September 29th, 2010
10:54 AM ET
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Thanks for another fantastic post. The place else may anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect manner of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such info.
Aun queda gente que se cree eso de dios, fe y esas tonterias. Me da verguenza ajena ver gente que todavia se cree esos cuentos de fantasia, que ya no tienen 5 años maduren un poco.
Oklahoma...Knuckles Pub it is.... at some point..... So.... Oklahoma or Oklahoma St.... or are you a 'secret' Texas or Nebraska fan.... ? 🙂
@peace2all : "That argument becomes *self-sealing*– My meaning is that anything that cannot be reconciled.. i.e.. Why does God allow evil, murder, etc.. Becomes–either his/her ways are to far above us to understand.....Or....It is not God–God has nothing to do with Man's evilness."
According to Genisis, God created man from the dust of the earth. Another way to say it would be "God is even now drawing man forth through the chaos of nature, man's own ignorance, his own evil, and spiritual malaise." As for assumptions? Well. Assumptions are often unavoidable. One has to admit when he's at the end of his reasoning powers.
Meet me down at Knuckles Pub after work, and we can continue.
Which one.... i.e..."Knuckles Pub"....Oklahoma, or Alabama.....? 🙂
Would love to meet you over beers and chat about these things...
Re: Your comment about Assumptions, when we man has exhausted reasoning..... Hopefully, if one chooses to assume, it is based on 'some' kind of reliable evidence..... but, even then.... it *is* still assumption not fact.
That's where we now get into .... Well, who's assumptions are the 'right and true' assumptions....? Which of the hundred of christian denominations are right...? Buddhist assumptions....? Taoist....? Islam.....?
You know..... when we get into the world of 'speculation'.... as long as we know that we are both in agreement that we are 'speculating' or engaging in 'metaphysical' dialogue.... that's o.k.. It's when one or the other are claiming speculation as fact...that's when it becomes kind of a conversation stopper... at least for me...
@peace2all : "Quoting Pascal..... I would assume you are familiar from Philosophy 101 of his famous 'wager'....?" There was a fairley well known psychologist named Lawrence Kohlberg (Jewish). He proposed a moral hierarchy of six reasons for being moral. I only remember the lower ones, but you can look it up. According to the hierarchy, the poorest reason for doing the right thing is fear of punishment if you don't do it. " If you don't stay out of the cookie jar I'll bust you @ss !" The second poorest reason for being moral is that you will get a reward for doing right. " If you go to Mass you'll get a donut." Fear of punishment seems to preoccupy a vast section of humanity. I think Pascal's Wager was addressing this level of behavior. I also think that in ages past, the doctrine of hell was useful in controlling barbaric behavior. ( I still believe in a hell. Not little demons with forks and a lake of fire, but a self-created psychological state that may persist in another plane. )
Interesting take on Pascal's Wager.... Thought provoking....... I am also interested in the main thrust of his proposal that you have (paraphrasing) "nothing to lose by 'believing' in life after death/God, etc... But, I am always struck by the notion that some may not be aware, i.e..'some' christian fundamentalists interpret very, very narrowly that this means should there be a life beyond this one, that 'they were right'....(Christian interpretation), however..... There may be life after death, but..... there could be 'unlimited possiblities as to what it is like.... for example.... maybe it is all about reincarnation, or... maybe the Muslim God...(Allah) is the right and correct one,.....etc... etc....
I would like to see some that may take a very narrow slant on the P's Wager..... Open up to a myriad of possiblities. Because.. No one can *actually* say what if anything exists... and if so, what it might be like....
And as for your comments on believing in a 'hell'..."a self-created psychological state that (may) persist on another plane."
That is something certainly another notion in the world of 'metaphysical' discussions..... However, I would agree in that ...WE do create our own 'hell' (psychologically) speaking ... in this life *now.*......at times.... And....should there be a life after death.... I could certainly understand that someone, due to their level of consciousness continue on with that level of awareness, thereby creating their own psychological hell.
