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Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
8th November 2013, 15:24
Post: #1
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Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
The more I talk to self proclaimed Christians (outside of AF), the more I get the feeling that most of them pretend to believe. When pressed to give a description of their belief, they either can't provide one and would rather not talk about it, or chalk it up to the way they were raised, and humbly admit they don't know very much about it.

The latter are easier to converse with but it makes me wonder how many people are actually just pretending to believe, and what is their motive for doing so?

Status quo?

Fear of disappointing family members?

Desire to conform?

Lack of exposure to alternative views?

I have no doubt that each person holds their belief in different degrees of certainty. Some people have deeper seeded roots to their belief, and while they may not give it much thought, it remains fixed in the deep recesses of their mind, wrapped safely within a protective cacoon that they themselves can't explain. It's like a house of cards that has been standing since before they can remember. Something made them think that this flimsy structure is very valuable, and they are only made aware of the importance of protecting it when somebody gets close enough to breath too heavy in its direction.

As we've all seen, no two Christians get the same understanding of what their God wants from them.

No two Christians believe that the same parts of The Bible are literal while others are either metaphors or to be discarded completely.

This inconsistency in interpretation is quite understandable when we examine the texts. There's every reason to endorse the altruistic parts, and zero reason to endorse the barbaric parts.

Christians are no different from anyone else with regards to their innate sense of morality. It is this very trait that makes the perversive absudities they discard apparent to the reader. What I don't understand is how they are able to do this without recognizing that the same God is supposed to be promoting all of it. Why pretend as though these blatant contradictions do not have serious implications to the tenets of their proclaimed religion?

In the end, it doesn't really matter. But it sure is a standard of behavior I find particularly mystifying.

Otherwise good moral people, claiming to derrive their morals from a God that is described in a book, using their own moral intuition to recognize the parts that portray His inherent evil nature, choosing to ignore them, and then pretending as though they don't exist in order to preserve a level of comfort they derrive from the pages their moral compass determines as good.

There are reasons we have terms such as self deception, and delusion. Do they not consider themselves susceptible to such things? If not, how can they be sure? Afterall, isn't it true that those who fall victem to these realities are not themselves aware? Isn't the state of being unaware kind of the crux of it all?

It seems that if one is at the stage of simply claiming to believe, they are standing on the line that separates delusion from reality. The moment the claim has made enough copies in the brain and fixes itself firmly to the mind as a representation of reality, seems to be the moment one crosses into the abyss of delusion. One need not look much further than the posts from a few of our resident theists to recognize the impossible task of attempting to reason someone out of something they did not reason themselves into. An obvious sign of delusion.

Some people just insist on wearing their foil hat, and it seems that only Spock himself can conince them otherwise.
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8th November 2013, 15:52
Post: #2
     
RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
Texas Sailor, you have so perfectly summarized exactly what I find frightening and baffling about people who believe. I think it's a mistake to assume they just pretend to believe. In many cases, they really do believe -- in spite of the contradictions, the lack of logic, the shocking inconsistencies, the so demonstrably mythical aspects of their book.

I have often -- gently and with as little derision as I can manage -- pointed out the most basic of the absurdities you mention in my quest to understand the nature of belief in Christian believers (I don't have contact with many other kinds, else I'd question those, too). I am very familiar with what you also have experienced: The defensiveness; the throwing up of hands and saying they don't want to talk about it, it's just what they believe; the deflections, etc. My step mom is a favorite example. She is so worried about my atheism, which is a lifelong fact, so her concern has only recently arisen since she has returned to her Catholic upbringing and its practices. But when I question her pointedly about her beliefs, she really can't answer anything about it in a way that makes sense. Yet I have no doubt of her intense belief, which gives rise to many of the actions she takes in a day -- praying, attending her church, giving money to said church, etc. It took about 5 minutes in an actual discussion for me to demonstrate the whimsy of her beliefs, and she readily admitted it. But... she is comforted in her delusion, and so on this point we simply must agree to disagree. And there is no way I can understand it.

I have a friend whose father is a pastor in a Seventh Day Adventist church. He was raised in that faith and was made to become a pastor, too. He believes none of it, but because of his family ties, he doesn't dare share his true views within his church circle. It is a shunning religion. His wife is his only confidante besides me and the ragged little crew of atheists I hang with. He comes to us like a man dying of thirst. He recently shifted jobs and learned his new bosses are also very religious, so he is subjected to religiosity now in every part of his life except the few moments he manages to steal with our group. I feel so sad for him. Living in such a way... THAT must be a true version of hell.
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8th November 2013, 16:09
Post: #3
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
Like old ladies.... all you do is talk about "people".

It's about God. Not people.

