Author Topic: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?  (Read 6038 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Suppose that you think something isn't what it's made out to be, yet going along with it to whatever extent you can gives you some significant degree of normalcy and health. Now let's suppose that rebelling or staying away from that thing seems intellectually honest, but causes terrible harm to you, psychologically and otherwise. What does a person in such a situation do?  Do they "face the truth, come what may," try to be as intellectually honest and consistent as possible, with the result being a terrible life, and probably an early death. Or do they go along with the thing they don't believe, hoping that they might change their mind?

Here's part of what brings this up. Religious people often speak of having a "hole in your heart/soul" and such, say that people without God can't be fulfilled, aren't truly happy, etc. I'm not sure how true that is, but let's say for the sake of argument that it's completely true in this case. This guy or girl is miserable as an atheist. However, they also haven't don't believe, at this point anyway, that Christianity is true (or rather the claims made, like Jesus rising from the dead, being God, and all that). Or at least they don't have enough faith in the whole affair to even hazard a "maybe it's true."

Offline Romaios

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 06:51:48 PM »
It's the same for all of us, you know - "if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins".

Certain mental (and physical) habits are toxic to faith. Cultivating them isn't "intellectual honesty", but spiritual suicide.

If you can still utter a sincere "Lord have mercy!", all is not lost. Just don't try to overdo it: living "as if" is not the solution. It backfires: you just keep bouncing between "intellectual" belief and disbelief. Only if you pray can faith take root.

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 06:55:23 PM »
I'm not sure how one could really "go along with it". If a person doesn't believe, does it then really make a difference, even if he pretends?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 06:55:41 PM by Ansgar »
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 06:57:24 PM »
I'm not sure how one could really "go along with it". If a person doesn't believe, does it then really make a difference, even if he pretends?

An immense difference.  I'm not saying it makes sense... ???

Offline stavros_388

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 06:58:16 PM »
I'm not sure I have a cogent response for you, but I can certainly relate with this miserable "guy or girl", at least a lot of the time. Imagine that the bare 'facts' of Christianity are wrong. That is to say, suppose that Christ didn't rise from the dead, or Mary wasn't a virgin after all (not that it could ever really be verified anyway). What would be lost in choosing hope and happiness over nihilism and despair? Suppose we never know for sure, either way. Hope is still better, in my opinion, because when hope is lost, there really isn't anything of value left... especially with certain kinds of people. The saints, as well as a lot of anonymous Christians, demonstrate a kind of living hope and faith that simply cannot be faked. These (faith and hope, that is) often result in joy, self-sacrifice, tremendous integrity, compassion, empathy, charity, patience, gratitude, and all the rest (aka virtues). Humility is a virtue, and this virtue is definitely strengthened by going out on a limb, as far as faith goes. Christianity is beautiful, but it sure doesn't make sense (in the eyes of the world)! So if this guy or girl is looking for a definite "proof" or something, or simply doesn't believe any of it because skepticism is their habit (and skepticism does become a habit), I would tell them that the proof is in the pudding... that is, in the lives of the saints and other devout Christians. And that the truth of Christianity is most fully and demonstrably expressed through the lives of flesh-and-blood Christians. Maybe I would tell them "Does it work in making people more like Christ?" is perhaps a more crucial question than "Is it necessarily and demonstrably factual, through and through?" I certainly wouldn't want to downgrade Christianity to a mere self-help method. But perhaps for said person, who struggles in this way, this would help get him (or her) over the hump. Perhaps not. I wrestle with this kind of stuff all of the time. This is the kind of pep talk I sometimes give myself.

Offline stavros_388

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 07:04:47 PM »
It's the same for all of us, you know - "if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins".

Certain mental (and physical) habits are toxic to faith. Cultivating them isn't "intellectual honesty", but spiritual suicide.

If you can still utter a sincere "Lord have mercy!", all is not lost. Just don't try to overdo it: living "as if" is not the solution. It backfires: you just keep bouncing between "intellectual" belief and disbelief. Only if you pray can faith take root.

Or disregard what I said, and listen to this instead. Much better and to the point.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2013, 07:06:18 PM »
I think for me personally, I am at the 'taking great comfort' in the message of the homily that I heard back on the 1st....about faith the size of a grain of mustard.

The notion that as a starting point, something that tiny is -enough- to get going and keep going in faith, is a strong one. That if i water it, it can bloom....


