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Why should i believe in God?


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It's a story. Maybe it's based on a large flood in Mesopotamia, but there certainly was no worldwide flood of the sort described. It's just not physically possible.

But that don't stop people believin'!

PRAISE JAYZUSSSSSS! :D

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Wow, this thread got bumped after six years. That must be some kind of record. But, as Dante guessed, I won't object to the megabump. We haven't had a religious discussion in quite a while.

I am a Christian, without any reservations or unusual views. I believe it is possible to arrive at the Christian faith by a purely logical line of reasoning. But my reasoning is not based on the question of origins - the idea that the universe must have a Creator. First of all, it's not true that the universe must necessarily have a Creator; and even if it were true, and we agreed that some God must exist, there would be no way to decide which God that is.

I start not from the question of origins, but from the question of morality. Is there such a thing as objective Good - a certain code of conduct that human beings should abide by? Let's say there is not. Then how are we to act? Morality is a necessary guide to action. If there is no objective Good, how do you decide what to do with your life, what job to pursue, what advice to give to people, whether to wake up in the morning, and so on? If you do things without thinking about why you're doing them, then you are living an irrational life. If you decide on your own personal notion of Good and try to follow that, then your decision was random and meaningless. There are an infinite number of possible notions of Good. How do you pick one among them?

In order to live a rational life, we must have some kind of purpose for our actions. We must have some kind of external standard to guide us and help us measure whether our actions are good or bad. Clearly, nothing in the physical universe can fulfill this role. The physical universe has no visible purpose, and does not tell us anything about good or evil. It simply IS. We need something else - something supernatural - to tell us not what IS, but what OUGHT TO BE.

That "something else" is God. And there must be only one God, because if Good is objective, then there must be one single source of Good.

Of course, this line of argument does not immediately lead to Christianity. It leads only to monotheism. If we accept that there must be such a thing as objective Good with a supernatural source, then this leads to belief in One God, but not necessarily the Christian God.

So how do I get from generic monotheism to Christianity? Let's suppose there is One God. This God either cares about people knowing him and his teachings, or he does not. If he does not care, then we are left to discover Good by ourselves, and there is no guide to help us decide between the different views of Good promoted by different people - in other words, this case is no different from the atheist situation in which God does not exist at all. An uncaring God is indistinguishable from a complete absence of God. If we reject the absence of God because it leaves us unable to live rational lives, then we must also reject the idea of an uncaring God for the same reason.

Ok, we have a One God that cares about being known to human beings. How do we decide which religion is right about this God? By a process of elimination. First, eliminate all the non-monotheistic religions. Second, eliminate all monotheistic religions which require an uncaring God. This means eliminating all small sects with rigid teachings that claim everyone is going to hell except a tiny number of true believers. Why should we disregard them? Because a God that cares only about a tiny minority of Humanity is basically an uncaring God. Any God that truly cares about all of Humanity would be the God of a major, inclusive world religion.

And, as it happens, there are only 3 major, inclusive, monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Once we've reduced our search to these three options, we can evaluate each of the remaining contenders on its own merits and choose one.

I reject Islam because it is based on the dubious view that Judaism and Christianity are almost correct, but not quite. Why would a caring God allow the development of these almost-correct religions for thousands of years, and then only at some later point send the full, correct version to the last Prophet? Muhammad succeeded where dozens, perhaps hundreds of other prophets failed? No, that does not make sense to me.

Choosing between Christianity and Judaism is complicated, because they are basically two versions of the same religion. I chose Christianity because I believe the argument that Jesus was the Messiah is convincing. Also, even if Judaism were correct, I'm a Gentile anyway, so there wouldn't be much I could do about it.

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The Old Testament of the Bible, mostly. A god that kills off the World's entire human population (save one family) for putting their Free Will to work is obviously very genocidal, irritable, maybe even a bit senile.
That's a point, god wiped away not only the rapists and thieves, but the raped and the... thieved from. So if the victims were as bad as the perpetrators (the only logical assumption, because the other one is that god killed innocent people), why not just leave the world to its own devices?

The problem with that line of argument is that if God exists, then death is not necessarily a bad thing for the dying person.

If God kills you and you go to heaven, then he just did you a favour. We are used to thinking that killing people is evil, but that is only because, as far as we know, there is a strong possibility that death is the end of their existence.

