Why do you believe as you do?

Author: aletheakatharos ,

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  • aletheakatharos
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    I think everyone would like to say they base their beliefs solely on facts, but it seems there are myriads of reasons why people believe as they do. So besides facts, what emotional or personal reasons contribute to your beliefs?
    I'll go first! I believe in God because I have had several experiences that impacted me emotionally and made me feel like God is real. It may be placebo effect or might even be made up, but it shaped my perception of God and its impact is unmistakable.  My faith has helped me get through several difficult things in my life and helped me become a better person who contributes to society. I initially adopted the faith of my parents, but in recent years I have focused on forming my own beliefs and opinions separate from them. So if I was to bypass the old debate on God's existence, I would say my personal and emotional reasons lie in how my faith influenced my life experiences.

    Side note: I'm a psych major so I love learning about why people act and react the way they do. I don't really want to beat a dead horse and regurgitate old debates, I would like to have an interesting and open discussion that helps me learn more about why people believe what they do.
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @aletheakatharos
    Welcome!

    Interesting thread by the way.

    The reason that I give for my belief is that God intervened in my life, without me even looking for Him.

    I hold to an opinion that there's a type of belief I would call a no-turning-back belief. That is, a belief where one cannot really change their mind on God's existence, or who God is. Paul would be a great biblical example of this. I consider myself to be in this condition. 

    If you don't mind me asking, do you feel that under certain conditions you could change your mind on either the existence of an ultimate creator, or the validity of the bible?

    This question by the way is not meant to challenge your stance as a believer. I don't claim that a person has to be in that no-turning-back state of mind to be a child of God. In fact, it might be more commendable for a believer to follow God's leading if there is some doubt or lack of being sure. Someone like myself, it may have been more necessary for God to make Himself crystal clear. I'm very skeptical by nature.



  • rosends
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    Mostly and honestly, because I don't know how not to. I was taught things during formative years and they make sense to me as a coherent whole, so they haven't been shaken loose and now, the confirmation bias is so strong that I don't know if they could be shaken loose. My belief is just who I am now.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @aletheakatharos
    I suppose I can explain why I'm an atheist, and really it came down to two essential factors:

    • I opened my mind to the possibility that I was wrong in regards of god and such
    • I read the bible without assuming it to be true
    Those were really the only big factors I can think of that lead to my initial disbelief in god. Now, somethings opened the door for me to become doubting as I had, but those are as less important as they are numerous. I suppose I could list a couple: the treatment of gay people and slaves in the bible did not sit right with me; the conundrum of a sincere rapist accepting jesus into their heart and getting to go to heaven, while the good people who simply did not believe went to hell; anecdotal nature of the evidence i was presented, etc, etc, I could keep on going, but I feel like that is sufficient to get an idea of my state of mind.

    Needless to say, amongst my first attempts of rereading the bible from cover to cover, I was biased against my own thoughts, surely I was wrong, surely the people in my life that had told me this was true were correct, and I was incorrect. I was only 14 at the time after all, what did I truly know? That me would ask what I truly knew even know, two or so years later as a 16 year old. The biggest difference between myself and that past version of me, is that I do not assume those who are older or more experienced necessarily hold the correct position. Everyone holds positions for reasons, those reasons can be valid or invalid.

    It happens that as you become more experienced and studied, these reasons tend to become less invalid, this does not preclude them from mistake, it means they are less likely to make them deliberately. That and a couple of long, drawn out, conversations with my priest later, and I officially declared myself an atheist, it was around the April of 2019. That would make it 20 months now, a year and three quarters, and I have yet to be convinced. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I am not, I think currently that I'm not wrong, but I could be. That's really the gist of the story, I'm a teenager who likes to study philosophy and narrative, who just so happens to no longer believe in any god(s).

    So this would chronicle why I no longer believe what I do, but why do I believe in things as materialism? Progressive values? Evolution? All of the above. Simply study. I have no profound words or whimsical tales, only the truth, which is that I studied, and weighed the evidence, and was convinced that these claims are true. (materialism, progressivism, evolution, etc,) Again, I could be wrong, I haven't been convinced yet, and it just so happens that now, I actually have adults that explain why I am incorrect and correct on these notions, not simply people who dilly dally in the propositions claims. 