Most times right now, my mustard seed of 'this is right' gets me to Liturgy, and even if that's the extent of things for right now, that's better than not.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 07:15:50 PM »
It's the same for all of us, you know - "if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins".

Certain mental (and physical) habits are toxic to faith. Cultivating them isn't "intellectual honesty", but spiritual suicide.

If you can still utter a sincere "Lord have mercy!", all is not lost. Just don't try to overdo it: living "as if" is not the solution. It backfires: you just keep bouncing between "intellectual" belief and disbelief. Only if you pray can faith take root.

That's the problem though, if this hypothetical person (purely hypothetical, I assure you!  8) ) could do such things then he and/or she wouldn't be having these problems.

Offline Romaios

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 07:21:58 PM »
It's the same for all of us, you know - "if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins".

Certain mental (and physical) habits are toxic to faith. Cultivating them isn't "intellectual honesty", but spiritual suicide.

If you can still utter a sincere "Lord have mercy!", all is not lost. Just don't try to overdo it: living "as if" is not the solution. It backfires: you just keep bouncing between "intellectual" belief and disbelief. Only if you pray can faith take root.

That's the problem though, if this hypothetical person (purely hypothetical, I assure you!  8) ) could do such things then he and/or she wouldn't be having these problems.

This is where the bitter juices of personal failure and misery come in handy. Put your own compost to good use!

"A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise."
   

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 07:42:51 PM »
It's the same for all of us, you know - "if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain and we are still in our sins".

Certain mental (and physical) habits are toxic to faith. Cultivating them isn't "intellectual honesty", but spiritual suicide.

If you can still utter a sincere "Lord have mercy!", all is not lost. Just don't try to overdo it: living "as if" is not the solution. It backfires: you just keep bouncing between "intellectual" belief and disbelief. Only if you pray can faith take root.

That's the problem though, if this hypothetical person (purely hypothetical, I assure you!  8) ) could do such things then he and/or she wouldn't be having these problems.

This is where the bitter juices of personal failure and misery come in handy. Put your own compost to good use!

"A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise."
   

Sounds like it might be the place to start...

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 08:05:36 PM »
I'm not sure I understand all the nuance here, but I will tell you that I go along with stuff every day that I don't actually believe.  It is called listening to my wife.  ;D
God bless!

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 08:08:21 PM »
I'm not sure I understand all the nuance here, but I will tell you that I go along with stuff every day that I don't actually believe.  It is called listening to my wife.  ;D

As close a comparison as I could conceive of!  :)

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 08:12:20 PM »
I'm sure I don't come across like it on here, but in person, I am actually very good at engaging in conversations on subjects that I don't believe at all.  Good portions of my family are rather crazy conspiracy theorist types, so for the sake of peace, I usually just go along with it and change the convo when I can.  Confronting the contradictions just leads you further down the rabbit hole.
God bless!

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 08:19:27 PM »
So to follow up, if you thought Southern Baptist theology and practice was a bunch of hooey, but it seemed spiritually beneficial, and Orthodoxy just seemed dry and terrible, even though intellectually you thought it more true... you should become Southern Baptist? I mean, in Orthodoxy you don't pray, in SB you do; in Orthodoxy you don't attend church, in SB you do; etc.  So... ?  :police:

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 08:43:37 PM »
Meh. Nevermind. Ignore my last post. Or don't. Anyway.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 01:18:20 AM »
I can't ignore it.  It is like a bug attracted to a light.

I think it would be better to be a Southern Baptist and be earnest about seeking God than to be Orthodox and never go to Church or think about God.  From a practical standpoint, I don't know how you would get more out of SB if you thought there theology and practice was hooey.  That would be kind of hard to do, I would think.
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2013, 01:42:32 AM »
I dont understand the post

are you trying to talk about basically...

 Christians who want to believe but cannot because of their intellectual reasoning, yet still tell themselves they believe in things?

Like I am sure there are some orthodox, who tell themselves I believe in God, I believe in angels, I believe in demons, I believe in this and that miracle from this saint and that the holy spirit works in people. Yet, inside themselves, they know they dont believe in some of those things, they only tell themselves they believe in it trying to cover up their intellectual upbringing to question everything. Like a blessing from a priest, he makes the sign of the cross to you, you bow. Why? Because you are supposed to, or because you actually believe that sign of the cross and the blessing actually does something that the holy spirit works in some way from it?