You cannot, at the same time, (a) speak about God as if he existed AND (b) ignore the consequences his existence would have upon our views on death. If God exists, then death is not the end of our existence, which means that God does not necessarily harm someone when he kills that person.

A Communist for Christ? :O

Now THAT's cool. ;D

Yes, and I'd be happy to explain the connection between my Christian faith and communist political views - in another thread, when I have more time.

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Ok, we have a One God that cares about being known to human beings. How do we decide which religion is right about this God? By a process of elimination. First, eliminate all the non-monotheistic religions. Second, eliminate all monotheistic religions which require an uncaring God. This means eliminating all small sects with rigid teachings that claim everyone is going to hell except a tiny number of true believers. Why should we disregard them? Because a God that cares only about a tiny minority of Humanity is basically an uncaring God. Any God that truly cares about all of Humanity would be the God of a major, inclusive world religion.

And, as it happens, there are only 3 major, inclusive, monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Once we've reduced our search to these three options, we can evaluate each of the remaining contenders on its own merits and choose one.

I reject Islam because it is based on the dubious view that Judaism and Christianity are almost correct, but not quite. Why would a caring God allow the development of these almost-correct religions for thousands of years, and then only at some later point send the full, correct version to the last Prophet? Muhammad succeeded where dozens, perhaps hundreds of other prophets failed? No, that does not make sense to me.

Choosing between Christianity and Judaism is complicated, because they are basically two versions of the same religion. I chose Christianity because I believe the argument that Jesus was the Messiah is convincing. Also, even if Judaism were correct, I'm a Gentile anyway, so there wouldn't be much I could do about it.

Nice analysis, Edric.  I

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And those various biblical figures who stoned, sexed, invaded and tortured their way through the bible without being condmned, they were doing good because god didn't smite them.

Not every vile person receives their punishment during this lifetime, but ultimately, they will be made to suffer for their wrong doing (whether they choose to believe in Him or not).  Still, it is not God

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I agree that God would choose only one religion through which to manifest his will for humanity.  And I believe it is Christianity.  However, when the question is posed to me as to why I believe that the one true religion is Christianity and not Islam (or any other religion), I want a solid rational reason for such.  In other words, I

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You know? The more you listen to everybody and their probing, searching and quarreling about faith and the absolute nature of existence, the more you realize that we are trying to reverse engineer the existential framework of what it is to live and think in this universe. God exists, but in order to know God, you have to know him in spirit, as he is Spirit. I think this is true, but honestly I am not sure at times.

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Well, my post was only a summary of my reasons for being a Christian. Obviously, it's not really fair to reject Islam in one short paragraph, for example. With that paragraph, I only tried to convey the basic idea that I rejected Islam because I don't think it does a good job of explaining its extreme similarity with Christianity. It looks too much like a Christian heresy rather than an independent religion.

Also - and this is the part where I get to sound like the Pope ;) - what do you mean other religions can be means by which God chose to reveal His will and purpose to mankind? Why would God intentionally start different religions, especially given that he must have known this would lead to violence? No, any caring God would clearly prefer that there was only one religion in the world to begin with, so that all this bloodshed could have been avoided. The existence of multiple religions could be due to the intervention of evil powers or it could be due to honest mistakes on the part of the human interpreters of God's Word, but it is clearly not something God wished for.

I agree that God would choose only one religion through which to manifest his will for humanity.  And I believe it is Christianity.  However, when the question is posed to me as to why I believe that the one true religion is Christianity and not Islam (or any other religion), I want a solid rational reason for such.  In other words, I

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Ok... I knew that I could heat up this thread because I wanted to see how people think. It's ok not to agree with something but to be neutral is useless. Anyway, here's what I'd like you to know:

- every single one of you is right (in his way)

- if people don't believe in God, why should they believe in us? If they believe in them, they will believe in us... People won't change because I made them change, they will change because they wanted to...

People follow me for their benefits, and I relate to people for my benefit. I call it interrelation. Once this interrelation takes place, we're a team. And since every one of you has at least a goal and if we're all sharing the same planet, then why in the world are we debating? Let's be a team and make our dreams come true!

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Edric, you seem to be assuming the existence of an order to the universe just because 'we need it.' I don't see the logical connection, nor the desirability of a universal moral code, come to that.

And if god doesn't necessarily harm people when he kills them, what's the point of life in the first place?

