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Christians - why the disagreement?

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Postby humphreys » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:56 am

When speaking to Christians they would have you believe they are in direct communication with God, and that God allows them to understand the Bible in a way that skeptics cannot. But then, most of them cannot agree on many things of importance at the core of the own religion, like predestination, or what the exact qualifications for heaven are.

If you talk to God, why don't you just ask him, for instance, whether Calvinism is true?

Why don't you know already? Why would we have a book written for followers of God where they cannot even agree on something so central? There are so many different interpretations among believers, many about very important things, and yet we're led to believe these people are so certain they communicate with God.

This seems like quite a discrepancy to me.

I think when a believer claims to be in communication with God, all they are really doing is speaking to themselves, internally, whilst having the feeling that God is listening. This is not quite the two-way communication they imply exists between them and God.

It seems that the only evidence they have for the existence of the Biblical God, at the end of the day, is a feeling that he exists, and a fairly mundane experience where nothing supernatural actually happens, that they attach great meaning to, and that's generally about it.

I really feel that the gulf between skeptic and believer is a lot narrower than many suggest, with both sides lacking real certainty and conviction. Believers seem much more willing to declare great confidence in their beliefs when in reality they must have great doubts, because the evidence just isn't there. Internal conviction is one thing, but the rational mind must always be aware that their beliefs are not based on anything sound. Faith is good at shutting up the rational mind, but it must still be present.

Thoughts?
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Postby greeney2 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:29 am

In our laws we have a term reasonable doubt, as opposed to normal everyday doubt. You could say the same applies to skeptics. Everyone has doubts and everyone is a skeptic. Question is what is your idea of what is "sound"? Back to that same old question, is you can not define what proof you would accept, or consider "sound". Where you think Christians can be fanatics with eternal never wavering Faith, what does that make the never wavering Atheist, who looks only for absolute proof, and everything else is null and void.

Is it "sound" that you side with only 5% of the world population, without "sound" reason other than unproven doubt. If the Bible is so unreliable why do you think its still the best seller book today? Studied by billions everyday? Why it has produced billions of believers though out history, world aritfacts and art thousands of years old? History of the world, Ancient places uncovered in Digs, all kinds of events both historic or personal to give a person "sound" reason. You just have a mindset of nothing short of God appearing is only acceptable.

Your are right we have a multitude of different theology just in the Christian religion, and they do differ in great ways except one. They do not disagree that Jesus is the Son of God, Died on the cross for us, and is the Savior. They differ in what they believe the rite of Baptism and Confirmation is, differ about Communion and the transformation of the Eucarist, and differ on what is a Sacrament.
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Postby humphreys » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:27 am

greeney2 wrote:In our laws we have a term reasonable doubt, as opposed to normal everyday doubt. You could say the same applies to skeptics. Everyone has doubts and everyone is a skeptic. Question is what is your idea of what is "sound"? Back to that same old question, is you can not define what proof you would accept, or consider "sound".


I did actually say what I would consider proof. I think it's wrong to focus on "proof", though, all I really require is enough evidence to make it more likely than not that God is real, and is accurately portrayed in any of the existing religions. From my perspective, way more things point to them all being false belief systems, than a true one.

greeney2 wrote:Where you think Christians can be fanatics with eternal never wavering Faith, what does that make the never wavering Atheist, who looks only for absolute proof, and everything else is null and void.


It's just as bad of course, but I don't consider myself one of those atheists. Skepticism is about doubt, and that precludes certainty. The only people on this forum who I have seen who imply they are certain they are right are the Christians.

greeney2 wrote:Is it "sound" that you side with only 5% of the world population, without "sound" reason other than unproven doubt.


I don't see what it matters what other people believe, but it also depends how you look at it. If you take your exact specific beliefs, you would be in the vast minority too.

How many people believe in exactly the same God as you do, and interpret the Bible in the same way? The fact is, everyone's beliefs are mostly in the minority because no two people believe precisely the same things.

What you're doing isn't really fair, because your lumping all believers together, and all unbelievers together, but in reality the beliefs of the believers vary greatly, they all believe in different deities and different interpretations, and different rituals and rules for getting into heaven, and whether hell is real, and the Bible is literal, and so on, and so on.

Also, it's a cultural thing. If you lived in the Middle East, you would be considered a minority being a Christian, and nearly everyone would think you were completely wrong, whereas here in England the majority of people are nonreligious or atheist.

greeney2 wrote:If the Bible is so unreliable why do you think its still the best seller book today? Studied by billions everyday? Why it has produced billions of believers though out history, world aritfacts and art thousands of years old?


The Quran is very widely read too, does that make it right?

It's a pretty complex question as to why Christianity is so successful, but a study of the history of the religion gives a lot of clues.

greeney2 wrote:History of the world, Ancient places uncovered in Digs, all kinds of events both historic or personal to give a person "sound" reason. You just have a mindset of nothing short of God appearing is only acceptable.


