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post #121 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Yes I agree, except I would substitute the word "God" with "the world". The thing is, the more we find out about the world around us and get closer to the intrinsic nature of it, the less of an importance 'god' seems to play in it (as understood from the texts anyway; there is also plenty of incoherence in NT too, I'm afraid to say). For me, there certainly is no reason so suppose that there is a personal god.
'Consciousness' is an interesting subject and kind of difficult to explain but something we can be certain of (because most of us experience it directly but we don't really understand how that happens). Though I don't really know how god can come into it.
I often have 'spiritual' experiences. I think most of us do when we are in awe of something for example but not all of us ascribe it to holy spirits.
You wrote that you 'identified' yourself as an atheist. I'm not sure atheists identify themselves as 'atheists' to be honest. Being an atheist is just an absence of a belief, not believing that there is no god. I can't say I identify myself as a non-golfer or non-astrologist. I just don't really read horoscopes and don't play golf (that much).



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Well, ''identify'' meaning...a label that if you were asked ''what do you believe?'' you'd answer ''I'm an atheist,'' or a variation of that. When I left faith, it wasn't a choice, it was a gradual moving away from prayer, from church, eventually it felt like a conclusion to no longer follow a god, or believe in one. So, I understand atheism better having ''identified'' as one, than before when I was a Christian, and I assumed that atheism was somehow ''evil,'' etc.

You identify as a non-golfer. lol Whateverrr.


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post #122 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Yes I do, because after we die, I don't really think it makes any difference what we believe. The only difference it will make, will be to our lives now. I often imagine that somebody with faith will perhaps be much more at peace while alive, knowing that our worst nightmares, such as losing somebody close to a horrible illness or being completely lost/rejected/hurt/unloved etc, will be according to 'god's plan', whatever it may be and that everything will be 'revealed' at the end and that Jesus or <insert god of choice> will take good care, no matter what.

But in reality, I don't think it's that simple for people even with very strong faith: it might be the case if one was 100% convinced but having 'faith' is very different from 'knowing', a concept that many atheists perhaps fail to identify with.
Some religious people may proclaim they are 100% convinced but I am not so sure they think as they preach. Speaking with some of my friends who have "faith"' on one level or another, it seems to me that faith to them is more like hope and I think atheists and the 'faithful' are actually not as far apart as the arguments between both camps may imply. Basically both feel lost and hopeless at times, except one may turn to god when in despair and the other will turn to something else.
So my idea of 'faith' may be based on an idealism that may not exist. All I can say is that there is no way for me to be able to accept something as fact, or even to hope for something that may sound like a nice story, for which there is absolutely no rational reason, no indication or hint of any kind (except what we narrate ourselves about what we see around us: which is a highly subjective perception of reality).
I think it is possible that reality may be way more quirky than we can suppose, it can even be possible that there is no such thing as 'reality' except what we make it out to be. Or it can be many other different things. But if I was looking for 'truth', it would not be in the bible or church etc. The only reason I might look at the bible was if I was a historian.

I'm not sure how to phrase these things without sounding condescending to the ones with faith. But I hope I was able to lay out my thinking more or less.

I think you are right, we are conditioned to think more closely from the way we were brought up. Or I may just be lacking that 'faith' gene. Yes, I sometimes wish I had one.


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Agree with much of this, but from going through a journey of sorts with my faith over the past nearly 5 years, I would say that we all have more in common than we don't. We tend to separate ourselves with labels and such, but in truth, we all have beliefs, even non-beliefs, and we all have sets of truths that we follow. Life isn't cut and dry, imo, and faith doesn't suddenly make me feel like everything in life makes sense. For me, my relationship with Jesus is what comforts me and carries me through life, with strength. Is that all in my head? I don't believe so, I finally accept that what I'm feeling is a relationship with God. But, I can't tell you to feel it, I can only share my own experiences, and thoughts about God with you. This is where organized religion takes things off the rails a bit. It can sometimes cause believers to push faith onto others, and I'll never understand that because God doesn't push Himself onto us. At least this is how I see my faith, now.

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post #123 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Do you feel your faith is rooted in the fact that your husbands' faith is strong? It seems people often change their beliefs depending on who they are with at the time (it seems to play a big part).
I know of only very few scientists who also have faith (in the biblical god). As soon as you approach the subject logically, it really does tend to fall apart...There must be an emotion involved that switches something in the brain (which I seem to be lacking).
Even Einstein was open to the possibility that something beyond us, might exist. Maybe not a personal god, but he didn't close the door to the possibilities.

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post #124 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 09:34 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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What about his whereabouts? Or is that something the president will announce AFTER they make contact? (Bit like the Bin Laden assassination).
I will join you in your conviction if you show me where he lives.
Also: can he be 'alive' and still be god? Seems contradictory.
Sorry, this was my envy typing


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Right now He is with the Father in heaven. We have God with us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is going to return though.
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post #125 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 02:05 AM
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Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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In spirit, and He dwells within us. As believers, we believe this, anyway.