"Stupid" is following "religiously" anything man institutes.

Our relationship is one on one with our Savior. All else is suspect.

But, that's not news worthy, or a reason to hate.

Its time to take the shades off and realize that God is the standard. Unchanging. The rule.

Everything else SUCKS!
Quis ut Deus?
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8th November 2013, 16:17 (This post was last modified: 8th November 2013 16:25 by The Reality Salesman.)
Post: #4
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
(8th November 2013 15:52)Raeven Wrote:  Texas Sailor, you have so perfectly summarized exactly what I find frightening and baffling about people who believe. I think it's a mistake to assume they just pretend to believe. In many cases, they really do believe -- in spite of the contradictions, the lack of logic, the shocking inconsistencies, the so demonstrably mythical aspects of their book.

I have often -- gently and with as little derision as I can manage -- pointed out the most basic of the absurdities you mention in my quest to understand the nature of belief in Christian believers (I don't have contact with many other kinds, else I'd question those, too). I am very familiar with what you also have experienced: The defensiveness; the throwing up of hands and saying they don't want to talk about it, it's just what they believe; the deflections, etc. My step mom is a favorite example. She is so worried about my atheism, which is a lifelong fact, so her concern has only recently arisen since she has returned to her Catholic upbringing and its practices. But when I question her pointedly about her beliefs, she really can't answer anything about it in a way that makes sense. Yet I have no doubt of her intense belief, which gives rise to many of the actions she takes in a day -- praying, attending her church, giving money to said church, etc. It took about 5 minutes in an actual discussion for me to demonstrate the whimsy of her beliefs, and she readily admitted it. But... she is comforted in her delusion, and so on this point we simply must agree to disagree. And there is no way I can understand it.

I have a friend whose father is a pastor in a Seventh Day Adventist church. He was raised in that faith and was made to become a pastor, too. He believes none of it, but because of his family ties, he doesn't dare share his true views within his church circle. It is a shunning religion. His wife is his only confidante besides me and the ragged little crew of atheists I hang with. He comes to us like a man dying of thirst. He recently shifted jobs and learned his new bosses are also very religious, so he is subjected to religiosity now in every part of his life except the few moments he manages to steal with our group. I feel so sad for him. Living in such a way... THAT must be a true version of hell.

I'm glad my thoughts dovetail your own. It is crazy. But I guess sometimes you can't see the forest from the trees. There's a crazy notion going around that all beliefs stand on equal footing. A simple example of slavery being a belief quickly make one shift gears in a different direction. Ultimately, people will dwindle such a regard to beliefs as warranting respect, so long as they don't hurt anyone else. Of course, there are countless examples of religion not qualifying there either.

The truth is, faith is like a virus. There's no one cure for everyone. It's certainly frustrating to be thrown in the company of a society that perpetuates faith as a virtue instead of what it really is-pretending to know things one doesn't and can't know. Its easy to feel like you're locked in an insane asylum forced to "make nice". But, when the warden of the institution is himself insane, who does one plea to for the enforcement of reason?

I agree that not all people are pretending, in fact, it appears I missed my mark as that was kinda one of the points I was trying to make. I do, however, think that many of them do pretend to believe (or pretend to be Christian). They may not be aware of it, but in all reality, they really don't know what it means to be a true Christian, and true Christians around the globe are chomping at the bit to be the one to point it out. Nevertheless, they are presenting themselves as such. It's a front. Whether they're made aware of it or not is something different entirely!

(8th November 2013 16:09)ronedee Wrote:  Our relationship is one on one with our Savior. All else is suspect.

I'd like to focus on this one.

Perhaps you wouldn't mind answering a few questions so that I may have a full understanding of your belief without the risk of innacurately grouping you into a stereotype. Fair?

You believe that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and you believe he speaks to you, no?

You believe him to be the son of God, and the one true path to salvation?

Your allegence to Christ and your compliance to His Father's will surpasses all worldy committment?
"Life is short..." FALSE. It's the longest thing you do.
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8th November 2013, 16:33
Post: #5
     
RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
Well, and it's interesting, too, because my experience with other cultures -- European, Australian, etc. -- is that they find the American propensity to elevate these weird belief systems -- Christianity in particular -- to the level that we do in our society, utterly baffling. And it is EXACTLY like that, feeling like you're locked in an insane asylum and forced to "make nice!" LOL, I have felt that way all my life about it!! The encroachment into our government and politics in general is particularly disturbing to me.

I am always delighted when I run across one of the fence-sitters. They have already begun to employ their powers of reason to see that their religion is a man-made construct, and it's usually a fairly straightforward process to finish peeling off the veneer.

