Thinking About Belief

Thinking

Earlier today, while I was waiting for an electrician to stop by and install a room fan, I came across a tablet that I had apparently used for “notes” when I was writing my book. Funny thing is … I don’t think I ever used any of them! Probably because the book went in a slightly different direction than I had originally planned.

Anyway, I thought some of the notes were quite good so I decided to share a few of them here. As you will see, my focus at the time was on “belief.”

  • What we want to believe is largely based on emotion.
  • How do we tell the difference between what we want to believe is true … and what is actually true?
  • Beliefs are formed through many avenues, including family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large. Once a belief is formed, we defend, justify, and rationalize it — and look for evidence to support it.
  • Why do we not still believe the sun revolves around the earth? Because the evidence reflects otherwise.
  • When some people deeply believe something, they accept it as fact.
  • Many people resist challenging their beliefs even when they know there is no evidence to support them.
  • Is a belief in a god somehow necessary to live a normal life?
  • One may express belief in a being or entity that exists outside space and time — yet is unable to form a concept of or describe such a being.
  • Why is there a near-universal belief that “god” is a word that reflects something other than an idea?
  • Why is belief in supernatural entities not shared by everyone?

And then I came across this …

  • According to the bible, Satan loses in the end, so why does he continue to do his evil work? Can’t he read?

*******************************
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

122 thoughts on “Thinking About Belief

  1. I see belief as a method of thinking – more like a verb (the mental action of believing) – versus belief in whatever (the object or idea being believed) and then getting bogged down in whether the ‘whatever’ is likely or probable or true. I don’t trust it to reflect what reality has to say in the matter; it’s usually an indication someone has reached a conclusion about some matter and is now making a pronouncement of a position. In today’s world, this is often meant to put up a tactical walls of defense that no one should have right to assail. After all, it’s a belief and everyone is entitled to believe what they want! fRReEdOM!

    Because the term ‘belief’ has (at least) two very different definitions, I find it often causes confusion when people use the same term (as a synonym for ‘I think’ or ‘I think it likely’ or something along these lines versus the position of belief in spite of anything reality has to say in the matter, as in ‘I believe in spooks, I do, I do, I DO believe in spooks!’) but in way that means very different things… even in the same sentence! It’s a slick trick and a useful tactic to use the same term but mean different things to cause confusion and one that accommodationists and apologists and deniers use all the time to great effect.

    Anyway, ‘belief’ is a very slippery term and you’ve noticed several uses for it in your notes.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Satan must be one of those guys who can resist looking at the last page to see how the book ends.

    Reading this made me laugh, Beliefs are formed through many avenues, including family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large. Once a belief is formed, we defend, justify, and rationalize it — and look for evidence to support it. It supports the decision to follow a particular Political party or belief, and will not accept they could be in the wrong.
    Massive Hugs.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. How about “If God is all-powerful, how come when people use the word “god” each of them means something different?

    And I can top your story. I wrote a book and published it, and then weeks later I found a file with a strange name. I opened it and as I was reading it, I realized that I had written a draft for this book months prior and had forgotten I had done so! IT was eerie how close the two manuscripts were to one another.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Now with the word god there is nothing to which it refers, so each man can create his own image of that for which there is no reference.
      Is belief necessary to find out? [if there is a god] To learn is far more important than to know. Learning about belief is the end of belief. When the mind is free of belief then it can look. It is belief, or disbelief, that binds; for disbelief and belief are the same: they are the opposite sides of the same coin.
      —J Krishnamurti

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was the schoolboy who said, “”Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.””
    Mark Twain

    Andrew Seidel says that “believing doesn’t make it so.” Or words to that effect.

    Maybe you didn’t use those notes as subject lines, but as I recall, you did cover most of the ideas that the notes refer to. For those of us who had Christianity drilled into us from the cradle up, “faith is the evidence of things not seen,” and, “all things are possible; only believe,” escape is not always easy.

    Tildeb noted the ambiguity in language; it is a boon to politicians, lawyers, and religious teachers. The rest of us, hopefully dealing with reality and facts need to be more careful how we express our thoughts.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey, jr., this is a true story.
      I entered a contest for a trip to Cuba in 2003, one of those radio things with all kinds os sponsors where their patrons could enter every time they were in the store or restaurant, etc. Then I forgot about it. A week or so later I get a phone call from the radio announcer telling me my name was chosen from the place where I entered, though there were 4 more weeks of entries to be chosen. I thanked her, and said I would pack my bags that night. She asked for I meant, and I told her thank you for a free trip to Cuba. She talked a bit more, and laughed at me when I said I knew the instant she told me that I would win. Every week after that she would phone and tell me I survived another step, andI told her thank you over and over. By the end of the four weeks she was starting to believe. But there were still three more rounds of draws left to go. Another week, and another phone call. I and a guest were invited to a night at the same restaurant where I had entered for a free party. When we arrived I had to fill out another entry at the door. There were still 30 contestants. After a meal and a bunch of speeches from each sponsor the field was reduced from 30 to 5, with each name announced to the crowd. My name was the last one drawn. We were asked to fill out one final entry to make sure everything was above reproach. At last it was final draw time, and the radio announcer had a guest of a non-eligible entrant chose à name out of a hat. The woman reached in, drew a name, and handed it to the announcer. I was already getting out of my chair when she said, “And the winner is…” Her face dropped as she read my name. She did not want to believe it, I don’t think. When I got to the stage to pick up my prizes she asked me how I knew on that first night she called, and I said her voice told me I would win.
      Meanwhile, all this time, my new girlfriendI had just moved in with was laughing at me all the time too. “Nobody can know the future!” she said. I told her I can, at least in this contest. When my name wax read at the gala she just looked at me in disbelief. But she went to Cuba with me, and we are still together, 18 years later.
      So, question, did I really know, or just believe so hard that I made it come true? This was not the only such event in my life, but it was the most grueling. I am psychic at times. I get a strong feeling something will happen, and I have not been wrong yet, including a few times when the thing was not in my favour, such as being robbed on a train in Poland. I knew I would be robbed, so put most of my money and important papers in what I thought were safe places. Not only were my pockets picked, but my luggage was stolen too in two separate events. I lost most everything I had, but not all. Because of my foreknowledge my money and my passport were saved, but not much else.
      Sorry, Nan, for making this so long, but these are things that have happened in my life, and writing about the first reminded me of the second. But they come down to the same thing, belief or knowledge. I call them knowledge, others might just call them belief, or even chance.

