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View Full Version : Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?


Natural Eraser
08-18-2010, 12:23 PM
I didn't know where to post this, so it ended up here. This is a book written by Greg Graffin and Preston Jones. As some of you may know Greg Graffin is the vocalist, songwriter and front man of Bad Religion and Preston Jones is a professor at John Brown University and have released several other books and papers. The book is basically a conversation between a Naturalist (Greg) and a Christian (Preston) happening over a series of e-mails.

I have not read the entire book yet, but I'm pretty close to the end and I really recommend it. They are both highly intelligent people and it's a really interesting and compelling debate. There's also a lot of recommendations for other books about religion, from both an Atheist point of view and from a Christian point of view.

djdsf
08-18-2010, 12:39 PM
It should go here if is about religion related stuff.



http://talkingship.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=17


I'll move ti later.

Natural Eraser
08-18-2010, 12:56 PM
Thanks :) I didn't know where to put it since it's a book, but the religion thread is clearly a better fit. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Fir3truck
08-18-2010, 01:18 PM
I think it can be all three.

The Good would be when some uses their belief as a means to help other. Example: Mother Theresa

The Bad would be when they kill in the name of God. George Carlin had a bit about the Ten Commandments and how "Thou shalt not kill" was a negotiable rule for most religions.
Examples: The Crusades and 9/11.

The Irrelevant would be when a sport star uses it. No one really cares that you thank God every time you score. Its great you have faith but the rest of the pros have done it so much it has become irrelevant. Examples: Pointing to God after you catch a touchdown pass or make a jump shot or hit a home run.

Lokela
08-18-2010, 05:28 PM
Interesting. I'll check out the book. Thanks for the heads up NE.

El Mariachi
08-18-2010, 05:36 PM
I think a man needs to have a faith in something in order to co-exist in some kind of sanity.

ColbyTS
08-18-2010, 06:55 PM
I think a man needs to have a faith in something in order to co-exist in some kind of sanity.

Hmm, you should elaborate on that, cause I gave up believing at all about a year ago and opened my eyes to a faith free life which overall has been for the better.

Jitterbug
08-18-2010, 08:30 PM
I think that during the dawn of civilization, religion was necessary. What I am referring to bears little resemblance to what we know as religion today, but the belief in Gods was integral to the creation of social order. However, I think we have evolved past it by this point.

Look at it as how a child needs their parents, to help teach them how to behave. But eventually the child grows up, and no longer needs anyone telling them the difference between right and wrong. Religion functioned in a similar manner, but as our societies have aged, we are now able to govern ourselves, and we don't need the threat of a diety looming over us, commanding us, to keep social order.

Using that same analogy, many religious types say that this is proof of a true God, as our parents clearly exist - so then must God in order for the analogy to make any sense. There is a simple answer to this. Human children are 100% dependent upon their parents. They are helpless without them. There are other creatures on this planet that have not evolved that way, and do not need their parents upon birth. It just so happened that ours was the species that evolved into a free-thinking, super intelligent being. Thus, it makes TOTAL sense that a creature that was once dependent upon a "higher being" for total support would manufacture a "Parent" figure that wields ultimate power in the sky above to keep us headed in the right direction morally.

And there you have it. That is my best argument against the idea of religion: As a parental-dependent species, it is logical that we would manufacture a deity to rely on the way we relied on our parents.

Cam-Dog
08-18-2010, 08:32 PM
I think a man needs to have a faith in something in order to co-exist in some kind of sanity.

I don't believe in anything and I'm sane... I think.

El Mariachi
08-18-2010, 08:50 PM
Hmm, you should elaborate on that, cause I gave up believing at all about a year ago and opened my eyes to a faith free life which overall has been for the better.

I don't know how exactly to elaborte on smart guy words, so I guess I'll better tell you a story.

When I was 12 or 13, I really wanted to be a priest. The reason was simply that I wanted to be away from my house, and also to make one of my grandmother's wishes come true. At the same one another of my cousins was into the seminary to be a missionary priest. He is now on Brazil.

While they didn't allow me to be in the seminary at such low age, they let me be there for some "spiritual encounters" weekends, where we would study religion, and help those in need.

A thing that really moved me was visiting a kids jail. Juve or something is called. A correctional center, in short. It was mostly populated by kids that robbed stores and that smoked weed in the street. They didn't allow us to visit the big crime ones, like killers and such. (which there was nly like two). And the only thing we did was pray, and get the kids ready for their kids first communion.