I think i struggle in things like this, I tell myself, yes I believe in God. But inside me, there is a voice telling me, I should not because it is not logical. I ask myself, do I really believe in demons? I think I tell myself I believe in demons and angels, but in my brain subconcously say, no, they are just the imagination of people who did not know about certain scientific truths.

The divine light, do people actually experience it? Yes! And then no in my head, of course, it is just like buddhists it is simply chemicals in the brain we know this because of xyz scientific facts


Of course, doubt is probably one of the worst sins and probably leads to all other sins (sorry St. Gregory, I think doubt of God is the chief of all sins not Pride! but perhaps he agreed anyway, doubt might be more than a sin, since you might not even then believe in sin)

I was goign to say something else but I cant remember

oh now i do,

we should be like children... secular reasoning does not bring one to God... that is some things I remember from the fathers even though I have trouble agreeing with it. but I think I better start changing my opinion, since the holy fathers arnt going to change theirs
I am a demonic servant! Beware!

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2013, 07:44:31 AM »
It's the only thing you can do. The naive notion of belief that's get pedaled around here and nearly everywhere ain't what is animating a protozoan much less a human.

"Actual belief" is probably the most paralyzing and horrific experience one can have.

I think I understand augustin more and more.

Authenticity ain't even for the birds.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2013, 08:06:19 PM »
It's the only thing you can do. The naive notion of belief that's get pedaled around here and nearly everywhere ain't what is animating a protozoan much less a human.

"Actual belief" is probably the most paralyzing and horrific experience one can have.

I think I understand augustin more and more.

Authenticity ain't even for the birds.
I see your still going in circles with your existential angst.  I had hoped you would have worked through that in your absence.  Good luck.
God bless!

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2013, 08:10:56 PM »
.But regarding the last handful of posts--well there you have it. Actually making this thread and going through it was helpful, to my hypothetical person I mean. They told me so. But did I end up where I wanted? Yes, I think I did, in a sense. Thanks :)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 08:11:04 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2013, 01:59:54 AM »
It's the only thing you can do. The naive notion of belief that's get pedaled around here and nearly everywhere ain't what is animating a protozoan much less a human.

"Actual belief" is probably the most paralyzing and horrific experience one can have.

I think I understand augustin more and more.

Authenticity ain't even for the birds.
I see your still going in circles with your existential angst.  I had hoped you would have worked through that in your absence.  Good luck.

Imitation is only flattery when done well. Keep working on it.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2013, 03:23:02 AM »
It's the only thing you can do. The naive notion of belief that's get pedaled around here and nearly everywhere ain't what is animating a protozoan much less a human.

"Actual belief" is probably the most paralyzing and horrific experience one can have.

I think I understand augustin more and more.

Authenticity ain't even for the birds.
I see your still going in circles with your existential angst.  I had hoped you would have worked through that in your absence.  Good luck.
What angst?

As usual I read orthonorm wrong, but I can't help but think that actual belief bit is pretty terrifying if a teenager gets a hold of it...see JamesR.

Prayer isn't going to get you rooted in faith. Ask Mother Theresa that.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2013, 08:24:02 AM »
Prayer isn't going to get you rooted in faith. Ask Mother Theresa that.

Why would Mother Theresa be an authority on prayer or faith?

Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2013, 12:59:20 PM »
Prayer isn't going to get you rooted in faith. Ask Mother Theresa that.

Why would Mother Theresa be an authority on prayer or faith?
She prayed and suffered for years with doubt.

But now that I think about it, faith is stronger with doubt...but I don't see how her praying made her stronger in faith though.

Do you have doubts over MT?

Maybe I haven't taken the criticisms charged against her seriously enough...
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Offline NightOwl

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2013, 05:04:07 PM »
^Didn't Asterikos once have as his signature Dostoevsky's quote, "My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt"?

In any case... didn't one of the Church Fathers say something along the lines of, an insincere prayer is better than no prayer at all?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 05:05:44 PM by NightOwl »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2013, 05:12:46 PM »
^Didn't Asterikos once have as his signature Dostoevsky's quote, "My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt"?

Indeed he did. Someone else did at one point as well if I remember correctly. Not sure about the question...

Offline Romaios

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2013, 05:19:38 PM »
In any case... didn't one of the Church Fathers say something along the lines of, an insincere prayer is better than no prayer at all?