      Like

        • Once, maybe by chance –what I call chaos, and the world is nothing if it is not chaotic. But these kinds of things have happened all too often in my life. I am not saying it destroys chaos, because I love chaos. But I am saying that bits and pieces seen to be knowable. Why? I have no idea!

          Like

  5. Two comments here (tildeb and Steve Ruis) point to the importance definitions. I agree.

    I’m writing a post on “what is God.” Maybe I need one for belief, too.

    Regarding my atheism, someone asked me, “I know what you do not believe, but what do you believe?” It took me a while to answer because I had to think about it. I after I gave her my answer, she said, “That’s not what I mean.” While my answer was okay for me, it was unsatisfactory to her.

    There are the “I believe…” lines in the Apostles’ Creed (I prefer Profession of Faith) that make belief claims outward, but does everyone believe each line internally? And what does that ‘believe’ mean when they say it?

    When someone says they ‘believe in God,’ are they espousing exactly the same “believe” as I am when I say that I do not? I bet not.

    As you noted, “One may express belief in a being or entity that exists outside space and time — yet is unable to form a concept of or describe such a being.”

    Liked by 4 people

  6. There is no such thing as NORMAL, therefore there is no such thing as a NORMAL LIFE, so it naturally follows that believing in “god” is not necessary to live a so-called normal life, since there is no such thing.

    The thing about belief … it’s all about stuff of which you have no proof … so you have to BELIEVE. Once there is proof … or some kind of logic to the thought process … belief is unnecessary.

    A person can live without any kind of belief system whatsoever & have a perfectly good life.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I find myself trying to avoid using the term ‘belief’ because it is such an ambiguous word in my interpretation of the term. When I hear someone using the term I almost always begin to think that there is some level of uncertainty in the mind of the person making the statement. If what they were saying was true, why use an ambiguous term like ‘believe’ rather than a word that permits no misinterpretation of what they’re saying? For example, I could say something like “I believe the Wisconsin state legislature is full of unethical, greedy pissants who would sell their own grandmothers if it benefited them.” But using the term in that context would imply that there is some uncertainty in that statement that shouldn’t be there. I know most of them are.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. excellent point, Nan! nobody considers this, taking belief for granted. is not a belief (any belief) simply a thought? and what is a thought? is not a thought, an empty thing? if we ignore it, do we ‘disappear’??
    then why do we feel we are our thoughts and identify with them so strongly, that we are willing to kill for them ? it is possible to simply ignore all thoughts, if one wishes.
    in zen there is nice saying “Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea”. meaning, just don’t stick to any one idea.

    regarding god, we want proof for that, but where is the proof for thoughts?? can you show me a thought or a belief?? we can show words, but words are sounds and written words, they are not thoughts. sooo, tricky!

    and yet, most people’s lives revolve around thoughts and concepts. it forms their whole reality.
    ain’t that sad?? yes, this too… is a thought😆

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As to our Dark Lord and Master, since God CREATED Satan, since God is OMNISCIENT, since God is OMNIPOTENT, all the evil works of The Debbil are ultimately according to His Omni-Plan anyway. So it is a mistake to even speak of a “Satan” who opposes God’s work anyway. Satan’s work is God’s work by definition.

    One can then note that the third leg of the stool (Omnibenevolence) fails utterly, but then I am not a Christian who can accept such incoherent, ridiculous illogic.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I like your comment, and fully agree. I’ve often wondered that Satan is a servant of God.
      And logic cannot figure out Omni-anything. I can fathom an eternal future but not an eternal past.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, I’ll check on it.
          I think mysticism is a furtherance of man’s penchant for independence. Centered in self, ‘knowledge of good and evil.

          Like

        • To me, any independent-of-God study of God is calculated rebellion vs God. He wants one to one relationship, via himself! Instead, we create mythology and Sci-fi gods.

          Like

        • The biblical character? There is no evidence for this character.
          You believe that a narrative construct is a god. Interesting.
          Did you come by this belief as a child or did you ‘convert’ as an adult?

          Like

        • I take it this “biblical character.. narrative construct.. belief” came upon me, he overshadowed me. To me, ‘faith is the gift of God.’

          Like

        • Would it then be fair to say you were, to a large extent, inculcated through regular exposure and thus faith rather than evidence gleaned through examination and critical thinking was the determining factor in your acceptance of Christian doctrine?

          Like

        • Oh it’s certainly true- consistent exposure was key. To Christ, more than the doctrine. It was all about him in every bible story. All the songs.

          Most everyone in church was about him. And our family prayed to him at every meal. More than a Spirit, I saw Christ a Person. Actual evidence.

          Like

        • So, to confirm, no evidence whatsoever but simply childhood indoctrination that you have carried into adulthood.
          Do you consider people who have managed to resist such religious indoctrination should be more sympathetic toward those who suffer from this type of delusion?

          Like

        • Anyway, I believe God is behind the size, variety, complexity and beauty of the universe. The problem is that we do without him. That’s why Christ makes sense to me.

          Like

        • But ‘Christ’ is a narrative construct. There is no evidence for this character as described in the bible, and we have established that your belief is based on (initial) childhood indoctrination and cultural influence. Why on earth would you believe in something for which there is no evidence?

          Like

        • There is enough evidence for me or I would reject the story. There are surely lots of bible issues and problems but I’m betting my life on Christ. Even if everything else is wrong and he’s the only truth.

          Like

        • It isn’t a question of whether you consider there is enough evidence, the plain fact is, there is NO evidence.
          What you have accepted is simply historical fiction, due almost entirely to indoctrination and cultural influence.

          I will stake anything you care to mention you are unable to provide a single piece of evidence for the biblical character you believe to be your god.

          Like

        • I’m far from an apologist. I’m not going to argue God into your world. No, all I’m telling you is that I believe Christ is God in flesh and blood. If that doesn’t strike you, so be it.

          Like

        • … on what do you base this belief. You have stated that there is enough evidence for you to believe and yet there simply is NO evidence. I have challenged you to provide evidence yet you have avoided this, merely restating that you believe.
          So, what evidence do you consider you have to demonstrate the veracity of your claims?

          Like

        • Ark, he has demonstrated on a number of blogs that he has nothing but his own personal outlook related to his beliefs. His comments are filled with cryptic ideas about god and Jesus. It you’re able to get a straight answer, you’re doing better than most.

          Liked by 1 person

        • As always, the object is not to convert but rather to demonstrate the falsity of the believer’s position/claims.
          Maybe someone reading along will have reason to pause and reconsider?

          Like

        • Oh, I meant to ask you: your comment set up makes threads thin after a couple of comments and pretty much impossible to read on a mobile phone. Does your theme allow you to change this?

          Like

        • I believe the Bible. If you must check out archaeology for evidence, have at it. It’s there. I prefer matching up old Hebrew scriptures with new Greek and see them mesh. For example, in Luke 4 Christ pointed out himself in Isaiah 61.

          As for the difficulties and atrocities- the genocide, rape and slavery- that’s life today too. The world is godless. And we Christians are scattered and worldly.

          I give God the benefit of the doubt. The Bible says it’s wise to fear God. Sound simple, child-like? “Turn around,” Jesus said, “Become as little children.” I’m a child of God, via the life of Christ. ‘You must be born again.’

          Like

        • Well, no news is good news- he’s risen! God spreads his word by word-of-mouth: “Go and tell his disciples.”
          Anyway, Jesus’ followers were on the run, and most everyone else thought he was a nutcase.

          Like

        • It’s becoming difficult to pointless trying to have a discussion with you while you are behaving like a Dickhead.
          If you wish to get back on track then try to show some integrity and behave like an adult.

          Like

        • And yet evidence, archaeological and scientific refutes so much of the text.
          One only has to consider the Human Genome Project, the nonsense of the Noachim Flood, or the evidence that refutes Captivity, Exodus and Conquest. When one factors in the contradictions, interpolation, fraud and numerous errors across multiple disciplines on what possible basis do you consider the text is in any way divinely inspired?

          Like

        • I’m not sure the TEXT is divinely inspired but I believe the authors were. Even Jesus said in John 5, ‘See ME in the text.. Come to me for life.’

          Take David and his checkered lifestyle- off his pen came prophecies of Christ. God uses imperfect men, and in Christ MAKES perfect men.

          Like

        • First, I have to take exception to your remarks that “God uses imperfect men and Christ makes perfect men“.

          -IF- God existed and -IF- “he” created “man” and “woman,” does it not make common sense that both genders would be made perfect?

          Like

        • That does make sense. Women are on equal ground with men. And “mature” or “complete” is probably a more accurate term than “perfect.”
          For example, ‘That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons [and daughters] of God.’ Complete, in Christ.

          Like

        • Think about what you just said. God intervening with this scripture but cannot find a way to promote equality between the sexes? What does THAT tell you about the moral character of this god… whose ‘message’ must now rely on people/believers to offer up what amounts to an excuse for the divine in order to accommodate the ‘divine’ message over time? You know misogyny is not a virtue. I suspect strongly that you know misogyny is a vice. And it’s a vice that this god just couldn’t find a way through… but you can.

          Is that the kind of ‘evidence’ that clearly demonstrates the divine spirit at work? Or is it in fact compelling evidence of your moral compass superior to this divine agent, one you have to apply in order to make the interpreted message compatible in today’s world?