    Hopefully this account provided some form or semblance of value. 


  • EtrnlVw
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    This is just a sincere question not meant to interrogate you or undermine your position. But do you think your rejection of the Bible justifies your rejection of the existence of God as a concept on its own? let me ask it another way, could you justify any existence of God without the urge to justify the Bible? or would you consider the existence of God without the need to consider any Bible?
  • aletheakatharos
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    Thank you! I'm glad to be here!
    I really like how you put that point about God intervening in your life. I feel like that happened to me as well. As for your question, I am not sure. I feel like I have made up my mind and made a commitment to God, and I do not take my commitments lightly. Like with my significant other, something extremely painful would have to happen to make me reconsider my faith in God. I feel like I have heard all the arguments for and against and I do not feel on the fence anymore if that makes sense. I think it is good to be a skeptical person because it helps you think more deeply. I am not naturally skeptical, but I have had my seasons and I still feel committed to God. I hope this answers your question!
  • aletheakatharos
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    --> @rosends
    That makes sense. It is so interesting how beliefs get integrated into who we are as people!
  • aletheakatharos
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    That makes a lot of sense! Part of being in these years is determining your identity and what you believe, so it awesome you are going about it so carefully. While I do not agree with all you points, I agree with your perspective. If I saw the Bible that way I would not believe in it either. Did you have any backlash for choosing atheism? Or were people supportive of your position?
  • aletheakatharos
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    If no Bible existed, I would still believe in the existence of God because having a creator makes more sense in my mind than evolution. People who are vastly more intelligent and informed than I am have debated that issue into the ground, so I do not want to debate it again, but having a supernatural being like God ruling over the world makes sense to me and helps me make sense of the world around me. It also helps me cope in difficult times without turning to destructive behaviors. I do not think I reject the Bible at all; I believe it whole-heartedly :)
  • Theweakeredge
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    Oh negatively for sure. My step-dad tried to have me exorcised, almost tied me to a bed restrained, and had the priest on the phone. My mother forced me to attend church 4 days a week, for several hours per each day I went there. Plus, I was pretty much forced from all media and stuff like that. It was only a couple months later that my mom calmed down and lightened up on all that. My step dad has only recently stopped with all of his, "you're possessed by demons" stuff. So, I was treated very negatively, and still am in fact. Of course, I live in the bible belt, so that should be expected.
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @aletheakatharos
    If no Bible existed, I would still believe in the existence of God because having a creator makes more sense in my mind than evolution.

    Not to drudge up another topic but don't forget that the processes of the universe that bring things into existence are compatible with a Creator. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you have discovered as well that the majority of those who push evolution also push atheism and materialism but they are not one and the same. The battle is not between theism and evolution it's between atheism and theism....creationism and materialism. There's a clash of ideologies not necessarily a clash between theism and scientific findings. 
    There's no real reason why Theism is not compatible with evolution, God uses processes to manifest things into existence. Then again, I'm not a Biblical Genesis literalist either so I don't have a real problem with evolution as simply a process by means to create, my problem is with those who assume evolution or interpret it as atheism. Scientific discoveries are a neutral study, nobody owns them, they can be interpreted however one sees fit. I'm not saying you have to believe that just consider it. 

    People who are vastly more intelligent and informed than I am have debated that issue into the ground, so I do not want to debate it again, but having a supernatural being like God ruling over the world makes sense to me and helps me make sense of the world around me. It also helps me cope in difficult times without turning to destructive behaviors. I do not think I reject the Bible at all; I believe it whole-heartedly :)

    Just remember that the universe as we observe it currently was due to a succession of processes to become what it is. These of course are intelligent processes, and you and I know there's basically zero chance that inanimate forces and materials began to generate processes and bring about intelligent results and desired outcomes all by themselves. But there's no reason to discount the processes God uses as a means of creating what we discover though the scientific method. I like to think of creation in the same light we understand how anything is created, with the use of an idea, gathered materials and then a process that brings it together. Science and theism are compatible, they both study two different natures and they work in harmony because they run parallel to each other. 


  • EtrnlVw
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    Oh negatively for sure. My step-dad tried to have me exorcised, almost tied me to a bed restrained, and had the priest on the phone. My mother forced me to attend church 4 days a week, for several hours per each day I went there. Plus, I was pretty much forced from all media and stuff like that. It was only a couple months later that my mom calmed down and lightened up on all that. My step dad has only recently stopped with all of his, "you're possessed by demons" stuff. So, I was treated very negatively, and still am in fact. Of course, I live in the bible belt, so that should be expected.

    Wow, this is the kind of thing that really pisses me off, I'm sorry you ever had to deal with that. I would only hope that your consideration of God or spirituality will not be permanently marred. Just realize religious people (people in general) can be real ignorant, many times they just have problems that aren't even relevant to God, so that impacts their decision making. My parents were off the mark as well so I can relate in some ways, but I can see why you would carry animosity. 
    I learned early on that I wasn't going to be able to rely on parents or people, I was surrounded by a lot of weirdos lol. I was able to make a distinction between the flaws of people and spirituality as a whole. So I got lucky that the stupidity of others never affected my relationship with the Creator. 
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    I appreciate your consideration in that regard, but I can assure you I was convinced of being an atheist before I was treated negatively. Did that marr my view of religion in general? Most definitely, and I recognize my bias in regards to it.
  • FLRW
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    Did you hear about the baby born with tetra-amelia  – defined as the absence of all limbs
    • He also has severe malformations of the face, heart, skeleton and genital

    What a joker God is.


  • Stephen
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    I suppose I can explain why I'm an atheist, and really it came down to two essential factors:

    • I opened my mind to the possibility that I was wrong in regards of god and such
    • I read the bible without assuming it to be true[ .........................................]

    the conundrum of a sincere rapist accepting jesus into their heart and getting to go to heaven, while the good people who simply did not believe went to hell;
    I have asked similar many times on this forum most recently was  just days ago here>>#95  Stephen -   How does killing a goat for instance  excuse someone that has raped and murderer someones daughter?  Why should such a vile god created person have a place in a "heavenly paradise"?  

     I have also asked  many times questions on Jesus' reluctance to cure others:

    Why is that Jesus didn't eradicate all leprosy instead of curing  just a few lepers?
    The same goes for blindness?   Why didn't  Jesus simply say all blindness be cured and then all blindness was cured instead of curing the blindness of a few?
    Why tell just tell just one crippled man to "take up thy bed and walk" and not tell all cripples that they should do the same?

    And why waste what appears to be a perfectly good "miracle of turning water into wine"  so wedding guests can get drunk? It wasn't even his wedding , was it?   Who was he and his mother that they should take over the catering arrangements for someone else's' wedding, when there was a perfectly good steward on hand that could have sent out for replenishments?

     John the baptist,  "the greatest prophet that had ever lived" and said to be the for runner sent to pave the way for Jesus , for some reason, after all his years of "crying in the wilderness" suddenly and for reasons unexplained,  believed it was Jesus that should be baptising him!!!!

    THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  and hundreds of other biblical anomalies is why I don't believe and for the reason that the bible make absolutely no sense at all in the state that it has come down and has been preached to us for 2 millennia. 


  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    Okay thank you for the insight. I like to get to know whom I'm speaking with and I appreciate everything you have to offer. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    Did you hear about the baby born with tetra-amelia  – defined as the absence of all limbs
    • He also has severe malformations of the face, heart, skeleton and genital

    What a joker God is.

    This is a cause and effect creation on all levels of experience (for every effect there is a cause), there are many implications to that you must learn. However this world, these physical bodies and this particular experience (whatever that entails) is insignificant compared to the journey of the soul, which is eternal. I'm not going to make any judgements about anyone's particular experience that's not my place I'm just sharing with you the overarching principles and you can connect those dots. 

    The soul undergoes several experiences while they play within the created worlds, many times that includes experiences we would label very sad or cruel and what you may not see is that also includes experiences of grandeur and positivity. In light of that I must say that this is a very temporal sojourn here, a person with a mutilated body will one day leave that body and they will understand that the time they spent here was minute in comparison to eternity. They may have animosity at that point or they may somehow understand they either created that experience or they had something to gain by that experience. So while we may sit back and judge another persons life we really have no clue what we are judging, our perception of what we see is nothing short of a limited distorted vision. We don't have the compacity to observe the many layers of reality of what is taking place.
    The soul, that inhabits physical bodies (whether they are healthy or abnormal) is unaffected by this other than having a seemingly negative experience. Again I'm not making any judgements about anyone in particular you can make your own judgements but don't forget that your immediate perception of things may not always be the full picture. 

