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I am a Christian.  I was raised in a conservative Baptist church, stopped going in highschool, tried to go in college but it was a weak attempt. I pretty much lived a very secular lifestyle from the ages of 16-29.  I never "lost" my faith but I most certainly questioned things (certain doctrines etc;).  I guess you could say I now live a more "Christian" lifestyle however I have my own personal view of the bible, it's teachings etc and don't subscribe to one specific doctrine; However I mostly agree with much of the Baptist Doctrine.  I believe Christianity is about a personal relationship between "you" and God and that only God knows a persons heart.  Therefore I try my best not to judge others and their lifestyle.  I believe that all sin is equal in the eyes of God and that all people sin, INCLUDING CHRISTIANS.  I think most Christians would agree with what I'm saying.  There are teachings that I don't necessarily agree with and I think I will always feel that way. In the end, when I die, I'll find out one way or another. I try to focus on the main message of salvation through faith in Christ and his teachings about forgiveness for my sins.

 

I look at it this way:

 

1) If I believe and it's false, I neither gain nor lose anything in the end.  

 

2) If I don't believe and it's true, I lose everything in the end.

 

3) If I believe and it's true, I gain everything in the end.

 

If you want to judge me and say I'm a fool, I don't really care.  I think I'm a pretty intelligent person who loves people. I love myself for who I am and I think that being a Christian has enriched my life and helped me over the years.

 

No one can ever take that away from me.

Edited by Sly Botts

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God? Unknowable, by design (human or otherwise). "Faith" doesn't count for anything, because everything is shaped by our perceptions, and as such EVERYONE is delusional. A worldwide phenomenon, but why? Because it's real, or because it's a common phantom of the human psyche? People want to believe 'everything will be ok'

...

While I am not prepared to discount a higher existence in this universe (you can't prove a negative, after all) I am relatively certain that the people who claim to understand it are the worst kind of arrogant.

 

This is essentially what I believe.  God(s) or no gods etc. is unknowable, unless evidence is provided for me.  Essentially I believe in science: rationality, logic, and evidence.

 

Typical religion? Enforced acceptance of ignorance, for better or worse. Rejection of demonstrable scientific processes whenever it is inconvenient to the established dogma. Rampant hypocrisy. Systems of faith based on fear of punishment have always seemed like the construct of a human to me, as a means of maintaining a stranglehold on the populace, whether it's practicioners realise it or not. A system of punishment for eternity makes no sense froma rehabilitation standpoint, so the only other option by human models is that the deity is sadistic. This is the big issue in my mind...as described by most groups I've heard from, God is a child with an ant farm, establishing a set of arbitrary rules and concocting the worst fate imaginable for those who ignore them. The other thing that pisses me of is when people try to tell me morality is only possible through religion. Fuck off. I have no desire to steal, torture, kill, etc, and I don't need the threat of eternal damnation to be something other than a murderous psychopath.

 

Agreed.  Most religions are fundamentally moral philosophies/ideologies.  You strip all metaphysics away from ie: Christianity and you have a moral philosophy based on selflessness, charity, non-violence, humility, helping others etc.  That philosophy can be reached through reason just as easily as religious faith, though religion is an effective way to try and convince people to try to keep following the moral code.

 

Religion is the most powerful & dangerous human invention of all-time.  It's created a lot of good but has also led to a lot of bad consequences, like millennia of violence/war & close-mindedness.   That's what happens when so many people are so fiercely devoted to an ideology that's based on believing hearsay, much of which is either fables or lies.

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@sly

 

It's an interesting way to look at it but not quite compelling (at least to me).

 

1. You can't be sure that you don't lose anything by believing something that is untrue. If obedience to a supernatural authority is a priority, then it is impossible to say how one's life would have turned out if it were not. I often wonder how different my life would be today had I not spent 20+ years as a Christian, it's just not possible to know for sure. Religions tend to have (often nonsensical) rules about what you're allowed to do, or wear, or eat, or even what thoughts you're allowed to think... would you potentially not live up to your potential by following rules to appease someone who isn't there?

 

2. The problem here is that it falsely assumes that one can only choose between Christianity and non-belief. A Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, etc. could also say the exact same thing: if you don't believe you risk losing everything so you best believe. If that were a good reason to believe in a god, why would it necessarily be your god?

 

3. But probably not. No matter what you believe, most of the rest of world must be wrong. I hate to use canned arguments but humanity worships several thousand different gods so how lucky it is that you happened to born into a family that worships the right one.

 

This wasn't intended to mock or judge, just debate.

Edited by HoboFactory

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