Yes, and artifacts found show the Titanic existed and really sunk, but the movie was filled with a ton of fake events. Much fiction has a backbone of truth, and a ton of falseness, even you admit much of the Bible is likely symbolic or not true at all.

greeney2 wrote:Your are right we have a multitude of different theology just in the Christian religion, and they do differ in great ways except one. They do not disagree that Jesus is the Son of God, Died on the cross for us, and is the Savior. They differ in what they believe the rite of Baptism and Confirmation is, differ about Communion and the transformation of the Eucarist, and differ on what is a Sacrament.


There are very big differences, and those differences contradict the claim that people are in direct communication with God, and that he reveals the truth of the Bible to them. The differences in opinion are so great it has been the cause of many deaths.
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Postby capricorn » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:28 am

For the record, I am catholic and I do not believe I am in direct communication with God. Maybe I am not the type of Christian you are speaking about?

I think a common argument by skeptics is: if God exists, where is the proof?. Not that I would not love to have proof or anything... But I don't think a complete understanding of God is within the realm of human mental capacity. Even the leading geniuses of our time have had no luck explaining the existence (or non-existence) of a supreme creator.

But, lets suppose there were such a human being who did commune with God and was able to comprehend his vast being; do you think that person would be able to convey the manner of his/her existence in terms a human could understand? We struggle with grasping relatively simplistic concepts such as space/time and string theory. These concepts that we find difficult are probably the ABC's of the universe.. if that.

You mention that the only argument for a belief in God is an internal feeling that an individual has, and nothing more. But what is the argument against this belief? Just a feeling? There is no explanation on how the universe was created and anything more than that is just a hunch or a feeling isn't it?
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Postby humphreys » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:37 am

Capricorn, two key differences I see from my position and the believer's. I do not claim certainty, and all I say is, I don't have any evidence for God, so I don't hold the belief that he is real - I just don't see the need to.

I don't have a "feeling" there is no God, there is no evidence for God, so I don't believe, it's as simple as that.

I have, when I was younger, had the "feeling" that there was a God, but it was not based on any evidence, and to me it was nothing more than a comforting, irrational belief.

Why do you believe, and are there not some things about Catholicism that make you wonder at the silly and far-fetchedness of it? Don't you think it is something you should only believe with a ton of evidence in its favour because of that far-fetchedness?
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Postby humphreys » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:45 am

Another difference I thought of capricorn, I do not change my life because of my beliefs. I act the way I see as correct, and good, and do not follow the rules imposed upon me based on a particular interpretation of the Bible as you do.

That's a big thing, again, it strikes me that you should have a lot more evidence than a "feeling" to warrant structuring your life around a belief system.

Should the default position not be "no God" until proven otherwise?
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Postby capricorn » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:04 pm

I sympathize with Skeptics in regards to those who claim certainty and force their belief system on others. I think it is wrong to do so.

However, I do not claim certainty in my belief system. What I believe is simply based off of what I personally think best explains my existence. I don't claim that Christianity is the be all end all explanation. There are several different belief systems that I find interesting as well. My point of view is grounded in my belief that existence is likely under the guiding forces of higher being(s)

I agree that a lot of what is mentioned in the Bible seems far-fetched, but the Bible is simply mans account of God... It is not Gods account of God. In my last post I said, "suppose someone were able to commune with God, do you think they would be able to explain their encounter in a way that could be understood by humans?" My believe is that the Bible is a collection of attempts at it, contributing to the "nonsense"

I do have issues with the Catholic faith as well as the Bible. And to tell you the truth, there most certainly has been more evil done in the name of Christ than good. However, the same can be said about the entire human story... but does this fact mean we should give up on it all?

88 Percent of people believe in a God. But I don't think that many people are so forceful about their faith. The only reason it seems like so many people are forcing religion down our throats is because they are loud-mouths who seem to have the answer to everything. The rest are humble decent people just trying to make it by life.
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Postby humphreys » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:21 pm

I would say probably my post is not aimed at you, to be honest, but I do wonder given your answer why the need for religion at all. God belief and religion are not quite the same things, and it sounds like you could accept the former without the latter, and that possibly Catholicism itself is an unnecessary step up from God belief.

I guess that's the bit I find a stretch, to go from a belief that there is probably a God to Catholicism specifically or any other strict interpretation of a particular religion.
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Postby capricorn » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:54 pm

I guess a good analogy would be to government. So for example, the United States, riddled with problems from poor public education to excessive crime. Many laws that I completely disagree with.. However, arguably the best example of successful government. Not perfect, but better than anything else. Obviously there will be those who disagree, but for me.. it works.

Catholicism, riddled with problems, but for me it works. Not to say that I don't respect concepts from other belief systems, but as a whole, not for me.
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Postby greeney2 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:08 pm

Just curious capricorn, did you go to St. Joseph's in Kenmore? I think it was at Englewood and Colvin or Hertal.
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