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#51
Old 12-13-2017, 07:22 AM
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Sometimes I hope that the Christian idea of Hell is correct and that some people (mostly politicians lately) will suffer forever for their sins, but I know it's not true and these people will never be punished, either during life or after.
#52
Old 12-13-2017, 07:38 AM
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There are a couple of things I believe in. First that there are no gods. Certainly not the mean jealous Yahweh. Of course, I could be wrong, but there is no evidence for that. But it is a belief. I cannot recall ever believing otherwise. The second is that the usual axioms of mathematics are consistent. Of course, this is unknowable, but I could not be a mathematician without believing it. Of course, every day that goes by without a contradiction makes this belief more likely.
#53
Old 12-13-2017, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
No. But I respect others to have their own beliefs. It's none of my business what you believe in. Why should it be?
Because many them have the unfortunate habit of making what you believe (or not) their business.
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#54
Old 12-13-2017, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Because many them have the unfortunate habit of making what you believe (or not) their business.
Not really, in Canada. We don't talk about religion. In fact it would be rather impolite to bring it up unless there was a contextual reason for it.
#55
Old 12-13-2017, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Not really, in Canada. We don't talk about religion. In fact it would be rather impolite to bring it up unless there was a contextual reason for it.
What? Maybe this is true in the larger cities, but in the smaller towns in Canada, that's not true at all.
#56
Old 12-13-2017, 10:17 AM
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I believed for 30 years. I don't any more.

I could write a whole thread about the things I don't miss, but for this thread I'll focus on the things I do.

I definitely miss the friendship and the community. Every Sunday morning, I was greeted by people who were genuinely glad to see me. We shook hands, hugged, exchanged small talk, even developed meaningful friendships outside of the church doors. Og I miss that.

I also miss being a part of something larger than myself. I oft volunteered with this or that, and there was this profound sense of Doing Something Important when we were painting sets for Vacation Bible School, practicing our lines for a skit in children's church, even mopping up the men's bathroom. I miss that, too.

Finally, I miss Christmas. It used to mean something. Now that I'm not a Christian any more, it's just a cultural holiday, devoid of its religious underpinnings. I miss getting teared up when the preacher read the bit about "...and there were shepherds, living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night..." I miss hearing the choir sing about angels and the advent and all that, and deriving comfort from the idea that God came to Earth in the form of an infant. It was such a beautiful feeling.
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#57
Old 12-13-2017, 10:18 AM
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I like the idea that there is a benevolent being who always has your back and I think it would make it easier to fit into society at large. But everything makes more sense without religion.
#58
Old 12-13-2017, 11:02 AM
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I used to believe, big time, until I found out the truth. No, I don't want that ever again.
#59
Old 12-13-2017, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Crazy Canuck View Post
What? Maybe this is true in the larger cities, but in the smaller towns in Canada, that's not true at all.
I've lived in medium-sized towns and cities, and most recently Ottawa. Religion never comes up in any type of conversation.
Well, maybe after you're good friends it might, but never at work or any social event. It would be considered very rude, in my opinion.

Last edited by Leaffan; 12-13-2017 at 11:37 AM.
#60
Old 12-13-2017, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by carlb View Post
My mother ... regularly prays. She's not sanctimonious about it, I've never seen her try to evangelize anyone, and she's about as socially liberal as they come. It's just a quiet kind of faith that I can see gives her great comfort and some sort of inner peace. And, occasionally, I wish I had something like that to fall back on.
Ever since my ayahuasca trip well over a year ago, I'm like that. Religion finally makes sense to me. If I had to name my religion, it's probably a kind of pantheism. I think I nowunderstand many religious concepts, like prayer, sacrifice, heaven, hell, afterlife, body vs soul, good vs bad. I'm still integrating the instinctive sense they make now, with all the knowledge I have as an biologist and psychologist. I see most organized religions are an human and fallible attempt at sharing and perpetuating faith. I pray usually alone, but I find myself drawn to people with similar experiences and outlook, for instance to the lectures of Alan Watts, many of which have been put up on Youtube.
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#61
Old 12-13-2017, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I've lived in medium-sized towns and cities, and most recently Ottawa. Religion never comes up in any type of conversation.
Well, maybe after you're good friends it might, but never at work or any social event. It would be considered very rude, in my opinion.
My experience is different. When I lived in Vancouver for I noticed that trend, but in the smaller towns, ( < 5,000 or so) not going to church was a "thing" and what church you went to mattered not only for your social connections but for your job as well. It's probably less true now than it was 20 years ago, but it's definitely a thing.
#62
Old 12-13-2017, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
Hey, what are we, chopped liver?
This being the internet, I can't definitively prove you're not chopped liver.
#63
Old 12-13-2017, 12:58 PM
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I'm going to have disagree with you Crazy Canuck. I lived in a town of 8,000 people for a couple of years (30 years ago) and no one I knew even went to church - at all. This was in Ontario.