Not every vile person receives their punishment during this lifetime, but ultimately, they will be made to suffer for their wrong doing (whether they choose to believe in Him or not).  Still, it is not Gods will that any man should perish, but rather, it is Gods will that all men should come to repentance and receive life.  For God is love and has an amazing capacity for forgiveness toward all those who would turn to Him.
Yes, convenient how god is love, perfection and goodness all rolled up into a great big ball of deific oneness. God is all and therefore the only scale that god's actions can be measured by is god's own, which weights the results slightly. See earlier point about circular arguments.

Tiberius, we're debating because our goals, while occasionally overlapping, do not have a common root.

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''Edric, you seem to be assuming the existence of an order to the universe just because 'we need it.''

My thoughts exactly.

(edit)

Might as well trudge up my old post: I didn't post it before because I was not done thinking about it, but now I think that it is something interesting at least:

''Even if the existence of a God is a requirement for leading a meaningful life, that does not mean that he exists.

It may prove that you might as well believe in him (if that is another requirement for leading a meaningful life) though:

If he does exist, you lead a meaningful life.

If he doesn't exist, then your choice didn't matter and you had nothing to lose.

In any case, I wonder how you would even know the difference? If you cannot prove God's existence, then even though you might be doing good, you could never be sure of it. You would still be doing good though.

Amusing. You could only possibly have

'' Morality is a necessary guide to action. If there is no objective Good, how do you decide what to do with your life, what job to pursue, what advice to give to people, whether to wake up in the morning, and so on?''

In what sense is it ''necessary''? Let's not get ''good'' mixed up with ''beneficial''. We can easily act in the interests of own pleasure without knowing anything about wrong and right. Seeking pleasure is enough for meaningful decisions to exist.

Unless, of course, you contend that seeking pleasure is also random; you can do something for pleasure, but why do you want pleasure?

The reasoning for any action can boil down to axioms that cannot be justified. At least, as far as the non-supernatural world is concerned.

So yes, due to the above, ultimately to act in a meaningful way would require some super natural element.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you can see my pondering on this matter is hardly complete yet, so don't hold me to this.

(edit)

Anyway, one more thing. I am not too interested in statements made about God based on the after life, or other things we know nothing about.

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Anyway, one more thing. I am not too interested in statements made about God based on the after life, or other things we know nothing about.

I understand that you may not want to entertain any thoughts concerning the afterlife since we can not prove by scientific method that one exists, but I

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Well, of course if you truly believe in God and Heaven and all that then of course trying to convince atheists and whatnot is the right thing to do (with most people's morals anyway).

It is hard to look at that as anything but noble or, in the worst case, relatively harmless.

''But it will also preclude the possibility of any one using ignorance as a defense when you meet your Maker.''

Not sure I can agree with this. Most Christians don't seem to have any compelling evidence or arguments in favor of God's existence. There is no reason for atheists and members of other religions to be convinced.

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For most Christians, including myself, we have faith that God exists because we have sought him and He has made himself abundantly manifest to us through his spirit.  His spirit bears witness with ours, fills us and we know that He exists.  Obviously, this is not something that can be proven by scientific means, but that doesn

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if people don't believe in God, why should they believe in us? If they believe in them, they will believe in us... People won't change because I made them change, they will change because they wanted to...

Personally, I can't agree more with this.. but then again it's also the reason for me why I'm still an Atheist.

But at the same time, I've been raised to respect others and their believes, and to 'live and let live'.. unfortunately (for me at least), not all religions share this.

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... About the roots Dante, we have forgotten our roots... that's it! Take a look at yourselves, where are you going? Everything was built using faith... one day, a man said: People can fly... And now we can! Just an idea:

If we believe in the existence of God, he will exist. For those who believe he doesn't exist, he won't exist. It's simple. It's usless to debate on this thing.

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Yes, and I'd be happy to explain the connection between my Christian faith and communist political views - in another thread, when I have more time.

No, please, don't bother on my account!

Just the knowledge that you're a Christian as well as a Communist ... that's like, well ... icing on the fruit cake. :D

one day, a man said: People can fly... And now we can!

What an absolutely steaming load of crap. Your dramatic little ellipsis there skips over centuries of development in scientific theory and engineering and actually cheapens the hard work and sacrifices people made to achieve the goal. Faith without the application of elbow grease is NOTHING.

It's us[e]less to debate on this thing.

At last you've posted something I agree with.