          What would a fundamentalist who presumes biblical inerrancy think about misogyny? If you guessed it MUST be a virtue BECAUSE scripture clearly indicates it’s fine and dandy in this god’s moral opinion, then who are you to think otherwise? Can you see that following the belief makes you an automaton who rejects moral virtue because you must become a sheep? If you think being a moral sheep is a Good Thing, one that honors this god, and insists you simply follow orders because the order MUST be virtuous if it’s in scripture, then you have no morals of your own… even though you know your morality is superior regarding misogyny. In other words, Arnold, you know your morality has to be submerged in order to be a good little (Christian) soldier who is just following orders. Does that remind you of something, the excuse of Just Following Orders, that was judged at the Nurnberg Trials to be an insufficient defense for committing atrocities? Is that who you really want to emulate – being a good little soldier, in your willingness to have this ‘relationship’ with such a misogynist god? More importantly, is this the example you want to set for those who might look up to you… how to be a good little Nazi and follow the orders of your Dear Leader because you BELIEVE the orders must be moral if that is the source?

          Come on, Arnold. Look at the evidence rather than wave it away. You ARE your own moral compass and you know better than this Iron age goat-herding barbaric morality. Don’t give your moral autonomy away; own it. Don’t excuse it. Be responsible for it. Be bigger and better and more courageous than this god who insists you must abdicate your own moral responsibility to just follow his immoral orders.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not a fundamentalist, moral sheep or good little Christian. I’m in Christ. If there’s discrepancy with scriptures and him, I’m with him. He sparred with lawyers from day 1.

          And I believe we’re ALL inspired by God: “I make peace, and I create evil.” There’s bound to be confusion when reading scripture without Jesus Christ. Life without him is hell.

          Like

        • Now, Arnold… upthread you said: “Jesus Christ dominates my thought. ‘My sheep hear my voice.. Follow me.’”

          Now you claim, “I’m not a fundamentalist, moral sheep or good little Christian. I’m in Christ. If there’s discrepancy with scriptures and him, I’m with him.”

          And earlier, “Jesus spoke with final authority.”

          So you can’t have it both ways. It sure sounds to me like you ARE a good little soldier (in Christ… as if that justifies the ‘Just following orders’ position you are taking) and so you are NOT morally autonomous and so you cannot suggest the misogyny of scripture is in any way, shape, or form is some kind of interpretive matter. But at least you feel righteous… just as so many Nazi soldiers did carrying out their Dear Leader’s wishes. But what I’m reading from you is naked hypocrisy in action.

          Liked by 1 person

        • That’s me exactly- naked, clothed in Christ! I don’t “feel” righteous- I am! As God clothed Adam and Eve with coats of skin.

          I just now read Ezekiel 16 about this very nakedness. Graphic description of flesh (broken covenant) vs his new covenant Spirit (vs 60 cf).

          Like

        • So I take it that, “naked, clothed in Christ” is synonymous in meaning with ‘hypocrisy’. And by not addressing why you feel comfortable with being a blatant hypocrite, perhaps you presume this will fade away on its own accord like a… what… headache?

          Being a hypocrite should bother you, Arnold. This is not a virtue but a choice you are making. You. This si the result of choosing your belief and then trying to make reality fit it. Well, I see your hypocrisy and am pointing it out to you because you seem unaware. But when made aware, you seem to me to be excusing it as, Oh well…. that’s just the cost of ‘living in Christ’. No, you’re living in hypocrisy. That’s called ‘being honest’.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Discussions shouldn’t lapse into name-calling. We’re sharing thoughts. Why don’t you tell me a bit about you?
          I didn’t choose my belief, I chose Christ. And that’s synonymous with him choosing me. I am his sheep, but not moral; I’m ‘clothed in Christ.’

          Like

        • Well, you keep using the same descriptor of ‘living in Christ’ which really is synonymous with a more accurate but non religious descriptor, namely, ‘living in hypocrisy’. Changes the background doesn’t it? Most of my comments have aimed towards this very topic in that scripture is indisputably misogynistic yet a misogynism that you excuse in the name of ‘the times’. Your excuse doesn’t change the fact that scripture is deeply misogynistic. And you also know in your heart that misogyny is not a virtue, not an attitude that shows the same level of respect to half the planet’s population as it does the other half. So I point out the identical justification used by Nazis to excuse their immoral behaviour and attitudes in order to better reveal to you what this ‘Just following orders’ when ‘living in Christ’ is: a lack of moral character that you are CHOOSING.

          Being moral and morally responsible requires courage. Religious believers like yourself who wave away this responsibility and choose to just follow orders don’t generally see themselves as they really are: either quite willing and able to be immoral agents and/or moral cowards unwilling to step up and be morally responsible for personal actions. Instead, we find religious believers constantly hiding behind this kind of self-congratulating idolatry of Christ as if you are helpless to intervene.

          That’s not true, is it?

          Now, I understand you will presume these terms I use to describe what you’re doing are just calling you names and you will do this to dismiss what these observations and comments mean about you, as if they are without merit because you think they are name-calling rather than what they actually are: accurate descriptors that reveal what’s actually going on, accurately describe in real world terms what your beliefs are in action. These should be cause for shame. You can do better.

