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 Americans are losing their religion

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Peanutbutter

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PostSubject: Americans are losing their religion   Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:49 pm

Summary: More Americans are embracing a life free of religion than ever before, 15% nationwide.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29585222
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:50 pm

Emergency = posting on OT forums?


I keel you.

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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:21 am

i grew up in a Lutheran family, but recently ive more or less stopped the practice.

the reason being for the most part that gods (in general, not just Christianity) dont do anything anymore. Read a book from any religion, and there are stories of gods working miracles and such long ago. But stories like that have not happened for a long time.

When you think about it, christianity is maybe one of the most bizarre religions out there. Every religion has a name for their god(s), yet christianity doesnt. Can you really put your entire life into the hands of somebody whose name you dont even know and who youve never seen do anything in your life? Its like saying you dont know your best friends name. The god has countless titles, but no actual name. Even the devil has actual names, Satan, Lucifer, etc.

I studied a lot of the worlds religions current ones and older ones because the topic of gods interested me. And a lot of religions have a lot of common facts. For instance, the great flood in the bible? This same disaster is recorded in other religions as well. Even to the point where mankind was wiped out except for a small group of people who were favored by their god and were told beforehand to prepare.

One of Christianity's biggest beliefs is that god has a plan for everyone. Yet, often times really good people, who have never done anything in wrong their life, are killed by accidents, disease, etc. whereas criminals are often left alive. Can you really believe in a god who thinks like that? To kill the faithful but spare the sinners?

Or natural disasters. If there is a god then surely they caused it. Or if they didnt cause it, then that means not everything is under their control, and therefor may not be as strong as we think they are. What good does killing many many people with a natural disaster do?

Maybe at one point there was a god. But that doesnt mean theyre still around. Perhaps they left, to go do other things somewhere else?
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:21 am

I think according to the government I'm actually a Jedi.

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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:03 am

Rishana wrote:
i grew up in a Lutheran family, but recently ive more or less stopped the practice.

the reason being for the most part that gods (in general, not just Christianity) dont do anything anymore. Read a book from any religion, and there are stories of gods working miracles and such long ago. But stories like that have not happened for a long time.

When you think about it, christianity is maybe one of the most bizarre religions out there. Every religion has a name for their god(s), yet christianity doesnt. Can you really put your entire life into the hands of somebody whose name you dont even know and who youve never seen do anything in your life? Its like saying you dont know your best friends name. The god has countless titles, but no actual name. Even the devil has actual names, Satan, Lucifer, etc.

I studied a lot of the worlds religions current ones and older ones because the topic of gods interested me. And a lot of religions have a lot of common facts. For instance, the great flood in the bible? This same disaster is recorded in other religions as well. Even to the point where mankind was wiped out except for a small group of people who were favored by their god and were told beforehand to prepare.

One of Christianity's biggest beliefs is that god has a plan for everyone. Yet, often times really good people, who have never done anything in wrong their life, are killed by accidents, disease, etc. whereas criminals are often left alive. Can you really believe in a god who thinks like that? To kill the faithful but spare the sinners?

Or natural disasters. If there is a god then surely they caused it. Or if they didnt cause it, then that means not everything is under their control, and therefor may not be as strong as we think they are. What good does killing many many people with a natural disaster do?

Maybe at one point there was a god. But that doesnt mean theyre still around. Perhaps they left, to go do other things somewhere else?


I am by no means taking a stance here as to the existence of God, but I can say with 100% certainty that any theology department worth their salt will provide more than ample information to your questions. Granted, these answers will most likely spawn more questions (or more complicated, convoluted versions of the originals), but your questions are, to put it mildly, very fundamental. Five minutes on Google would most likely see some form of resolution.

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Rishana

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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:06 am

but any answers to these questions are really just people's opinions. They would be sharing what they think is right, on a topic that really doesnt have an actual answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:38 am

I'm sure my vitriolic views on religion and theology are apparent, but I'll give you my opinion anyway.

Theists make a claim: "god exists". You can believe it or not believe it. If you choose to believe it, you should be convinced by any objective evidence they present and not as a matter of wanting it to be true, which is what most people do. But even if god's existence is established, all your work is still ahead of you to demonstrate that it's a particular god and that he has specific properties. That he created the universe, cares about you, wants to be called the right name, has servants, relatives and enemies, cares what you eat, how you dress, with whom you have sexual relations (and in what way), cares who you marry...

Quote :
but any answers to these questions are really just people's opinions. They would be sharing what they think is right, on a topic that really doesnt have an actual answer.

Which is why you should only accept objective evidence to evaluate any claim. Probably the best place to start is by looking at an apologetics website, understand the criticisms of those apologetic arguments, then arrive at a conclusion.

