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We cannot choose what we believe

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I'll use a hypothetical argument.

Let's pretend I'm trying to convince you to believe in the Spaghetti Monster. I don't believe in the Spaghetti Monster. I seriously doubt anyone actually believes in the Spaghetti Monster. One can lie and claim to believe in the Spaghetti Monster but what one claims to believe and what one believes are not always the same. Just as a person can claim to be a Christian and in truth be an Atheist or a person can claim to be an Atheist and in truth be a Muslim, I'm going to claim to believe in the Spaghetti Monster for the purpose of this hypothetical.

Because of Freedom of Speech, I have the right to claim to believe in the Spaghetti Monster. I have the right to announce it in public. To try to silence me would be to oppress my civil liberties. I also ought to be willing and allowed to explain why I believe in the Spaghetti Monster. Although the law does not require me to explain myself to you, it is a common courtesy that if you ask me why I believe in the Spaghetti Monster, I ought to give you an answer.

However, people abuse Freedom of Speech when they go beyond merely expressing their beliefs. When people try to use coercion, manipulation, mockery or deception in order to change the beliefs of others, that is abuse of the Freedom of Speech. In other words, it is okay for me to say that I believe in the Spaghetti Monster because the spaghetti I ate last night is still talking to me. What is not okay is for me to go on the offensive and attack you simply for not believing the same way I do.

I wouldn't be able to change your beliefs anyway. I could coerce you to verbally deny your beliefs under threat of death. I could even pressure you into claiming to believe whatever I force you to claim to believe. But deep down inside everyone has a natural resistance that will hold onto beliefs and resist any and all forces that attempt to change ones beliefs. Beliefs can be changed but they cannot be changed by force.

Let's talk about brainwashing for a little bit so I can illustrate what I mean. I am a psychologist so I do know about brainwashing. Yes, brainwashing is real but it is not as common as some people think it is. In order to brainwash someone, you would first have to weaken the natural resistance everyone has. This can be done through hunger or tiredness. This is why nearly all cults expect the cult members to live within the cult compound where the cult leaders can control their eating and sleeping keeping the people hungry and tired and therefore easier to brainwash. There are other ways to weaken a person's natural resistance such as through drugs but it is impossible to brainwash the average person because the average person has a natural resistance that is so strong that the average person is immune to brainwashing.

Another way to weaken natural resistance is through abuse. Even little children have a natural resistance to brainwashing but if a child is abused, that natural resistance is weakened and the child becomes vulnerable to brainwashing. However, brainwashing is easy to reverse. You don't have to kidnap a brainwashed person. You don't have to yell at a brainwashed person, beat a brainwashed person, deprive him or her of sleep or food. A lot of these deprograming scams are in reality reprogramming scams. In other words, they replace one form of brainwashing with another form of brainwashing. To reverse brainwashing, all you really have to do is let the brainwashed person recover his or her health. Give them wholesome food to eat. Let them get a good nights sleep. Give them some time to collect their thoughts. Given time to recover, the person's natural resistance will reassert itself, will reject all the brainwashing, and will come back to a pleasant and rational relationship with others. Even children who were raised in abusive homes have recovered and gotten on with a normal life.

Subliminal messages are a form of brainwashing but like I said about brainwashing, the average person has a natural resistance. You hear studies about how subliminal messages have been used to increase sales of hot dogs. The reality is that among the audience, there were people who were hungry and therefore had a temporary weakness in their natural resistance. So when the subliminal message went out suggesting that they buy a hot dog, those poor hungry folks thought that would be a great idea. There's no magic here folks. There's no one causing anyone to do, believe or say anything that isn't already in their heart or mind to do, believe or say. Subliminal messages can only influence a person such as increasing or decreasing a person's desire. Subliminal messages cannot reprogram anyone. Everyone is born with a natural resistance to being reprogrammed.