And I realised. Nobody believed in those kids but us. Most of the time, this kids were left alone by their parents, and family, they simply were there, to survive pretty much.

And we taught them that a faith in something they believed as a good faith, as long as it led to God. And it kinda led my way of belief, until I turned 17, and my mother had a major major depressive breakdown. That led her to be hooked on pills, and to this day, she still drinks them.

Again, one by one, each member of our family lost a little faith on God, but didn't stop believing. We all lost faith in our mother because she showed no progress. And because she simply kept doing stuff we thought was silly, or stupid.

And we blamed God, after all. You know what. What I have seen is that either most of the people stop believing because something they really wanted to happen didn't happen, or because of peer pressure.

Fuck. I'm just rambling. Nevermind.

Cam-Dog
08-18-2010, 10:20 PM
That was a moving story but I feel you didn't elaborate in any way on your original statement.

ColbyTS
08-18-2010, 11:32 PM
Well you certainly showed your point, and I think its good when religion can be used as a tool to right wrongs that kids represent and I think it is important because without it alot of people would be total fucktards and have way to much time on there hand and do drugs or just fuck alot. But it's just not my thing, I have a much stronger belief in karma kind of. It seems (to me anyway) that if you make the right choices for the most part your life pans out to be alright, but that is just complete speculation on my part and I think karma is buhddist or something and I don't believe in religion so its mildly hypocritical but its what I run off

Natural Eraser
08-19-2010, 09:06 AM
The problem I have with Christianity is that it says don't worry about the shit that is going on, don't worry that children are suffering in Africa or that people are being killed in wars, everyone will have a better life in the afterlife and I know that many Christians says: "No, I don't want children starving, I'm going to help them!" and I'm fully behind them, but they are in my eyes betraying their god, because he says that everyone who is suffering will come to heaven, if they are a good person that is, which will in some way make up for what have happened to them on this earth. In this case I want people to betray their god, I want them to question his intentions and say enough is enough. I'm not trying to be blasphemic and I have never though badly of Christians as persons, or looked down on them for their believes. I think it's a very hard topic to discuss, because what I say may often be seen on as blasphemy, but as I said that is not my intention.

muttonchop
08-19-2010, 09:58 AM
I think a man needs to have a faith in something in order to co-exist in some kind of sanity.
.... what if I want to dwell in my own insanity? It's fun in here!

El Mariachi
08-19-2010, 11:39 AM
That was a moving story but I feel you didn't elaborate in any way on your original statement.

In others words, God is awesome, if you want to believe in it.

Quinstar
08-19-2010, 11:46 AM
The problem I have with Christianity is that it says don't worry about the shit that is going on, don't worry that children are suffering in Africa or that people are being killed in wars, everyone will have a better life in the afterlife and I know that many Christians says: "No, I don't want children starving, I'm going to help them!" and I'm fully behind them, but they are in my eyes betraying their god, because he says that everyone who is suffering will come to heaven, if they are a good person that is, which will in some way make up for what have happened to them on this earth. In this case I want people to betray their god, I want them to question his intentions and say enough is enough. I'm not trying to be blasphemic and I have never though badly of Christians as persons, or looked down on them for their believes. I think it's a very hard topic to discuss, because what I say may often be seen on as blasphemy, but as I said that is not my intention.

I think you are misinterpreting this one. When we (by we I mean "Christians") are told not to worry, it's not that we shouldn't be concerned with what is happening in our world, it's that we shouldn't dwell on things that are out of our control. We are also told to care for the poor and help the suffering not ignore them and assume that God will reward them in Heaven. We are never told to just sit back and watch the world go by. Just my 2 cents.

Fir3truck
08-19-2010, 02:04 PM
Start watching at 4:20 (i know 420 hahaha) Kevin Smith makes a good point about Faith Vs. Religion.

e9_3QzHizuo

Natural Eraser
08-19-2010, 02:35 PM
I think you are misinterpreting this one. When we (by we I mean "Christians") are told not to worry, it's not that we shouldn't be concerned with what is happening in our world, it's that we shouldn't dwell on things that are out of our control. We are also told to care for the poor and help the suffering not ignore them and assume that God will reward them in Heaven. We are never told to just sit back and watch the world go by. Just my 2 cents.

