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Want to believe in God but can't


Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

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Old 28th July 2017, 2:01 PM   #196
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I am not talking about the organized religion abusing its power, although that is an evil aspect of it too. I find the core message of christianity to be evil and destructive. There is a god, he made the world as bad as it is and he enjoys it. You can't do anything about it, as you were a sinner from the beginning and never had a fighting chance. A mere 144'000 of every person that has ever lived will be saved. All the others suffered and died for nothing. It's almost nihilistic. To be clear, I don't subscribe to the idea in the first place. But people who do seem to very readily ignore just how hollow and heartless this worldview is. By making people play some weird mind-lottery (I might just be one of the 144'000) it subdues millions into a life of self-hatred, fear and anxious hopefulness. In my book you can't get much more sick.

Like what. What can I do with religion that I can't do without?

I have purpose. No god needed.
Have that too.
I don't have that and I don't need it. I am happy with my life and after it is over will be like before it started. Was it bad before you were born?


The negative effects far outweigh the benefits. Religion contributed nothing. All the individual rights, economic prosperity of the masses and all the scientific progress had to be earned, often for a high blood toll, against religious doctrine. Religions balkanize humanity into separate moral communities and encourage and sometimes obligate their adherents to commit violence against one another.

I am talking about the concept of religion, not religious people. I am aware that most religious people (luckily) ignore the vast majority of the commandments and thus mostly create misery only inside themselves. But many make their children suffer (as a consequence of their religious doctrine) and too many make others suffer in order to fulfill their religious duty (by converting rel. doctrine into law, or by waging religious wars).
Some good points. I don't believe for a moment that religion has been universally destructive. Some amazing human beings, scientists, clergy, leaders have been transformed and emboldened by their faith and made our lives a little better. All flawed human beings, but many of them challenged the contemporary leadership or societal norms to help us all better define what is meant by ideas such ideas as justice, love, forgiveness.

Only a 144,000 being saved is problematic for more literal interpreters to scripture. You rarely, if ever hear of it unless it is in closed doors of a sermon that means to further evoke fear and exclusivity. But, as you point out, there are those who take the numbers literally. I have always found the notion repugnant and indicative of how little faith the faithful possess and/or how much bitterness they have for their fellow man.

If anyone to believe that God will only take 144,000 OUT OF BILLIONS(!!!) is absurd and renders God's power, love WEAK and ineffectual. Even if you believe only Christians will know paradise still leaves BILLIONS that will not. That my friends renders the blood of Christ as absolutely and depressingly impotent for the most part and further reveals a God who is both willing to allow the vast majority of his creation to succumb and be lost AND/OR incapable of preventing the Adversary from taking the upper hand in a world that HE himself is master of.

I said this before. I find believers to be woefully incapable or reconciling the real world with their own belief system. So, many make it up as they go, ignore, or simply separate themselves from society that challenges them.

As for ignoring the ten commandments, well, many justify that by claiming that they are not capable of adhering to them anyway, but are conveniently spared b/c they 'believe in the saving grace of God.'
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Old 28th July 2017, 2:09 PM   #197
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Anybody who interprets Revelation literally may be a bit nuts. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what the hell John was talking about.
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Old 28th July 2017, 2:14 PM   #198
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Anybody who interprets Revelation literally may be a bit nuts. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what the hell John was talking about.
Blasphemer! Heretic! Un-clean! You are doomed to eternal damnation for those words!

Just kidding...but there is a touch of seriousness and sadness. In my early days of the church, I would have been yelling these very things to you.
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Old 28th July 2017, 2:16 PM   #199
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Blasphemer! Heretic! Un-clean! You are doomed to eternal damnation for those words!

Just kidding...but there is a touch of seriousness and sadness. In my early days of the church, I would have been yelling these very things to you.

But you still couldn't have explained what the hell John was talking about.
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Old 28th July 2017, 2:19 PM   #200
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But you still couldn't have explained what the hell John was talking about.
But I sure as heck would have tried or deflected. Of all the gospels, The Gospel of John is the most interestingly esoteric in nature.
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Old 28th July 2017, 2:55 PM   #201
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But I sure as heck would have tried or deflected. Of all the gospels, The Gospel of John is the most interestingly esoteric in nature.
I think he meant the book of Revelation - you know, horses, Babylon, grasshoppers, creatures with four faces, etc. lol

It's the Bible Version of The Wall....