St. John of Kronstadt?  :-\

Quote
Every insincere prayer removes your heart from God, and sets it in enmity to you yourself, whilst every earnest prayer draws your heart nearer to God, and helps to make it enduringly godly.

During prayer do not allow the enemy, acting through the flesh, to conquer you; speak the truth from your heart, and let your tongue utter no falsehood. Think and feel what you say in prayer, and do not let there be honey on your tongue and ice in your heart.

How can we teach ourselves to speak the truth from our heart during prayer?  We must bring every word of the prayer down to our heart, lay it to heart, feel its truth in our heart, be convinced of our need of that for which we ask, or of the need of heartfelt gratitude for God's great and innumerable benefits to us.

It seems habitual to our heart to lie, both in prayer, and in our intercourse with other men. The heart is a pillar of falsehood. The Christian must make use of every means to eradicate all falsehood from his heart, and to implant in it pure truth. We must begin with prayer, as with a matter in which truth is indispensable before all else, in accordance with the Lord’s own words: Worship him in spirit and in truth. Speak the truth from your heart. When we have learnt to speak truth from our heart during prayer, we shall not allow ourselves to lie in everyday life:  sincere, true prayer, having cleansed our heart from falsehood, will also protect falsehood in our relations with others.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 05:22:12 PM by Romaios »

Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2013, 06:45:25 PM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2013, 07:18:00 PM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.

So because of one sin everything else he says is invalidated? You do realize that by this reasoning, nothing you say is valid, either?

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2013, 07:22:31 PM »
Is the OP talking about denying our faith under persecution? I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to do that.

Or is this about trying to live as an Orthodox Christian even if not everything the Church teaches "makes sense"? I think there's a lot to be said for that. Especially since we can never really "understand" Church doctrine completely; our belief involves trying to live by it as if it were true.

I heard somewhere that it's a saying in the RC Church "Act as if you have faith, and faith will be given to you". I kind of like that.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 07:23:19 PM by Jonathan Gress »

Offline Romaios

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2013, 06:08:58 AM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.

Did she complain about that to you in a dream or vision?  ::)

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2013, 08:13:31 AM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.
What is your basis for this?  Everything I have read said it was a mutual decision.  Of course, I suspect most Orthodox sources would not say "St. John of Kronstadt was a great guy except for defrauding his wife"
God bless!

Offline jah777

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2013, 08:36:55 AM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.

Try thinking that he is worth listening to because he is a saint, was filled with the Holy Spirit, spent long nights and many hours in prayer, and so probably knows what he is talking about when he speaks of prayer. 

Offline jah777

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2013, 08:48:28 AM »
There is no nobility in sacrificing one's life for a lie.  A person should live soberly and with humility, being honest about what he believes, yet humble enough to question his beliefs and to admit that he may be wrong.  If an atheist suffers a miserable life because he resists believing in God, there is nothing admirable about such an embraced misery.  "Intellectual honesty" is often just another way of saying "pride", "self-absorption", and "delusion".  One deifies one's own supposed logic, or supposed knowledge, and rejects anything that may contradict their vain reasoning.  This is mental idolatry rather than intellectual honesty.  What the atheist calls "intellectual honesty" the Scriptures call "foolishness", since only "a fool says in his heart that there is no God."

If a person believes something is true, and what he believes in is actually true, then all suffering on behalf of the truth is admirable and worthy of honor. 

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2013, 09:26:37 AM »
"Intellectual honesty" is often just another way of saying "pride", "self-absorption", and "delusion".  One deifies one's own supposed logic, or supposed knowledge, and rejects anything that may contradict their vain reasoning.  This is mental idolatry rather than intellectual honesty.  What the atheist calls "intellectual honesty" the Scriptures call "foolishness", since only "a fool says in his heart that there is no God."

Ouch. This hit home.

Anyway, my personal attitude is "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief."
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2013, 12:08:15 PM »
Is the OP talking about denying our faith under persecution? I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to do that.

Or is this about trying to live as an Orthodox Christian even if not everything the Church teaches "makes sense"? I think there's a lot to be said for that. Especially since we can never really "understand" Church doctrine completely; our belief involves trying to live by it as if it were true.

I heard somewhere that it's a saying in the RC Church "Act as if you have faith, and faith will be given to you". I kind of like that.

The OP is about what you should do when you think that most of religion (including the most important stuff) is bunk, yet you find yourself in a situation in which being religious gives you the most stability and happiness.

