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Why bother with faith?

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Blank has brought some awesome sauce to this thread.

 

 

When we talk about real proof or evidence, that is a fairly personal thing. For example, when I visit Yosemite, I understand how glaciers created all those rocks. But it doesn't make it any less majestic, and it confirms my faith. This is completely personal though, some people probably just see rocks.

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What prosper is asking is not about religious faith, but rather about faith itself and why should bother with it.

 

Thanks for the detailed response, I am not trying to attack any religion but I want to ask you some questions around the highlighted parts of your post.

You mention that accepting Christianity can be partly about the weight of evidence But my question is a simple one, can you provide any evidence at all. Anything irrefutable that there is god. I haven't seen or known about anything that suggests there is a higher power, like lights in the sky or some kind of manifestation of an entity. When people ask for this the normal response is "you need to have faith to believe" so we go around in circles.

 

And then if faith is holding onto things that your reason has accepted how can your reason accept something if there is no proof. I know you have pointed out that your reason can be irrational, like your anesthetic story, but that doesn't change the fact your reason is wrong. Aren't you then saying that faith based on reason can be inherently flawed? So for me that makes no sense for a person to be religious as once again it go's back to the point that there is no real proof.

 

Right. There is a difference between religious faith and faith in general, although religious faith is based on faith (duh).

 

Religion in all of its forms sprung out of the lack of understanding human beings had about their surrounding world. You can trace how knowledge and reason have integrated themselves into religions merely by looking at belief systems a few thousand years back. The greeks had many gods, the romans had many gods, not to mention the celts. All those gods were appointed to some particular aspect, which at the times seemed mystical and since it was beyond human control and understanding it was attributed to some otherworldly power or being. However with the increase of knowledge and understanding of those aspects and of our world and beyond these beliefs have changed to incorporate that knoweldge. In actuality Christianity has really evolved from the days of old. True there still are some things that need to be altered, but the essential gist of Christianity, as to what is God is the most accurate in any religion to date. I can try to explain why should need be.

 

Now then,

 

But my question is a simple one, can you provide any evidence at all. Anything irrefutable that there is god. I haven't seen or known about anything that suggests there is a higher power, like lights in the sky or some kind of manifestation of an entity.

 

Let us assume that there is such a thing as a God, an Absolute. As such, God cannot be defined by a single manifestation somewhere in the material world, as that would mean that God has been defined somewhere, someplace and at that very moment, he ceases to be God. An Absolute encompasses everything. Yes, even nothing. All predicates of logic disappear when you are talking about an Absolute as it is everywhere, in all times and outside of all times.

 

When a religion talks about God it talks in images and representations, it does not use clear terms as to what it is. That's why for example in Christianity we have, the Holly Father, Son and the Holly Spirit. These are representations of the Absolute Object, the Absolute Subject and the Absolute Relation between them. Furthermore, because the people who had such revelations had very limited understanding, and as William James states, the spiritual experience varies for every person experiencing it because they interpret it with their knowledge, they found the most optimal ways to put them into word. Believe you me, trying to explain something beyond your comprehension which is everything at the same time is no easy task.

 

Now what we really need is to have a clear terminology for these things, something that a philosopher called Georg Hegel has accomplished, though because he is incredibly difficult to understand, he has fallen into obscurity and most modern philosophers look by and down on him.

 

At any rate - yes, there is proof, attained with reasoning that there is such a thing as a God or rather an Absolute, but it is not exactly what religions make it out to be, MAINLY because they show it through unclear images and representations - not through terms and reasoning, which is why in recent years atheism has become popular, because there are just too many gaps and non-reasonable things in a given belief system and it makes one wonder. I must say though, that whoever reads the Bible and takes everything within it at face value is seriously making a huge mistake.

 

But even when it finally is explained and all is revealed, you will still need some faith in order to understand. Actually you need faith to even begin to attempt to understand. Because understanding the Absolute is only accomplished at a spiritual level, though you can certainly see the absolute's otherness, you can not begin to understand it itself if you continuously grind in its otherness.

Edited by mr.Ermac

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Here is another question. If God is love, but you do not have love for your brother who you do see, how will you understand who God is, God who you cannot see?

 

Another interesting idea would be to propose that God is only found if people seek him with their whole heart. So if people never seek him, how will they know whether or not he can be found?

 

----------------------------------------------------

 

1 John 4:

8"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

...

12"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

----------------------------------------------------

Deuteronomy 4:29-

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

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I always wonder how anyone can have a child and not have some doubts about the nonexistence of God. I was somewhat agnostic before I fell in love with my wife, and then I went full on believer when I had my children. It is impossible not to be amazed when I look at them.

