T Nation

Have You Always Believed As You Do Now?

[quote]pat wrote:

[quote]forlife wrote:
Question for believers, and for agnostics/atheists:

Have you always seen the universe as you do now, or have your beliefs changed over time?

I have a theory that there are a lot more believers -> agnostics/atheists than there are agnostics/atheists -> believers.

But maybe I’m overgeneralizing from my own experience. I was a devout Christian for 35 years before becoming an agnostic.[/quote]

I don’t see the world/ universe in any way like I used to, and yet it led me to the same place.[/quote]

This is a very strong statement right here folks. Read it over and over again until it sinks in and you understand what it means.

V

[quote]forlife wrote:

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
Just to clarify - genuine faith has very little to do with “finding happiness” or “peace” or whatnot. Common misconception, and I think it’s worth pointing out. [/quote]

Even if your faith doesn’t bring you happiness and peace, it’s none of my business what you choose to believe in. I don’t agree with your beliefs, but I fully support your right to believe whatever makes sense to you.[/quote]

I really don’t like when people use termonology like this. It’s dishonest, or misguided maybe. For instance Forlife, if my beliefs were that all gays were an abomonation and my god willed me to destroy any I encountered on sight, I think you would have a problem with my beliefs. It is from my point of view, important what other people believe, especially if what they believe will endanger my well being, or the well being of those I love, or even just random innocent people. Hitlers beliefs about jews for instance, I would have had a problem with (if I was alive then).

V

[quote]Vegita wrote:
I really don’t like when people use termonology like this. It’s dishonest, or misguided maybe. For instance Forlife, if my beliefs were that all gays were an abomonation and my god willed me to destroy any I encountered on sight, I think you would have a problem with my beliefs. It is from my point of view, important what other people believe, especially if what they believe will endanger my well being, or the well being of those I love, or even just random innocent people. Hitlers beliefs about jews for instance, I would have had a problem with (if I was alive then).
V[/quote]

As I clarified in a later post:

[quote]pat wrote:
I don’t see the world/ universe in any way like I used to, and yet it led me to the same place.[/quote]

From the perspective of core values, my experience has been mostly the same as yours. As a former Christian who is now aagnostic, I continue to believe that love, integrity, and courage are the defining characteristics of a moral life. The difference is that these values are internally derived, rather than coming from an external source.

[quote]forlife wrote:

[quote]Vegita wrote:
I really don’t like when people use termonology like this. It’s dishonest, or misguided maybe. For instance Forlife, if my beliefs were that all gays were an abomonation and my god willed me to destroy any I encountered on sight, I think you would have a problem with my beliefs. It is from my point of view, important what other people believe, especially if what they believe will endanger my well being, or the well being of those I love, or even just random innocent people. Hitlers beliefs about jews for instance, I would have had a problem with (if I was alive then).
V[/quote]

As I clarified in a later post:

It’s still not clear enough, if I don’t care what you believe, I just want you dead, then it’s still going to be a problem. I get what you meant by it. I just wanted to throw my .02 into the ring. I don’t think there is a fine line though, I think there is a clearly defined line in the sand. If your beliefs cause you to take actions which interfere with another persons life, then you CAN be punished for those actions based on societal laws. So I’m not willing to punish you because you believe all babies should be kicked once per day, but if you kick a baby, you are going to pay the price for doing so.

This is where IMHO religions get dangerous, not only do they have a thing to believe in, but they have a code of action associated with them so that you reap the ultimate benefits from that belief system.

Off topic real quick. Perhaps a muslim could enlighten me here. If you martyr yourself and go to heaven and get 72 virgins, what happens after you sleep with each of them once? Now you have 72 non virgins hangin around you. Is this the best they could come up with? Why 72? Why not a billion? 72 is intruiging, but I’m not blowing myself up for it. A billion? Now that might just be worth it.

Carry on.

V

Wanting me dead is sort of interfering with my freedom, don’t you think?