          Liked by 1 person

        • The Lord embraced the women in his circle, and those he saw in need. I generally have more respect for women than men (probably because I’m a man). So if you conclude that I agree with OT principles because I’m a Christian, you’re profiling. God-ordained or not, rape, genocide and slavery are wrong.

          Same with Paul’s reference to women’s subjection to men- that man MUST be godly, subjected to God. Otherwise, said man is null and void. Hey, I don’t always agree with God (see Moses), and let him know so. People disagree, friends disagree; truth is, God wants personal relationship.

          Like

        • Sorry, now you’re just espousing nonsense. Enjoy your indoctrination. Say hello to Satan for me when you arrive at the Pearly Gates.

          Like

        • Arnold, to me, your several comments pretty much sum up your perspective on religion. IOW, you are convinced (one wonders by whom?) that the bible (and its highly debatable contents) is the be-all, end-all to life. You continue to talk about “Christ,” but where else is this individual found but in the bible.

          Arnold, in so many of your comments, it’s obvious you know little about your faith. It might behoove you to actually do some reading and research outside the covers of the several thousand year old book you rely on.

          Like

        • One of my favorite reference books is Rose’s Then and Now Bible Map Atlas (Paul Wright). He leads students on tours throughout Israel going over historical Bible lands and characters, and archaeology stuff. His book is both fascinating and boring.

          Remember that Jesus of Nazareth was a little-known peasant who ministered to the down-and-out crowd. And the religious guys likely covered his tracks.

          I do have a one-track mind, and so did Christ: ‘Repent and believe the gospel.’ For some reason God chooses the weak and ignorant to tell his news- it’s so simple. Believe me, I fit the mold!

          Like

  10. No one says “I believe 1 + 1 = 2” because there’s a difference between believing and knowing. Personally, I don’t believe in the God of Christianity (or any religion), but I believe (NOT know) there’s a creator of creation. Do atheists believe OR know there is no creator (God?)….and if they know, how do they know? I believe no one can KNOW one way or the other, but I am open to being convinced otherwise — otherwise, I can respect atheists who BELIEVE there is no creator….but those who KNOW: not so much.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have yet to meet an atheist who uses the term ‘know’ (as in it is an established fact) regarding a creator.
      I’d be interested to read of those/any you appear to be aware of.
      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t remember any who used the word “know” (or, for that matter, the word “believe”) regarding no creator, but I’ve certainly come across some who ‘speak’ as if they know. It seems to me that if you speak in no uncertain terms, that’s like saying you “know” without saying the actual word (which could come across as rather arrogant).

        Thanks for your thoughts on the subject..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Then using such terms is misleading and maybe even a little disingenuous.

          Out of interest, why are you a deist – presuming this is how you regard yourself?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I was raised Catholic and remained so with weakening conviction for many years. By the time the complete break came, I had come to see that all religions were/are man-invented, but I still believed there is an eternally-existing creator who, for whatever reason, has left his creation to its own devices with no intervention. Thus, I more or less found myself left with the impersonal ‘god’ of deism, rather than anything so formal as becoming a ‘member deist’ (if there is such a thing).

          In short, the evolution of a lifetime brought me to deism..It’s possible that further evolution could bring me to agnosticism, but I’m not there yet.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I believe Christ cultivated deep personal relationships with his disciples, and seeks exactly the same with you and me, via HIS Spirit.
          ‘In spirit and in truth- we are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.’ John 4

          Like

        • If some deity twiddled with the knobs of life, how would you know? You used the term ‘evolution’ to describe your change over time regarding your religious beliefs but if you used the term to mean its scientific sense regarding some kind of creation event, then you should be aware that it means ‘unguided’. And it’s defined that way because there is NO evidence to indicate ANY kind of intervention at any point. What we find is exactly what we should find in every avenue of inquiry if this change over time was unguided.

          Like

        • We each have our own path to follow. I didn’t immediately move from a believer to a non-believer. It took a few years of looking at different perspectives of spirituality. But then one day it just seemed “natural” to accept the fact that there’s nothing there.

          I think many cling to a form of belief simply because it’s “comfortable.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, we walk “our own path.” I appreciate your respect Nan, that you don’t blast me out of the water. And I believe I’ve likewise respected you and your friends these few days.

          I’m laid up with a surgery-repaired broken ankle, but since Monday allowed to put weight on it (in a walking boot). Visited Mom today and hope to grocery-shop tomorrow (its been almost 2 months!).

          Like

  11. Belief is the illusion that one can achieve some level of permanence in a constantly changing universe. It is the illusion that one can sit idly by and watch the world go on beside him. But the constant observer is also in the stream of change, and eventually it begins to rub away that feeling of permanece, or that belief begins to divide itself from the reality of change, which is the only true constant in nature.

    Like

  12. I think most religious people, regardless of what words they use, are really saying they”know ” there is a god and only their god. For them their belief stretches to their “knowing”( in their minds).
    For atheists (of which I am), I believe there is no supernatural creator, but I don’t know for 100% certainty, so I can’t “know.”
    The most reliable beliefs come from doing research, using critical thinking and reason. The more all of this used, the closer this belief gets to the realm of facts. But very little is 100%, other than I love dark chocolate.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi Nan. It appears Satan has purpose in God’s universe. Just today I read in Luke 22.31+2 that both Satan and Jesus prayed to God concerning Peter. ‘Satan wanted to sift Peter as wheat,’ and the Lord ‘prayed that he keep the faith,’ despite the sifting.