But sometimes you can overthink these things.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2013, 01:12:53 PM »
I find that what I believe is bunk varies from week to week and often even day to day.  Even if I have difficulty believing something is true regarding my faith, if the Church teaches it, I strive to accept it. I tend to be rather skeptical by nature, so doubt frequently enters my mind, but in my experience, my life is far better and has more meaning with the Church in it as opposed to without it.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 01:13:10 PM by TheTrisagion »
God bless!

Offline Agabus

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2013, 01:31:21 PM »
I think I understand augustin more and more.

Authenticity ain't even for the birds.
"Authenticity" is one of those buzzwords that lets me know a person isn't that serious about anything other than image.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

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Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

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Offline mabsoota

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2013, 01:40:22 PM »
But sometimes you can overthink these things.

this is the key, i think.
we should not focus on ourselves.
seek humility, care for the sick and the poor and you will find yourself serving God without realising it.
if you really love your neighbour the way God shows us, you will not harm him or use him to gain pleasure but you will be serving God.

Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2013, 04:57:42 PM »
Asteriktos, IMHO, no.

But there are consequences.  It would be a lot easier for me to do this.  But I had to face up to what I was believing and witnessing.  It destroyed many friendships, hurt much of my family, and I would probably face official excommunication if I decided to go to church again.  Of course, it is fair, and no it would not bother me.  But there are consequences.

But also consider I'm doing this in faith, and want to follow God.  If I am wrong in my conclusions, may God forgive me and know I'm just trying to follow his will.

However, doing something like pretending to be a Christian but are really an atheist, that is very dangerous to the soul.

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Offline Rufus

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2013, 05:48:44 PM »
Suppose that you think something isn't what it's made out to be, yet going along with it to whatever extent you can gives you some significant degree of normalcy and health. Now let's suppose that rebelling or staying away from that thing seems intellectually honest, but causes terrible harm to you, psychologically and otherwise. What does a person in such a situation do?  Do they "face the truth, come what may," try to be as intellectually honest and consistent as possible, with the result being a terrible life, and probably an early death. Or do they go along with the thing they don't believe, hoping that they might change their mind?

Here's part of what brings this up. Religious people often speak of having a "hole in your heart/soul" and such, say that people without God can't be fulfilled, aren't truly happy, etc. I'm not sure how true that is, but let's say for the sake of argument that it's completely true in this case. This guy or girl is miserable as an atheist. However, they also haven't don't believe, at this point anyway, that Christianity is true (or rather the claims made, like Jesus rising from the dead, being God, and all that). Or at least they don't have enough faith in the whole affair to even hazard a "maybe it's true."

I myself have long come to terms with the fact that if I no longer believed, I would still pretend I did. But that's because of sentimental attachment, not to "fill a hole in my heart."

I just shared that to give anonymous person a little possible reassurance...anonymous person will ultimately have to decide what anonymous person wants, though I'd think some stability would be in anonymous person's interest.

Now here's the serious part: if anonymous person wants to become a Christian in order to be normal, anonymous person has it all terribly wrong.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2013, 06:10:49 PM »
I bet some of this has really helped anonymous person, believe it or not. Ok, maybe not exactly help, but maybe something.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2013, 01:33:14 PM »
It's hard to take anything by St. John of Kronstadt seriously when he defrauded his wife from sex intentionally.

So because of one sin everything else he says is invalidated? You do realize that by this reasoning, nothing you say is valid, either?
Wow.

I think that's more than a "sin" but ok bud.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

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Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2013, 01:33:14 PM »
Jonathan doesn't find defrauding your wife to be a deplorable and disgusting act. Now who do we know more about now?
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Shiny

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Re: Is It Ever Better To Go Along With Something You Don't Actually Believe?
« Reply #44 on: September 19, 2013, 01:33:14 PM »
Try thinking that he is worth listening to because he is a saint, was filled with the Holy Spirit, spent long nights and many hours in prayer, and so probably knows what he is talking about when he speaks of prayer. 
Oh really? So did he spend any of his nights repenting for his sin on his hands and knees weeping when he caused his wife to suffer even more and carry a heavier cross?

Remember she wanted the divorce but he didn't want her to have it. I would have loved to see them both on Judge Judy.

The man's actions make his words on prayer seem dishonest. I mean if God said to him not to have sex with his wife, that's a different story.

No saint is perfect by any means but I can hardly fathom the respect for him to even listen.

That's just me though.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan