Author Topic: Why I don't believe in God anymore.  (Read 3976 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,280
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #90 on: November 21, 2017, 02:17:47 PM »
I would expect from an all-knowing, powerful, and just God to do much better than the Bible or the Quran, to bring laws and moral codes that humans could never imagine, laws and morals that would not allow for hundreds of interpretations.

So since you cannot have this fantasy, then you are done with God altogether. Yet all your problems remain. Specifically, there remains a history of mankind and its destructive deeds. Further, there remain many interpretations of history and of the present (and, yes, such deeds persist in the present; progressivism demurs, but the daily news confutes it). You are convinced of your own interpretation, your own morals, but you have nothing but yourself to back them; for, altho I am sure you have likeminded friends, you have no control over whether they continue to agree with you. And were you to attempt to assert such control, you'd find yourself appealing to something bigger than yourself; and were to you to attempt to assert such control in any large way, you'd find yourself faced with a need for destructive deeds in some measure. You have got rid of God, but you have not got rid of mankind in which everything to which you object factually inheres. In your mystic rage at God, you have still the problem and the problem is man which is yourself.

Well said.

Seconded.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,456
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #91 on: November 21, 2017, 02:21:18 PM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #92 on: November 21, 2017, 02:36:29 PM »
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
What if the Gospels were never intended as "historical documents"? I think it's important, as I said, that historical writing didn't exist in antiquity that it does now. Our standards for historiography are so much higher.

To me the canon of the NT belongs in the category of "sacred" and requires a different hermenutic.

Ultimately I agree with Kierkegaard. It doesn't make sense to seek out a "historical Jesus" as such, especially if you take Orthodox theology seriously.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,456
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #93 on: November 21, 2017, 02:40:00 PM »
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
What if the Gospels were never intended as "historical documents"? I think it's important, as I said, that historical writing didn't exist in antiquity that it does now. Our standards for historiography are so much higher.

To me the canon of the NT belongs in the category of "sacred" and requires a different hermenutic.

Ultimately I agree with Kierkegaard. It doesn't make sense to seek out a "historical Jesus" as such, especially if you take Orthodox theology seriously.
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #94 on: November 21, 2017, 02:49:31 PM »
BTW you might find this peculiar, and I'm not sure at odds with Orthodoxy if I get down to brass tacks, but I agree with the Jesus mythiscts except for entirely different reasons. If you start with Christ is God, then he's beyond any categorization. To even suggest Christ can be an object of history is blasphemy (again I agree with Kierkegaard, he takes up this theme brilliantly in his Practice in Christianity).

that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #95 on: November 21, 2017, 02:57:16 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #96 on: November 21, 2017, 03:01:34 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,461
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate (ACROD)
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #97 on: November 21, 2017, 03:06:51 PM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.
Quote
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop
- GK Chesteron, "Lepanto"

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #98 on: November 21, 2017, 03:11:15 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.

Thank God his plans for man do not hinge on what seems nonsensical to Rob. As for your sense of nonsense, you may want to have that calibrated. For God to become incarnate in no factual way would be the greatest conceivable nonsense. If you could not have touched Christ and reported his sayings (I Joh 1.1ff), then there is no Christ. (How degrading to my fingers even to have to type out something so plain on its face.)
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #99 on: November 21, 2017, 03:21:02 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.

Thank God his plans for man do not hinge on what seems nonsensical to Rob. As for your sense of nonsense, you may want to have that calibrated. For God to become incarnate in no factual way would be the greatest conceivable nonsense. If you could not have touched Christ and reported his sayings (I Joh 1.1ff), then there is no Christ. (How degrading to my fingers even to have to type out something so plain on its face.)
I'm more subtle than this Porter although my fault not explaining this well. I'm not denying the eternal pre-existent Logos taking on flesh however theologically the implications of this are so profound that cannot be grasped by a mere historical inquiry.

To me theology is the domain we should dwell in, not history.

I'll post more of my thinking on this when I can get on a computer. You don't have to agree obviously. I'd like to make the case of taking seriously Christ's Church as His Body, Christ in the Eucharist, Christ everywhere present - "for in Him we live and move and have our being." So tracking down some historical person doesn't make a whole lot of sense if we take this stuff seriously.

I could be totally wrong about all this and willing to admit if I find an argument persuasive enough.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 03:21:49 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Deacon Lance

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,732
  • Faith: Byzantine Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #100 on: November 21, 2017, 05:30:13 PM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.

But, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver.

No, said Tolkien, they are not.

...just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.

We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.

You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, he said, I begin to understand.

Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #101 on: November 21, 2017, 06:44:41 PM »
I don't see why the Gospels can't be considered myth as long as we mean by myth as true and sacred stories. That's different than say Barlaam and Josphat which is a religious legend.

The way Iconodule (and augustin) use "myth" is modern. I'm not trying to operate through a modern episteme. Like take Medieval Europeans. They found it consistent within their episteme that certain sexual dreams were the result of demonic influences. And that's because they didn't operate under the empirical episteme, where evidence of demons required some observation, rather than the authority of the Bible. They took the existence of demons for granted and went from there to work out consistencies with that assumption.

Or many Christians state they believe in miracles or the Resurrection while mostly conducting themselves in accordance with the modern episteme, despite that purported contradiction of it.

To reappropriate an old post of mine here:

Episteme is a way of understanding the world available to a culture at a particular time. For example modern people understand the world as not governed by miracles. Naturalism is dominant. Whenever someone needs a car fixed they aren't praying for a miracle but go to a mechanic who will follow causal procedures determined by scientific and engineering theories with high predictive values.

Now any individual can reject this episteme, but it is interesting that the miracle-naturalism dynamic is only possible when those two views are in opposition, as they weren't in antiquity or the early modern period.

I've shared with Iconodule privately my own personal struggles cause to my mind Orthodoxy operates in a completely different episteme that is so alien to where I am.

This was Foucault's main point in his Birth of the Clinic, where say St. Paul's speech would be coherent in one era and become lunacy in another. My guess is St. Paul would probably be locked up in an asylum if he was around today.

There's a woman at my parish who can't help but be skeptical at miracles and mystical stuff. This is the modern predicament.

It's odd I find myself very sympathetic towards creationists lately...
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 06:46:45 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #102 on: November 22, 2017, 12:16:46 AM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.

Ok, fair enough. But I think that the God you believed is still there whether the texts are reliable or not. I don't need six literal days of creation six thousand years ago to believe in a creator. Similarly, the Incarnation could have occurred historically, as long as it's still logically possible, whether we can arrive it through independent historical study or not.

Maybe that's God of the Gaps reasoning, but until we develop time travel, I don't see why it doesn't work in this case.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #103 on: November 22, 2017, 12:20:36 AM »

It's odd I find myself very sympathetic towards creationists lately...

Creationists are very much the modern episteme, though. If they can't prove a young earth+universal flood using their bastard version of the scientific method, then they think that Christianity is completely irrelevant.



Edited to be more fair.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 12:29:39 AM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #104 on: November 22, 2017, 12:27:45 AM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.

Just to clarify where Rob and I might be at loggerheads here, I do believe that the Incarnation occurred literally and physically in history. I'm just open to the idea that the Gospels and the secular outside evidence that we have are insufficient to conclude, using the modern historical method, that it happened. It ultimately has to be taken on faith in the witness of Tradition and the Gospels might only be reliable when read in that light.

This of course then leads to the question, "Then why believe in Christianity over another religion or none?" And my answers to that are primarily philosophical and existential.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 12:30:05 AM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #105 on: November 22, 2017, 01:31:33 AM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.

Ok, fair enough. But I think that the God you believed is still there whether the texts are reliable or not. I don't need six literal days of creation six thousand years ago to believe in a creator. Similarly, the Incarnation could have occurred historically, as long as it's still logically possible, whether we can arrive it through independent historical study or not.

Maybe that's God of the Gaps reasoning, but until we develop time travel, I don't see why it doesn't work in this case.
Regarding creation of the universe before man, I find it meaningless by definition talking about things being around when nobody can even in principle observe them ultimately violates even empirical rules. A kind of cheat is going on where an observer is deemed to be observing things that by definition are not subject to observation, since no observer exists in that time frame. It's empiricism through the back door.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #106 on: November 22, 2017, 01:53:59 AM »
Just to clarify where Rob and I might be at loggerheads here, I do believe that the Incarnation occurred literally and physically in history. I'm just open to the idea that the Gospels and the secular outside evidence that we have are insufficient to conclude, using the modern historical method, that it happened. It ultimately has to be taken on faith in the witness of Tradition and the Gospels might only be reliable when read in that light.

This of course then leads to the question, "Then why believe in Christianity over another religion or none?" And my answers to that are primarily philosophical and existential.
I don't deny it happened, I'm just wary of separating the historical person from as he is known in the Orthodox Church, as I understand it. Do not Orthodox receive the Holy Gifts which are the precious blood and body of our Lord? What about the Church as His body? And the Gospel readings during Divine Liturgy, are these not being proclaimed as if they are proclaimed now? Does not Christ speak to the audience that heard him but also directly to each Christian? I just have extreme difficulties isolating a 1st century Jew from who I know personally.

Maybe this is too vulgar, but I have no other way to take these things but simply as they are. Maybe I think too much like a babushka. I'd rather stick to how the Orthodox Chuch proclaims the Gospel than whatever could be wrenched from historical studies.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #107 on: November 22, 2017, 09:58:08 PM »
I'm more subtle than this Porter although my fault not explaining this well. I'm not denying the eternal pre-existent Logos taking on flesh however theologically the implications of this are so profound that cannot be grasped by a mere historical inquiry.

Pardon me, but no one is saying that the Incarnation is grasped only materially.

Quote
To me theology is the domain we should dwell in, not history.

This states more than it sounds like it does. Because by setting theology and history at opposition this way, sacred history is implied to be no friend to truth and salvation.

Quote
I'll post more of my thinking on this when I can get on a computer. You don't have to agree obviously.

As I recall, you spent years posting great reams of this thinking. I suppose I was naive to think you'd outgrown it.

Quote
I'd like to make the case of taking seriously Christ's Church as His Body, Christ in the Eucharist, Christ everywhere present - "for in Him we live and move and have our being." So tracking down some historical person doesn't make a whole lot of sense if we take this stuff seriously.

Is this the way to speak of Christ? "Some historical person." And again you set two things at opposition quite subtly, in this case the Incarnation and the omnipresence of God. What you post is simple Incarnoclasm.

Stop feigning to be unaware that there is an in- (εν-) in 'incarnation.' If God did not enter a specific time and place and body, there is no mystery of Incarnation and "we are of all men most miserable."
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

  • Formerly "nothing"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,216
  • Jurisdiction: The thrilling romance of Holy Orthodoxy
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #108 on: November 22, 2017, 11:00:34 PM »
I'm setting them in opposition because both theology and history are totally separate domains. There is no overlap. What theology is doing is profoundly different than history.

I'm resisting a tendency to render the Incarnation as merely a historical occurrence rather than being filled with a deep wonder at the absolute paradox of our faith. Christ cannot be a historical person as we read in history books. He must by his very person go beyond it.

I can fully embrace the paradox and reject any attempts to rationally make sense of it. Only by the Orthodox Faith can one come to know him as he is, the same yesterday, today and forever.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #109 on: November 23, 2017, 12:04:32 AM »
Quote
Incarnoclasm

Pro-tip, making up your own technical terms and just throwing them out there as though they pre-exist you doesn't make you look smart or poetic, it makes you look pretentious.

Given the vagaries of historical documents (how they're collected, edited, passed down, etc) and the inherent problems with eye witness testimony and the fact that we've lost the ability to directly verify these events the way that someone who was the there at the time did (within those same bounds of unreliable witnesses of course), what does it mean to say that we "know" that Washington was the first president or that Newton discovered gravity? All that I see Rob arguing for is a more nuanced reading of the way we understand the past and what it means to say that something really happened 2000 years ago.