    There’s something to this good/evil scene that serves God’s purpose. It seems Satan’s sifting drove Peter to a lowest of lows (by his denial of Christ). Yet after Pentecost, Peter was faithful in preaching Christ.

    Like

  14. Nan, I’d like to explain my presence here. I like your site- your site title for one reason. And you remind me of a gal I knew at Disqus. And you reminded me of me, keeping note journals for future use (or not). For me, old notebooks are at least a good reference for who I was, lol. We do change.

    Christians are stubborn, I agree, with our beliefs; I’ve grown closer in my relationship with Christ, yet further from some of my long-held, ‘deep beliefs.’ Biblical inerrancy, for one. Because for me the buck stops at Christ: ‘Let God be true and every man a liar.’ Jesus spoke with final authority, and personal intimacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kind of important then to know if he was actually a real person. But belief of the religious kind makes that important point irrelevant, just as it does all knowledge. Belief is what truly matters. And that should be a huge red flag right there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • … because how might you know if you’re wrong, if your belief is misplaced or misguided? When belief supplants knowledge, then belief supplants reality. And that removes the common ground.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I surely DON’T know whether I’m right or wrong- that’s not my focus. Christ is my focus.
          You see red, and I see green, and believe him. It’s an all-or-nothing thing for each of us, right?

          Like

        • No, it’s not equivalent, not either or. That’s the necessary metric for belief – 100% assumed certainty – but not the necessary metric for likelihood, which always less than certain and open to change if warranted. What is warranted for belief is inside out, meaning the decision to believe in the religious sense is made first (and then everything else follows) versus outside in, meaning an open mind takes into account ongoing evidence that weighs the (justified true) belief one way or the other and allows reality the right to arbitrate after the preponderance of evidence justifies it. The religious sense is personal, meaning the religious believer exports the belief and imposes it on reality. The knowledge sense is impersonal, meaning the impartial believer imports the belief from the preponderance of evidence and establishes a sense of likelihood imported from reality.

          The personal belief is not justified, and this is why it is couched in the terms of some relationship that the believer uses to justify belief claims. I feel good so my belief must be true. This method has been used by snake oil salesmen forever to great effect. The downside is that this is a guaranteed method to fool one’s self. One’s belief might be true but reality is not allowed to interfere with it; reality is bent and shaped and twisted to try to fit the belief and we see this played out in all kinds of ways to reduce the role of knowledge and expertise and nuanced understanding and supplant this with ‘gut feelings’ and tribalism and partisanship teams based on how these feel. I’ll bet you can come up with all kinds of examples how this approach causes dysfunction and harm when imposed on others (that’s the state of politics in the US, for example). This is faith-based belief in action and it is pernicious. After all, how might any Republican denying, say, human caused climate change, grasp that they are wrong when the method used is belief of the religious kind?

          That’s why this method is so very dangerous in that it makes ignorance and knowledge equivalent and so ends up denying reality for as long as possible.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Well said- eloquent and understandable. But I think it IS either/or. You’re grounded in measurable knowledge, while I trust in measured heresay. With Christ it’s the cross, or not.
          I don’t have an argument or feelings or a hunch about stuff; I believe. I’m convinced by the external evidence of the universe and the bible stories passed down.

          Like

        • Hey, Arnold, just a thought for you. Have you ever wondered if the “Christ” you know so well that you can have an intimate relationship with him is not really just you being in contact with your true Self, but you do not believe yourSelf capable of being such a wise person all on your own that you need to give credit for what you know inside yourself to someone outside your Self?
          As a child you were taught not to believe in yourself, that you were not capable of understanding the world around you without help from the many authority figures that surrounded you. That “belief” is what allows you to go against your Self and do things that you know you would not do if you were sure of yourself. In other words, you are taught to lie to yourself, knowing that Christ will forgive you for your wrongdoings that you call sins.
          In my own journey from believer to non-believer (not dis-believer) that was what I discovered — I can know myself as a good person, I do not need to believe anyone else can “make me better.” My relationship with my Self is much stronger than any relationship with anyone other people told me existed in me.
          You will probably hear this as arrogance, which we are taught is a bad trait in ourselves, but there is no pride in knowing who I am, there is only Self-confidence that what I do is “Me” doing whatever it is I do, like writing to you right now.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh indeed I occasionally wonder that introspective thoughts are from me only. And I can’t say I KNOW ‘Christ lives in me.’ Yet, I BELIEVE he does (‘God is a Spirit’). And will continue sharing that ‘me’ with him in the daily grind of life. It’s a relationship Adam defaulted on, and for which Christ atoned.

          Like

        • And you believe this about Adam and Christmas why? I am not trying to turn you into an atheist, Arnold, but your willingness to believe the Bible truly is The Word of God shows a certain gullibility. How much would you be willing to pay me for THE REAL TRUTH? If it is anything more than $0.00 then I will refuse to take it

          Liked by 1 person

        • Anyway, the bible calls faith a gift of God. And Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice.. I chose you, not you me.’ Stuff like that, that probably makes no sense to you.

