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Is your religion mythology?

 
EN
 
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EN
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14 July 2019 15:51
 

GAD, first, I haven’t prayed for a million people.  So this is one case where I saw an instant result. Like I said, there are others that what I prayed for happened, but I can’t be sure it was the prayer.  This one was right then and there. That’s why I mentioned it.

 
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14 July 2019 16:12
 
MrRon - 14 July 2019 02:35 PM

Thanks. And I’m sure you’re smart enough to realize that through the course of history there has probably been innumerable occasions where devout Christians have prayed by the rules under similar circumstances for cures for their loved ones, but to no avail. So would you agree that God answers all prayers with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’?

Matthew 21:22 indicates that anything asked for in prayer will be received. But, if as you say, that healing is only within the “general will of God”, then why only certain types of healing? Like things that are self-limiting and will probably subside on their own anyway. Even cancer can go into remission on it’s own. So, for example, why does God NEVER heal amputees?

More generally, why does one need to pray in the first place? Why would God stand by and knowingly let this man suffer from migraines unless and until someone requested relief? If your child is suffering intensely in some way, and you KNOW they are suffering, and you could so easily alleviate that suffering with no skin off your back, would you just let your child suffer indefinitely until they asked for your help? If any of us found out that our neighbor was neglecting their child in that manner we would call it abuse and be rightly outraged. Does it really make sense that an all-powerful and all-loving God would behave that way towards his children?
 
Lastly, if this man wasn’t cured of his migraine, would that diminish your confidence that a God exists? I suspect not. In fact, I suspect that even if you never witnessed a single answered prayer, you would still be a believer, no? 

I gave my explanation of why more prayers aren’t answered - lack of faith in a faithless world. You guys are specifically trying to eliminate faith - that’s what Sam wants - the end of faith. It’s hard to have the faith to get great answers.  The few that I’ve seen were inspiring and helped my faith, but there is so much in the world that works against it.  That’s one reason Jesus said “when the Son of Man, comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  He was surprised when he saw true faith in the gospels, because it was so rare. As it says in Hebrews “without faith, it is impossible to please him.”  So for amputees, that would require great faith, and it just doesn’t exist.

As far why God would require faith, I can speculate, but that’s all it is.  I believe our minds and our rationality make us proud and self-sufficient, not God sufficient. He wants a simple trust relationship, but the human way of questioning everything leads us away from that.  Again, Sam Harris et al. are dedicated to eradicating faith because they think it is irrational. That is the environment in which we live. In I John it says “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”  In order to establish a relationship with God, one must humble himself enough to admit that his rationality and intellectualism will not impress God.  He already knows more that we ever will.  He wants our trust. So he reveals himself through faith, not evidence, rationality, science or anything else. My own faith exists, but it’s pretty small compared to the apostles. I have a relationship with God.  Things like this answered prayer increase my faith.  My Christianity is based on my own experiences of Jesus, but this answered prayer increased that faith.  So I would probably be a Christian without it, but it made me a slightly more convinced one. But I still don’t have the faith to move mountains or heal amputees. 

In my theology, all the prayers are eventually going to be answered.  The dying child will live again and the amputee will have legs, just not in this life.  If you want to bring heaven to earth now, you need faith.

Let’s use the example of a simulation, which you kinda sorta accept. The Supreme Programmer has put in the software code that people don’t find out about him unless they have faith.  Those are the rules. You may hate them, but it’s in the code. When we reach the level of faith that activates the code, the answer comes; otherwise, it doesn’t. Like it or not, that’s how it is.

 
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14 July 2019 16:25
 

The takeaway from a myth is the lesson not the myth.  Faith is belief without evidence and belief without evidence justifies anything.  Including religious enslavement and populism.  If we fail to stand up against it secular democracy will buckle like a pair of Amish shoes.

 
 
EN
 
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14 July 2019 16:28
 

I’m sorry for all the horrible things that have been justified by “Christianity”. But I don’t practice those things. However, I can understand your frustration and hatred of the faith.  I just hope to show you that we are not all like that.

 
LadyJane
 
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14 July 2019 16:38
 

I have no problem with people holding personal private beliefs.
 
I have no problem with people sharing their beliefs publicly.  As long as they are willing to accept the feedback it generates.

Where I draw the line is when people say that a personal revelation that has only meaning to them will have meaning to the rest of us when we experience our own revelation.  As though there is some deficiency residing within us that can only be filled when God makes it happen.  I don’t see a way to not be insulted by that.

 
 
EN
 
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14 July 2019 17:13
 

If I have said anything that makes anyone think that they are deficient or that I am better in any way, I apologize.  My intent is simply to offer another view, and I accept the feedback and critique. We all have our unique experiences, and my intent is simply to share mine. Please don’t take it as a suggestion that I am superior or “more worthy”, as I clearly am not.

 
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14 July 2019 17:44
 
Brick Bungalow - 14 July 2019 01:36 PM
Garret - 14 July 2019 06:45 AM
Brick Bungalow - 13 July 2019 10:38 PM

The question of a deistic god is different… in my mind at least. I think that’s more analogous to questions like whether the universe is finite or infinite or whether we can truly possess knowledge or whether death is the end of subjectivity or whether we have free will. I think these questions exist less to be answered and more as free weights for our intuition. They are our instruction manual for how to ask a question. There is a part of us or at least part of me that doesn’t really want a definitive and final answer.

To me the conversation over the existence of a deistic god is interesting for a non serious semi-philosophical talk, but the concept appears to be the product of human imagination and not something we’ve gleaned from examining the world around us.  It’s like debating Superman versus Captain Marvel, but because Christianity is so deeply normalized in western society debating a deistic god doesn’t seem as nerdy.

The only evidence we have for God are stories and claim that are impossible to verify.  If we discard these theistic claims, then there exists nothing that would even suggest a god exists.

To put it in comic book terms, that’s like debating the existence of a character that has never appeared, never been mentioned, and has no measurable impact on any story.

I want to gently suggest that it’s not useful to keep repeating the point about a lack of evidence. This has been amply conceded. No one present is trying proselytize. 

Your superhero analogy is fitting in the sense that we would probably not answer a question about Captain America by saying that there is no evidence for his existence. We all know that already. If we have an interest in that character we let that part remain unstated and move on.

As we should here. .

I was responding to your comment about discussing the possibility of a deistic God (for reference, I understand that to mean the watchmaker God, who sets the universe in motion and never interferes).  I’m okay with discussing the possibility, but it rises to the level of seriousness of a late night conversation around a campfire with a glass of whiskey in hand.

I am pointing out that these are not serious questions, and they are not our instruction manual for how to ask a question.  Embedded within the question are very bad assumptions.  This is why I put it in the realm of comic books.  Partially as analogy, but also for level of seriousness.  I have no problem with idle speculation, but idle speculation and actual examination of the universe we live in, while they can be similar sometimes, are often light years apart.

I’ve got an outdoor fireplace and many bottles of nice whiskey.  I enjoy these conversations as entertaining.

 
MrRon
 
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15 July 2019 06:05
 
EN - 14 July 2019 04:12 PM
MrRon - 14 July 2019 02:35 PM

Thanks. And I’m sure you’re smart enough to realize that through the course of history there has probably been innumerable occasions where devout Christians have prayed by the rules under similar circumstances for cures for their loved ones, but to no avail. So would you agree that God answers all prayers with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’?

Matthew 21:22 indicates that anything asked for in prayer will be received. But, if as you say, that healing is only within the “general will of God”, then why only certain types of healing? Like things that are self-limiting and will probably subside on their own anyway. Even cancer can go into remission on it’s own. So, for example, why does God NEVER heal amputees?

More generally, why does one need to pray in the first place? Why would God stand by and knowingly let this man suffer from migraines unless and until someone requested relief? If your child is suffering intensely in some way, and you KNOW they are suffering, and you could so easily alleviate that suffering with no skin off your back, would you just let your child suffer indefinitely until they asked for your help? If any of us found out that our neighbor was neglecting their child in that manner we would call it abuse and be rightly outraged. Does it really make sense that an all-powerful and all-loving God would behave that way towards his children?
 
Lastly, if this man wasn’t cured of his migraine, would that diminish your confidence that a God exists? I suspect not. In fact, I suspect that even if you never witnessed a single answered prayer, you would still be a believer, no? 

I gave my explanation of why more prayers aren’t answered - lack of faith in a faithless world.

I disagree. The world is chock full of faith. All kinds of faith. In a world where atheists comprise a mere 5-12% of the population, you can’t get away from it. Spin a globe and randomly poke your finger anywhere and you will likely land on some place where some form of faith plays a significant role in that particular culture. 

You guys are specifically trying to eliminate faith - that’s what Sam wants - the end of faith.

Yes, the kind of faith that would motivate someone to fly a plane into a building. Or to withhold medical treatment from a sick child. Or to invade another country under the banner of righteousness. Or to attain a Mario-esque level of pomposity and arrogance. Our world would be better off without that kind of faith, no?

It’s hard to have the faith to get great answers.  The few that I’ve seen were inspiring and helped my faith, but there is so much in the world that works against it.  That’s one reason Jesus said “when the Son of Man, comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  He was surprised when he saw true faith in the gospels, because it was so rare. As it says in Hebrews “without faith, it is impossible to please him.”  So for amputees, that would require great faith, and it just doesn’t exist.

So, no amputee has ever had great faith??? 

As far why God would require faith, I can speculate, but that’s all it is.

I wasn’t asking why God would require faith, I was asking why he would require prayer.

If your child is suffering intensely in some way, and you KNOW they are suffering, and you could so easily alleviate that suffering with no skin off your back, would you just let your child suffer indefinitely until they pleaded for your help?

I believe our minds and our rationality make us proud and self-sufficient, not God sufficient. He wants a simple trust relationship, but the human way of questioning everything leads us away from that.  Again, Sam Harris et al. are dedicated to eradicating faith because they think it is irrational.

Is ALL faith rational in your opinion?

That is the environment in which we live. In I John it says “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”  In order to establish a relationship with God, one must humble himself enough to admit that his rationality and intellectualism will not impress God.  He already knows more that we ever will.  He wants our trust. So he reveals himself through faith, not evidence, rationality, science or anything else. My own faith exists, but it’s pretty small compared to the apostles. I have a relationship with God.  Things like this answered prayer increase my faith.  My Christianity is based on my own experiences of Jesus, but this answered prayer increased that faith.  So I would probably be a Christian without it, but it made me a slightly more convinced one. But I still don’t have the faith to move mountains or heal amputees. 

In my theology, all the prayers are eventually going to be answered.  The dying child will live again and the amputee will have legs, just not in this life.  If you want to bring heaven to earth now, you need faith.

This is a non-answer. Saying that all prayers are eventually going to be answered in an unfalsifiable afterlife is just moving the goal posts. Either God answers prayers for us in this life or he does not. Expanding the conditions to include an afterlife is a disingenuous way to claim victory no matter what the outcome here on Earth. 

Let’s use the example of a simulation, which you kinda sorta accept. The Supreme Programmer has put in the software code that people don’t find out about him unless they have faith.  Those are the rules. You may hate them, but it’s in the code. When we reach the level of faith that activates the code, the answer comes; otherwise, it doesn’t. Like it or not, that’s how it is.

Would you agree that God answers all prayers with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’?

Ron

[ Edited: 15 July 2019 06:08 by MrRon]
 
EN
 
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15 July 2019 08:06
 
MrRon - 15 July 2019 06:05 AM

Would you agree that God answers all prayers with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’?

Ron

No. Perhaps “Yes”, “No”, and “Not Yet.”  I’ve answered your questions, you just don’t like my answers. Any suffering on this earth is temporary, irrespective of how intense it may seem at the time. God ultimately wipes away every tear.  You don’t like his timing, you don’t like anything about the way he operates his universe, and you don’t like my answers. I’m satisfied with trusting him for something better in the future when it all goes to shit here. As far as whether amputees have had great faith, I don’t know.  I can’t judge another person’s faith.  I just think that my own failure to get anything greater than a healed migraine is due to my own faith deficiencies.  That’s about as far as I can go.  Anything else is speculation.

 
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15 July 2019 09:36
 
EN - 15 July 2019 08:06 AM

I’m satisfied with trusting him for something better in the future when it all goes to shit here.

As long as this sentiment is not used as an excuse not to try to make things better here and now (for all of us) I see no real problem with this belief.  It’s the “this world is not my home”‘ers that I object to, or the “god would never allow our climate to hurt us” folks…

 
 
MrRon
 
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15 July 2019 09:41
 
EN - 15 July 2019 08:06 AM
MrRon - 15 July 2019 06:05 AM

Would you agree that God answers all prayers with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’?

Ron

No. Perhaps “Yes”, “No”, and “Not Yet.”

So then how is that any different from random chance?  How can we tell if we’re living in a universe with no God and the occasional “answered” prayer, or a universe with a God that sometimes answers prayers (and only the type of prayers that have plausible natural explanations)?

I’ve answered your questions, you just don’t like my answers.

Where did you answer these?:

- If your child is suffering intensely in some way, and you KNOW they are suffering, and you could so easily alleviate that suffering with no skin off your back, would you just let your child suffer indefinitely until they pleaded for your help?

- Is ALL faith rational in your opinion?

Any suffering on this earth is temporary, irrespective of how intense it may seem at the time. God ultimately wipes away every tear.  You don’t like his timing, you don’t like anything about the way he operates his universe, and you don’t like my answers. I’m satisfied with trusting him for something better in the future when it all goes to shit here. As far as whether amputees have had great faith, I don’t know.  I can’t judge another person’s faith.

But don’t you find it odd that, amongst Christians through the ages, there are MANY accounts of miraculous healings of everything from things like headaches to back pain to deafness to terminal cancer, yet not a SINGLE case of an amputee healing? In fact, if anything, healing an amputee is less of an intervention than curing someone who will likely die from their cancer.

I just think that my own failure to get anything greater than a healed migraine is due to my own faith deficiencies.  That’s about as far as I can go.  Anything else is speculation.

Isn’t this equivalent to the parent who deprives their starving child of food because they’re just not pleading enough, or in the right way? Isn’t this victim-blaming? It’s YOUR fault EN, that God won’t heal anything more substantial than headaches for you.

Ron

 
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15 July 2019 10:32
 
MrRon - 15 July 2019 09:41 AM

So then how is that any different from random chance?  How can we tell if we’re living in a universe with no God and the occasional “answered” prayer, or a universe with a God that sometimes answers prayers (and only the type of prayers that have plausible natural explanations)?

If a person answers “yes”, “no” or “maybe”, is that random chance? You want rational certainty and God is not playing that game. It’s all based on faith, which is based on personal revelation. That’s generally the most you are going to get, unless you are Mario and sit at the right hand of God.

MrRon - 15 July 2019 09:41 AM

- If your child is suffering intensely in some way, and you KNOW they are suffering, and you could so easily alleviate that suffering with no skin off your back, would you just let your child suffer indefinitely until they pleaded for your help?

- Is ALL faith rational in your opinion?

 

God views things from the eternal perspective. There is no “indefinite” suffering - it all has a limit which God knows. Compared to eternity, any suffering we have in this life essentially fades to insignificance. That may be problematic for you, from your perspective, but it’s not for God from his perspective. Gain the eternal perspective and you may find that it changes your view. A child scrapes his knee - he screams and cries like it’s the end of the world.  You know it will get better pretty soon.  You have a different perspective. Same with God.

Christian faith, in my opinion, is arational. It is not based on scientific evidence and rational processes, but upon revelation.  I suppose some kinds of faith can be rational.  If you trust someone because they have always been true to their word, that’s probably rational.

MrRon - 15 July 2019 09:41 AM

But don’t you find it odd that, amongst Christians through the ages, there are MANY accounts of miraculous healings of everything from things like headaches to back pain to deafness to terminal cancer, yet not a SINGLE case of an amputee healing? In fact, if anything, healing an amputee is less of an intervention than curing someone who will likely die from their cancer.

 

No, I don’t find it odd. That would require more faith than I have, and I suspect that’s about the same for most Christians. Check with Mario.

MrRon - 15 July 2019 09:41 AM

Isn’t this equivalent to the parent who deprives their starving child of food because they’re just not pleading enough, or in the right way? Isn’t this victim-blaming? It’s YOUR fault EN, that God won’t heal anything more substantial than headaches for you.

No. It’s a challenge to have more faith.  Again, the prayer will be answered eventually, even if in the next life. But here God would like us to learn faith.  In my opinion, of course.

[ Edited: 15 July 2019 11:40 by EN]
 
unsmoked
 
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15 July 2019 10:54
 

During times of drought, many religious people pray for rain.  Sometimes the rains come in time to save the crops. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Jc957EEU0

“Once the people are bewitched, their bewitchment lasts a long time.”  - Lao Tsu (10,000 years in the case of the Plains Indians’ rain dance?)

EN, I think you would agree that a migraine can be caused by stress and anxiety.  The healing-by-prayer you described could have cured the man of chronic stress and anxiety.  Mario has told us that his life wouldn’t be worth living if not for the promise that he won’t die when he dies.  The power of myth?  The power of prayer?

“Yes, the kind of faith that would motivate someone to fly a plane into a building. Or to withhold medical treatment from a sick child. Or to invade another country under the banner of righteousness. Or to attain a Mario-esque level of pomposity and arrogance. Our world would be better off without that kind of faith, no?”  -  MrRon

A question for everyone here:  What percentage of your own aches, pains, ailments go away without treatment?  For me, it’s a high percentage.  If I belonged to a fundamentalist church (for example) - if I told the congregation that I was suffering from tennis elbow and couldn’t cut my firewood - and they kindly prayed for me, the pastor gently holding my elbow and looking skyward - and a week later the elbow was better . . .

Meanwhile, as others have just pointed out - millions of Christians around the world fervently pray for a morsel to feed their starving child . . . Ah!  Right!  God wants those little ones to come to him in heaven.

 

 
 
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15 July 2019 11:43
 
unsmoked - 15 July 2019 10:54 AM

EN, I think you would agree that a migraine can be caused by stress and anxiety.  The healing-by-prayer you described could have cured the man of chronic stress and anxiety.  Mario has told us that his life wouldn’t be worth living if not for the promise that he won’t die when he dies.  The power of myth?  The power of prayer?

Not aware that he was under any stress.  He had migraines from time to time. I get stress headaches, but never a migraine.  His reaction and the fact that he hasn’t had one in over 15 years point to something else besides just temporary stress relief.

 
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15 July 2019 11:44
 

I’m leaving now for vacation, so I won’t be responding to anything for 2 weeks.

 
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