I don't know if his is an understanding of history that holds up (though I'm not at all sure that a Leopold von Ranke "how things actually were" view is any better, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle). But it's perfectly compatible with Jesus being in the flesh in all the same ways that we are.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 12:11:00 AM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #110 on: November 23, 2017, 03:17:29 PM »
I'm setting them in opposition because both theology and history are totally separate domains. There is no overlap. What theology is doing is profoundly different than history.

This is the case only according to such special definitions as you cling to, definitions, such as that history comprises no fact but only narrative, that are meaningless to Christians and others of sincere will. For Christians, history and theology are complementary, and, for that matter, in no case is there a "totally separate domain" -- except in the case of truth vs. lies, God vs. the world, justice vs. evil. Theology and history, and every other legitimate theoria, are doors to the same room.

Quote
I'm resisting a tendency to render the Incarnation as merely a historical occurrence rather than being filled with a deep wonder at the absolute paradox of our faith.

Again you invent a pernicious and unnecessary opposition. There is nothing "mere" about the human past, and certainly nothing about our having a past that precludes any wonder at God's work with man.

Quote
Christ cannot be a historical person as we read in history books. He must by his very person go beyond it.

If Christ is not real, then he is not Christ. Shame on your posts, that they will not stop subtly babbling these false oppositions, these gratuitous ruptures of the faith.

Quote
I can fully embrace the paradox and reject any attempts to rationally make sense of it. Only by the Orthodox Faith can one come to know him as he is, the same yesterday, today and forever.

I'll ignore your summing platitude as no summation at all of your posts' real contents, and ask what is this "paradox" you worship? If it requires you to call the Evangelists frauds, if it requires you to discern the Incarnation as having no place or time, then it is not a paradox but some species of stubborn self-lobotomization.

But let's cut to the chase, Mr. S. Let's be perfectly clear. The motivations for thinking such as yours (quite popular thinking, by the way, in progressive religious circles -- sometimes I think you just paraphrase the books you've read) are perfectly clear and simple. But first a brief history lesson. The "need" to declare the Gospels fraudulent began in the Enlightenment when scientific minds noticed with a start that the Gospels include accounts of miracles. The scholarly criticism is continuous from there. Now, for the Christian or other sincere mind, it is easy to grant that where the Son of God were to appear, there could -- no, would be miracles. And so the subsequent centuries of hubbub seem quite unnecessary. But consider well: The hubbub was necessary to the motives that gave birth to it. The motives to join in the work of a zeitgeist; of synergy with the spirit of the times: which was -- and is -- to build a new world of mind from which the old world of mind must be cut out.

And so it is today with those who write books or posts like yours. The motive is plain, if beneath the surface -- it is to join in the work of science and progress; or, by this late time of history, to avoid the shame of not joining. The writer or poster wishes to be at ease among his secular fellows; if he is a professional scholar, he wishes to rise in his job -- or perhaps even just to keep it. The paradox you describe -- the tension, as Emergents are fond of denominating it -- is thus nothing else than a strain between two incompatible sets of motivations, probably incarnated in sets of coworkers and friends. It is a personal stress abstracted. "How long will ye halt between two opinions?" "Friendship of the world is enmity with God." "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." You see, the old world of mind already knew, predicted, and diagnosed the unholy "paradox."

So, yes, there are two "totally separate domains" which an attempt to synthesize will indeed bear hideously aborted fruit, and this fact does certainly greatly impinge on the matter of the thread, but these domains are not history vs. theology but God vs. rebellion.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #111 on: November 23, 2017, 04:05:33 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 04:05:58 PM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #112 on: November 23, 2017, 04:16:00 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #113 on: November 23, 2017, 05:13:16 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 05:14:22 PM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #114 on: November 23, 2017, 05:18:19 PM »
Ahhhhhh OC.net, where you leave a thread when it was only 20 posts and come back to find it reached the 100. What is this? Biochemical lab? lol. I will respond to posts directed to me as soon as possible. I apologize for responding late.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #115 on: November 23, 2017, 05:46:44 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

You're completely changing the subject. Your claim was that the Gospels are scientifically fraudulent. And you're also mischaracterizing my reply, casting it as a matter of aesthetic appreciation. No, the Gospels and Apostles do not come across to the ingenuous and thorough reader as fraudulent, as long as, that is, and as I already mentioned above, the reader is not bound by an idea that God cannot bear a Son or a Son of God could not perform miracles.

Quote
I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

Being unsure how to "hate father and mother" is an entirely different category of problem from what you and Rob have brought up, and doesn't imply fraudulence in the histories at all. You are changing the subject, and while I'm sure your pensive youth is a worthy subject, it won't answer here.

Quote
And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...

So now, rather than embodying a "mess of competing factions" "calling each other liars" of which "the Orthodox narrative" is patently "over and against" equally valid competing interpretations, Sts. Peter and Paul are merely "at one another's throats." Yet even your subtle capitulation won't hold. Read the Epistle unclouded, and see a stout defense from St. Paul of the beloved non-Jewish Christians in spite of his great respect for St. Peter, who is described as caught by a moment of human weakness in a temporary retreat (eating with the Jewish Christians only) from a principle both men are recorded as holding very dear (cf. Act ch. 10). The two men were of course allies in the Spirit: St. Paul recalls the time when "pillar" St. Peter welcomed him while all other brethren still held him as a persecutor, and when subsequently he with the other leading Apostles "perceived the grace" in him and gave him "the right hands of fellowship"; St. Peter remarks with approval "our beloved brother Paul['s]" profound gifts.