  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @aletheakatharos
    Yes, that most certainly answers my question. And I commend you for it.

    I think one of, if not the most discomforting position a believer can find themselves in is being on the fence.  Or, a double life. A genuine believer, but prone to backsliding.

  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @EtrnlVw
    But do you think your rejection of the Bible justifies your rejection of the existence of God as a concept on its own? let me ask it another way, could you justify any existence of God without the urge to justify the Bible? or would you consider the existence of God without the need to consider any Bible?
    There are multiple questions here, so I'll break it up to be as clear as possible.


    do you think your rejection of the Bible justifies your rejection of the existence of God as a concept on its own
    First step, there is no rejection there, the bible is false about a number of its claims. For it to be rejection you would have to assume its true, when, in reality, the burden of proof falls upon the one who make the claim, therefore if anyone were to take the bible as true, they would be charged with demonstrating it's positions. To answer the actual question, no, the bible being false does not necessarily mean that god does not exist, simply that the one of the bible likely does not.


    could you justify any existence of God without the urge to justify the Bible?
    I couldn't, but evidence of god could be from or not from the bible. I find the bible a specific example of immorality in a number of premises, and obviously is not the original text, so not even accurate to the OG version, as well as not comporting with reality. I think theists ought to ditch the bible if they ever hope to demonstrate god. 


    would you consider the existence of God without the need to consider any Bible?
    I would need evidence of a god regardless of a holy book. I don't find the bible particularly important in regards to the existence of a god.
  • FLRW
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    Doesn't T. D. Jakes, the bishop of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch being worth $150 million show that God is dead?
    Remember Mathew 19:14 , And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    Thanks for the honest replies.

    the bible being false does not necessarily mean that god does not exist, simply that the one of the bible likely does not.

    Okay that is what I was looking for. But just for the sake of curiosity, how do you go about making the assumption that all the information in the Bible about God is false? for instance.....lets say the opening book of Genesis is not a very accurate depiction of how God created the world, does that mean that all the books within the Bible should be discarded as not containing any truth?

    Just so ya know BTW I'm not a Christian fundamentalist if you haven't already figured that out. But it is my own opinion that the Bible does have useful insights and information. These to me are more or less the underlying principles that are throughout the Bible. But I study religion as a whole, I don't believe God is observed by a single group of people, not do I believe that God would favor a specific group of people...these are ideas that seem immature to me personally. 

    On another note...more specifically...in a nutshell I guess I'm asking if you believe there is any indication at all that the universe was created, could you make any argument to make such a consideration? say if you were just entertaining the idea on your own. I'm just trying to get an idea of how you think is all. 



  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @FLRW
    That's a good point, which is why you never have to consider religion or religious proponents of God to consider God's existence, or even to connect with God. You are not forced to believe anyone or anything that does not sit right with you. You have that freedom in God as a soul that came from that Reality. 
    Basically I would urge you not to judge God or spirituality based on what others do. 
  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @FLRW
    Doesn't T. D. Jakes, the bishop of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch being worth $150 million show that God is dead?

    Not at all. 
  • Utanity
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    --> @FLRW
    Did you hear about the baby born with tetra-amelia  – defined as the absence of all limbs
    • He also has severe malformations of the face, heart, skeleton and genital

    What a joker God is.

    Who said that god made that kid because I think your being a bit thick and flipping if your making the jokes about birth. Sure things go wrong in any organisation and the boss is always to blame but who did the thing in the first place. Maybe the father wasnt meant to sew the seed and did you looked at that. I bet you didnt you just blame the boss and think that the boss did it and it was all his folt.
  • Utanity
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    --> @aletheakatharos
    Side note: I'm a psych major so I love learning about why people act and react the way they do. I don't really want to beat a dead horse and regurgitate old debates, I would like to have an interesting and open discussion that helps me learn more about why people believe what they do.
    Faith is always a personal think and everybody they have different experiences and thats what atheists dont understand. They say that they only want to believe what is proven but there are many things what we dont know but we have a need and thats why everybody has the different realities in what they live in. A reality that includes faith is a rich and full reality that non believers they just dont want to understand about.