What I do sincerely doubt is the notion or scenario of a God throwing one into eternal damnation, just because they didn't believe in jesus christ and accept him as one's saviour, repent, etc...etc....
Atheists and agnostics have more understanding about "religion" than most god fearing people of faith, because we do not have any fear of what's not there and generally are much brighter.
More curious than the average person, but I can't buy that we're brighter really. A lot of atheists and agnostics fall out of standard levels of faith into uncertainty and full-out disbelief. They weren't any less bright as believers, they just decided one day to not put all their trust into what others were telling them to believe. They decided to dig a little deeper for themselves, and found out that it's all built upon a foundation of sand, to borrow a Christian phrase.
The reasons for rejecting a belief in gods really aren't difficult to understand when compared to the mental gymnastics one has to do in order to attempt to understand certain dogma. Children will happily remain atheists if left to develop their own understanding of the world. Plenty of people who would be considered believers have serious doubts about the whole thing being really true, but they just don't see any reason to do further checks into it, and there are plenty of closet atheists and agnostics that still dutifully warm a pew seat every Sunday because their spouse is a believer. Certainly, very few people in our society have the guts to declare themselves atheists publicly considering how people treat us. So, if anything, agnostics and atheists have a more independent streak and just don't follow the flock mentality as well as others.
@NL: "Plenty of people who would be considered believers have serious doubts about the whole thing being really true..."
Even as a Catholic, I sometimes fall into that category. But so did Mother Theresa. Mystics like Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross call this the dark night of the soul, when God seems to have abandoned us. Jesus himself (yes, I'm confident he existed) felt this when he was on the cross: " My God, why have you abandoned me." I also believe it was a huge evolutionary step when a human realized that there might be something greater than himself and unavailable to his senses.
At that moment, he was no longer just an organism, but a person. To paraphrase Blaise Pascal "The highest step the mind can take is to realize that there are an infinite number of things beyond it."
And to quote peace2all –
I think a more accurate way of seeing the evolutionary step we made is that we developed imagination. It helped up develop plans for the future, create tools, and interpret signs which was a great advantage, but it also gave us more to fear when we started to confuse our imagination with some kind of extra sense. This confusion is what convinces children that monsters really are under their beds and adults that Holy Ghosts and other spirits are really in the room.
Let me reiterate... I like having discussions with you. Again, you seem to be 'searching & seeking' like the rest of us.
Quoting Pascal..... I would assume you are familiar from Philosophy 101 of his famous 'wager'....?
Curious as to your thoughts on that .....?
Re: continuing our discussion about someone who thinks they absolutely have *THE TRUTH*..... All you have to do, as an example is look to @ttwp's posts on this article to me and @NL.... and you will see an example of someone, while certainly their to express, (believe's) that they have *the absolute unadulterated TRUTH* .
There is no seeking no opportunity for true debate or discussion really.... As oppossed to yourself.. whom I see as someone who is a believer, but seems to be open to discussion and open-mindedness....yes...?
Thank you for your thoughts....
Religious believers acknowledge that, as the Bible declares, God's ways are inscrutible and Her ways are high above ours. Then they will shrink God down to a managable size and defend Him with the feeble reason we all possess.
For my part, I notice that there is intelligence in the universe. It follows that there may be even a higher one.
But another trap some of fall into is this: not understanding advanced science, I might say "Well, Darwin said it, so it must be true."
Understood... Well said...
And yes, there are a lot of.....You said..."Religious believers acknowledge that, as the Bible declares, God' ways are inscrutible and Her ways are high above ours."
A couple of thoughts.....
By the way, I have noticed your using the pronoun (Her) quite often as referencing God.... Curious as to your thoughts behind that...(which, at least I see as someone with an 'open' mind...)
1)A catch 22 on one level of analysis.--Basically that assertion says to me is-–'We can't know God, because He/She/It is so far 'above us' in terms of ITS ways.. etc....
