I know some dudes who totally didn't buy religion and then got hooked on drugs and then got super into Jesus. OK, whatever works for you. I think religion is an aid that some people need. I know other people who have self control issues who are all in your face with Jesus, and yet these same people cheat on their wife, go on coke benders, etc. Those people are searching for something that tells them, "Your sins are OK, we all sin and just ask Jesus to forgive and you are fine," and these same people keep doing the same dirty crap over and over. Sorry, can't buy their "beliefs" either.
but, if you allow the way other people live their life to influence your belief system...well that's your deal. People are people...most engage in unhealthy behaviors. I doubt you are clean and spotless. I know I'm not. I see life less about pointing out other people's hypocracy and more about looking at my own...growing.
Not sure how I would "rank my joy" but I am generally at peace and happy most of the time. What that means? I don't really know. I don't find myself often evaluating my level of joy vs. others. I think, that, in itself, is probably an indication of not being on sound ground. (i.e. comparing your level of joy to others.)Quote:
You are certainly entitled to believe however you wish. If your life is full of joy and peace without any belief in God, who am I to question that?
Actually, I _do_ have some idea of what you believe, because you have stated so. You have offered specifics as to what you believe in the Bible, and what you do not. Remember?Quote:
But, you really have no idea what I believe because I haven't gone into lengthy discourse about that.
Whatever makes you happy.Quote:
I don't take the Bible as a history book, though I believe some of it to be historical. The way I interpret passages from the original languages is very different than most...the way I apply it to my own life is different than most as well.
Hmmm, that's kind of a straw man argument. Did I ever say I let other people live their life influence my belief system? Well, observing those who make certain claims living in hypocrisy would influence me some. Sure. If everyone who claimed to be a Christian walked the walk, I'd be more inclined to think there was more substance there. But many of the most twisted, hateful, mean people I know claim to be religious. That is some food for thought.Quote:
but, if you allow the way other people live their life to influence your belief system...well that's your deal.
"Unhealthy behaviors" could be things like not exercising or eating too much fast food, or whatever. I'm sorry, but many people who are self-professed Christians often have deeper issues and demons than those who don't need a mantra to be a good person. On average, I find many Bible thumpers to treat other human beings worse than the average, regular guy. I find that many who don't need religion to treat other human beings better than those who go to church each week. There are many exceptions, however. My father-in-law is a Christian who absolutely makes the world better, is always giving to those less fortunate and doesn't cram his beliefs down others' throats. Just because some people think that by giving an envelop at church each week has "them covered" for their God duty doesn't mean that it's true. Many of those who don't go to church live out the teachings of Jesus much better than some who profess to believe in Christ. The teachings of Christ are awesome guidelines to just being a good person; something that comes naturally to many who don't adhere to any organized religion. Some of the worst crooks in a community are often found to be very active in their church.Quote:
People are people...most engage in unhealthy behaviors. I doubt you are clean and spotless. I know I'm not. I see life less about pointing out other people's hypocracy and more about looking at my own...growing.
You obviously don't like Christians, or the Christian faith...and that is your prerogative. But, I see nothing productive coming from this discussion...so I'll disengage.
If you think about why people usually turn to religion/God, it makes sense. People don't start seeking out God when everything's going well in their lives. They seek him when they're facing death, prison, drug addiction, alcoholism, marriage problems, etc. Most people get serious about religion when they're down on their luck and they need it. So absolutely, these people have way more issues than those outside of a church or religion. The people on the outside don't need religion. When they do, it's there. In some regards, you could look at this stuff as therapy. If you don't ever need it, you're probably better off. Some people do and it can help them work toward getting better.
I watch the Dr Drew show on VH1 and he says someone's better off getting cancer than having an addiction. Addictions are harder to overcome. I've never met an addict that hasn't turned to God to get on the right path. The concept of God is part of a 12 step program which is recommended for any kind of addict. So in those terms alone, God is a part of a treatment plan for a sickness worse than cancer. We can debate what is "God" endlessly, but these concepts are clearly valuable in some way.
Also saw a study they did at Duke who has both a top medical program and divinity school. And they determined that people that had surgeries that they prayed for had better outcomes than those that they didn't pray for. And the most interesting part was the people being prayed for weren't even told they were being prayed for in the study. Granted, whoever pays for a study can usually find the results they want. But it's an interesting finding given that Duke has to protect their ranking/credibility as a medical school and that's likely worth more to them than this study. True or not, I'm surprised they'd let them release this kind of study.
Re: the question about taking some of the Bible as true and other parts not, I'd just suggest everyone read it. But don't just read a verse. Or a book. Read the whole thing. And go into reading it a secular history mixed with a little sci-fi. And see what you get out of it. It always surprises me how many people of faith never read the Bible cover to cover. The majority haven't. But it's a good book. It's a good story and you have to read it in the context of the time it was written. That's the only way I can see to make sense out of some of it. And that historical context is the reason people take some things literally and other portions don't have meaning in the modern day. The biggest question I have about the Bible being the word of God is this - why are the books in the Bible out of order? Why is Genesis first when Job is the oldest book in the Bible? Why did man decide to reorder it? Was God letting his word out there into the world out of order?
If I had a vote on the Bible, I would have put Job first. That's a sort of preface as to why to read this whole darn book.
Not to mention all the other historic religions that were eerily similar that preceded Christianity like you were pointing out earlier.
In general it's really hard for religious and non religious people to have open discussions. Religious people struggle mixing with the rest of the world. They associate with folks in their church. Often get caught up in that social circle and don't leave that comfort zone. It's the same everywhere, we stay where we're comfortable. It's ironic, because the whole Bible can be read as a calling to step out of our comfort zone and serve the least, the last, and the lost in the world because Jesus wins in the end. They even give a great example of the disciple Paul in the Bible who was the biggest doubter of Jesus and he's probably the most responsible for the existence and spread of Christianity in the world. And that spread happened because he stayed engaged in the world and could interact with anyone. But that sort of thing doesn't happen so much today in most religions. And when it does, the Christians are awkward or off-putting to everyone else.
Flippy, I always enjoy discussing religion with you. You come at things pretty even handed. And while I disagree with quite a bit of what you said, I would rather focus on what I agreed with. First, it's not new news that I work with addicts for a living. And while I have seen addicts get sober without God, I have rarely seen any stay sober without God. I know one old timer who is closer to an atheist than an agnostic...or so it seems by what he says. That is about it. I don't know any others. I do know some who believe in God but don't engage Him, and they tend to be pretty miserable in sobriety.
I also agree that many reach out to God when they hit some sort of bottom. When things are going well few search for God. People are people. And I believe anyone looking to people to see evidence of God are going to go away disappointed most of the time. Anyone wanting to invalidate a belief system because there are some people who abuse said system...or there are some "bad people" in said system are merely trying to find evidence to substantiate a prejudice. I believe the exception to that rule is some of the miracles I have seen in recovery. I have watched some unbelieveable turn arounds in people's lives. I have seen what I believe to be miraculous turn arounds that I can not explain outside of God. But, I recognize that is a personal interpretation. IT's the way I see things. And I respect others who want to see it otherwise.
But I was just going to say, one man's "preying on the weak and downtrodden" is another's offering a glass of water to a man dying of thirst. And one man's "cult-like mindset" is another's healthy belief system. For example, I believe the communists of the 50s and 60s (and more recently the Jihadists of our age) said that the "West"'s most notable characteristic is a cult-like addiction to $$, wealth, and materialism.
Agree wholeheartedly with you about rampant hypocrisy using religion as a cover. Despicable!