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Yes, convenient how god is love, perfection and goodness all rolled up into a great big ball of deific oneness. God is all and therefore the only scale that god's actions can be measured by is god's own, which weights the results slightly. See earlier point about circular arguments.

If, for the sake of argument, we proceed under the assumption that God is our Creator, and therefore, to him we owe our very existence, why shouldn

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Tiberius you sound a lot like Evangelistic preachers and due to that you going to have immediate resistance to your idea. Try to present it differently.

Personally I am not religious and thanks to Soviet Union do not have affiliation to any religion. However, neither I am an atheist. God is more of a prime mover in my understanding.

Whom would you thank for being still alive?

Myself for exercising good judgment that keeps me alive

It's well known, ask those whom were in clinical death and you'll find reality to be a bit different...

Just like people with near death experience, they would be more motivated to do things differently in their life and so would see reality differently. Reason is that when something valuable is lost and than recovered we appreciate it more. It is psychological issue. I am sure a person with strong psychological background can shed more light on this.

If you know that you will die, doesn't it sound painful on the inside? Doesn't death sound stupid? You know, having faith makes you look at this moment and smile, and the difference between us is the fact that I'll be happy even when thinking of death. You, on the other hand will be quite nervous about this thing... perhaps not in the next years but do continue with your thinking and the last years will look pretty grim.

This would be a generalization. We all know we are going to die and after we accept that fact we are not nervous about it, but rather we nervous because we want to accomplish somethings before we die. In this case death is ultimate motivator as it shows that the time is limited and so it means we should not waste it.

Right after 10-15 sec something made a hole into the dense clouds, right were the sun was at that moment and the landscape was golden....

And numerous other moments like this one. I don't think that I had countless coincidences during the last 2 years. Try to analyze this before you reply. Faith and God isn't the way common people think it is. It's much more complex. That's it...

The key is not to confuse correlation with causation. As one of my economics professors always gave an example: "If my friend gets drunk and throws up it is correlated and clear route of causation is there as well. Now if my friend gets drunk and I throw up? well it is correlated but there is no direct causation.

Now to go into atheist mode:

I would say that as with your later example of mutated dragonfly all these things are random events. I saw in last months several occasions rain stopping sun breaking through than rain restarting again all in short time. The dragonfly could have its nest in the place where you came by and watched sunset. Insects are attracted to human beings when they wear bright colours. Bright colour clothing confuses them and they think they see flowers.

When you try to connect different random events with something you could end up with superstitions. They all started the same way. Put enough of superstitions together and one can than build on them the moral code, add few myths and religion is born.

People turn to God often in hard situations, it helps them attain inner peace. Notice that both Islam and Christianity stress inner peace a lot as the result of the faith. Why people get that peace, well when we have problems we turn for help to family and friends and given reply that they will help us we feel easier more at peace knowing that help is coming to us. Well not in all situations friends or family can help and so people turn to God as the superior force. Now people get this peace from knowing that God will be helping them because they asked him. Back out of the atheist mode.

I am not saying to abandon your faith. If it makes you happy and helps you than believe by all means. I know people myself for whom faith provided aid and Church helped them out. However there is little use to try to get people to believe in God. They will believe when they choose to.

Based upon the findings of this investigation, I arrived at the most logical conclusion -- there exists a very strong case for Intelligent Design (God).

Yes a Prime Mover, actually Einstein also arrived at same conclusion.

Interesting.  Upon what (specifically) do you base this characterization?  

The world Flood is mentioned. Sadom and Gamore. is another case destroyed for exercising their free will. There we also have a believer who is willing to let people rape his daughters than let them rape the angels sent by God. Abraham goes to sacrifice his son for his salvation. Yes the son is not killed but God was asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, if Abraham said no than he would have disobeyed and than angry God would smite him. Through out the Old Testament we have stories where Jews are commanded to commit genocide. New Testament gives a different picture of God or better to say alters the previous one.

Ah, I see.  What most people fail to recognize in this situation is that God gave the people of that day ample warning of the calamity that was about to befall mankind.  We are told that Noah was a preacher of righteousness and that it took several decades to build this ark.  

The point is

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Besides, I have yet to come across any act of God that was so incomprehensible as to derail my faith in Him.

Oh? Well allow me to help you.

God-bodies.JPG

If, for the sake of argument, we proceed under the assumption that God is our Creator, and therefore, to him we owe our very existence, why shouldn
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