That argument becomes *self-sealing*-- My meaning is that anything that cannot be reconciled.. i.e.. Why does God allow evil, murder, etc.. Becomes--either his/her ways are to far above us to understand.....Or....It is not God--God has nothing to do with Man's evilness.
**Either way expressed, one must accept the *assumption* of the existence of a God..... right...? In other words, there is no question as to existence.
And... on the other hand... If there actually were a God.... I would agree, at least for myself, I....certainly would have nooooo idea or claim as to what God is up to....
It's the people, again, that think they *do* know what God is up to .... that kinda bothers me.....
You said...."I notice that there is intelligence in the universe. It follows that there (may) be even a higher one."
You see, I can really get along with people that use 'qualifiers'...i.e....your use of the word (may).... See that is something we can discuss... your assertion of intelligence as you define it, and how there (may) be even a higher one.
Very interesting 'philosophical' discussions....
Thanks Brad for talking with me....
@peace2all : my reference to God as "Her" evolved. I am the father of three women. Women are more intuitive than men. Fact. "Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify." (Wilipedia) I believe that intuition originates from an entire universe within the human person. If I believe in God, it's probably comes from the feminine strength of intuition.
That was my working hypothesis as to your use of the pronoun (Her).... Actually like it...
Wow... three daughters.... ! Congrats..!
Is it just me? Did anyone else notice all of the speakers back away from the dogma and try to lay claim to things like love, kindness and tolerance as "religious" acts? This video gives me hope. They are almost there. It will not be long before they make the final connection that these are human traits. Religious knowledge will be as relevant as knowledge of the Lord of the Rings story. Marianne Williamson did try to say that if an atheist loves, they are doing her gods will without knowing it. So, now believers want their religion to take credit for my morals and my love and kindness? Even I cannot debate that level of ignorance.
No... It wasn't 'just' you.....
@HotAirAce & NL
Yes, (Marianne Williamson) is making some awfully big 'assumptions' regarding God and Atheist's...
Mary Anne is being very disrespectful to atheists when she insists that our goodness is as a result of the God we don't believe is real. Our goodness is our own, not their God's.
I'm a Catholic who has done a considerable amount of study into the faith. I find that, like science, it just keeps opening outward and upward, as well as inward and to infinite depth. I have never found a place where I can stop thinking and say "my mind is made up now." Which has nothing to do with your comment. I will take kindness anywhere I can find it in this brutal world. I think that if, per chance, you are wrong and you one day find yourself on a higher plane (=heaven), God will take your simple acts of kindness into great account. God knows that we can't fathom her, but she does expect us to love. That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.
Nice sentiments.... but, it sounds to me like a guy that *does* have his "mind made up".....
Just how it looks and reads to me....
@peace2all: Nice sentiments. Well, thanks for not demeaning this ignorant believer in sky fairies. Hope the restraint wasn't too painful.
As the Irish joke goes I'm a Catholic atheist. One of the things I appreciate most about Catholic doctrine is there is room for a non-believer to get into Heaven. Protestant fundamentalism, with it's insistence on being the one and only way and it's anti-intellegence stance, truly is the most ugly side of Christendom.
From personal experience I think that the RCC really does have some very illogical and nonsensical beliefs, but I really cannot understand why so many people leave the RCC to join fundamentalist groups. They certainly can't be making a move towards greater rationality.
No problem.... I certainly had nor have any intention of demeaning you or any other 'believer'.... Unless they start claiming *the truth*..... As NL said... that is what bothers me too.
So, no restraint was necessary... You seem to be a genuine fellow, *searching*..... yes....?
I think Deepak and Mary Ann (sp?) have revealed the 'thumpers strategy to combat aetheism – it's to claim that all good behaviours, experiences, emotions, qualities are derived from religion (not much new here...) and to also claim that if you exhibit these behavious, qualities, even if an aethesit, then you are serving god, even if you don't admit it. This is kind of like mormans baptizing (or whatever silly ritual they use) of non-Mormons post -death, without any consideration of what the person actually believed and wanted. How condescending and arrogant! Why can't these idiots understand we don't believe in any gods, we don't care about being saved, we just want to be left alone, and for the government *not* to be controlled by 'thumpers?