Are you talking British Columbia? I can't imagine it's that much different.
#64
Old 12-13-2017, 01:03 PM
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I would love to believe that there is a powerful being looking out for both humanity in general and for individual people. And I'd love to believe that some form of existence is possible after we die. These are comforting beliefs.

But there's no evidence that these beliefs are true and I can't force myself to have the faith needed to believe them without evidence.
#65
Old 12-13-2017, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I'm going to have disagree with you Crazy Canuck. I lived in a town of 8,000 people for a couple of years (30 years ago) and no one I knew even went to church - at all. This was in Ontario.
I remember visiting Toronto (granted this was a couple of decades ago) and I wanted to drink a soda. But I couldn't buy one. Because it was Sunday and all the stores were closed.

Now granted, not being able to buy a soda is not a serious form of oppression. But it clearly was an example of religious people imposing their beliefs on non-believers.

The story had a happy ending. I was able to defy God through the use of an outdoor vending machine.
#66
Old 12-13-2017, 02:56 PM
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There are some, shall we say, conveniences of Christianity as it is practiced that appeal to me. I like the term and the concept of "blessing", for example - wishing someone every reasonable boon by virtue of their decency, or acknowledging that something nice you have is largely the good work of someone else. "That software you wrote for Omaha Humanists has really been a blessing to me. Bless you!"

It is also encouraging and humbling to see the good work in the community that many churches do - sponsoring homeless shelters, for example. Secular organizations do this as well, but the churches seem to get a lot of momentum going that I really envy.
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#67
Old 12-13-2017, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post

Now granted, not being able to buy a soda is not a serious form of oppression. But it clearly was an example of religious people imposing their beliefs on non-believers.
"Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"
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#68
Old 12-13-2017, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
No way, I don't want to go to hell!

Seriously, when I was able to admit to myself that I didn't believe, it was a huge relief. It really does comfort me to know that there is no plan and none of this shit is on purpose.
Amen. I feel exactly the same way. Lex Luthor was right. It's just us, and we're all we've got.
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#69
Old 12-13-2017, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by StusBlues View Post
"Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"
I acknowledged it's a trivial issue. Unlike the people who declare that coffee cups are part of an organized War on Christmas.
#70
Old 12-13-2017, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
Ever since my ayahuasca trip well over a year ago, I'm like that. Religion finally makes sense to me. If I had to name my religion, it's probably a kind of pantheism. I think I nowunderstand many religious concepts, like prayer, sacrifice, heaven, hell, afterlife, body vs soul, good vs bad. I'm still integrating the instinctive sense they make now, with all the knowledge I have as an biologist and psychologist. I see most organized religions are an human and fallible attempt at sharing and perpetuating faith. I pray usually alone, but I find myself drawn to people with similar experiences and outlook, for instance to the lectures of Alan Watts, many of which have been put up on Youtube.
I have never tried any type of illicit substance, but I gotta admit that I find ayahuasca a tad intriguing.
#71
Old 12-13-2017, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Are you talking British Columbia? I can't imagine it's that much different.
While I have seen it in northern BC, where I really noticed it was the time I spent in Alberta. It's really that different there. I can see why people call Alberta Canada's bible belt.
#72
Old 12-13-2017, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I remember visiting Toronto (granted this was a couple of decades ago) and I wanted to drink a soda. But I couldn't buy one. Because it was Sunday and all the stores were closed.

Now granted, not being able to buy a soda is not a serious form of oppression. But it clearly was an example of religious people imposing their beliefs on non-believers.

The story had a happy ending. I was able to defy God through the use of an outdoor vending machine.
Quite true. The Sunday shopping law was repealed in 1992 after years and years of public pressure.

We also used to have no alcohol served at sporting events, no alcohol sales on Sundays, and no drink in a bar on Sunday without ordering a meal.

I grew up with all of that, but we still didn't discuss religion.
#73
Old 12-13-2017, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I acknowledged it's a trivial issue. Unlike the people who declare that coffee cups are part of an organized War on Christmas.
You did. Laughing with you, I hope.

