Believing in God

or not

21 to 40 of 249 messages
07/10/2012 at 21:01
Stevie G . wrote (see)

Personally I think it's a pretty empty existence to choose to believe that in effect we're here by accident, that a "Big bang" happened, and that we've managed to go from pond life to humans.

I always find it a little bit sad that religious people feel that their lives would be empty without believing in some kind of superior being.

07/10/2012 at 21:34

Interesting one (though I'm sure we've done it before)

I'm an atheist, no belief in a personal God or an afterlife

but I am less mystified by religious people than I am by those who seemed to be filled with an overwhelming anger about religion. I don't really mind if people are religious.

From what I've seen, being religious is really more like something you DO, rather than something you believe.

For what it's worth, I've just finished reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, a fascinating book by a Nobel prize winning psychologist, and if you think humans are logical creatures I recommend you to read it.  As far as I'm concerned, almost nothing people think, do, believe, or say, is the result of being "logical".

Edited: 07/10/2012 at 21:35
07/10/2012 at 21:40
Stevie G . wrote (see)

Personally I think it's a pretty empty existence to choose to believe that in effect we're here by accident


So best hope you chose correctly

That's another interesting thing: I don't feel I have any choice about what I believe.

I don't think I could "choose" to be religious

Anyone think they chose what they believe and could decide to believe the opposite if they wanted?

07/10/2012 at 22:01

MikeFrog, I don't mind if people are religious either, but I think the problem IS that it is something people do. The belief I have no issue with. I think the reason there is a lot of anger about religion is a) there is often a religious element to war/conflict/terrorism, b) religious institutions seem to hold too much power when it comes to things like government policy, c) some religious people seem to think they have a divine right to inflict their views on other people. If it was just a personal thing and everyone got on with it on their own terms, I'd have no problem with it either. Unfortunately there are still many religious people out there who will fight tooth and nail, to pick just two recent examples, to deny people in immense and terminal pain the right to a peaceful and dignified death, or to deny couples of the same sex the same rights as straight couples. And until they stop doing things like that, I'll get a little bit angry about it!

Edited: 07/10/2012 at 22:02
07/10/2012 at 22:25

Yeah, true. Fortunately that seems to be on the wane.

07/10/2012 at 22:41

Euthanasia is a very tricky one, much debated. Who has the right to decide a life isn't worth living?  What about cases where people have made miraculous recoveries? What if relatives who stand to gain are able to cast the deciding vote?

If you start, where do you stop? Handicaps? Old people? Other "undesirables"? It can start to morph into something altogether more sinister.

I think the natural reaction of churches will always be pro life.



Edited: 07/10/2012 at 22:49
07/10/2012 at 22:52

Stevie, who has the right to decide a life isn't worth living? Erm, maybe the person living that life? They've certainly got more right than someone trying to inflict their own religious views on a situation they know nothing about. I think to suggest it would lead to eugenics is far-fetched - we're talking about clear cases where the individual themselves has had a terminal condition and has clearly wanted to end their suffering.

Edited: 07/10/2012 at 22:55
07/10/2012 at 22:54

You seem to be basing things on the one high profile case in the news recently.

What if the person is in a coma, or is otherwise not able to give consent? There's been cases of people coming out of comas years on. Imagine if they'd just been wiped out straight away.

Or a mentally and physically handicapped child. I presume you'd just judge them as not having any quality of life either?

PS in your example the person can go to Switzerland, which seems to have no problem with legalised euthanasia.

Edited: 07/10/2012 at 22:56
07/10/2012 at 22:56

Not at all Stevie, I'm talking about when the person themselves has a choice.

07/10/2012 at 22:57

It is a pretty horrible scenario.

The choice of living in pain, versus dying and to the atheist's mind, that being it.

08/10/2012 at 08:47
Stevie G . wrote (see)

Euthanasia is a very tricky one, much debated. Who has the right to decide a life isn't worth living?  What about cases where people have made miraculous recoveries? What if relatives who stand to gain are able to cast the deciding vote?

If you start, where do you stop? Handicaps? Old people? Other "undesirables"? It can start to morph into something altogether more sinister.

I think the natural reaction of churches will always be pro life.



I don't know about euthenasia, but the 'yoof' of Nottingham are terrible. 

08/10/2012 at 11:04

Arnaud himself was appointed as military leader of the crusaders during the first stages of the war in 1209. This was a perfectly normal occurrence at this time, but Arnaud's love of terror and killing was perhaps above average, even for a senior churchman. It was he who was responsible for the mass burning alive of "many heretics and many fair women" at Casseneuil", for the massacre at Béziers, where some 20,000 men, women and children were killed in an "exercise of Christian charity", and for the immortal words "Kill them all. God will know his own".