          Like

        • None at all. Remember, I once believed at least as faithfully as you do now. But the longer I lived, the less faith made any sense, and I am not talking about faith vs science. That played no part in my stopping belief. I quit because he let little babies, who had never had the chance to accept him into their hearts, suffer incredibly, and die. No being who claims perfection, including compassion, can exist. I do not disbileieve. I know there is no superbeing who created us. But, there is life, and “that” is what I “believe” in. And it doesn’t ask anything of me but to live as I see fit.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Belief, in my understanding, does not “supplant” knowledge, but rather “pre-dates” knowledge. (See my upcoming comment later in this discussion, lol.) Knowledge, once attained, supplants belief.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. I think maryplumbago is right. Belief for a religiot, is actual factual knowledge (in their heads.) When indeed for the rest of us it is not. Belief, is a word living between reality and fantasy. I have seen ample evidence in believers, that their belief, is without question, actual knowledge.

    To me, the word belief means I have a fair assumption of the truth of a particular notion, but I do not actually know it with full certainty.

    So therefore, I believe, believers are full of crap.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, sd, I was going to save this till later, but I often use the word “belief” in my discussions of my own LSD experiences as a young man so as not to sound like I am trying to convince others that knowledge gained from those experiences are what is true for everyone. I “know” those experiences and the knowledge gained therefrom are true — for me. Can I extrapolate this knowledge is true for everyone? There are others who had similar experiences, but the “knowledge” they gained is dissimilar to that which I gained, so it comes down to a matter of interpretation. That begs the question, can knowledge be interpreted? Which brings us back to belief. I can only speak for myself: I know what I know is true for me. What others want to believe or not is up to them.

      Liked by 2 people

        • And, to further that thought, there are as many forms of atheism as there are atheists. We are all either non-believers, or “iffy” non-believers, (I won’t believe unless and until I get proof, which to me is not true atheism, but who am I to say?), but most of us had our own journeys to atheism (my partner does not consider herself an atheist because she was never a theist!) so I find a lot of differences in how others talk about their atheism. My favourite statement about atheists is that we are not a group, we are all armies of one, and we are all the stronger for that. We do not need group-think as do most religious people, who find their strength in numbers. The thing is, just like different religions, many atheists believe only their brand of atheism is correct. I cannot count the number of times I have been told I am not an atheist because I label myself a spiritual atheist. I believe — know for me — there is something beyond physical life, but it does NOT involve a deity or theity. It”s all just life, and that is what all living beings have in common.

          Like

        • Much of what you say, I am in agreement.

          Religion has its codified systems, with rule books and preachers. Atheists, we, as far as I can tell, generally take different paths to atheism, and why not, we are all individuals. As we are all individuals I see no reason why we all should have the same path no matter where it leads. No two people will have the exact same life experiences, which tends to shape the who we are.

          Believers, with their codified system and the preachers/priests to put on the show, they too are individuals. Each (as per my observations) has their own take on those codified rules, and they will allow themselves some guilty pleasure or three, with the assumption they are such good religiots, that it will be ok.

          I have seen this time and again. Even though they have a damn system, they can’t follow it to a “T” mainly because their personal god, which isn’t the same as everyone elses, is just Jim Dandy with their trespasses. Can you say “hypocrite?”

          Rarely will you get one to admit it however. They still maintain their part of the show by pretending they are following as everyone else. It’s all play acting from the top down. Except for the Amish/Mennonite types, maybe they live it along strict lines, but I’d bet my bottom dollar they too have their moments of failing to live up to the code. We all, are human. If we were perfect, the religious wouldn’t need their silly rulebooks to live by.

          I accept my imperfections as being human. I do what I can to work on those imperfections along the way. As we all should.

          As for whatever awaits us after the death of our mortal carriages, my suspicion is it’s just lights out, shows over, hopefully we had a good run. In fact I want my proverbial tombstone to read “What the hell, I had a good run!”

          …but if there is something for our consciences after death, I could really dig the freedom to explore the universe. I’ll take that if I can get it 🙂

          At this point in my life, I will never assume any sort of deity until one makes an actual appearance. I’m an atheist right up to the point of “if you can prove it, I might take another look, until then, don’t be wasting my time with B.S.”

          …and if you want to be a spiritual atheist, be my guest. But that’s the point where we somewhat differ. I’ll need evidence of some sort to sway me.

          “Spiritual” opens up a whole can of worms from magic crystals, the power of pyramids, jade eggs, witchcraft, etc etc etc, and it’s close cousins, believeing in Bigfoot, ancient aliens, Atlantis, ect etc etc. There is a ton of B.S. that can fall under the “spiritual” umbrella. For me, “spiritual” is a rabbit hole of untestable claims, wild theories, and unprovable assumptions.