It's funny you say that you envy people who have faith, I've somewhat envied people who grew up with atheist parents, because then, if as adults they turn to faith, nothing from their childhood brought that on, you know? For me, I can't deny that the pull of my childhood ''indoctrination'' into faith, caused me probably to feel lost when I left Christianity, and identified as an atheist.


If childhood didn't bring on faith then some other traumatic event during adulthood might. Some things are too horrible to come to terms with, without faith. Then again, some things are too horrible and at the same time imagine that there is a loving, caring, omnipotent god watching over us and allowing this to happen.


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post #126 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 02:11 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Even Einstein was open to the possibility that something beyond us, might exist. Maybe not a personal god, but he didn't close the door to the possibilities.


Nobody rational will close the door to a possibility that anything is possible. But we have to live our lives within some kind of concept of reality. I realise that for some, reality =god, I just cannot convince myself as I don't see events in life unfolding within some kind of master plan. I certain don't deny levels of reality far beyond our comprehension but it will be a far cry from anything what the majority of people actually believe and what's in the texts and the reasons why people go to church.


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post #127 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 02:18 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Well, ''identify'' meaning...a label that if you were asked ''what do you believe?'' you'd answer ''I'm an atheist,'' or a variation of that. When I left faith, it wasn't a choice, it was a gradual moving away from prayer, from church, eventually it felt like a conclusion to no longer follow a god, or believe in one. So, I understand atheism better having ''identified'' as one, than before when I was a Christian, and I assumed that atheism was somehow ''evil,'' etc.



You identify as a non-golfer. lol Whateverrr.


That's exactly what atheism is not: it's not a belief. It's the absence of belief. Very different. It's living life by what we see and can explain using logic. You might think it's too 'dry' to go through life with just logic but it doesn't mean atheists don't feel things...they just don't ascribe them to god. Most things you feel can be replicated using certain stimulants or drugs." Which means they are physical in nature, not metaphysical. The term 'atheism' has been given by the religious to describe a concept they don't really understand. I don't 'identify' myself as a non-golfer, that was my point. The golf club would identify me as such, others would just see me as a person. That's why I'm not sure you were ever really an 'atheist'. An atheist wouldn't call themselves such.


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post #128 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 05:51 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Right now He is with the Father in heaven. We have God with us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is going to return though.


I thought Jesus, God and the holy spirits are all the same thing?


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post #129 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 06:07 AM
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Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Agree with much of this, but from going through a journey of sorts with my faith over the past nearly 5 years, I would say that we all have more in common than we don't. We tend to separate ourselves with labels and such, but in truth, we all have beliefs, even non-beliefs, and we all have sets of truths that we follow. Life isn't cut and dry, imo, and faith doesn't suddenly make me feel like everything in life makes sense. For me, my relationship with Jesus is what comforts me and carries me through life, with strength. Is that all in my head? I don't believe so, I finally accept that what I'm feeling is a relationship with God. But, I can't tell you to feel it, I can only share my own experiences, and thoughts about God with you. This is where organized religion takes things off the rails a bit. It can sometimes cause believers to push faith onto others, and I'll never understand that because God doesn't push Himself onto us. At least this is how I see my faith, now.


I think prt of the reason why the other believers try to 'push things onto us' because they try to save us. According to their ideology, I'm going to hell for not believing in the right type of god or not believing at all. So I take their concern for me as a sign of compassion. Don't get me wrong, I would t want to go to hell and would much more prefer the heaven stuff (particularly 72 virgins might be appealing to men - this heaven place seems to have been designed with mostly men in mind, it seems - but not if my wife is coming with me to the same place then I wouldn't want those..).
I also don't understand why god made me that way (not being able to believe) so I'm stuck in a limbo.

Anyway, clearly you derive strength from your faith and that is a great thing. Whether it's true doesn't really matter, as long as it is true for YOU. Everything is in our heads. Even I am in my own head, if that makes sense. There is no 'I'. We imagine one with our brain. Just like we imagine the rest of the reality.
It's best to talk about these things when one is a little bit high :-) (though I don't do drugs but I think I can 'imagine' what it's like, in my head :-)


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post #130 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

That ^^ makes sense. I find that there is so much judgement in the world around us for who we label ourselves to be, which is why I dislike labels.

I read a few interesting articles about marriage, and who has the highest divorce rates. Apparently, now these are just stats, but as far as stats go, atheists have the least amount of divorce, while evangelical Christians have the highest. And some of the best marriages are between atheists and religious people. I wonder if evangelical Christians are high with divorce because there is this idea out there, that there is 'one, true soul mate' that God has picked for you, and then you marry him/her, and if the couple isn't prepared on a secular level for marriage at all, and is thinking that they just need to pray their marriage into success, then that could be part of the problem. I'm not sure, but that comes to mind when I read that.


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post #131 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 08:35 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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I thought Jesus, God and the holy spirits are all the same thing?


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Separate but one. The trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
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post #132 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 08:42 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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That ^^ makes sense. I find that there is so much judgement in the world around us for who we label ourselves to be, which is why I dislike labels.

I read a few interesting articles about marriage, and who has the highest divorce rates. Apparently, now these are just stats, but as far as stats go, atheists have the least amount of divorce, while evangelical Christians have the highest. And some of the best marriages are between atheists and religious people. I wonder if evangelical Christians are high with divorce because there is this idea out there, that there is 'one, true soul mate' that God has picked for you, and then you marry him/her, and if the couple isn't prepared on a secular level for marriage at all, and is thinking that they just need to pray their marriage into success, then that could be part of the problem. I'm not sure, but that comes to mind when I read that.
I believe that in church going committed Christians the divorce rate is lower. I know of so many divorces, but only a couple where both were Christians. Remember also that atheists are far more likely to live together without marriage, and those relationships are far far more likely to end than a marriage. Also people who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than those who don't.

Christians are just as prepared for marriage as anyone else, and many go to preparation for marriage courses.

I also know marriages where one is a committed christian and one not, they are generally not happy marriages.
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post #133 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 08:52 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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I think prt of the reason why the other believers try to 'push things onto us' because they try to save us. According to their ideology, I'm going to hell for not believing in the right type of god or not believing at all. So I take their concern for me as a sign of compassion. Don't get me wrong, I would t want to go to hell and would much more prefer the heaven stuff (particularly 72 virgins might be appealing to men - this heaven place seems to have been designed with mostly men in mind, it seems - but not if my wife is coming with me to the same place then I wouldn't want those..).
I also don't understand why god made me that way (not being able to believe) so I'm stuck in a limbo.

Anyway, clearly you derive strength from your faith and that is a great thing. Whether it's true doesn't really matter, as long as it is true for YOU. Everything is in our heads. Even I am in my own head, if that makes sense. There is no 'I'. We imagine one with our brain. Just like we imagine the rest of the reality.
It's best to talk about these things when one is a little bit high :-) (though I don't do drugs but I think I can 'imagine' what it's like, in my head :-)


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The 77 virgins thing is pure nonsense, its an islamic belief. Their religion is very down on women, Christianity isn't. Part of me feels for those young men who blow themselves up thinking they will get that 'reward', but part of me is sickened that they even think that's what God is like. Its not. Their god is false.

Yes you are right. If you saw people on a boat heading for a massive waterfall, would you want to warn them? As Christians God tells us to tell others about Him. Its not something that is just for us, but for everyone. Its not something we are supposed to hide from others or keep to ourselves.
God hasnt made you 'not' to believe, we all have a choice to follow him or not. You can make that choice today by finding a church that runs an alpha course or similar, which is for those like you who want to know more and ask questions.

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post #134 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 08:54 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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If childhood didn't bring on faith then some other traumatic event during adulthood might. Some things are too horrible to come to terms with, without faith. Then again, some things are too horrible and at the same time imagine that there is a loving, caring, omnipotent god watching over us and allowing this to happen.


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The alternative to Him allowing these things to happen is that He make us all into robots who He controls. Most of the suffering in the world is caused by us, man.
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post #135 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-05-2017, 12:51 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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That ^^ makes sense. I find that there is so much judgement in the world around us for who we label ourselves to be, which is why I dislike labels.

I read a few interesting articles about marriage, and who has the highest divorce rates. Apparently, now these are just stats, but as far as stats go, atheists have the least amount of divorce, while evangelical Christians have the highest. And some of the best marriages are between atheists and religious people. I wonder if evangelical Christians are high with divorce because there is this idea out there, that there is 'one, true soul mate' that God has picked for you, and then you marry him/her, and if the couple isn't prepared on a secular level for marriage at all, and is thinking that they just need to pray their marriage into success, then that could be part of the problem. I'm not sure, but that comes to mind when I read that.


Yes, sorry, I think it was me who posts these stats....I think one of the reasons was the fact that Christians tend to marry younger, with less education (at that moment in time) because church encourages this.
Praying for marriage to succeed is another. But then again, the same principle would apply when trying to pray away for any kind of problem rather than taking responsibility for t yourself and resolving it. I have a lot of Christian friends who put all their faith in god and get often discouraged when nothing gets fixed or done and they end up having to do things themselves.

Anyway, I don't believe in the whole soul mate thing. While I definitely would not have picked anyone else but my wife, I am not sure I can say the same about her (picking me). But one can grow closer together (or drift apart) and relationships evolve continuously. Nothing is ever static or set in stone.


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