Churches, pro life, yea always.

Edited: 08/10/2012 at 11:07
08/10/2012 at 11:41

In a bookshop I like to move The Bible to the fiction section.. to me that's where it belongs.

Tommygun2    pirate
08/10/2012 at 12:00

This is where I stand on the issue, might just get the t-shirt



08/10/2012 at 12:33
kittenkat wrote (see)

What is the deciding factor that influences belief or non belief?

Personality, upbringing, trauma, illness?

What do you think?

For me it started as upbringing. I went to Sunday school when I was very young but stopped when the place I went to close down, it was a community centre I think. I then returned to the church in my early teens when I had to attend church parade with the scout group I went to. After attending a few services I started to go every week because I enjoyed it. Eventually I made the decision to be confirmed when I was 16.

In my early 20s I drifted away from the church due to moving away from home to start work and never getting around to finding a church where I felt comfortable.

In 2000 I returned to the church as we wanted to get my son christened after he was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was 2. We were lucky to find an amazing church with a really friendly and helpful congregation who supported us so much through a long illness. In a way our church is like an extended family and support network as we all look out for each other.
As a Christian I've helped out both within the church I go to, taught junior church, been on the parish church council. I also spent time as a Street Pastor, providing help and assistance to people on a Saturday night when they are out clubbing.

For me my beliefs are a source of strength and comfort in really difficult times.

08/10/2012 at 12:45

So, what's God got to do with that?

08/10/2012 at 13:18
T.mouse wrote (see)
Bruce C wrote (see)

miles 23, 24 and 25 !!!


A friend once said the only difference between a 250cc motorcycle (learner legal back then) and a 500cc motorcycle was that you prayed a lot less on the 500.

(If you don't understand you've never riden a bike.)

Try overtaking on the motorway on a NSR125 (Honda)

09/10/2012 at 11:08

Hello all lol

I was an Atheist up until a few years ago. I am not lonely, I am well educated, I wasn't bought up in a family where religion was forced upon me, I am a normal well rounded person. I believe in God because I believe he is real. I made that decision on what I knew what I felt.

Reading again some of the comments from people makes me think that you have preconceived ideas that have no real understanding backing them up. The Bible was not written by some agricultural idiots 2000 years ago. Whether the Bible was religious or not these people wrote some of the most amazing stories that the world has ever seen. These were not stupid people, far from it. Whether they believed God was lightening bolts or earth quakes- I do not believe he was, because now we know the truth. But their is still a lot to hold onto as a Christian in a modern world and clearly a majority of the planet believes this too as numbers are growing. We are a very small fish in a big pond here in the UK but even so numbers are rising in Church contrary to popular belief

Edited: 09/10/2012 at 11:25
09/10/2012 at 11:45

yeah - good luck with that one vicar. 


Stupidity is very different from education or understanding.  My comments come from a place of understanding and of being involved with the evangelical movement for many years.  The growth in adherents to any one religion (I do believe Islam is the fastest growing religion at the minute) doesn't necessarily mean it is true - just that it offers something tangible to the population or soceity it serves.


Quite frankly a lot of the old testament is down right awful, the awful bits outweight the 'amazing' stories by a large amount - and a lot of the new testament is blatantly misogynistic and 'of it's time'. The best message you can take out of most of it are parts of the gospels where Jesus is reported to have preached tolerance, humility, love and kindness.  These things are not exclusive to religion and in fact at the minute I think you will find they are in somewhat short supply from some high profile 'christians'.

09/10/2012 at 13:00

Vicar, I think a lot of religious people mistakenly assume that most atheists have 'no real understanding', whereas a lot of us have spent a lot of time coming to our conclusions and many are probably more familiar with the Bible than a lot of Christians, who seem to only cherry-pick the nicer bits that are acceptable to modern-day thinking. I was brought up religiously and went to church until I was a teenager so my opinions do come from a position of understanding. I have read the Bible including, as GymAddict says, it's more gruesome elements, and have come to the conclusion that it is cannot conceivably be true, and nor would I want it to be if the god it suggests following is as barbaric as the one it describes.

Also Vicar, you say you believe in god because you know that he's real, but why the Christian god? What was particularly more convincing to you about Christianity than Islam for instance? They make similar claims, have similar stories etc. I would suggest your devotion to this particular god is purely due to your geographical / cultural situation, unless you can convince me otherwise.

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