This also speaks about music, video games and other forms of entertainment. Violent video games do not cause people to become violent. Instead, if a person already has a violent tendency, the violent video game can increase the tendency that person already has. Or the violent video game can influence the way the violent person expresses his or her violent tendency. But the entertainment industry cannot be blamed when a violent person chooses to play a violent video game. As much as everyone wants to blame the media, the only agenda the media has is to make money by selling what people want to buy. Therefore, everyone is to blame for wanting to buy garbage.

It is almost impossible to change a person because that person will resist change and that natural resistance to change is extremely strong. The average person's ability to resist change is many times stronger than the most coercive person's ability to manipulate. You've heard the saying, "You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time but it is impossible to fool all of the people all of the time." People will overcome all attempts at coercion, manipulation or deception eventually. A few may be brainwashed but the majority will rebel against manipulative tactics.

Therefore, there must be more to the major religions than brainwashing and deception. Brainwashing and deception can only fool a small number of people temporarily so if that is all that religion is, than there would be no major religions. If brainwashing and deception was all there was supporting a religion, than all religions would only have a few hundred followers and would typically have the same lifespan as the human leader. Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. When the religious leader dies, if the cult was based on brainwashing and deception, the cult would also die.

So there has to be some truth, some logic, some genuine evidence behind the major religions in order for them to grow strong with numbers in the millions and in order for them to last for thousands of years. Now I am not saying that each religion is one hundred percent true. That's impossible. What I'm saying is that each religion would fall apart if there wasn't some kernel of truth behind it. If the religion was one hundred percent a lie, too many people would see through the lie and too many people would reject the religion and the religion would cease to exist.

It is possible that people misinterpret the evidence. We see a rain cloud in the sky and we interpret that evidence to mean that it's going to rain but it doesn't always rain when we see a rain cloud and sometimes it rains when we don't see a rain cloud. People see evidence of God and they interpret that to mean that God will smite you if you don't wear the correct religious symbol. People can be confused and misunderstand the evidence that they have. But the point I'm trying to make is that they have evidence. The major religions could not exist if they did not have evidence. So don't assume that they are all brainwashed or idiots or liars. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are making the best interpretation they can of the evidence they have.

We cannot choose what we believe but we do have a choice and a responsibility. Each of us has a choice in how we handle evidence. Do we change our beliefs to match the evidence or do we attempt to alter the evidence to match our beliefs. To only look at evidence that supports what you already believe is wrong. To be dogmatic is to hold onto your beliefs despite the evidence. To be a dogmatic Christian is to believe that what the Christian leaders say is one hundred percent true and to refuse to even consider the possibility that the Christian leader can be wrong. To be a dogmatic Atheist is to believe that there is no God and to refuse to even consider the possibility that there might be a God. A dogmatic approach to evidence is wrong. We cannot choose what we believe but we can choose to allow the evidence to convince us or we can choose to blind ourselves to the evidence.

We cannot choose what we believe but we can make false claims about our beliefs. I can claim to be a Christian. I can do what many people do, walk into a church once, say the sinner's prayer, announce to the people in the church that I believe in God, and than walk out the door to carry on my life as if there was no God. But none of that changes what I believe. If claiming to be something is all that is necessary than you could claim to be a Christian one day, a Muslim the next day, an Atheist the next day, and keep going through all the religions until you're covered. Than when you die, you'll be welcome in every afterlife location if a verbal acknowledgment was all it took to gain access.

You must truly believe and in order to do that, you must take an honest look at the evidence. Are you only looking at the evidence that supports what you want to believe? Are you making up evidence to support what you want to believe? Are you dogmatically holding on to what you believe and refuse to look at evidence that suggests you might be wrong?