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Right. There is a difference between religious faith and faith in general, although religious faith is based on faith (duh).

 

Religion in all of its forms sprung out of the lack of understanding human beings had about their surrounding world. You can trace how knowledge and reason have integrated themselves into religions merely by looking at belief systems a few thousand years back. The greeks had many gods, the romans had many gods, not to mention the celts. All those gods were appointed to some particular aspect, which at the times seemed mystical and since it was beyond human control and understanding it was attributed to some otherworldly power or being. However with the increase of knowledge and understanding of those aspects and of our world and beyond these beliefs have changed to incorporate that knoweldge. In actuality Christianity has really evolved from the days of old. True there still are some things that need to be altered, but the essential gist of Christianity, as to what is God is the most accurate in any religion to date. I can try to explain why should need be.

 

Now then,

 

But my question is a simple one, can you provide any evidence at all. Anything irrefutable that there is god. I haven't seen or known about anything that suggests there is a higher power, like lights in the sky or some kind of manifestation of an entity.

 

Let us assume that there is such a thing as a God, an Absolute. As such, God cannot be defined by a single manifestation somewhere in the material world, as that would mean that God has been defined somewhere, someplace and at that very moment, he ceases to be God. An Absolute encompasses everything. Yes, even nothing. All predicates of logic disappear when you are talking about an Absolute as it is everywhere, in all times and outside of all times.

 

When a religion talks about God it talks in images and representations, it does not use clear terms as to what it is. That's why for example in Christianity we have, the Holly Father, Son and the Holly Spirit. These are representations of the Absolute Object, the Absolute Subject and the Absolute Relation between them. Furthermore, because the people who had such revelations had very limited understanding, and as William James states, the spiritual experience varies for every person experiencing it because they interpret it with their knowledge, they found the most optimal ways to put them into word. Believe you me, trying to explain something beyond your comprehension which is everything at the same time is no easy task.

 

Now what we really need is to have a clear terminology for these things, something that a philosopher called Georg Hegel has accomplished, though because he is incredibly difficult to understand, he has fallen into obscurity and most modern philosophers look by and down on him.

 

At any rate - yes, there is proof, attained with reasoning that there is such a thing as a God or rather an Absolute, but it is not exactly what religions make it out to be, MAINLY because they show it through unclear images and representations - not through terms and reasoning, which is why in recent years atheism has become popular, because there are just too many gaps and non-reasonable things in a given belief system and it makes one wonder. I must say though, that whoever reads the Bible and takes everything within it at face value is seriously making a huge mistake.

 

But even when it finally is explained and all is revealed, you will still need some faith in order to understand. Actually you need faith to even begin to attempt to understand. Because understanding the Absolute is only accomplished at a spiritual level, though you can certainly see the absolute's otherness, you can not begin to understand it itself if you continuously grind in its otherness.

 

You make some interesting points, I can believe in a higher power or rather some Absolute but our interpretation and definition of it is still wrong then. Almost all religions have predefined rules and views of what you need to say or do in order to follow this Absolute. And this I don't prescribe to.

Here is another question. If God is love, but you do not have love for your brother who you do see, how will you understand who God is, God who you cannot see?

 

Another interesting idea would be to propose that God is only found if people seek him with their whole heart. So if people never seek him, how will they know whether or not he can be found?

 

----------------------------------------------------

 

1 John 4:

8"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

...

12"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

----------------------------------------------------

Deuteronomy 4:29-

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."

 

Don't get me wrong I try to follow the Christian lifestyle, values like love your fellow mankind and don't commit murder because I believe that most of it represents a good and wholesome lifestyle. But I don't follow it for religious belief reasons.

Edited by BruceVC

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Now please understand that I am not unsympathetic to people who have no "faith" in God. I comprehend the doubts and questions. I have struggled with them myself. I have seen my close friend who grew up in the same faith as me decide that he did not believe it anymore, and yet we are still close friends. I understand where he is coming from with his questions. But I suppose God has "revealed" himself to me in "ways" that are "real" to me. My friend has not had God "reveal" himself in the same "ways" and so does not find him as "real" as I do. The "ways" I sense that God has "revealed" himself are more than I can attribute to explicable things that are not God. It would not be honest of me deep down in my soul if I told you that the "ways" I have "experienced" God were explicable to me by reasons other than God.

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Now please understand that I am not unsympathetic to people who have no "faith" in God. I comprehend the doubts and questions. I have struggled with them myself. I have seen my close friend who grew up in the same faith as me decide that he did not believe it anymore, and yet we are still close friends. I understand where he is coming from with his questions. But I suppose God has "revealed" himself to me in "ways" that are "real" to me. My friend has not had God "reveal" himself in the same "ways" and so does not find him as "real" as I do. The "ways" I sense that God has "revealed" himself are more than I can attribute to explicable things that are not God. It would not be honest of me deep down in my soul if I told you that the "ways" I have "experienced" God were explicable to me by reasons other than God.

 

I am interested in what you mean by ways that God has revealed himself to you in certain ways. Can you elaborate , or are they personal and difficult to explain?


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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IMO, faith is something we created because we cant accept that when we die its over. We feel were so special that it cant possibly just "be over" when our physical lives end, that our souls must live for eternity. That were such special lifeforms that we MUST transcend this mortal coil and become eternal beings. Because were so special.

 

The best answer to this is that some religions either do not or did not originate from an idea of an afterlife. In some cases, religions have depicted an afterlife that runs from eternally boring to just plain bad for everyone regardless of life works or faith. The problem with pigeon-holing religion based on an specific function is that you can find, and usually fairly easily, a counter-example. I *do* believe that religion serves a function in society, and so I'm not picking a bone with the underlying ideas behind functionalism. What I *am* saying is religion serves individuals purposes and needs that transcend strict functionalism.

 

In this forum, from what I've seen, it's better to be jaded and doubt everything. In response to that, I have a quote from Dostoevsky:

"[y]ou know that that is the peculiarity of your heart, and all its suffering is due to it. But thank the Creator who has given you a lofty heart capable of such suffering: of thinking and seeking higher things, for our dwelling is in the heavens. God grant that your heart will attain the answer on earth and may God bless your path."

 

Doubt. It's good to doubt and even better to question. Sometimes, in self-defense, it's good to be jaded. ...But, to paraphrase the Bard, there are more things between heaven and earth, my gifted friend, than are known in any of our philosophies.

 

EDIT: I can't believe I'm actually going from lurker to participant in a (sort of) religion thread, and I blame Blank. :Cant's good natured scowling icon:

Edited by Cantousent

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You make some interesting points, I can believe in a higher power or rather some Absolute but our interpretation and definition of it is still wrong then. Almost all religions have predefined rules and views of what you need to say or do in order to follow this Absolute. And this I don't prescribe to.

 

I have yet to make my mind up about faith (and, as far as I understand it, it's not a matter of 'making your mind up' anyway), but what you say about 'predefined rules and views' is true of all human existence. Science is, according to the best historians of science and technology, about predefined rules and views of what can be counted as real or truth (or, in various cases, not actually true but considered true enough / probably true); so it is with nonreligious philosophy and ethics, from the Greeks to people like Levinas; so it is with pure down to earth, 'common sense' wisdom or way of life.

 

Believing in the rules by which science determines what may be practically counted as probably true is a matter of choosing to see the world in a certain way, after which you use those very rules to determine what is real or true - including those rules themselves, which is why a purely scientific judgment of religion, or a purely religious judgment of science, is useful to nobody except the believers of either.

 

Oh, and about the idea that faith, religion, God, etc. is our way of trying to make ourselves feel important or immortal; why, is that not the goal of life? My body is not under my control even as I speak, and soon enough, I shall die, no matter what I do. There are certainly deplorable forms of human hubris or dreams of immortality, but to try and make ourselves 'special' in itself - it is a worthy goal.

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Some think they need faith. How do they know they need faith?

 

How else are they going to accept the contradictions of their dogmatic beliefs?

 

As an offensive example: If Mormons didn't have faith, they would have to ask themselves why their deity suddenly decided to stop being a jerk to black people in 1978 and why their deity's view of black people tended to follow the prevailing social mores of the US, from the blatant racism of Joe Smith and Brigham Young in the early-to-mid 1800s, to today when the LDS can point to Gladys Knight (and many others) as shining examples of inclusiveness, all while ignoring the schizophrenic nature of the situation.

 

Without faith they'd have to admit that their religious organization was founded by bigots and for the bulk of time since its founding, the LDS organization has reflected that bigotry.

 

As an amusing example: Without faith Christians would have to ask themselves why it is alright to eat at Red Lobster but not alright for two consenting adults to fornicate and marry. No one wants anyone to face that hard question, so they must have faith.

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I just wanted to state that the fact that no poster has yet linked a George Michael video declaring that they've got to have faith speaks volumes for the community's maturity. Of course the reason for that may very well be that they would also be declaring that they guess it would be nice if they could touch the OP's body...

Neither has there been any pondering by people about what would happen should they lose their faith in the OP, even though it would be right for us to say that they have lost their faith in science and progress, their belief in the holy church and their sense of direction.

Of course one could go further and state that the reason why one needs faith is Insomnia, that the Faithless can't get no sleep.

 

But as people may actually want to have a serious discussion, I shall leave this thread in peace and speak of Faith No More.

 

*wavies*

Edited by melkathi
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Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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I am sorely disappointed by the omission. I rate Faith as the best pop album of the 80s, ahead of such other massive works like Thriller, Purple Rain and Rio.

 

 

I even broke my self-imposed Sony Music boycott to pick up the recent super-special-edition re-release.


L I E S T R O N G
L I V E W R O N G

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Oh, and about the idea that faith, religion, God, etc. is our way of trying to make ourselves feel important or immortal; why, is that not the goal of life? My body is not under my control even as I speak, and soon enough, I shall die, no matter what I do. There are certainly deplorable forms of human hubris or dreams of immortality, but to try and make ourselves 'special' in itself - it is a worthy goal.

 

Why do you feel that is a worthy goal? It just seem like hubris to me. Of all the life forms on Earth, only this current version of humanity is worthy of immortality? To me, thats just a coping mechanism people use to mind trick themselves into feeling they arent mundane, arent alone, arent going to simply die and be forgotten by history, but will in fact live on for all of time. With that basis in mind, religon can then backfill in a bunch of stuff to influence peoples behavior.


image,Gfted1,black,red.png

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It is well documented that all dogs go to heaven Gfted :p

 

On a more serious note, the concept of the soul and immortality varies greatly depending on which religion we are talking about.

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It is well documented that all dogs go to heaven Gfted :p

 

I sure hope mine does, shes a good girl.

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image,Gfted1,black,red.png

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For those interested in the problems of religious pride and feelings of religious self-importance, take a look at Trungpa's "Cutting through spiritual materialism". http://www.amazon.co.../dp/1590306392/

 

Have faith, that these teachings will make you lose faith.. ;)

 

J.

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For those interested in the problems of religious pride and feelings of religious self-importance, take a look at Trungpa's "Cutting through spiritual materialism". http://www.amazon.co.../dp/1590306392/

 

Have faith, that these teachings will make you lose faith.. ;)

 

J.

 

Can't really buy the book, but from the description

 

the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it

 

Ex-****ing-actly. What most indian teachings aim to tell us is how to let go of the material world (for them it's an illusion anyway, or the veil of Maya). In order for you to truly become one with "God", or see the Absolute, first the SELF must die, that is, as Augustine says, to make room for the Absolute to enter. The problem with 99.99% of people is that they live with a subjective view of the world. People consider themselves the Absolute Object, and thus they constantly keep reflecting back at themselves, never actually stepping aside, to look at the Absolute. Ultimate faith is attained through spirituality. Spirituality is absolutely essential for the understanding of the Absolute, you will NEVER be close to understanding if you keep on digging in the material world. That is exactly why, at some point, science will reach a point where it can't do anything anymore, because it will all be contradictions and illogical scenarios. However that is not the end, but merely the beginning of the dialectics of the Absolute (as in Hegel's dialectics).

 

You make some interesting points, I can believe in a higher power or rather some Absolute but our interpretation and definition of it is still wrong then. Almost all religions have predefined rules and views of what you need to say or do in order to follow this Absolute. And this I don't prescribe to.

 

Of course it is wrong, do you think its an easy thing to comprehend? Its not just pointing at it and saying - oh yeah that's it. For more than 2000 years, men smarter than you and me have gazed into that scorching light, as if gazing into the sun, and have pulled out knowledge from there for us to study and try to understand. But this misunderstanding also owes a lot to the fact that philosophy has fallen into a decline in the last century.

 

Almost all religions have predefined rules indeed, but those were created at times when man was completely ignorant. What now is common knowledge back then was absolutely unfathomable or mystical, transcendent even. The best thing those who had an idea and some comprehension could do is to guide the people by using religion and faith. Do you really think Jesus walked on water? No, that is not his contribution and it is not even important. Nowadays, what you can get out of religion are simple guidelines, kinda like the pirate code in pirates of the caribbean, simply guidelines you can adhere to if you wish. These guidelines will help you, however it is not needed to be a fanatic, throwing around crosses whenever you've done something wrong, because as Martin Luther said, the one who has to really forgive, is you yourself, because God is within you, but that is true only when the Absolute Object has been seen through the Absolute Subject and in the process is in its other with itself.