There is the point of giving labor the weekend that goes along with the religious aspects of sabbatarianism,* but conversely, what fun is the weekend we work so hard for if nothing is open? Or am I too tied to the capitalist definition of recreation if I'm even asking that question?






*That's what the books about the history of Sunday blue laws called it back when I did my thesis. Glad to see that at least one online dictionary cites this as a meaning.
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#74
Old 12-13-2017, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Gusterson View Post
Sometimes I hope that the Christian idea of Hell is correct and that some people (mostly politicians lately) will suffer forever for their sins, but I know it's not true and these people will never be punished, either during life or after.

Mostly this, and Iím surprised that more posters arenít taking this angle. In the Pit the sentiment is expressed frequently.

Iím not looking for immortality or an eternal dopamine buzz, but it would be comforting to know that Orel Roberts and similar slime got a touch of post-death judgement. Not an eternity of burning and hopelessness, but maybe a month of eating shit sandwiches until they died the real death.
#75
Old 12-13-2017, 09:19 PM
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My parents were agnostic. Consequently, I've ended up agnostic. A lot of the friends I grew up with were catholic so I've attended a handful of services but got nothing out of it and in fact found it boring. A few years ago after the break up of a long term relationship I was feeling like something was missing and I attended the local UU a few times thinking I would meet some less conservative people in the reddish state I live in but it didn't work well for me.

Last edited by AngryBlonde; 12-13-2017 at 09:19 PM.
#76
Old 12-13-2017, 10:05 PM
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I've always wondered where "up" into Heaven is. Is it straight up from where I'm standing? What about people who live at different latitudes and or longitudes?

And The rising "through the clouds" thing. What if I croak on a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day?

Never bought in and will never look to cash out as far as organized religion goes.
#77
Old 12-13-2017, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
Ever since my ayahuasca trip well over a year ago, I'm like that. Religion finally makes sense to me. If I had to name my religion, it's probably a kind of pantheism. I think I nowunderstand many religious concepts, like prayer, sacrifice, heaven, hell, afterlife, body vs soul, good vs bad. I'm still integrating the instinctive sense they make now, with all the knowledge I have as an biologist and psychologist. I see most organized religions are an human and fallible attempt at sharing and perpetuating faith. I pray usually alone, but I find myself drawn to people with similar experiences and outlook, for instance to the lectures of Alan Watts, many of which have been put up on Youtube.
Alan Watts would call you out. Get real.
#78
Old 12-13-2017, 10:56 PM
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I feel the need to offer Maastricht an apology after reading her post once again (this time for comprehension).

I'm sorry and I apologize for being a jerk.

She nailed it however by suggesting Alan Watts.
#79
Old 12-13-2017, 11:09 PM
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Only every day. My life would have at least 90 percent less anxiety if I were wired in a way that made me capable of believing in an afterlife.
#80
Old 12-14-2017, 06:19 AM
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You don't think eternity would get boring eventually? The unanswered questions of the reality of an afterlife of which there would be aplenty, I would think cause more anxiety, especially if it is the same gods man has imagined here in this world, would be the same assholes running the next life too.
#81
Old 12-14-2017, 06:38 AM
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I think I can appreciate most of the possible benefits without having to actually believe in a sky fairy or involve myself in the nasty sides. I can meditate. I love Christmas and singing together in a carol service. "Born that man no more may die la la la" - it's a beautiful story if you tell it that way. I can understand Walt Whitman's poetry and see the poetic truth in it without the god he mentions having to be real in any physical sense. It's poetically real and that is enough by far. It's real in the way any story is real. LotR is a real story, it is valuable. I don't need it to be more real to get all the value I need.

I'd like to see my dog in heaven. That'd be nice. Her running towards me through the clouds... I bet she could eat chocolate in heaven, too. But it doesn't make me wish I believed.

Doing psychedelics only made me see more beauty and unity in the world, and the necessity of fitting in a god seemed even more silly. What need is there, when everything is so beautifully flawed, so intricately malfunctioning yet still continuing? Everything is so ridiculous - a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing - but in a beautiful way. A god would ruin everything! Phew, I'm glad I can appreciate it like that, the beauty is far deeper and more overwhelming than the simplicity of some god. I have it all, I say
#82
Old 12-14-2017, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Gusterson View Post
Sometimes I hope that the Christian idea of Hell is correct and that some people (mostly politicians lately) will suffer forever for their sins, but I know it's not true and these people will never be punished, either during life or after.
This is the least attractive part of Christian theology to me. The idea that an omnipotent being would choose to inflict an eternity of torment on a human soul for a finite error (and we are finite in this life, so any wrongdoing we can possibly commit is finite) seems horrific. I note that most religions, and even some branches of Christianity, don't include infinite punishment among their doctrines.
#83
Old 12-14-2017, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Not really, in Canada. We don't talk about religion. In fact it would be rather impolite to bring it up unless there was a contextual reason for it.
Fellow Canadian here. Moved to the US a number of years ago.