I cannot convince anyone of anything. Either you are so dogmatic that you refuse to look at the evidence or you are taking the responsibility to examine the evidence for yourself. If you are taking the responsibility to examine the evidence for yourself, then I'm not the one convincing you. If you are taking the responsibility to examine the evidence for yourself and you decide that I am right, than you are the one who convinced yourself and I didn't do anything except present evidence. You are the one who decides whether to take an honest look at the evidence or whether to reject the evidence because you are afraid of being proven wrong. If you are taking the responsibility to examine the evidence for yourself, than you can claim the decision as yours, not something that was put upon you by someone else. And you can take confidence in the knowledge that you were wise enough to recognize that you don't have all the answers, that you are wiser than those fools who claim to know everything. You examined the evidence for yourself instead of merely reading about it in Wikipedia or some college textbook.

I have examined the evidence for myself. I have taken the responsibility and in wisdom acknowledged that I don't have all the answers. By examining the evidence for myself, I am convinced that God is real. I am convinced that God created the universe. I am convinced that God is a just God punishing those who do wrong. And I am convinced that God is a loving God who looks for opportunities to forgive and he even set aside his glory and endured the shame of death on a cross in order to make a way for us to be forgiven. If you would like me to explain why I believe what I believe, I will give an explanation. What I do not want to see though is any dogmatic attempt to coerce me into changing my mind. Coercion is wrong and if you want an ally in the fight against coercion, I'm your ally. Even if they claim to be Christians and claim to believe as I believe, I will stand against any who use coercion. But I will only stand against coercion because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have.

To convince people of the truth, coercion isn't necessary. Coercion is only necessary if you are trying to convince people of something you don't have confidence in yourself. That's why I so hate it when Muslims try to use coercion. That's why I so hate it when Atheists try to use coercion. That's why I so hate it when even so-called Christians try to use coercion.

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Hi there! Nice to meet you bejjinks! I'm a Christian too, although I don't go to any churches, or really have many friends that go either.  I enjoy reading your posts, and the arguments and discussions that always follow lol...but I leave these kind of theological talks to those of you more informed than I am. What I'm really posting about now is this spaghetti monster.. tell me more o.O

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i'm not athiest myself..but i would like to say that...

belief is not truth.. it is belief..

fact is truth..

even if we have confidence in our beliefs it does not make them truth without facts..

it may be truth for you which is nice for you..

but i see my beliefs as truth for me and that is nice for me...

having respect for others beliefs is all part of staying in harmony with those freedoms.

when you say..if people would be honest and look at evidence that they would come to believe as you..then you have strayed from most of what you have said..you have ignored their beliefs as even being in the equasion of being true..

you have came to the table without an open mind that just maybe they may have the right to be right as well..

you have the right to your beliefs..but you don't have the right to claim other peoples beliefs as not as equal to yours..

i know you were trying not to go there..and really i commend you in trying..but you did hehehehe

it's no biggy to me beause i have no intentions in changing mine and know mine are just as important and protected here as anyones..

this is why beliefs are such hard subjects to discuss..because it's hard not to step on an eggshell or two even when we try our hardest..

i'm not debating or hating..just showing what grabbed my attention most is all.. heheheh

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bejjinks wrote:

 

 I am a psychologist so I do know about brainwashing.

 

 


bejjinks wrote:

.....because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have.

To convince people of the truth, coercion isn't necessary.

I agree!  So, you're now an atheist same as me right? 

Because, if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, with bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. 

 

 

(Do I even need to point out the failure of your logic?)

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I am a Christian.  I was raised one and all of my friends and family are Christians.Their  beliefs and culture are all I do truly relate to on a deep level. That makes me brainwashed from birth? That makes me indoctrinated in a belief system that has no scientific  foundation? Of course  it does but that's true of so many things and beliefs in the course of a long life.

The true dilemma comes when these beliefs  evolve into a pathological state that harms the person who harbors them. That time  comes up for different people at different  periods in their lives. , usually in the midst of an unrelated crisis.

Then the test begins. Do you truly believe ,or is it just  delusion?

So , I  agree with you that the unsure person is not so much coercion sensitive  about his belief  but acting on his own internal 

quest  for a different answer than Christianity?