 

In the end it is up to you to decide how you do it, the paths are many - the destination is one. The ways paved in different religions can help you, there's nothing to be suspicious about. You may try to walk them, and if they are not for you, you will know. I of course always recommend philosophy, as it works for me and I believe it is one of the most correct ways to approach the Absolute.

Edited by mr.Ermac
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The problem with that kind of metaphysical extensialism is of course that you hinder intersubjectivity and truely destroying the self would also destroy/negate any kind of observation of this "Absolute".. So how would "you" experience it?


Fortune favors the bald.

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$1000 escorts and Scotch, that's how close I want to get to Nirvana.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Great post Mr. Ermac, welcome to the forum :)

 

I agree, nice one Mr. Ermac :)


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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$1000 escorts and Scotch, that's how close I want to get to Nirvana.

 

:grin:, now those types of self-improvements I can understand perfectly


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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From my simplistic point of wiev all these religious texts have all one goal in common, to teach folks to live and pass away as good person, only their ways differs depending on culture. In my opinion I didn't need religious book to teach me what is wrong and evil and what is good, good parents and years of life can teach many that. Don't take me wrong I am not throwing faith out I just don't like the faith with rules which orders that only this way is the right way, why? All faiths have imho same goal in the end so there's no need for disputes, I don't force my believes and faith on you sir so please do for me the same, belief with respect for others beliefs, after all we are humans and every last one of us is a original piece and such we should stay, I wouldn't want all around me to look act and think the same way I do. To a question if there is some greater being above us, well again in my pouint of wiev I don't see a reason why that should be restricted by just one book or rules that says that only that picture is right one and I should follow them, but I respect these believes if they are not forced on me, all those different wievs on Name and Look corresponds with different cultural wievs so again, different person different look but still same thing. If it is there somewhere I don't need a name or form to it at least not me because its something beyond such limitations and if it isn't well what changes? I still will live my life as good person I am, after all I have on it this one life and compared to time which I spent dead it's a very short time and should't be wastetd in argues about something which anyway I will never find out answer on, not in life that is. And if there is something after death? Well since it awaits everybody I'll just wait and when my time comes I will see for myself and let myself get surprised, untill then I will live a simple life of good and working man I was raised tend to be, after all, my grandchildrens will be the last ones to remember me and thats all there is left of most of us no other generation offamily line will remember who and what I was. So why bother with faith? well why not, it is after all everyone's own choice so why should I force to change them?I Im sorry if if none of what I wrote makes sense, but thats the best way how I can express it.

Edited by Ywerion
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"Have you ever spoken with the dead? Called to them from this side? Called them from their silent rest? Do you know what it is that they feel?

Pain. Pain, when torn into this wakefulness, this reminder of the chaos from which they had escaped. Pain of having to live! There will be no more pain. There will be... no more chaos."

 

 

Kerghan the Terrible,

first of the Necromancers,

voyager in the Lands of the Dead.

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From my simplistic point of wiev all these religious texts have all one goal in common, to teach folks to live and pass away as good person, only their ways differs depending on culture. In my opinion I didn't need religious book to teach me what is wrong and evil and what is good, good parents and years of life can teach many that. Don't take me wrong I am not throwing faith out I just don't like the faith with rules which orders that only this way is the right way, why? All faiths have imho same goal in the end so there's no need for disputes, I don't force my believes and faith on you sir so please do for me the same, belief with respect for others beliefs, after all we are humans and every last one of us is a original piece and such we should stay, I wouldn't want all around me to look act and think the same way I do. To a question if there is some greater being above us, well again in my pouint of wiev I don't see a reason why that should be restricted by just one book or rules that says that only that picture is right one and I should follow them, but I respect these believes if they are not forced on me, all those different wievs on Name and Look corresponds with different cultural wievs so again, different person different look but still same thing. If it is there somewhere I don't need a name or form to it at least not me because its something beyond such limitations and if it isn't well what changes? I still will live my life as good person I am, after all I have on it this one life and compared to time which I spent dead it's a very short time and should't be wastetd in argues about something which anyway I will never find out answer on, not in life that is. And if there is something after death? Well since it awaits everybody I'll just wait and when my time comes I will see for myself and let myself get surprised, untill then I will live a simple life of good and working man I was raised tend to be, after all, my grandchildrens will be the last ones to remember me and thats all there is left of most of us no other generation offamily line will remember who and what I was. So why bother with faith? well why not, it is after all everyone's own choice so why should I force to change them?I Im sorry if if none of what I wrote makes sense, but thats the best way how I can express it.

 

It does make sense, you have raised some good points :)


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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