And yes, there is a fine line. You’re talking about an extreme case, but most religious beliefs have a more moderate or indirect effect on the freedom of others. It’s not a black and white issue, where freedom of religion trumps the freedom of others every time, or vice versa.

For example, some people doctrinally disagree with homosexuality, but still support the right of people to live as they see fit. Others carry that belief further by trying to enact laws that restrict the rights of gays. And the extremists advocate capital punishment of gays. It’s not always easy to draw the line on this, or other issues where personal religious beliefs conflict with the rights of others.

[quote]forlife wrote:
Question for believers, and for agnostics/atheists:

Have you always seen the universe as you do now, or have your beliefs changed over time?

I have a theory that there are a lot more believers -> agnostics/atheists than there are agnostics/atheists -> believers.

But maybe I’m overgeneralizing from my own experience. I was a devout Christian for 35 years before becoming an agnostic.[/quote]

Basically the same. i was raised a Lutheran and still am.

[quote]forlife wrote:
Wanting me dead is sort of interfering with my freedom, don’t you think?

And yes, there is a fine line. You’re talking about an extreme case, but most religious beliefs have a more moderate or indirect effect on the freedom of others. It’s not a black and white issue, where freedom of religion trumps the freedom of others every time, or vice versa.

For example, some people doctrinally disagree with homosexuality, but still support the right of people to live as they see fit. Others carry that belief further by trying to enact laws that restrict the rights of gays. And the extremists advocate capital punishment of gays. It’s not always easy to draw the line on this, or other issues where personal religious beliefs conflict with the rights of others.[/quote]

That has just as much to do with how one views religion, as it does with how one views “The State”.

Early Christianity was very effective at preaching that The State (at that time Rome), and the individual’s spirituality are separate realms. So I could be a fundamentalist whack-job who thinks gays will burn is hell forever, without voting for the guy who wants to burn them at the stake.

“The Dark Ages”, and the rise of a Christian theocracy in Europe really changed that, and turned what was originally a very personal religion, based on personal salvation, into something totally different.

I think the so-called Enlightenment (this is big for the USA) again tried to get away from that, and separate region from politics, but we’ve been going backwards again for the past 60 or so years.

I think it goes along with the sense people have these days, that they ought to be able to treat the entire world as though it’s their living room.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
That has just as much to do with how one views religion, as it does with how one views “The State”.

Early Christianity was very effective at preaching that The State (at that time Rome), and the individual’s spirituality are separate realms. So I could be a fundamentalist whack-job who thinks gays will burn is hell forever, without voting for the guy who wants to burn them at the stake.

“The Dark Ages”, and the rise of a Christian theocracy in Europe really changed that, and turned what was originally a very personal religion, based on personal salvation, into something totally different.

I think the so-called Enlightenment (this is big for the USA) again tried to get away from that, and separate region from politics, but we’ve been going backwards again for the past 60 or so years.

I think it goes along with the sense people have these days, that they ought to be able to treat the entire world as though it’s their living room.[/quote]

I agree. At least we’ve progressed from the Papal state model to something resembling a democracy. In my observation, the more fundamentalist a person is, the more justified they feel in imposing their particular religious views on others. Fundamentalism has ebbed and flowed here in the U.S., as the religious right has gained and subsequently lost political power. Fortunately, from a global perspective, fundamentalism seems to be on the decline. Those that have religious beliefs are more willing to live and let live.

Mother is a Jew (no longer practising), Father a Catholic (only when we see our very Catholic Italian family). Both had oppressively religious families. Was raised without religion and am still an atheist

Was Hindu, toyed with Buddhism, decided it was all baloney and settled with Atheism. Of course, when I say that I mean I don’t know if there is a God, but I’m fairly certain any creator of the universe doesn’t need me grovelling like a bitch to satisfy a cosmic ego.

I agree with pat too. I fell away from the Catholic faith, which I had growing up. Fell away for about ~10 years. Yet, one day it all ‘clicked’ and made so much more sense.