That road is alright in my book.

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Dillon Levenque wrote:


bejjinks wrote:

We cannot choose what we believe

Yes we can.

agree with Dillon

+

Genesis 3:22 : "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."

edit: just add

this the fundamental tenet of 3 of the greatest religions ever. don't know why when people who are followers of these seems to wants to make other reasons for why we might do the things we do. God didnt. he put the question to Man and Man choose to accept

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:


bejjinks wrote:

 

 I am a psychologist so I do know about brainwashing.

 

 

bejjinks wrote:

.....because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have.

To convince people of the truth, coercion isn't necessary.

I agree!  So, you're now an atheist same as me right? 

Because, if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, with bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. 

 

 

(Do I even need to point out the failure of your logic?)

When I took statistical analysis in grad school, the professor truly impressed me with his introductory lecture. He passionately argued that we are so thoroughly wired to find patterns that we see them where none exist and attribute causation where there is scarcely correlation. This was human nature and his job was to help us corral that nature so we could look at a thing and "In our hearts, know that it is right." He was not so much concerned that we master the mathematics of statistics (though we'd not pass if we didn't), but to make us ever aware of how easily we fool ourselves, and to recognize the situations in which we are particularly vulnerable.

We've evolved a natural bias that we can escape only by education. Absent the intellectual endeavors of countless "doubters" before us, we'd be unable to see that the "magic" of the world around is is not magic at all, but the even more wondrous result of complex processes governed by laws we're still trying to understand. The truth may be out there for us to grasp, but we've not yet reached it.

Vast numbers of humans claim to have looked at the evidence, without dogma, without bias and without coercion, and from that have come to wildly different and often conflicting beliefs. My heart tells me they can't all be right.

 

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the original poster is actually a Satanist. Only one who embraces Satan's teachings would write this stuff.

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To the OP:

Nice try (that's the kinder way of saying FAIL).  There's what you believe and what I believe, and there's what I would like to believe, and what I refuse to believe, and what I don't believe and there's one thing they all have in common.  None of them is the same as what it true and proven.

All religions deal with mystery, the unknown and the unprovable.  There is no need for faith when there are facts.  But there is a very strong, human need to seek answers to the mysteries of life.  People know for a fact that life is a temporary state.  They know that good and evil exist.  And they try to make sense of this.  They don't all come up with the same answer.  Not everyone even agrees on the questions or their importance. 


But to try and conclude from this that there is no choice is not only erroneous, you just can't get there from here.

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16 wrote:

 

Genesis 3:22 : "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."

this the fundamental tenet of 3 of the greatest religions ever. don't know why when people who are followers of these seems to wants to make other reasons for why we might do the things we do. God didnt. he put the question to Man and Man choose to accept

I take it you can prove that claim, with scientific evidence ?  otherwise it's just another hypothesis...

 

 

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:

Vast numbers of humans claim to have looked at the evidence, without dogma, without bias and without coercion, and from that have come to wildly different and often conflicting beliefs. My heart tells me they can't all be right.

I know!   How all those other people got it wrong is a mystery.  Because, obviously I must be right.  ; )

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:

When I took statistical analysis in grad school, the professor truly impressed me with his introductory lecture. He passionately argued that we are so thoroughly wired to find patterns that we see them where none exist and attribute causation where there is scarcely correlation. This was human nature and his job was to help us corral that nature so we could look at a thing and "In our hearts, know that it is right." He was not so much concerned that we master the mathematics of statistics (though we'd not pass if we didn't), but to make us ever aware of how easily we fool ourselves, and to recognize the situations in which we are particularly vulnerable.

We've evolved a natural bias that we can escape only by education. Absent the intellectual endeavors of countless "doubters" before us, we'd be unable to see that the "magic" of the world around is is not magic at all, but the even more wondrous result of complex processes governed by laws we're still trying to understand. The truth may be out there for us to grasp, but we've not yet reached it.