And don't forget Islam, which says we all are born Muslims. They say that you don't 'convert' to Islam, you 'revert'.
religion helps with level 3 and 4, and is not needed for level 5, (or 1 depending on your POV)
It isn't surprising that Atheists and Agnostics scored highest on this test. They score highest on almost all tests. Several surveys have shown that they have higher IQ ratings when compared to other belief groups. i am an Atheist, and I got all 10 correct. I agree with Angela.
I took this quiz and only missed two questions. I am agnostic, bordering on atheist. I honestly do not understand why people are surprised that those two groups scored highest on the quiz. Most agnostics and atheists, especially in world and culture over-saturated with religion, do not come to their decision easily. Most (at least in my experience) are very knowledge about religious faiths, secular teachings, and philosophical treatises and use those as the root of discovery into their decision. In order to be able to defend their argument when discussing with those who have a basis of faith, most agnostics/atheists will delve into the nature of organized religion and faith, along with the justifications for a rational, scientific way of being, and come into the discussion very well armed. Therefore, they are often more informed about organized religion and the aspects of that religion(including their holy books) than their counterparts who actually believe in it. Also in my experience, they are less likely to judge those who do believe – personally, most if not all of my friends and love one believe in some form of god and religion, but I am respectful of their beliefs and they are respectful of mine, in most cases.
The Bible talks about this. People who are always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
I think your definition of truth is different than Webster's, ttwp.
Hello poster child.... You are a perfect example as to why....."We need more World Religion.. AND...Critical Thinking skills classes in our EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS......
The 'bible' does not = *truth* You choose to 'believe' in the bible...but no objective *truth* in the bible.
Proverbs 18:15: The mind of the intelligent gains knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 14:33: In the heart of the intelligent wisdom abides, but in the bosom of fools it is unknown.
Deuteronomy 1:13: Choose wise, intelligent and experienced men from each of your tribes, that I may appoint them as your leaders.
Proverbs 10:13 Wisdom is found on the lips of a person who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of one without sense.
These are just a few. The Bible, to it's credit, really does value human intelligence and learning. People who claim to read the Bible literally, however ... Oh, the irony!
Nice bible quotes.... Good to know...
"The Bible, to it's credit, really does value human intelligence and learning. People who claim to read the Bible literally, however ... Oh, the irony! " A truly refreshing comment, NL. I wish Christians, Agnostics, and Atheists all had the largesse to acknowledge each others' genuine search for truth.
It's not the Christians who are searching for truth that concern me, it's the ones who insist that they've found it.
"A flute with no holes is not a flute. And, a donut with no hole......is a danish" – Chevy Chase
So you're saying truth is unknowable? Wouldn't that mean it just doesn't exist in your opinion...?
No, truth is knowable when you accept that it can change in response to new information. Religion that defines truth on scripture alone is static and ignores new information. It refuses to accept that truth changes with the times, and that makes it dangerous.
NL, so following that truth can chnage with information
can you conclude that even 2+2 is not 4 and you are holding out for more information
@NL: How can you cite verses from a book that you consider to be fiction? However, these are great verses showing you are considered wise if you place your trust in the Lord. He really does give you wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
@peace2all: What happened that caused you to lose your trust in God?
Christ is absolute truth. "I am the way, the truth and the life."
I encourage everyone who doubts, to humble themselves before God. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. God bless!
I could quote from Shakespeare's works and I could also quote from Yoda. Plenty of characters who are commonly accepted as being fictional have been made to say profound things in literature. The Bible is also literature and sometimes it even has characters say profound things, but believing that Jesus was really God, or that God is real to begin with, is about as great a leap as believing that the Force is real just because Yoda says it is.