Your experience is similar to mine. Canada is a far more evolved society in that respect.
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#84
Old 12-14-2017, 08:30 AM
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I used to wish desparately that I believed in something. I really struggled with the lack of answers and fear of the unknown. I have made peace with it in the last few years. I no longer feel something is missing.
#85
Old 12-14-2017, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
Sure. Wouldn't it be nice to have eternal happiness, hookers, drugs, booze and wealth beyond imagination after I die? (what I believe "Heaven" would be)

But it would be incredibly stupid to believe any of that happening.
Sounds like you want Pastafarianism. Heaven includes beer and strippers. Hell does too, but the beer is flat and the strippers have STDS.

I don't long for any particular religion but I find it rather sad that we spend a lifetime learning and then it all gets wasted in the end. It'd be nice for there to be a higher, worthier purpose to our tawdry existence.

That said, "nice to have" does not in any way translate to "must exist".
#86
Old 12-14-2017, 09:15 AM
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No. Not for a second. The world is a much more wonderous place without superstition and magic horseshit.
#87
Old 12-14-2017, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by razncain View Post
You don't think eternity would get boring eventually?
I'd prefer to find out the hard way; at least I've already figured out how to cope with boredom.

Quote:
The unanswered questions of the reality of an afterlife of which there would be aplenty, I would think cause more anxiety, especially if it is the same gods man has imagined here in this world, would be the same assholes running the next life too.
You might think so, but it doesn't. Not with me, at any rate.
#88
Old 12-14-2017, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
This is the least attractive part of Christian theology to me. The idea that an omnipotent being would choose to inflict an eternity of torment on a human soul for a finite error (and we are finite in this life, so any wrongdoing we can possibly commit is finite) seems horrific. I note that most religions, and even some branches of Christianity, don't include infinite punishment among their doctrines.
Why certain religious folk torment themselves and add to their grief with this additional nonsense of eternal hell-fire, only they and their god knows. Conservatives seem to like this one though, and feel many have it coming, in particular non-believers, which, is one of the gravest sins of all not to believe in this particular deity, that for some reason, just has to be believed in despite the lack of evidence. However, you can rape, pillage, commit genocide, and if you believe in the end, all forgiven if you belong to the club and pay your memberships on time. God doesn't lie, it's in his bestseller book.

So much of religion revolves around hope and fear. Just need a good story teller with some rascality in him that can fleece their flock and exploit these two emotions for all they are worth. Doesn't seem to be a shortage of fleecers and the fleeced.

Once one realizes that whether one is right or wrong about certain concepts about gods or the afterlife, it doesn't alter the outcome one iota in the end by which side you were on. If one can accept this, the rest becomes easier as well. At least it has worked for me and I found peace many decades ago. I could still be wrong, but truly no God worth that title gives a damn if you believed in him or not. A Fiend might. So conservative theology aside, but when was the last time they got anything right? While I'm thinking about it, when was the first time?
#89
Old 12-14-2017, 02:37 PM
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I can see the appeal of that sense of comfort. But then someone in my family posts something on FB about how she feels maybe she is being punished for divorcing her abusive ex, because she has lost so many people in the decade+ since. This is a woman in her 50s. She's not a child ( as i was when my mother died) or a young woman in her 20s ( when my dad died) . She is at an age when parents and grandparents may falter and pass. Yes it hurts, but her faith isn't even comforting her! It's making her feel worse!