I think you are right about that, it was a very bad example, but what I mean is that everything is God's will, people living and dying. I'm sure every single one of us at some points had someone important taken away from us, some before their time, as Christians don't you ever ask why, or doubt God's decisions? Even with the thought "He's in a better place now" wouldn't it be natural to question what right or meaning God has for taking these people away? A friend of mine died in a car accident, what purpose could that possibly have? It only caused pain for everyone. I'm still young so I do not have as much experience in these religious subject as most of you probably have, but I will live this life as fully as I possibly can, because I believe it's the only one we get.

Farva
08-19-2010, 02:55 PM
I think you are right about that, it was a very bad example, but what I mean is that everything is God's will, people living and dying. I'm sure every single one of us at some points had someone important taken away from us, some before their time, as Christians don't you ever ask why, or doubt God's decisions? Even with the thought "He's in a better place now" wouldn't it be natural to question what right or meaning God has for taking these people away? A friend of mine died in a car accident, what purpose could that possibly have? It only caused pain for everyone. I'm still young so I do not have as much experience in these religious subject as most of you probably have, but I will live this life as fully as I possibly can, because I believe it's the only one we get.

I'm gonna try and answer this from my iPhone. If the word suggested mess up my grammar, I apologize.

To say that bad things that happen are Gods will is a misunderstanding of God and his nature. Let me summarize. (The following statements are from the Christian faith. I'm not stating them for their merit, but to explain why people believe what they do.). In the beginning God created the earth and everything in it. The created man and gave man dominion over the earth and all it's inhabitants. This authority was exercised by man until he disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (The temptation was left there to provide man with a choice and thereby free will.) when man ate the fruit he passed is authority to Satan and Satan was free to twist and destroy the earth. That's why there were so many rules and atonements in the old testament. Man had to atone for the sin in his life to make himself right with God. Enter Jesus and the new testament.

Jesus was a perfect man and the son of God. Being a "pure sacrifice" he atoned for all of mankinds sins. Now, due to free will this atonement only applies if you accept it. When Jesus did this he took all authority back. He said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have a bible to look it up) "all authority has been given to me, and I give it to you. This is why I don't call you servants, but sons of the most high." At this point, man was given authority over the dominion of the earth again.

In order for God to intervene on our behalf, we need to pray and seek His hand. This is a Christian turning the authority of their life over to God.

When bad things happen, it's never the will of God. It's the choices of man and the influences of mans fallen nature.

I hope that cleared up the belief a little.

Natural Eraser
08-19-2010, 03:07 PM
I'm gonna try and answer this from my iPhone. If the word suggested mess up my grammar, I apologize.

To say that bad things that happen are Gods will is a misunderstanding of God and his nature. Let me summarize. (The following statements are from the Christian faith. I'm not stating them for their merit, but to explain why people believe what they do.). In the beginning God created the earth and everything in it. The created man and gave man dominion over the earth and all it's inhabitants. This authority was exercised by man until he disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (The temptation was left there to provide man with a choice and thereby free will.) when man ate the fruit he passed is authority to Satan and Satan was free to twist and destroy the earth. That's why there were so many rules and atonements in the old testament. Man had to atone for the sin in his life to make himself right with God. Enter Jesus and the new testament.

Jesus was a perfect man and the son of God. Being a "pure sacrifice" he atoned for all of mankinds sins. Now, due to free will this atonement only applies if you accept it. When Jesus did this he took all authority back. He said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have a bible to look it up) "all authority has been given to me, and I give it to you. This is why I don't call you servants, but sons of the most high." At this point, man was given authority over the dominion of the earth again.

In order for God to intervene on our behalf, we need to pray and seek His hand. This is a Christian turning the authority of their life over to God.

When bad things happen, it's never the will of God. It's the choices of man and the influences of mans fallen nature.

I hope that cleared up the belief a little.

It does clear it up to a point. God has often interfered with humans, this is especially in the Old Testament and I know that modern Christians doesn't use it as much (here in Norway for instance, the national church decided that hell doesn't exist, which destroys my respect of members of the Norwegian national church.... anyway) but it's still a part of the religion. I also think that there is a lot of different believes inside of Christianity, the people I know and talk to about the subject says that all they do and all that happens in the world is the will of God and if I was a Christian I would rather be on your side on that discussion.

Farva
08-19-2010, 03:46 PM
I think you are right about that, it was a very bad example, but what I mean is that everything is God's will, people living and dying. I'm sure every single one of us at some points had someone important taken away from us, some before their time, as Christians don't you ever ask why, or doubt God's decisions? Even with the thought "He's in a better place now" wouldn't it be natural to question what right or meaning God has for taking these people away? A friend of mine died in a car accident, what purpose could that possibly have? It only caused pain for everyone. I'm still young so I do not have as much experience in these religious subject as most of you probably have, but I will live this life as fully as I possibly can, because I believe it's the only one we get.