You interpret these verses as referring to belief in God, but I read them literally and see them as referring to human intelligence. I think that plenty of Jews would also agree with my interpretation and, as Lewis Black would say, it's not your fault that you get it wrong because it's (the OT) not your book, it's the Jews'. How can Christians presume to be able to interpret Torah better than Jews?
That the early Christian cult failed to appeal to Jews then isn't surprising. Jews value human intelligence (which accounts for their higher score on the quiz, I guess) whereas Christianity appealed to the gentiles who were probably dabbling in astrology, fortune telling and other 'mystery' cults at the time. Paul admits that the whole Christian idea sounds like nonsense
"but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles," 1 Corinthians 1:23
Paul knew that Christianity would never appeal to people who choose to think rationally, right?
Oh, I'm pretty confident that 2+2 will continue to be 4. Mathematics, however, has a way of accounting for all possible information that no other field can possibly match so it makes a poor analogy when discussing religion. Still, if someone could prove that 2+2 does not always equal 4 then I'd have to accept that just as I'd accept the existence of God if enough new evidence surfaced to support it. Based on what evidence is now available I have to accept that God is just as mythical as all other gods we humans have invented. There's not enough to suggest otherwise at the present time, so I would be foolish to just choose to believe it simply because it's a neat idea, right?
Just for the record and an FYI...... There ARE instances in Math where 2 + 2 does *not* always = 4..... Discussions on the context of 'which' type of 'measurement scale' are you using...? --– Are you using an.... interval, nominal, ordinal or ration scale of measurement...?
And... at the same time.....as to this discussion....I do agree with @NL that using math as analogous to *truth* = somehow the truth of the bible or god.....which, I think is what you are saying.....yes...?
I believe to be inaccurate proof..
You said...."What happened that caused you to lose your trust in God...?"
1)You are (assuming) that there *is* a God.......
2)You are also (assuming) that I, at some point had *trust* in this God...
***The rest of your post goes on to unequivocally say that basically that JC is the way the truth...etc...
You are assuming ALL of this as *absolute fact* without even questioning the validity. That is tends to be a real conversation stopper most of the time for me, as there is no room for even taking a look at those belief's as anything other than *fact*
Another example of Paul's reasoning "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1Cor. 1:25
Now, doesn't this sound like Luke Skywalker pulling some kinda Jedi mind trick?
Doubter: "But none of this Christian stuff makes any sense at all."
Paul: Holding two fingers up to the man, calling upon the Force "No, your wisdom is really foolishness, and my foolishness is really wisdom!"
Doubter: Eyes glossed over and looking stupefied "Yes, your foolishness is really wisdom."
Paul: "Yes, now stop drooling!"
@peace... it goes back to the shopping example. The reason why you get $5 back on a $5 purchase handing the cleark back 10 is because you excepted it as truth, but when you find the clerk refusing to give you change you push your beliefs on them. You can not not push your beliefs otherwise you would not believe.
@NL I think you proved ttwp point excently.
Taking the biblical definition of wisdom
Job 28:28 -Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Pslam 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever
The verses you quote illustrate the point perfectly
Proverbs 18:15: The mind of the intelligent gains [Holy understanding] and the ear of the [who fear the Lord] seeks knowledge.
Proverbs 14:33: In the heart of the intelligent [those who fear the Lord] abides, but in the bosom of [[those who do not fear the Lord] it is unknown.
Deuteronomy 1:13: Choose [to fear the Lord], intelligent and experienced men from each of your tribes, that I may appoint them as your leaders.
Proverbs 10:13 [those who depart from evil and fear the Lord] is found on the lips of a person who has understanding, but a rod is for of him who lacks judgment.
Note fear is not movie scary fear but reverence
"I could quote from Shakespeare's works and I could also quote from Yoda." but you don't when you are trying use it as a source of information, which you did with the Bible
Also there are several of Paul's conversations to doubters found in Acts. No need to recreate a false one.
