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Thread: In Your Own Words: Why would your god want you to believe without seeing?

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    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
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    As a former believer I think I wrestled with this quite a lot. Having learned the virtues of just believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy but not getting to see them do their thing, I believe there was an engram already primed for transference to the God delusion.

    It gnawed at me that God went to all that trouble to show miracles to others. He downright wouldn't take "no" for an answer when it came to people like Moses, Gideon and Saul/Paul. Seemed like every time you turned around some physical law or principle of biology was being pwned by God. I never, even in my believingest days, saw the connection between proof of God's existence and subversion of free will. As far as I could tell from the mythology I had read, those who encountered this unimpeachable evidence were still capable of exercising free will decisions to do something other than what God ordered them to do. Except of course for Jonah. God gave him an offer he couldn't refuse.

    And Paul. "Nice set of eyes you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them..."

    Somehow I rationalized it as a mark of humility that one simply accepted God at his word rather than insist on further proof. What kept getting lost on me was the realization that it wasn't "God" I was taking at his word. It was people. People who could be liars for all I knew. Because I didn't even know the people and couldn't cross-examine them to be sure they weren't hiding something.

  2. Top | #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    As a former believer I think I wrestled with this quite a lot.
    Me too. Faith wasn't enough, I couldn't help but want more than only the belief itself. I wanted God to answer some prayers, to just show a little sign now and again. But prayers went unanswered, and looking for little signs resulted in nothing. I noticed my mind creating some noise but I was too introspective to not realize "that's me, not God".

    The person I envied was the preacher. He seemed so confident. But, after his sermons, I started double-checking the verses that he said were meaningfully connected. But the alleged connections were his imagination gone wild. So that guy, for all his strong belief, was not in contact with God either. He was just a bloviating egotist and had mistaken his free associations for messages from God.

    Even the most faithful believers must want evidence, without it one would feel like they're trying to walk on water and we all know we can't. But the "evidence" happen thanks to self-serving bias. Or, more like a god-serving bias -- all positive things hoped for get attributed to God, and all unanswered prayers get explained away. That's their "blessedness" - they get to feel optimistic because they're skilled at tricking themselves.

    Believers are ok with tricking themselves into believing fantastical shit because they can't deal with being meaningless animals in a cosmos that's going to squish them. They'll believe anything else before they'll believe that.

  3. Top | #53
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    Any god worth having would be one who wants you to believe that he has a massive slong without your needing to see it. This is because the alternative would be a god who goes around showing people his penis all the time and there are enough problems with priests and the like being inappropriate without their having a deity setting a poor example for them.

  4. Top | #54
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    Nonexistent deities aren't responsible for their johnsons being under wraps.

  5. Top | #55
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Faith is a poor tool for sorting fact from fiction, as history shows...never mind logic.

  6. Top | #56
    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Faith is a poor tool for sorting fact from fiction, as history shows...never mind logic.
    It isn't a tool at all, it's a kind of pseudo-knowledge that makes no distinction between what is real and what is pretend.

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    ...and isn't it staggering that, to be a "person of faith" (or even the cream o' wheat version, 'a spiritual person'), you have to either rationalize or ignore the fact that the world has thousands of religious traditions -- and, historically, uncountable extinct religious traditions? Google says there are, "by some estimates", over 4200 religions currently. Obviously, there's a semantic swamp in defining and quantifying, and there's an unsolvable mystery in quantifying the ancient and prehistoric traditions. Let's just say multiple thousands. Atheists have a fairly easy way to cut through the complexity: it's a convincing case that man is the common denominator; man is the great inventor of deities. The person of faith, using his/her own instincts, conviction, perhaps rapture state, should realize that other people have taken up those multiple thousands of differing faiths, most with deities and other invisible characters, most with duties and prohibitions, many with sacred writings, many with specific outcomes in an imagined afterlife. And believers have, variously, been fervent enough to weep when their scriptures are read, to experience visions, to label the unbelievers as lost or damned, to banish family members who fall away from the faith, to live and die and kill for their faith. But all those "others" are crazy, because my faith is the one that's true.
    Objection from the faithful: But in that case, you're also calling the people of faith delusional. Right. Inescapable. Man creates deities. He's pretty good at it.

  8. Top | #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    ...and there's an unsolvable mystery in quantifying the ancient and prehistoric traditions.
    Not counting appropriation. The Greek psychpomp, Charon, was a full fledged God of Deathicus in a prior age.
    And i forget where i read the spell acknowledging parallels, invoking help from "Ishtar called Inanna by the Sumerians..."
    The Romans were big on assimilation. They enterred an area where Bath was worshiped, saw thst she compared to Minerva, and built temples to Bath-Minerva. A generation later, they built the temple to Minerva-Bath. Another twenty years, they all worship Minerva.

    I think it would be fun, building a religion like a customizable card game. Trade for some war and thunder gods during times of conflict, then agriculture gods and fertility goddesses to maximize growth during the peace.

    Much better than the monocardists. "I have the Hierophant! It trumps everything! It's every suit. It's every card! This card is a high straight flush four of a kind full house. And i gat to burn your deck."

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