I'm gonna try and answer this from my iPhone. If the word suggested mess up my grammar, I apologize.

To say that bad things that happen are Gods will is a misunderstanding of God and his nature. Let me summarize. (The following statements are from the Christian faith. I'm not stating them for their merit, but to explain why people believe what they do.). In the beginning God created the earth and everything in it. The created man and gave man dominion over the earth and all it's inhabitants. This authority was exercised by man until he disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (The temptation was left there to provide man with a choice and thereby free will.) when man ate the fruit he passed is authority to Satan and Satan was free to twist and destroy the earth. That's why there were so many rules and atonements in the old testament. Man had to atone for the sin in his life to make himself right with God. Enter Jesus and the new testament.

Jesus was a perfect man and the son of God. Being a "pure sacrifice" he atoned for all of mankinds sins. Now, due to free will this atonement only applies if you accept it. When Jesus did this he took all authority back. He said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have a bible to look it up) "all authority has been given to me, and I give it to you. This is why I don't call you servants, but sons of the most high." At this point, man was given authority over the dominion of the earth again.

In order for God to intervene on our behalf, we need to pray and seek His hand. This is a Christian turning the authority of their life over to God.

When bad things happen, it's never the will of God. It's the choices of man and the influences of mans fallen nature.

I hope that cleared up the belief a little.

El Mariachi
08-20-2010, 12:15 PM
I'm gonna try and answer this from my iPhone. If the word suggested mess up my grammar, I apologize.

To say that bad things that happen are Gods will is a misunderstanding of God and his nature. Let me summarize. (The following statements are from the Christian faith. I'm not stating them for their merit, but to explain why people believe what they do.). In the beginning God created the earth and everything in it. The created man and gave man dominion over the earth and all it's inhabitants. This authority was exercised by man until he disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (The temptation was left there to provide man with a choice and thereby free will.) when man ate the fruit he passed is authority to Satan and Satan was free to twist and destroy the earth. That's why there were so many rules and atonements in the old testament. Man had to atone for the sin in his life to make himself right with God. Enter Jesus and the new testament.

Jesus was a perfect man and the son of God. Being a "pure sacrifice" he atoned for all of mankinds sins. Now, due to free will this atonement only applies if you accept it. When Jesus did this he took all authority back. He said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have a bible to look it up) "all authority has been given to me, and I give it to you. This is why I don't call you servants, but sons of the most high." At this point, man was given authority over the dominion of the earth again.

In order for God to intervene on our behalf, we need to pray and seek His hand. This is a Christian turning the authority of their life over to God.

When bad things happen, it's never the will of God. It's the choices of man and the influences of mans fallen nature.

I hope that cleared up the belief a little.

Still tho, the first thing a priest/pastor says when someone dies is alwasy "It was God's will." The first thing a christian says is "God has a divine plan for me". How canit be his plan to die? Or take away someone's happiness?

Farva
08-20-2010, 04:04 PM
Still tho, the first thing a priest/pastor says when someone dies is alwasy "It was God's will." The first thing a christian says is "God has a divine plan for me". How canit be his plan to die? Or take away someone's happiness?

Just because someone collects a paycheck doesn't mean they're good at their job. I've also known of plenty of priests an pastors that abuse kids, steal from churches, cheat on their spouses and generally are terrible at what they do. Just because they say "It's Gods will" doesn't make it so. Infact, if God is love, then to say that bad/evil things are His will is to contradict his very being and character.

A lot of times people need to blame something or someone. They look to religious leaders for guidance. They often forget that these people are men and women just like anyone else. I they say "your child died of cancer because it was Gods will" then they're terrible at their supposed proffesion.

Deadpool
08-23-2010, 12:03 AM
Honestly, it all depends.

More often than not, I've seen that people who would be worse off are better people because they believe. That being said, I know a lot of people who are better people because they don't believe.

I suppose it's mostly a situational thing. People are naturally afraid of the unknown. It's their choice whether they decide that nothing will happen or something will happen. The people who think something will happen (going to heaven) find solace in that. At least that's what I think. I believe in God, but I don't begrudge people who don't...mainly because both sides have extremists who are batshit crazy.