I was responding to your often used..... " 2+2 will always = 4" mathematical equation, again that you often use as some sign of an incontrovertible *fact* of God.
I then responded with some scenarios in Math where 2+2 does not always = 4, which you sailed on by.....
And... I was also talking about @NL's post as to truth changing in relationship to new information and data. Religion *does not* as he stated, seem to change in relationship to new and better scientific theories and facts. Yes..? I have yet to see anything in Christianity, especially the fundamentalist type that change upon new revelations from Science, and yet you still hold on to 'literalist interpretations' of the bible....
I quite frankly don't understand that.....?
And your use of the 'store clerk and money example'...... again you have tried unsuccessfully to use that one.
Again, I believe David Johnson and others have already taken time to take that one a part.... and.... while David has stated..
"Mike... that is why you are terrible at debating...one of the reasons is that your analogies always ..suck" (I beleve this is pretty close to what he said). Now, I am not saying that, but I certainly understand 'why' that was stated. I think that may have been a bit harsh... I do try my best not to demean, etc....
The important thing for a fundie, is to be closed minded and have faith.
Fundies aren't very bright. They have no gag reflex. They can swallow anything.
Fundies don't even bother to read for themselves. They just stand with the rest of the sheep and bleat. Baaaaaah!
That test was easy. I would be ashamed if I was wanting to take over the country for Jesus, and not even beat out the Mormons!
LOL, LOL 'till my sides ache.
Wow I haven't seen that wide of a generalization of any one group since Germany did it in the '30s
Now THAT was funny.... 🙂
Education on(World ) Religious beliefs and practices, is I believe, one of the best ways to help the ones that are ignorant to 'others' religions to show the interconnected and dramatic impact Religion plays in our lives world-wide–economically, politically, socially, in multi-cultural understanding, etc...etc... and the list goes on.
But, blind faith to one's own religion seem to cause for quite a few a very 'myopic' and 'ethnocentrist' view of life, other people and their beliefs and the world at large.
Well said, sir.
Peace2all: Maybe I'm one of the outliers, but I have done some general studies on other religions because Jesus Christ instructed us to be prepared to give an answer to our faith, and to me, that includes being able to draw some comparisons between each one. I work for a Global company and I have friends of all faiths, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims and I can tell you emphatically not one of them are open inter-mixing faiths. They are aware and understand each faith, but the second the topic comes up, so do the natural guards around it. So I never see faiths becoming one, there are too many core differences to allow that.
Thanks my friend... See we have a lot more common ground than you may think....
I didn't reference 'anything' about somehow 'intermingling' of faiths... and not really sure I even get what you are saying...
You reference people of other faiths not wanting to intermingle or some such non-sense. That just proves my point *exactly* as to why we need more EDUCATION on other's religions, so we can have less ignorance, and more understanding of the interconnectedness that ALL religions play on our Planet Earth.
You may be a Christian... but it wouldn't hurt to stop being a 'bigot' towards others faiths..
Maybe I am not understanding exactly what you meant.... but, please feel free to write back to me for discussion on this...
Of course we have some common ground. We are both thinking human beings, aren't we? We care about life. That's a good start... hehe.
Thinking humans... care for life.... Yes.. a good start. I think we may have even more in common beyond that than we may both realize as of yet... maybe...? 🙂
It's true that most who disagree on issues of faith automatically jump to the differences and highlight them as the most significant aspects of their relationship. While there is a place to discuss differences (an important one at that) it is important to recognize that we are all living, breathing people on a messed up planet. We probably both agree that things need to be done to stop war, thievery, murder, deceit, etc. But how that happens... that is where we start to disagree.
I don't know about that Peter..... I wouldn't be so hasty to jump to conclusions about the 'how' we might go about it etc... You ad I might be 'different' than say.. the general populous.
Maybe, as a 'social experiment' between the both of us.... We could try and see 'each' other's side and see just how much we could dialogue in common......What do you think...?
Just a thought....