But again, if you would like to change the subject to scriptural teaching you have personally found it difficult to understand how to act on, that is a wholly different subject that the veracity of the sacred accounts or anything else Rob is claiming.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #116 on: November 23, 2017, 06:53:33 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

You're completely changing the subject. Your claim was that the Gospels are scientifically fraudulent. And you're also mischaracterizing my reply, casting it as a matter of aesthetic appreciation. No, the Gospels and Apostles do not come across to the ingenuous and thorough reader as fraudulent, as long as, that is, and as I already mentioned above, the reader is not bound by an idea that God cannot bear a Son or a Son of God could not perform miracles.

Quote
I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

Being unsure how to "hate father and mother" is an entirely different category of problem from what you and Rob have brought up, and doesn't imply fraudulence in the histories at all. You are changing the subject, and while I'm sure your pensive youth is a worthy subject, it won't answer here.

I'm just giving examples of the ways in which it's easy to conclude (or at least begin to suspect) from first blush that the Gospels are inconsistent and ridiculous, quite independent of any aversion to the miraculous as such. If you start mistrusting the Gospels morally and/or in terms of their internal facts (for example if you can't make heads or tails of how many people were at the tomb or why there's two different genealogies of Christ), then you're probably going to mistrust them on other grounds--maybe you'll start doubting that the God behind them is really good or sane or if the human authors really knew what they were doing.

It's just some counterpoints to the rosy picture you paint of some rapturous first time Scripture reading in which everything "clicks."

Quote
And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...

So now, rather than embodying a "mess of competing factions" "calling each other liars" of which "the Orthodox narrative" is patently "over and against" equally valid competing interpretations, Sts. Peter and Paul are merely "at one another's throats." Yet even your subtle capitulation won't hold. Read the Epistle unclouded, and see a stout defense from St. Paul of the beloved non-Jewish Christians in spite of his great respect for St. Peter, who is described as caught by a moment of human weakness in a temporary retreat (eating with the Jewish Christians only) from a principle both men are recorded as holding very dear (cf. Act ch. 10). The two men were of course allies in the Spirit: St. Paul recalls the time when "pillar" St. Peter welcomed him while all other brethren still held him as a persecutor, and when subsequently he with the other leading Apostles "perceived the grace" in him and gave him "the right hands of fellowship"; St. Peter remarks with approval "our beloved brother Paul['s]" profound gifts.

But again, if you would like to change the subject to scriptural teaching you have personally found it difficult to understand how to act on, that is a wholly different subject that the veracity of the sacred accounts or anything else Rob is claiming.

I used to read Paul's words as being more ambiguous than that. In 2:6, he seems to speak dismissively of Peter's authority "As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message." And the account of them receiving Paul as having grace is before the account of opposing Peter. It's easy for a first time reader to come away with the impression that Paul at the very least thinks he's better than Peter and the others. At least that was my first impression all those years ago.

Not saying I was right in that impression. I don't think that I was. It's just that this one example of an easy to come by doubt from the text itself can stick in the back of your mind and set the stage for later scholarly arguments about the reliability and agenda of Luke, the authenticity of 2 Peter or the Pastoral Epistles, etc.

Then even later you start to hear arguments about the diversity of the claimants during the first couple of centuries--not only the orthodox, but also different sorts of Gnostics, Jewish Ebionites, possible further conflicts between James, Peter, and Paul that the author of Acts might be trying to cover up, etc. all telling different stories of Jesus. The picture becomes a lot less clear when one tries to look at it without a bias towards orthodoxy. At the very least, your triumphalism over some alleged perspicuous empirical proof of the orthodox narrative becomes a little harder to cling to.

And this is why faith is necessary.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 07:00:46 PM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline byhisgrace

  • AOCB
  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,260
  • Memory Eternal to my Younger Brother
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #117 on: November 23, 2017, 07:06:08 PM »
@Volnutt
That is very interesting, because in my first read of the New Testament, I never got the impression that Paul and the other Apostles were consistently at odds with each other. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the Gospels, but I don’t think anyone (skeptic, believer, or otherwise) has the authority to claim some hermeneutical high-ground when it comes to “first impression” interpretation. (Especially when one considers that literature style was different back then than it is today).
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 07:12:25 PM by byhisgrace »
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #118 on: November 23, 2017, 07:35:20 PM »
@Volnutt
That is very interesting, because in my first read of the New Testament, I never got the impression that Paul and the other Apostles were consistently at odds with each other. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the Gospels, but I don’t think anyone has the authority to claim some hermeneutical high-ground when it comes to “first impression” interpretation. (Especially when one considers that literature style was different back then than it was today).

Well, if you take the Peter vs. Paul thing on its own, it's relatively easy to accept Luke's and 2 Peter's story of them eventually reconciling (though past me would still suspect that Paul was kind of arrogant). But then you take it alongside the troubles in the Corinthian church, Simon Magus, the Judaizers, the proto-Gnostics at Colossae, Hymenaeus and Alexander, Diotrephes, the difficulties in harmonizing Romans and James, the "false Apostles"...

The early church and the post-Apostolic world seems like a pretty chaotic place to me. It's enough to cause some doubt (or at least for me it is) that the documents that happened to be canonized are really the entire story, you know (especially if you buy arguments for really late dates for the NT books)? So even if I don't accept their conclusions, I can still definitely sympathize with where a Bart Ehrman or an Elaine Pagels is coming from and not just consider them venal, lying saboteurs like I'm sure Porter does.

But I want to reiterate that I'm speaking from the point of view of my own doubts and those of people who think similarly. I now embrace the orthodox version of church history for various reasons, but none of them have to do with some mythical fundamentalist "plain reading."
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline byhisgrace

  • AOCB
  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,260
  • Memory Eternal to my Younger Brother
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #119 on: November 23, 2017, 07:52:33 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 07:53:03 PM by byhisgrace »
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #120 on: November 23, 2017, 11:08:24 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,456
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #121 on: November 23, 2017, 11:25:26 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
you seem to feel so strongly about this. Careful there.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #122 on: November 23, 2017, 11:34:00 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
you seem to feel so strongly about this. Careful there.