I know some people who are so into Revelation they have predicted the antiChrist to be about a dozen different people. Look up John Hagee for an example
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Old 28th July 2017, 3:09 PM   #202
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Like what. What can I do with religion that I can't do without?

I have purpose. No god needed.
Have that too.
I don't have that and I don't need it. I am happy with my life and after it is over will be like before it started. Was it bad before you were born?
In my estimation, the only thing religion can provide that nothing else can is hope of an afterlife. I think there is no need for religion aside from that idea. I'm not saying that religion is the only means for community and purpose. Of course, that's not true. I'm only saying that religion is a means for purpose and community. And probably one of the reasons religion has endured for so long is that it is quite effective in providing those two things. Religion also provides identity for many people even if it's just cultural, which is a very important function.

I understand that you don't need or want religion for any of the reasons I listed, but a lot of people do. Just because you personally find no benefit in religion doesn't mean that other people don't find benefit.
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Old 28th July 2017, 3:15 PM   #203
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I am not talking about the organized religion abusing its power, although that is an evil aspect of it too. I find the core message of christianity to be evil and destructive. There is a god, he made the world as bad as it is and he enjoys it. You can't do anything about it, as you were a sinner from the beginning and never had a fighting chance. A mere 144'000 of every person that has ever lived will be saved. All the others suffered and died for nothing. It's almost nihilistic. To be clear, I don't subscribe to the idea in the first place. But people who do seem to very readily ignore just how hollow and heartless this worldview is. By making people play some weird mind-lottery (I might just be one of the 144'000) it subdues millions into a life of self-hatred, fear and anxious hopefulness. In my book you can't get much more sick.
The 144,000 number is usually seen, by evangelicals, as the number of Jews that will be saved during the tribulation. Jehovah's Witnesses have a more complicated set of beliefs surrounding that number that I don't fully understand. Anyway, if eschatology is your thing, there is a lot of information out there, but I don't really know a lot of Christians who buy into that. I find it difficult enough believe in God, so I'm hardly going to become entrenched in eschatology.

Anyway, the part I bolded is actually a part of my struggle that I've talked about here on this thread. I think a lot of other people have the same struggles.
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Old 28th July 2017, 3:17 PM   #204
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You are not alone. I never believed in God and yet I would have what most would call a blessed life with everything going my way. I have a 45 year marriage to a bisexual woman who shared her girlfriend with me for 30 years. Never had to worry about money and bought everything I ever wanted.

A belief in God requires a suspension of fact and to replace it with faith. I have studied the major religions and attended their services. I even had a close friend who used to be a priest. He still believes, but when we debate he cannot explain certain things and admits that you just have to have faith.

If you don't have faith, you don't have it. God's will I guess. You cannot believe in a God no more than you believe in a giant rabbit that made the Universe. Both beliefs cannot be proven true or false. There is no way to prove that something does not exist merely because we cannot see it. As we know, there are many things that exist which we cannot see and are only discovered as man gains more knowledge of the world around him. I never saw an atom and yet I believe it exists.

Do not think less of yourself for not believing in something. I work with highly intelligent people and none of us believe in God, or at least a God like other portray him or her. Read about the history of God and you will see that God is created in man's image and not the other way around. Every major religion has God that fits into their culture.

Life can be great without believing in God. BTW, after a year in combat, there are Athiest in fox holes.
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Old 28th July 2017, 4:41 PM   #205
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I think he meant the book of Revelation - you know, horses, Babylon, grasshoppers, creatures with four faces, etc. lol

It's the Bible Version of The Wall....

I know some people who are so into Revelation they have predicted the antiChrist to be about a dozen different people. Look up John Hagee for an example
Ok, my bad.

Never the less, the Gospel according to John is VERY different from the other three gospels. Perhaps John is a little out there in his experience(s) compared to the other apostles' accounts. The Book of Revelations is a very controversial book. There is great debate among scholars to the actual timing of the book. Whether it depicts things already past, future or a combination of both.