Vast numbers of humans claim to have looked at the evidence, without dogma, without bias and without coercion, and from that have come to wildly different and often conflicting beliefs. My heart tells me they can't all be right.

 

 

Good prof.  That is the very message I try to teach my students.

For anyone who cares to read a few hundred very readable pages on the flaws inherant in human reasoning I can recommend Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow which pretty neatly summarize approximately 40 years of reasearch into the study of human decision making.

Adding just a bit:  Science concerns itself with the natural world.  God exists in the supernatural world.  Any one who claims a "scientific analysis" of the evidence for/against God is speaking nonsense.  In the usual and scientific sense there can be no "evidence" of/against God.  There can be only what you feel and believe.

Those who confuse religion and science diminish both.

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i don't believe that parents brain wash their kids..

i believe they raise thier kids..

cults and governments and society are what try  to brainwash the kids..

a christain or whatever religions parent is not looking to brainwash their kids..they are doing what they feel is the right way to raise their kids..just as someone that does not believe in a higher power would..

parents just try to do the best they can do and hope that when it's time for the kids to move on that they keep some of what they have learned..

sure there are extremists in the mix..but for the most part i believe their intentions are meant as the best they can give for their kids..

be it any sort of family value system..

 

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VRprofessor wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

When I took statistical analysis in grad school, the professor truly impressed me with his introductory lecture. He passionately argued that we are so thoroughly wired to find patterns that we see them where none exist and attribute causation where there is scarcely correlation. This was human nature and his job was to help us corral that nature so we could look at a thing and "In our hearts, know that it is right." He was not so much concerned that we master the mathematics of statistics (though we'd not pass if we didn't), but to make us ever aware of how easily we fool ourselves, and to recognize the situations in which we are particularly vulnerable.

We've evolved a natural bias that we can escape only by education. Absent the intellectual endeavors of countless "doubters" before us, we'd be unable to see that the "magic" of the world around is is not magic at all, but the even more wondrous result of complex processes governed by laws we're still trying to understand. The truth may be out there for us to grasp, but we've not yet reached it.

Vast numbers of humans claim to have looked at the evidence, without dogma, without bias and without coercion, and from that have come to wildly different and often conflicting beliefs. My heart tells me they can't all be right.

 

 

Good prof.  That is the very message I try to teach my students.

For anyone who cares to read a few hundred very readable pages on the flaws inherant in human reasoning I can recommend Kahneman's
Thinking, Fast and Slow
which pretty neatly summarize approximately 40 years of reasearch into the study of human decision making.

Adding just a bit:  Science concerns itself with the natural world.  God exists in the supernatural world.  Any one who claims a "scientific analysis" of the evidence for/against God is speaking nonsense.  In the usual and scientific sense there can be no "evidence" of/against God.  There can be only what you feel and believe.

Those who confuse religion and science diminish both.

I'm quite happy to let religion and science play in their own sandboxes. Science has been accumulating sand at an ever increasing rate, yet religion's sandbox never seems to empty. I expect this to continue.

I've never been comfortable calling myself an athiest, as that seems to require more certainty than I can muster. I don't believe there is a creator, but I can't prove their isn't. I relegate the existence of a creator, or not, to the ever increasing pile of things I don't now. I'm a very curious person and love learning. The irony of "the more I learn, the more I don't know" amuses the heck out of me.

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

Vast numbers of humans claim to have looked at the evidence, without dogma, without bias and without coercion, and from that have come to wildly different and often conflicting beliefs. My heart tells me they can't all be right.

I know!   How all those other people got it wrong is a mystery.  Because, obviously
I
must be right.  ; )

Celestiall, you sound remarkably like Maddy when she knows I'm the only one that can hear her.