Does this work in Romania?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #123 on: November 24, 2017, 03:29:25 AM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

I think so too, yeah.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #124 on: November 25, 2017, 02:11:38 PM »
Hi Ray1

Seeing that you have “materialist” under your jurisdiction, I encourage you to take a look at this physics experiment

"Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments”
http://deanradin.com/evidence/Radin2012doubleslit.pdf

if you are unfamiliar with physics/reading such studies in general & need a frame of reference in for understanding the technical study, than you can also read this entry on this experiment too

"Groundbreaking Research Shows Conscious Intention Directly Affects Quantum States; Scientific Basis for Mind of Over Matter?"
https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2016/08/21/groundbreaking-research-shows-conscious-intention-directly-affects-quantum-states-scientific-basis-for-mind-of-over-matter/

Let's assume, and I say assume, that such claims are credible, they don't in anyway prove that there is a God or Gods, let alone prove that the God of classical theism exists. Adding to that, maybe there is some "spiritual" world out there, but that doesn't mean it is not part of the world. To use David Steele's argument in his book Atheism Explained, maybe there is some other world that we don't know about yet, and therefore, to us may be considered "supernatural" but in reality, it is natural and within the limits of nature. Many things we take for granted today would have seemed supernatural to our ancestors, but to us, they are natural. Basically, the more we know, the most the universe expands.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 02:12:28 PM by Ray1 »

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #125 on: November 25, 2017, 02:26:48 PM »
To be honest, as "overused" as these arguments are, they aren't fundamentally unreasonable things to be concerned about. It's not like I have the ultimate answer to these things. However, to me God is so much bigger than these concerns. I'm not saying I don't care, I'm just saying that I don't have the answers, but I still cling to God because I know he's bigger than whatever controversies about specific parts of Scripture come up, or our own notions of what God should be like. I still cling to God because I NEED God, and because I personally don't find the arguments as to His nonexistence convincing.

I acknowledge that it may sound like I'm clinging to a fantasy because I can't cope with life. Well, it is true that I can't cope with life without God. I do not see a particularly logical path to absolute morality or absolute meaning objectively existing if God does not exist in any way, shape, or form. I'm not saying atheists can't have a sense of morality or meaning, but I just don't see how it could ever be claimed to exist objectively if God or at least some real "spiritual dimension" to life exists. Basically, I can't see a point in living without God. I can still make life happier for myself and others, but to me, that's not enough, because there is no reason to seek that happiness other than for its own sake. There is no actual reason to make myself or other people happy, other than that it feels good. I would not and could not be satisfied with that. Other people may be different, but that's just the way it is for me.

To be honest, I am deeply disturbed by some of the things in the Old Testament. I don't have ultimate answers to why they're there or if they really happened (I certainly hope the latter is not the case). But I know God is so much bigger and so much more than that. Until you see that too, I think it is likely you will never believe in God again. We can question certain things in Scripture endlessly. Maybe we'll find answers, but we can ALWAYS find more questions if we try.

tl;dr I don't know why God let all that stuff put in the Bible, or if He actually did command these things (again, I hope not). I just know God, and Christianity, is a lot more than that. The reason why I am a Christian is not because every question is answered perfectly. I know that's not much of an answer, at least in terms of what you were looking for. However, to be frank, I don't know if you'll find the answer you're looking for. If that prevents you from coming to Christianity, well.I guess you won't be a Christian, then. I'm certainly not happy about that, but it may just be the way things are.

You and I differ, I can't have faith without solving many of the issues I have. For me to believe that Jesus is the same God that ordered what he ordered in the Old Testaments will take a lot more than feeling. I do however relate to what you said; I felt the same way when the idea of abandoning my faith in God became a serious option. I wondered where I would go without God, what will give me the motivation to live my life to the fullest, where do I get my morals from?. But when reality hit, and I couldn't hold to my faith in God anymore, I gave myself time, and now such concerns rarely bother me (except when I think of the family member I lost recently). I found there are many ways to have morals without religion, and if we use religion as a source for morals, then I will need a satisfying explanation, a logical and moral one, for the genocides ordered by the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the support for slavery and all other shocking commands before basing my morals on religion. You can't expect from me to say that Christianity is a good source for morals while in its books there are commands from God to take virgins as slaves, for parents to stone their sons and daughters, to kill infants, and for the people of Israel to kill anyone who dares to lift one thing on the Sabbath, the God that says gays should be put to death and their blood be on their head. No, that doesn't work. First, do something about these commands, and then we may talk about religion as a good source of morals.

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #126 on: November 25, 2017, 02:53:47 PM »
If I'm going to list all the reasons that made me reject Theism in general and Christianity in particular, it will take a long time and I doubt that I will be able to believe until each one of them is addressed and refuted.

I used to feel that way as well. I'm sure I even have some notepad files with lists of my 'issues' with believing in God or Christianity. And perhaps this will not be true for you, but fwiw I'll share what I discovered about myself over the last 12 years. All the historical and theological and scientific problems I had were post hoc justifications for a deeper issue I had. This isn't to say that the problems were phantoms--many seemed quite logical in argument and problematic for belief. But as some of the problems fell by the wayside I realised that I was no closer nor further from belief, and the reason was that the root problem was simply that I didn't believe. It was a very gut-level, pre-cognitive thing. All the intellectual stuff came afterwards as justifications. Yet the justifications made sense, so why would I reject them as problems, right? But when a question I had was cleared up this didn't really solve things, as I thought it surely would, because my unbelief wasn't actually tied to these concerns.

I have some thoughts about the problems you bring up, and depending on what others say I might add my own 2 cents on them. I thought at the very least though that I should point out that, though things may seem very logical and like they could not be considered in any other way, things will perhaps turn out differently than you expect. Or at least for me they did, and I suspect others. There's a passage in one of the letters of Darwin, where he says:

"though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follows from the advance of science."

This call for patience and lettings things happen as they would resonated with me as an agnostic, but nowadays I kind of accept the spirit of it but understand it in a more religious way. Something like: though I think questioning and curiosity a good thing, nonetheless it seems that people are rarely turned from unbelievers to believers by some kind of theological mathematics, with all the numbers coming together to present one verifiable and certain answer, but rather faith is often found through someone experiencing life with an open mind and an open heart.