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Old 28th July 2017, 6:52 PM   #206
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I thought I would make a thread about this ongoing issue in my life because I don't feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. I've always had doubts about the existence of God, but those doubts never seemed to matter until the past few years. To me, the world seems depressing and pointless without the hope of God or an afterlife. I think a lot of this has been spurred on by seeing my parents get older and finding it very depressing that when they die, they may cease to exist and I'll never see them again.

Part of me thinks religion is a complete sham that we made up because we are all scared to die. Heck, we spend our entire lives fighting against death. Another part of me feels that the idea that God doesn't exist is just as preposterous. How can the world be so complex without some kind of divine creator? I'm not really interested in debating if God exists or not. I'm looking for people who have similar struggles who would like to share how they cope. I feel like my mind is full of strife on a daily basis, and it's kind of affecting me negatively at this point.
I have sought comfort through faith at several points in my life. I had some good experiences but I can't wrap my head around organized religion as I find it attempts to provide too many black and white answers to a very grey question. But, that is also an opinion on what are essentially other people's opinions. So, once again, a very grey area.

I am a math teacher so I am left brained and teeter towards what I can prove or disprove in the universe. Agnosticism has helped me to find a middle ground as I have a belief in a power greater than myself but I don't attempt to define what that greater power is or looks like. This has provided me with comfort as I believe that there is plane of existence and purpose beyond this life. This has truly allowed me to enjoy my life, day by day without thinking about the afterlife.

Death is an inevitability. It might happen five seconds from now or five decades from now and I have no control over it. As such, I'm not going to spend an iota of my time worrying about what "life" looks like after death. Basically, I click along with the belief that there's something beyond this "mortal coil" and that "something" will be a pleasant surprise.

Between now (and now, and now, and now..etc..) and my death, I live by my father's mantra; "live selflessly". I treat people with respect (even if I don't get it in return), I work in a field where I put other people's (primarily my students' and athletes') interests and well-being ahead of my own as much as I can, and just basically try to put a smile on people's faces whenever I can. Some days I follow this mantra better than others but I always keep it in focus.
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Old 28th July 2017, 8:34 PM   #207
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Yes, religious people have created art, made scientific breakthroughs and shown love and compassion for their fellow man. Heck, some of the strongest atheist and humanist ideas were first formulated by priests. I don't believe religion was causal though. Often enough they had to hide or create their work in secrecy. Many had to claim, against their consciousness, to be religious to blend in and protect themselves and their families.

Yes religion provides a cultural identity. But from my point of view this is increasingly becoming a problem. It divides us where we don't have to be divided.

It warrants violence against one another over abstract ideas in our heads and clearly poorly understood old books (if they ever were meant to be understood in the first place). Most of these ideas are bad. Commandments on what to eat, how to sleep with our partners and what bits to cut off from our children. To fear the great father and knowing he watches every step we take. It is not what we need to advance all of us.

To justify the idea of an afterlife, I guess you need some sort of religion. If you can, make it one that's as violence free as possible. Janism, or maybe buddhism would do?
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Old 28th July 2017, 9:38 PM   #208
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Please be clear that I am NOT suggesting, in any way, that YOU are wrong in your views, rather, it is not what traditional christians believe. Although many christians will begin offering their own testimony with the guise of universal love and acceptance, you will find, with only slight prodding, that their beliefs become more....'complicated.'

Yes. I understand what you are trying to tell me. Accepting your words is not difficult to do. I mean, what's not to accept when all you said is right?

I really don't feel bothered at all you telling me about the traditional Christian Faith vs mine.

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Old 28th July 2017, 11:25 PM   #209
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Anybody who interprets Revelation literally may be a bit nuts. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what the hell John was talking about.
haha well, to be honest, John really doesn't provide much new information. Basically, all of Revelation can be found in the Old Testament books of the prophets, especially the book of Daniel. What John did was synthesize the OT prophets in the context of Jesus.
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Old 28th July 2017, 11:30 PM   #210
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Look up John Hagee for an example
Hagee is a good preacher, but misguided on some issues. But who among us has perfect theology, or perfect anything for that matter.

I tend to agree with Dr. Hugh Ross, at reasons to believe. An astrophysicist, youngest director of astronomy at Cal Tech, took classes with Carl Sagan. In this clip, he shows the benefits of using concordance (taking data from all scriptures to get an accurate interpretation).

RWW News: Christian Astronomer Debunks John Hagee's 'Blood Moons' Theory
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