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It's funny you mention the spaghetti monster...on another game related forum I am on we were all just talking about the spaghetti monster. But that's for another day when I don't have pasta sauce running down my chin. :)

I agree with you that it is not right for people to believe one thing and then attack others for not believing the same thing. Unfortunately that will never stop. It happens every day, and not just about religion. But religion is a HUGE issue, so I think people get very emotional about it. On my personal facebook I spout off quite a bit about religion and politics and trust me, the lectures I get and the internet yelling I have received makes me want to reach through those lines and smack them in the head. But I know why they do it. Nobody wants to be wrong. We will fight to the bitter end to prove that we are right. Especially over something as large as a mystical man in the sky that we have based our entire life on earth around, our moral structure for day to day living and of course what happens to us when we die. Who wants to be wrong about that? Nobody! So we argue, we state our beliefs and when someone doesn't agree we call them idiots, call them close minded, tell them they are going to hell or whatever it is you believe.

Something you should also know in your industry, is that brainwashing does not only happen through tiredness or hunger. It also happens quite frequently through the use of propoganda, torture or just manipulative tactics. And to say the average person is IMPOSSIBLE to brainwash is  very inaccurate. Perhaps you should read up on the Korean War before making that statement. Some were brainwashed through hunger and sleep deprevation but some where also simply brainwashed by means of guilt, social pressure or just plain old psychological harassment.

Regardless, I'm not sure brainwashing is what I would call what happens today but I definitely think back in the days when "God" first made his appearance on the bible that it was general populace control and a form of brainwashing. Today, I think it's more of a social pressure of this is what our parents taught us and what our church leaders tell us so we should carry it on. I don't know if I'd call it brainwashing in the same form as we saw it in the war, but it is a form.

As an example, I was baptised when I was just a few weeks old and raised a good little Catholic girl. I was dressed up in a little white dress and strutted down the aisle to take my first communion and attended ccd classes for years. I went to church every sunday, attended catholic school for part of my elementary education and prayed almost every night, through my childhood. Did I do this for ANY other reason other than because I was told to? Of course not! I did it because my parents coerced me into it, mostly through the use of regular childhool discipline if I disobeyed (no not abuse). I was fed regularly, never tired, had very loving (but god fearing) parents, I don't remember if I was actually ever even spanked except maybe a handful of times and never for something related to God...usually for tormenting my brother. These things I believed as well because they coerced me into believing it, not because I made the natural choice to believe.

However, the thought that religion must have truth behind it because a large number of people are believes does not make that so. In fact most of your statements where you state that are more opinion based and not fact based on your previous statement such as the thought that once the leader dies the group or belief would die with it, is obviously incorrect as well...look at examples other than the christian religion for proof of this. People carry on things for generations. And no...there doesn't need to be proof or hard evidence to keep people believing something. And obviously religions don't fall apart when there is no truth around them because it's been going on for hundreds of years. People can hold fast to a believe and keep it going even after they die. I don't have any issues with someone stating their belief as to why something is the way it is, but nobody can say with absolute fact that "it must be this way because of this". That is wrong from a fact stand point.

As far as evidence goes, I look at "evidence" from both sides of the arguement, so I would hardly say I am a dogmatic type of person. And yes, I've read the bible from start to finish...a couple of times, mostly when I was younger and believed in God. The thing is...I've never heard of or seen actual evidence of God. This could possibly be why you think people are being so dogmatic that they are refusing to look at the evidence...maybe because it doesn't exist? I've heard stories sure, people claiming to speak in tongue, people claiming to have witnessed miracles, etc. Most of those I attribute to a state of mind at the time and not actual hard proof. What I would like to see is actual evidence, just once supporting the belief in God. I would eat my words and never doubt again if I did. And trust me...I've looked. I have yet to find anything concrete that says unequivically that there is definitely a God. What I find even more interesting (and this isn't stated by the OP just a general though) but Christians tend to think their God is the right God and everyone else is wrong. I find it very interesting to think of the possibility of what if that person were born in another country. Would they grow up in a muslim household believing that the Christian God was the right God? Of course not. because that's not what their culture tells them...just likes our does (propoganda!).