My atheist group is filled with people who once were True Believers™ of many, many faiths. We have former fundie Christians, Mormons, JWs, Catholics, Jews, Baptists, every kind. The single most common theme that runs through them when they join our group is an immense sense of relief that they can finally, finally be themselves without fear of shunning or other religious persecution. The need for a community and the idea that they may lose theirs is one of the biggest fears they have of revealing their true feelings. It comes up over and over and over again. You know, it's a lot to give up: Your neighbors, your friends -- and even in some instances, your family. I can understand why such fears drive the tendency to lie about one's true perspective toward the religion in which they were reared. One of the best things about my group is, we're able to fulfill that need for many who wish only to be honest about the loss of their faith -- and concurrent gain of a world that finally makes sense!
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8th November 2013, 16:41 (This post was last modified: 8th November 2013 16:42 by Minimalist.)
Post: #6
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
Quote:It's about God. Not people.

There is no fucking god. There are people. And they believe some really stupid shit.

It has to do mainly with indoctrination.


Quote:If we had opened our eyes to the light under the shadows
of St. Peter's at Rome, we should have been devout Catholics; born in the Jewish quarter of Aleppo, we should have contemned Christ as an
imposter; in Constantinople, we should have cried "Allah il Allah, God is great and Mahomet is his prophet!" Birth, place, and education give us our faith. Few believe in any religion because they have examined the evidences of its authenticity, and made up a formal judgment, upon
weighing the testimony. Not one man in ten thousand knows anything
about the proofs of his faith. We believe what we are taught; and those are most fanatical who know least of the evidences on which their creed is based.

--Brig. Gen Albert Pike, C.S.A.
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8th November 2013, 16:45
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
Based on my observation of the Hispanic Catholic and Pentecostal population of the places I have lived in (they are many), I'd say many people believe what they were taught without bothering to do the research or find a reason other than tradition, because it's just more comfortable that way and they are lazy. Also, many of them have been indoctrinated since a very early age in catechism. If information has been brainwashed into them, it's pretty hard to get rid of it. They don't understand why they believe, they were just educated in a way that made belief a given. It was never a matter of "let's discuss why we believe in the god" but rather "God is this and God is that, you should do this for him, and stay away from this for him". Believing was never in question. Why? meh. They don't know. It's just a given.
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8th November 2013, 16:49
Post: #8
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
[quote='Minimalist' pid='539700' dateline='1383925318']
Quote:It's about God. Not people.

There is no fucking god. There are people. And they believe some really stupid shit.


That's preposterous. People are not vulnerable to believing in stupid shit...

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8th November 2013, 17:02
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
(8th November 2013 16:09)ronedee Wrote:  It's about God. Not people. "Stupid" is following "religiously" anything man institutes. Our relationship is one on one with our Savior. All else is suspect.
This is not Catholicism. A central tenet of Catholicism is that God is revealed through the hierarchy of the church and only in extremely rare & very special circumstances by personal revelation. Basically, you're not worthy of having a 'one-on-one relationship' with God.


Quote:Its time to take the shades off and realize that God is the standard. Unchanging. The rule.

Everything else SUCKS!
You claim to be Catholic so you have to admit to having no one-on-one relationship with God. However you also reject anything instituted by man (e.g. religious structure, hierarchy, the bible etc.). How then do you know what God's standard is and how it hasn't & will not change?
Sum ergo sum
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8th November 2013, 17:30
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RE: Believing Vs Claiming to Believe
(8th November 2013 17:02)Ben Davis Wrote:  
(8th November 2013 16:09)ronedee Wrote:  It's about God. Not people. "Stupid" is following "religiously" anything man institutes. Our relationship is one on one with our Savior. All else is suspect.
This is not Catholicism. A central tenet of Catholicism is that God is revealed through the hierarchy of the church and only in extremely rare & very special circumstances by personal revelation. Basically, you're not worthy of having a 'one-on-one relationship' with God.


Quote:Its time to take the shades off and realize that God is the standard. Unchanging. The rule.

Everything else SUCKS!
You claim to be Catholic so you have to admit to having no one-on-one relationship with God. However you also reject anything instituted by man (e.g. religious structure, hierarchy, the bible etc.). How then do you know what God's standard is and how it hasn't & will not change?

This is true. When the Catholic Church released the diaries of Mother Teresa, they revealed how tortured she felt when she admits to have never once been spoken to by God. She grappled with this to her death. But, I guess the average fundie around here is probably held in a higher regard with the big guy. Did Mother Teresa just not have her hearing aid turned up high enough? Is that what's being implied?

Is the solicitation of misunderstood relgious doctrine via the internet something God recognizes as behavior worthy of his divine communication?

When you read The Bible, I guess such a thing would be consistent with the God it portrays. Good point.
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