True, sometimes no matter how strong the arguments are for or against the existence of God, if people don't have the will and desire, they will not do so, but that doesn't mean all people, there are exceptions. I'm one of those, if there are very good logical arguments that would prove God exists, and then prove that the God of classical theism exists, then that God is the God of the Bible and Christianity, then the option of coming back will become a serious one. Does that mean I have the will to believe in God? I don't know, there are days when I want God to exist and days when I don't. We're humans, and we have reasons for things, and maybe today I don't see the full picture, maybe I don't really want God to exist, maybe a year or two from today I will know more and will look back to this post and as a reminder of what I didn't know.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #127 on: November 25, 2017, 02:56:30 PM »
To be honest, as "overused" as these arguments are, they aren't fundamentally unreasonable things to be concerned about. It's not like I have the ultimate answer to these things. However, to me God is so much bigger than these concerns. I'm not saying I don't care, I'm just saying that I don't have the answers, but I still cling to God because I know he's bigger than whatever controversies about specific parts of Scripture come up, or our own notions of what God should be like. I still cling to God because I NEED God, and because I personally don't find the arguments as to His nonexistence convincing.

I acknowledge that it may sound like I'm clinging to a fantasy because I can't cope with life. Well, it is true that I can't cope with life without God. I do not see a particularly logical path to absolute morality or absolute meaning objectively existing if God does not exist in any way, shape, or form. I'm not saying atheists can't have a sense of morality or meaning, but I just don't see how it could ever be claimed to exist objectively if God or at least some real "spiritual dimension" to life exists. Basically, I can't see a point in living without God. I can still make life happier for myself and others, but to me, that's not enough, because there is no reason to seek that happiness other than for its own sake. There is no actual reason to make myself or other people happy, other than that it feels good. I would not and could not be satisfied with that. Other people may be different, but that's just the way it is for me.

To be honest, I am deeply disturbed by some of the things in the Old Testament. I don't have ultimate answers to why they're there or if they really happened (I certainly hope the latter is not the case). But I know God is so much bigger and so much more than that. Until you see that too, I think it is likely you will never believe in God again. We can question certain things in Scripture endlessly. Maybe we'll find answers, but we can ALWAYS find more questions if we try.

tl;dr I don't know why God let all that stuff put in the Bible, or if He actually did command these things (again, I hope not). I just know God, and Christianity, is a lot more than that. The reason why I am a Christian is not because every question is answered perfectly. I know that's not much of an answer, at least in terms of what you were looking for. However, to be frank, I don't know if you'll find the answer you're looking for. If that prevents you from coming to Christianity, well.I guess you won't be a Christian, then. I'm certainly not happy about that, but it may just be the way things are.

You and I differ, I can't have faith without solving many of the issues I have. For me to believe that Jesus is the same God that ordered what he ordered in the Old Testaments will take a lot more than feeling. I do however relate to what you said; I felt the same way when the idea of abandoning my faith in God became a serious option. I wondered where I would go without God, what will give me the motivation to live my life to the fullest, where do I get my morals from?. But when reality hit, and I couldn't hold to my faith in God anymore, I gave myself time, and now such concerns rarely bother me (except when I think of the family member I lost recently). I found there are many ways to have morals without religion, and if we use religion as a source for morals, then I will need a satisfying explanation, a logical and moral one, for the genocides ordered by the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the support for slavery and all other shocking commands before basing my morals on religion. You can't expect from me to say that Christianity is a good source for morals while in its books there are commands from God to take virgins as slaves, for parents to stone their sons and daughters, to kill infants, and for the people of Israel to kill anyone who dares to lift one thing on the Sabbath, the God that says gays should be put to death and their blood be on their head. No, that doesn't work. First, do something about these commands, and then we may talk about religion as a good source of morals.

I see that as a biased way of looking at things, though. Why even try to be good without God? Why not just kill yourself from the meaninglessness of an indifferent universe (rhetorical question)? It's not like your love of science and human potential will survive your own decomposition (and the eventual decomposition of everyone who ever knew you), so what's the point of it all?

A silent God or a silent universe. Becoming an atheist does not dispense with the hard questions, it just swaps one set of questions for a different one. Either way, we all have to find a reason to go on living. At least the theist has a chance that there are answers out there to his questions.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 02:59:14 PM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #128 on: November 25, 2017, 02:57:41 PM »
I came here asking questions, telling me to read a bunch of books, as if I have nothing else to do is not a good way to defend your faith.
I agree.

Quote
you claim that you follow the God of the universe
While that might be true, that isn't who Christians would claim to follow, at least not to my understanding.

Ray I think in the Orthodox tradition we would reject theism or "classical theism". God for Orthodox, in my opinion, goes beyond the theism/atheism categories.

You might be interested in a thread I made a few years ago on a similar topic:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,64075.msg1267704.html

Granted those posts were before my conversion to Orthodoxy and reading a bit more Orthodox theological literature I'd refine them further. But maybe you get something out of em.

Thanks, RobS, I will check the thread. Maybe the fact you wrote them before your conversion will be helpful to relate to them.

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #129 on: November 25, 2017, 03:03:36 PM »
To be honest, as "overused" as these arguments are, they aren't fundamentally unreasonable things to be concerned about. It's not like I have the ultimate answer to these things. However, to me God is so much bigger than these concerns. I'm not saying I don't care, I'm just saying that I don't have the answers, but I still cling to God because I know he's bigger than whatever controversies about specific parts of Scripture come up, or our own notions of what God should be like. I still cling to God because I NEED God, and because I personally don't find the arguments as to His nonexistence convincing.