Last edited by raventhief; 12-14-2017 at 02:38 PM.
#90
Old 12-14-2017, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gracer View Post
[...] Doing psychedelics only made me see more beauty and unity in the world, and the necessity of fitting in a god seemed even more silly. What need is there, when everything is so beautifully flawed, so intricately malfunctioning yet still continuing? Everything is so ridiculous - a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing - but in a beautiful way. A god would ruin everything! Phew, I'm glad I can appreciate it like that, the beauty is far deeper and more overwhelming than the simplicity of some god. I have it all, I say
Nicely put, with or without the psychedelics and Shakespeare.
#91
Old 12-15-2017, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by shunpiker View Post
Nicely put, with or without the psychedelics and Shakespeare.
Haha, just as there is no need for a god, there is also no need for psychedelics and/or Shakespeare. All can surely be appreciated without. But those two, I personally would recommend
#92
Old 12-15-2017, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by gytalf2000 View Post
I have never tried any type of illicit substance, but I gotta admit that I find ayahuasca a tad intriguing.
It has been legal for ever in many South American countries, and for a decade in Brazil now (while pot is illegal there). The linked thread offers a lot of info.

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Originally Posted by Claude Remains View Post
I feel the need to offer Maastricht an apology after reading her post once again (this time for comprehension).
Unnecessary, but appreciated
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#93
Old 12-15-2017, 02:37 PM
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I'd like for life after death and above all for some sense of justice and meaning in the world, but I don't believe and am not wired for any sense of faith.
#94
Old 12-18-2017, 10:43 PM
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Agnostic, never attended a church service.
Usually I'm like...
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Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson View Post
No. Not for a second. The world is a much more wonderous place without superstition and magic horseshit.
...but at other times, there's this stupid part of me that believes (from one of those testament books, or something. King James Bible?) in the rapture, or the second coming, which I believe will come in the form of a rogue black hole that will swallow us up. If in the event it's some other cataclysm that leaves the planet at least a bit more intact than a black hole obliteration (yet still resulting in a very few survivors), there's one other homily that I wouldn't rule out - "the meek shall inherit the earth".

Maybe none of that qualifies as "faith", or "believing". Anyway, other than that - yeah my faith is as about as strong as a wet paper towel.
#95
Old 12-18-2017, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus Gusterson View Post
Sometimes I hope that the Christian idea of Hell is correct and that some people (mostly politicians lately) will suffer forever for their sins, but I know it's not true and these people will never be punished, either during life or after.
I'm with Gus here -- as surely as I don't believe in heaven as a reward for believers, I don't believe in hell as a punishment for nonbelievers. There are many times, and more often as of late, that I wish that there was a heaven so that there could be a hell for all of the hypocrites here on earth who deserve it.
#96
Old 12-19-2017, 01:28 AM
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For many people, the idea of community is really powerful. However, as someone who grew up as an outsider from the group in a tight-knit religion, that doesn't necessarily work for everyone.
#97
Old 12-19-2017, 01:34 AM
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No.

I wish I could buy all the stuff about UFO's though. That would make the world a much more interesting place.
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#98
Old 12-19-2017, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Guest-starring: Id! View Post
If in the event it's some other cataclysm that leaves the planet at least a bit more intact than a black hole obliteration (yet still resulting in a very few survivors), there's one other homily that I wouldn't rule out - "the meek shall inherit the earth".

I've since had a conflicting thought about that idea, (ha - very late "edit window"), in that if we are left with the scenario where there's only a few survivors remaining after a major global disaster, then instead of "the meek will inherit the earth", it would be "survival of the fittest", perhaps? Then again, what if it was a relatively level playing field, with all the sorry riff-raff limping and crawling around with de-gloved limbs and whatnot? I guess, for that, the meek paradigm could work.

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#99
Old 12-19-2017, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by carlb View Post
On a different front, I love Christmastime, and especially a lot of Christmas hymns. I heard a particularly stirring rendition of "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," the other day that sent chills up my spine, and I found myself wishing that I could believe in the literal message behind it. But I just don't.
I know the feeling although I've always been an atheist. I'm not a militant one though because at the most diminutive micro-level peace of mind is essential and it is the illusion of absolute peace of mind that occasionally makes me think being a believer could make it easier to pursue one's happiness but then I quickly realize it may very well be nothing but just that - an illusion.
#100
Old 12-19-2017, 06:42 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East England
Posts: 7,478
No, never believed, never felt the need, never seen any evidence for it.

The actual people I interact with, the things I experience and the wonders of the natural world are all that I need to give my life meaning. In fact the highly likely scenario that these few years are all we'll ever experience just hammers home the necessity of how wonderful and precious is our finite life.

When it's gone, it's gone. That isn't bleak, it's glorious.

I understand why some people want to cling to the thought of an afterlife. How that basic desire ensures the human construction of religion, but it continues to amaze me how convoluted the reasoning is to maintain those beliefs in the face of zero evidence.
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