keep to yourself.

    I will say this, though. My interpretation of the world and beyond most closely follows existentialism. So look into that if you wonder what I wonder.
    Last edited by Gyno Rhino; 06-25-2003 at 10:50 AM.
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