I acknowledge that it may sound like I'm clinging to a fantasy because I can't cope with life. Well, it is true that I can't cope with life without God. I do not see a particularly logical path to absolute morality or absolute meaning objectively existing if God does not exist in any way, shape, or form. I'm not saying atheists can't have a sense of morality or meaning, but I just don't see how it could ever be claimed to exist objectively if God or at least some real "spiritual dimension" to life exists. Basically, I can't see a point in living without God. I can still make life happier for myself and others, but to me, that's not enough, because there is no reason to seek that happiness other than for its own sake. There is no actual reason to make myself or other people happy, other than that it feels good. I would not and could not be satisfied with that. Other people may be different, but that's just the way it is for me.

To be honest, I am deeply disturbed by some of the things in the Old Testament. I don't have ultimate answers to why they're there or if they really happened (I certainly hope the latter is not the case). But I know God is so much bigger and so much more than that. Until you see that too, I think it is likely you will never believe in God again. We can question certain things in Scripture endlessly. Maybe we'll find answers, but we can ALWAYS find more questions if we try.

tl;dr I don't know why God let all that stuff put in the Bible, or if He actually did command these things (again, I hope not). I just know God, and Christianity, is a lot more than that. The reason why I am a Christian is not because every question is answered perfectly. I know that's not much of an answer, at least in terms of what you were looking for. However, to be frank, I don't know if you'll find the answer you're looking for. If that prevents you from coming to Christianity, well.I guess you won't be a Christian, then. I'm certainly not happy about that, but it may just be the way things are.

You and I differ, I can't have faith without solving many of the issues I have. For me to believe that Jesus is the same God that ordered what he ordered in the Old Testaments will take a lot more than feeling. I do however relate to what you said; I felt the same way when the idea of abandoning my faith in God became a serious option. I wondered where I would go without God, what will give me the motivation to live my life to the fullest, where do I get my morals from?. But when reality hit, and I couldn't hold to my faith in God anymore, I gave myself time, and now such concerns rarely bother me (except when I think of the family member I lost recently). I found there are many ways to have morals without religion, and if we use religion as a source for morals, then I will need a satisfying explanation, a logical and moral one, for the genocides ordered by the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the support for slavery and all other shocking commands before basing my morals on religion. You can't expect from me to say that Christianity is a good source for morals while in its books there are commands from God to take virgins as slaves, for parents to stone their sons and daughters, to kill infants, and for the people of Israel to kill anyone who dares to lift one thing on the Sabbath, the God that says gays should be put to death and their blood be on their head. No, that doesn't work. First, do something about these commands, and then we may talk about religion as a good source of morals.

I see that as a biased way of looking at things, though. Why even try to be good without God? Why not just kill yourself from the meaninglessness of an indifferent universe (rhetorical question)? It's not like your love of science and human potential will survive your own decomposition (and the eventual decomposition of everyone who ever knew you), so what's the point of it all?

A silent God or a silent universe. Becoming an atheist does not dispense with the hard questions, it just swaps one set of questions for a different one. Either way, we all have to find a reason to go on living. At least a theist has a chance that there are answers out there to his questions.

I do find meaning in my life, it is false to assume that to have a meaningful life, you always have to have some extraordinary reason, one that is supernatural. I find meaning in the fact that I enjoy doing what I'm doing, enjoy learning, going to university, working, playing with my dogs, being around friends and loved ones, the different seasons of the year, the holidays. That may seem superficial way, but to me, they are good enough reasons. Goodness, even the bad days, the sad news, that difficult times and tasks, give me meaning. By facing a challenge, I find meaning. By feeling sad, angry, disappointed, I find meaning. Each of us will have a different way of trying to answer the question, what is the meaning of it all?.

Add to that, I'm lucky enough to live where I live, and to live in a time like this, rather than some other time periods. A time when people like me are treated equally and are not persecuted, at least where I live, a time when we're able to know so many things our ancestors knew little about.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 03:08:34 PM by Ray1 »

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #130 on: November 25, 2017, 03:10:41 PM »
Those are reasons, yes, and I'm glad you've found some comfort. But the fact remains that they have no objectivity and won't survive your death. It's inconsistent for you to accept a subjective meaning for your life and then to criticize Christianity for allegedly not living up to some objective moral standard. See what I mean about bias?
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #131 on: November 25, 2017, 03:20:21 PM »
Those are reasons, yes, and I'm glad you've found some comfort. But the fact remains that they have no objectivity and won't survive your death. It's inconsistent for you to accept a subjective meaning for your life and then to criticize Christianity for allegedly not living up to some objective moral standard. See what I mean about bias?

I have subjective reasons to find meaning, that is not related to morality, both are different subjects. As for my death, yes, I die, and that is that, it is not as lovely as the idea that my soul is going somewhere nice where I will meet my loved ones, but that is the way it is. It would be nice if I have the superpower to fly like Superman, or a power to disappear and reappear again (there are times I thought how fun that would be) but I know so far it is impossible to do so and I'm fine with it.

Christianity claims to be the religion of the creator of the universe, the Intelligent Being that made all this, that it is divine, and the only good source for morals, therefore, when you see such immoral commands in the Bible, you ought to question such claims. If Christianity claimed that it is not always right, that there are chances it includes false teachings, that God is not all knowing, all powerful, all loving, and all good, things would have been different. But Christianity and Abrahamic religions in general claim extraordinary claims and therefore, people have the right to set high standards for them.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 03:21:13 PM by Ray1 »

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #132 on: November 25, 2017, 03:36:02 PM »
Those are reasons, yes, and I'm glad you've found some comfort. But the fact remains that they have no objectivity and won't survive your death. It's inconsistent for you to accept a subjective meaning for your life and then to criticize Christianity for allegedly not living up to some objective moral standard. See what I mean about bias?

I have subjective reasons to find meaning, that is not related to morality, both are different subjects.

Meaning determines morality. The only reason to nurture someone rather than kill them is because you attach meaning to their life (even if said meaning is only in service to some other principle like utilitarian flourishing or the imago Dei or even just the satisfaction of one's own whim).