          But, you do you man. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hey, shellfigger,
          Spiritual, in the sense I use it, has none of the baggage attached to it, but that is why I hate the English language. We have a limited number of words to use and re-use, and things get lost is the usage.
          When I say spiritual, I am merely talking about a life force within us that is continuous pr and post physical life. And, that spirit would be, for me, what drives you to want to work on what you see as your imperfections. We all see our imperfections. Some of us want to better ourselves, while others want to exploit themselves — IMO the difference between religion and atheism.
          The whole thing is, none of it really matters. I am open to the idea that life ends for us at death, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I feel a connection to the primeal soup where life first started on our planet, like some part of my spirit was there. Is it reprocessed atoms, maybe.
          In the other direction, I don’t feel death will end my spirit. I am not talking individual consciousnesses or anything like that, just a continuation of the life force that I feel inside me. Religions, I think, come from people having those feelings but trying to fit them into boxes that do not exist in any kind of reality. No matter, when we die, we will discover that truth that is unavailable to us here on earth. It there is no continuation, we will never know it, and it won’t matter how we lived. If there is continuation, it will be whatever it is NO MATTER WHAT WE BELIEVE here on this physical realm. I am hedging my bets by trying to improve myself from the being I was born to be. If I cease to exist, big deal. But if something survives me –ie, my life force– then hopefully my remaining spirit will have given that force a head start on whatever does come next. I’m not hurting anyone by thinking this way, I don’t think. And it keeps me focused while alive.
          One way or the other, death holds all the answers. Meanwhile, life is what we make it.

          Like

  16. “ According to the bible, Satan loses in the end, so why does he continue to do his evil work? Can’t he read? ”

    Long before humanity was a twinkle in his non-corporeal eye, God made the angels. I’m not sure why an omnipotent being who can just think things into existent needs an army of servants, but there you go.

    The angels lived with God in Heaven and did angel things for him all day, every day for (one imagines) an eternity before the whole universe and human creation thing.

    These things knew (the capital H) Him better than any mortal could.

    AND 33% REBELLED AGAINST HIM.

    In his next creative act, God created humanity in a separate reality. One where he could carefully control humanity’s interactions with His oh so wonderful Self. I’m guessing He was thinking that His best chance of creating beings that would love Him for who He Is, was if those beings never met Him.

    Anyway, that’s a long way of answering the “Why does Satan continue his work?” question: The Morning Star knows better than any of us God’s chances of following through on His promises.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I like good ol Paul’s savvy rhetoric in Romans 9:

    ‘Who are we to explain God? who can resist his will? He does what he wants and he does what’s right.’

    Like

    • If “He” does what is “Right,” why are there so many disbelievers and nonbelievers, not to mention all the varieties of “believers,” and “believers in other things and other Gods”?
      The Biblical “God” is wishy-washy at best. He has no control over his own creations, or this world would be a paradise. Not only is this world “not” a paradise, but it is in serious threat of being so damaged that “His creation” will no longer be able to live here. Is this part of “His Plan”? I apologize if I sound incredulous, but if I were God and created a world specifically for my would-be worshipers to live on, I would make sure it would be “forever” a paradise.
      Since there are flaws in his plan, this makes many of us whom he created outright Flaws. If you ask me, His Plan sucks Big Time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m equally incredulous! I don’t have answers to the crap in this mean ol world. Why God this? Why God that? I don’t know!
        If God IS a Spirit, as Jesus said, then there’s a lot more going on beyond our senses.

        Like

        • To my mind, were He a real being as described in His Bible, he certainly has no respect or compassion for those lesser beings — humans — who he created to worship him. Which I never understood in the first place. Either He is the perfect being, or his need to be worshiped betrays His imperfections.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jesus BECAME a “lesser being.” So I believe that me knowing God correlates to his life on earth. He lived and shared a knowledge of God, ‘come in the flesh.’
          ‘Christ in me’ is what I want to live and share. And I think it’s by receiving the circumstances I’m dealt (laid up with a broken leg), just as did Christ.

          Like

        • Sorry to hear that, I hope you will be walking soon. It”s the crutch your mind needs that worries me. (Inappropriate comment? Probably. But it fit so nicely with the broken leg I could not help myself. Please put it down to “sick” humour.)

          Liked by 1 person

  18. As promised to tildeb, I would like to paraphrase John Lennon is his song, Beautiful Boy. He sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
    BELIEF is what happens to you while others are hiding from you the real facts.

    Basically speaking, as children we are expected to believe the authority figures around us before we ever learn there can be facts, or knowledge, so we grow up accepting what we are told without concern for what we can see, or not see, with our own eyes.
    I don’t “believe” this is intentional, or even predicated, but it is the way of life. We have to trust the adults around us as babies and young children, and we cannot conceive they do not have our best interests in mind and heart. But really, all they are doing is feeding us “their” own misconceptions — those which we can now call their “beliefs.”

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Anyway, I believe God is behind the size, variety, complexity and beauty of the universe. We the people are the problem. So I’m playin out my hand with Christ.

    Like

    • Even though there is no evidence for this ‘Christ’?
      This is like playing poker with no cards and just making up hands as you go along.
      What do you bluff with – a pair of twos or do you think you are holding a full house?
      SMH.

      Like

      • C’mon now, there are bits and pieces of biblical evidence strewed through history. Although it’s the Christ I’m betting on.
        What draws me is that the Son did his Father’s will to a tee- to a Cross. “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me.” (To praise or ridicule.)

        Like

  20. Ark — new thread so you can read my response … 🙂

    I’m aware of the problem you mentioned as I’ve experienced it on my own phone. This is an older theme so it’s possible it can’t be modified; however, I have adjusted the “thread” count so maybe that will help.

    I’ve looked into a new theme off and on but haven’t found anything that I feel works for me. Maybe it’s time to try again.

    Like

Don't Be Shy -- Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.