Christian apologetics : www.carm.org
Christian counter-apologetics: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:52 am

grak wrote:

Theists make a claim: "god exists". You can believe it or not believe it. If you choose to believe it, you should be convinced by any objective evidence they present and not as a matter of wanting it to be true, which is what most people do.

Pretty much. It is impossible to prove the existence of God one way or another. You can only determine this by yourself through prayer and faith. Once you do believe then the evidence out there makes sense, but it does not work the other way around.

It does make me sad to see that 15% has moved away. Though in all honesty through looking at society and the people I deal with on a day to day basis I thought that number would be higher.
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:05 am

Quote :
You can only determine this by yourself through prayer and faith. Once you do beleive then the evidence out there makes sense, but it does not work the other way around.

Don't you have to believe in a god already to pray to it? Otherwise you're just talking to yourself. Well, my personal view is that ANYONE who prays is talking to themselves, but if you don't believe to start with, you wouldn't pray to something you don't believe in. If you do, you're acknowledging your own belief in the thing.

1) Review evidence
2) Come to a conclusion
3) Pray to the god you conclude exists (or don't if you don't)

How does it "work" any other way?
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:30 am

grak wrote:
Don't you have to believe in a god already to pray to it?

How does it "work" any other way?

I would disagree and argue that it takes a leap of faith to pray in the first place with no knowledge or belief that there is indeed someone you are praying to. That was the hardest part for me in fact. I consider myself a logical person for the most part and I was raised in a LDS family, I did not believe and wouldn't pray because I didn't think it would be to anyone.

I read even though I didn't believe and came across a verse, and then I prayed. Now I do believe. I will refer to the verse that I read.
Moroni 10:4
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:46 am

Quote :
I would disagree and argue that it takes a leap of faith to pray in the first place with no knowledge or belief that there is indeed someone you are praying to.

I don't disagree at all with your statement and I don't think it's at odds with mine. I'm only contesting the truth value of such a belief. Ray Comfort and other (terribad) apologists like him often make the same argument: "God will reveal himself to you if you hit your knees and ask him sincerely to do so." This is completely bulletproof because it's bootstrapped to itself: if you do ask god to reveal himself to you and he doesn't, clearly you weren't sincere enough. If you do and he did, you believed already anyway. But if you make the assertion that you weren't sincere enough, you already believe there is something to be sincere to. It's a catch 22; either way, the whole exercise presupposes belief.

tl;dr version: you cannot WILL yourself to believe something you have no evidence for. You have to want to believe it and then convince yourself it's true (in my opinion, by self-deception).

Applied to any other aspect of life you'd quickly disabuse yourself of this kind of thinking as the instances of being wrong by what amounts to blind guessing would quickly pile up. The fact that the god hypothesis is unfalsifiable prevents this from happening to the believer. But that is not evidence for its truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:38 am

I figure no one will ever prove God exists since proof denies faith, and faith is kind of the point. If someone proved God existed the world would just be completely filled with people asking the invisible man in the sky to fix their problems... instead of just partially filled. From where I stand it's not so much about following the rules, accepting the ridiculous, and going to the promised land if you're a good boy, so I guess it's about having the strength or dedication to self-deception to believe in something much larger than yourself, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life without having the convenience of flawless evidence to give you self-comfort in the more trying times.

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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:09 pm

To state that there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of God is sheer folly. There is more empirical evidence in support of a higher being/unknown power than there is against it. This stems from a variety of fields, including but not limited to: chemistry, biology, physics, anthropology, sociology, psychology...

If you care enough to ask me to explain my position, you'll have to wait until at least tomorrow. (exams, etc.)

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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:05 pm

I await your mountain of evidence with baited breath. Post when you have time.


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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:03 pm

This should be interesting...
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PostSubject: Re: Americans are losing their religion   Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:05 pm

Quote :
I guess it's about having the strength or
dedication to self-deception to believe in something much larger than
yourself, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life
without having the convenience of flawless evidence to give you
self-comfort in the more trying times.

I had to read your comment about 10 times before I could separate the Ichaerus from the substance. I would never demand "perfect evidence" (whatever that is) for any claim because it's impossible to have absolute certainty on any claim. Even mathematical proofs are based on the tautologies of logic (they just happen to conform very well to the reality we can percieve). But when one claim has a lot of evidence for it and another claim has little to no evidence (and/or contradicts the evidenced claim), I believe the first one and don't believe the second one.

If I truly believed I was bulletproof, I'd probably feel really comfortable and confident if someone put a gun to my head. My confidence and self-comfort isn't going to prevent my brain from getting plastered on the wall when the trigger is pulled. You can drive with your eyes closed for a while, but the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you're going to wrap yourself around a telephone pole.
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