As for my death, yes, I die, and that is that, it is not as lovely as the idea that my soul is going somewhere nice where I will meet my loved ones, but that is the way it is. It would be nice if I have the superpower to fly like Superman, or a power to disappear and reappear again (there are times I thought how fun that would be) but I know so far it is impossible to do so and I'm fine with it.

Why attach meaning to believing true things? Like you said, the liar and the honest man both go to the same oblivion.

Christianity claims to be the religion of the creator of the universe, the Intelligent Being that made all this, that it is divine, and the only good source for morals, therefore, when you see such immoral commands in the Bible, you ought to question such claims. If Christianity claimed that it is not always right, that there are chances it includes false teachings, that God is not all knowing, all powerful, all loving, and all good, things would have been different. But Christianity and Abrahamic religions in general claim extraordinary claims and therefore, people have the right to set high standards for them.

But on what grounds do you call Christianity immoral or false? By your own logic, the only reason you live as you do as opposed to being an ax murderer is because of your subjective preferences. If you can accept such a relativistic account of meaning and morality then you ought not protest when Christians seem to believe inconsistent things. Maybe there are reasons for these things that are true for God that none of us are able to see. If you want us to give the benefit of the doubt to your subjective reasons for getting out of bed in the morning, then you ought to do so for God's apparently subjective claims to being all-good.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

  • PHILIA NIKA
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,595
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #133 on: November 25, 2017, 04:12:37 PM »
I find meaning in the fact that I enjoy doing what I'm doing, enjoy learning, going to university, working, playing with my dogs, being around friends and loved ones, the different seasons of the year, the holidays. That may seem superficial way, but to me, they are good enough reasons. Goodness, even the bad days, the sad news, that difficult times and tasks, give me meaning.

All these things you are given to partake in as a human being. They are your gift by nature, which is to say, by nature's God. What you have discovered is the common human ability, in this life, to be oblivious. This is no argument against God.

If Christianity claimed that it is not always right, that there are chances it includes false teachings ...

So far, so good. And I personally think Christians all over the world admit this to differing degrees and in different qualities. Those that are too obstinately positive of their own understanding should be suspected.

Quote
... that God is not all knowing, all powerful, all loving, and all good ...

Now you've suddenly veered off your original road. From talking about Christian men and women and how you'd hope to find humility in them, you're now talking about the Divine Source of the qualities you list and how you hope, incredibly, that It might be proved lesser than Its own products. But how do you connect these in your mind?

Quote
Add to that, I'm lucky enough to live where I live, and to live in a time like this, rather than some other time periods. A time when people like me are treated equally and are not persecuted, at least where I live ...

I'm truly sorry you are, as you reported to us you recently discovered, homosexual. I don't have any experience with this myself, but I accept the words of those who have and who describe their suffering and struggles. However, I also accept the words of those who maintain a relationship with God in spite of it, including several good friends who have always seemed quite pious to me, no less after than before they "came out." And there are these even in the Orthodox tradition.

I'll forbear from pointing out the ironic implications that Christendom is where you came to safely make this discovery and then forthwith added it as a basis of your complaints about Christendom.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ray1

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
  • May Justice Prevail.
  • Faith: Atheist
Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #134 on: November 25, 2017, 10:29:55 PM »

The questions you're asking are valid, and I don't claim to have answers for them, after all, I'm not a philosopher. Today I know what gives my life meaning, in the future the things that give me meaning may change. The more I grow older the more I will know. But what I certainly know is that I don't need God or religion to give my life a meaning, nor do I need religion to give me morals. The morals that religion came up with are morals that would exist with or without.

It does puzzle me when sometimes atheists are asked why don't they kill people? I believe many people still remember that we saw a mass murder take place on live TV on 9/11/2001 when religious fanatics flew planes into buildings. And why should we go back that far, what about the shock when we saw videos of people being beheaded by once again, religious fanatics called ISIS. I believe Eastern Orthodox are very well aware of what the crusaders did to their beloved city of Constantinople. What about mother Russia, the land of Eastern Orthodoxy being among the most violent places, or Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, all these countries may be considered religious, why then are they the most violent places in the world? There are political and economic reasons, but considering they are religious, I would expect things to be less extreme, but they're not. It seems to me that religions failed and still fail to uphold moral authority over people, with or without religion, people will find reasons to do and be bad or good. Now where do we get our morals from? I don't know for certain nor do I care that much about it now, but I do know it can not possibly be religion, not with what is written in their holy books.



But on what grounds do you call Christianity immoral or false? By your own logic, the only reason you live as you do as opposed to being an ax murderer is because of your subjective preferences. If you can accept such a relativistic account of meaning and morality then you ought not protest when Christians seem to believe inconsistent things. Maybe there are reasons for these things that are true for God that none of us are able to see. If you want us to give the benefit of the doubt to your subjective reasons for getting out of bed in the morning, then you ought to do so for God's apparently subjective claims to being all-good.

For example, you come to me and claim you're a doctor, with a degree from the best university there is, and the list goes on and on with all these credentials you have. I believe you, but later on, comes to my attention that you're not a doctor, nor did you attend the university you claimed you did, nor do you have half the credentials you claimed to have. Am I supposed to continue to believe you're a doctor after that? Of course not. Same with Christianity, the religion claims that there is a God, cool! That God is all knowing, powerful, intelligent, loving, and just, sounds lovely! That God made the universe and all that is in it and made us in his image, and the rest as you know. But then I look around and I see no evidence for all that, and I look to the Bible and I just see a human work, a work of men who lived thousands of years ago reflecting their own thinking and culture, nothing divine, nothing out of the ordinary about it, nothing that differentiates it from the rest of books written at the time. I find a God that gets angry, a God that demands burned sacrifices, a God that changes his mind, a God that demands the killing of infants, taking virgins as slaves, and a God that will let millions of his people who were supposedly made in his image burn in Hell for eternity!! Am I supposed to continue with my faith after that, no! I didn't come up with these claims on my own, these are Christianity's claims, so I base my judgment on them. Like I said before if Christianity taught that God that God is not all powerful, all knowing, all just, then I would understand, but that is not what Christianity claims.