I'm sure anyone who knows me can tell you what I believe, but they will also tell you that I respect them for their beliefs and I don't belittle them, call them stupid or put down what they believe. My two oldest children are atheists and my youngest daughter is Christian, I don't ever push one way or the other on them but let them make their own decisions from their own heart. So I don't do any form of coercion typically. I do agree you can't change someone's mind based on your own beliefs. I also believe you can't convince someone of the truth based on coercion, but you can most definitely convince them of a falsehood based on coercion. From an evidential standpoint only however, and not a belief, I have yet to see any supporting hard proof or factual evidence (not interpreted) of God, so I have based my belief off the truth and science that is presented to us, which tells me that the God presented to me from Christians, doesn't exist. Mostly, I say that because I CHOOSE to believe so.

I respect everyone's right to their own opinion and no, I won't try to sway you to my way of thinking, but I disagree and will say that I do believe we choose what we believe and it most certainly is not based on fact for many people. But as for me, the spaghetti monster and I will do just fine on our own.  :)

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when you say..if people would be honest and look at evidence that they would come to believe as you..then you have strayed from most of what you have said..you have ignored their beliefs as even being in the equasion of being true..

 

You are quoting me out of context and therefore misquoting me.

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Celestiall Nightfire wrote:

I agree!  So, you're now an atheist same as me right? 

Because, if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, with bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. 

 

 

(Do I even need to point out the failure of your logic?)

You BELIEVE that "if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, without bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. "

Don't forget the word believe. It's an important word. If I had neglected to say the word believe than I would have been making a statement and than you would be right to point out the illogic behind my statement. But I wasn't making a statement. I was expressing a belief and with beliefs, you are free to have a different belief.

I was only expressing the belief to explain why I don't feel the need to be coercive. I was not stating that you should believe as I do.

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No, they can't all be right. But don't take my word for it. If you take my word for it than you'll also be guilty of bias and dogma. Examine the evidence for yourself.

Come now, and let us reason together. Isaiah 1:18a

 

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Bree Giffen wrote:

I have a sneaking suspicion that the original poster is actually a Satanist. Only one who embraces Satan's teachings would write this stuff.

I sometimes wonder if Bree is a Pharisee. If we're going to start making blind accusations than may I remind you that Jesus, who shared meals with prostitutes and sinners, cursed the Pharisees.

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Pavanne wrote:

To the OP:

Nice try (that's the kinder way of saying FAIL).  There's what you believe and what I believe, and there's what I would like to believe, and what I refuse to believe, and what I don't believe and there's one thing they all have in common.  None of them is the same as what it true and proven.

All religions deal with mystery, the unknown and the unprovable.  There is no need for faith when there are facts.  But there is a very strong, human need to seek answers to the mysteries of life.  People know for a fact that life is a temporary state.  They know that good and evil exist.  And they try to make sense of this.  They don't all come up with the same answer.  Not everyone even agrees on the questions or their importance. 

 

But to try and conclude from this that there is no choice is not only erroneous, you just can't get there from here.

I did say we have a choice. Did you read the entire thing or are you just responding to the title?

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VRprofessor wrote:

Adding just a bit:  Science concerns itself with the natural world.  God exists in the supernatural world.  Any one who claims a "scientific analysis" of the evidence for/against God is speaking nonsense.  In the usual and scientific sense there can be no "evidence" of/against God.  There can be only what you feel and believe.

Those who confuse religion and science diminish both.

True but not all evidence is of a scientific nature. Some of the evidence they accept in a legal courtroom would not pass the strict rigors of a scientific journal.

There is evidence of God. The evidence is all around us. But the scientific community rejects most of this evidence because it doesn't fit on a microscope slide.

So we can't prove the existence of God scientifically but that does not mean we lack evidence.

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