If belief means to take someone’s word, then I’m an atheist. But if you have direct experience of God, then that sort of belief is fine. A subjective experience CAN be the basis for your singulae beliefs, but not anyone else’s.

No, I believed in God up until a just few years ago. I started thinking hard and realized that I couldn’t reconcile belief in the supernatural with my view of reality.

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
Either way, everyone finds god and religion their own way, on their own terms. Whether it be agnostic, athiest, christian, unexplainable universal energy, etc… It’s pretty useless to judge someone because of what they believe in.[/quote]

This is wrong. Atheists don’t believe in a God or religion. There is no such thing as an atheist religion, the only thing atheists have in common is their lack of belief in God and religion. They haven’t found God or religion and they have probably stopped looking (or else they ought to be considered agnostic). Hell I personally don’t think there is anything to find and I sure as hell I am not wasting my time caring. Grappling with such questions are part of growing up though.

And its not useless to judge someone based on their belief. A person’s belief says something about them. A person’s belief is part of what makes them who they are and they ought to be judged according to it or their failure to adhere to said beliefs. Though judging people based on their actions is more useful.

[quote]Bunyip wrote:

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
Either way, everyone finds god and religion their own way, on their own terms. Whether it be agnostic, athiest, christian, unexplainable universal energy, etc… It’s pretty useless to judge someone because of what they believe in.[/quote]

This is wrong. Atheists don’t believe in a God or religion. There is no such thing as an atheist religion, the only thing atheists have in common is their lack of belief in God and religion. They haven’t found God or religion and they have probably stopped looking (or else they ought to be considered agnostic). Hell I personally don’t think there is anything to find and I sure as hell I am not wasting my time caring. Grappling with such questions are part of growing up though.

And its not useless to judge someone based on their belief. A person’s belief says something about them. A person’s belief is part of what makes them who they are and they ought to be judged according to it or their failure to adhere to said beliefs. Though judging people based on their actions is more useful.[/quote]

Atheists have to be empiricists, believing that all concepts in our heads have to have root in our experience. The philosopher Kant rants on and on about this and changed the course of philosophy.

The trouble with that is the example of an ant on a tree leaf. The ant is on the leaf but not aware that it is also on a tree. Its perception is limited to the leaf.

So, no one knows if the ‘leaf’ is all there is.

[quote]Bunyip wrote:

[quote]skaz05 wrote:
Either way, everyone finds god and religion their own way, on their own terms. Whether it be agnostic, athiest, christian, unexplainable universal energy, etc… It’s pretty useless to judge someone because of what they believe in.[/quote]

This is wrong. Atheists don’t believe in a God or religion. There is no such thing as an atheist religion, the only thing atheists have in common is their lack of belief in God and religion. They haven’t found God or religion and they have probably stopped looking (or else they ought to be considered agnostic). Hell I personally don’t think there is anything to find and I sure as hell I am not wasting my time caring. Grappling with such questions are part of growing up though…[/quote]

Wrong - of course Atheists believe in a “God” - there is something you worship, pay homage to, sacrifice for, etc. You cannot escape this. The only difference is, those who are Theists aren’t deceiving themselves.

I was raised catholic, baptized, communion and confirmation. Now I’m an atheist.

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
Wrong - of course Atheists believe in a “God” - there is something you worship, pay homage to, sacrifice for, etc. You cannot escape this. The only difference is, those who are Theists aren’t deceiving themselves. [/quote]

How is it deceiving yourself to have core values like love that you sincerely try to follow in your life?

This statement represents the kind of judgmental attitude that I think is degrading to discussions about religious beliefs. If agnostics/atheists can recognize the sincerity of your beliefs, can you in turn recognize the sincerity of ours? I don’t agree with your beliefs, but I don’t claim that you are deceiving yourself.

[quote]PGA wrote:
I was raised catholic, baptized, communion and confirmation. Now I’m an atheist.[/quote]

Ditto.