Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

reasonvemotion
Posts: 1643
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 1:22 am

Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by reasonvemotion » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:53 pm

Does it depend upon what we were taught as children? Or do we acquire a belief as we mature. Some people believe until something catastrophic happens, like a death, serious illness and then feel betrayed and turn their backs on God. Then there are those that don't believe in "fairies" and are atheists. Why do some believe and others laugh at believers.

jinx
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 10:32 am

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by jinx » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:03 pm

Indoctrination camps are the basis of the atheism/humanism religions/concepts (schools, universities) get the kids while they are young and destroy their ability to think critically and take dogma by blind faith ('evolution'). Once someone believes in a process that is contrary to every observed law of nature in written history and has NEVER BEEN OBSERVED they are putty in the hands of the oligarchy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Education_Board

"In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply…The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are. So we will organize our children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farm." - General Education Board, Occasional Papers, No. 1 (General Education Board, New York, 1913) p. 6.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology

Apparent teleology is a recurring issue in evolutionary biology, much to the consternation of some writers.
Statements which imply that nature has goals, for example where a species is said to do something "in order to" achieve survival, appear teleological, and therefore invalid. Usually, it is possible to rewrite such sentences to avoid the apparent teleology. Some biology courses have incorporated exercises requiring students to rephrase such sentences so that they do not read teleologically. Nevertheless, biologists still frequently write in a way which can be read as implying teleology even if that is not the intention.

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:43 pm

jinx wrote: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology

Apparent teleology is a recurring issue in evolutionary biology, much to the consternation of some writers.
Statements which imply that nature has goals, for example where a species is said to do something "in order to" achieve survival, appear teleological, and therefore invalid. Usually, it is possible to rewrite such sentences to avoid the apparent teleology. Some biology courses have incorporated exercises requiring students to rephrase such sentences so that they do not read teleologically. Nevertheless, biologists still frequently write in a way which can be read as implying teleology even if that is not the intention.

I believe this is relivant to your comment above,

"Evolution has no inherent direction or purpose, evolution is strictly reaction to the environment. In a stable environment there is little or no change in a species, when the environment is undergoing change the species will evolve to adapt or go extinct, but there is nothing directing evolution either from within or without, other than the environment."

from the science thread.

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:37 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:Does it depend upon what we were taught as children? Or do we acquire a belief as we mature. Some people believe until something catastrophic happens, like a death, serious illness and then feel betrayed and turn their backs on God. Then there are those that don't believe in "fairies" and are atheists. Why do some believe and others laugh at believers.

A childs first teachers are their parents and siblings, so whatever the parents believe is what the children will learn and believe. Sometimes the child will see or hear something that will give them a clue that what their parents believe may not be correct. Sometimes the clues are subtle and it may take some time before the realization sets in. I can now remember many such clues but the one pivitol item was from my HS physics teacher, from then on I began to question what I heard and read, and looked for the truth and tried to verify as much as I could. For many, what they learned in those early years is incorruptable and not to be questioned. However questioning alone does not always lead to atheism, sometimes the ideas that cause some to doubt, will be the same ideas that lead others to believe. In the end the chioce to believe or not believe is internal, and the evidence or reasons are just external 'red herrings' that are used to cover up the internal reasons, but some may not even be aware of that internal reason.

chaz wyman
Posts: 5305
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by chaz wyman » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:27 am

reasonvemotion wrote:Does it depend upon what we were taught as children? Or do we acquire a belief as we mature. Some people believe until something catastrophic happens, like a death, serious illness and then feel betrayed and turn their backs on God. Then there are those that don't believe in "fairies" and are atheists. Why do some believe and others laugh at believers.
I think it is a very rare occurrence that a child brought up with science and secularism grows into a fully fledged religious person who accepts the dogma of the Faith and its myths such as The Creation, or Divine Omnipotence.
The trend is more like a childlike state where some kids are abused by the permission to believe what you will, on the one hand and peddling ridiculous stories such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, Snow White and other parables on the other, the child grows to realise that such stories are socio-fuctional devises to reward/punish/encourage and teach moral lessons.
Those who never realise this tend to cling to some species of myth such as God, Jesus and immortality in face of mounting evidence.
It does depend on what we are taught - and the realisation that we are not always taught the truth, and belief is less about mature acquisition, but the growth of healthy skepticism and doubt. Maturity has to be about questioning, and not accepting.

That is not to say that smart people do find there way into the ranks of Theists, but it seem to me that they are using their cleverness to support a deeply held prejudice about the nature of what they call the divine world; such as William Lane Craig. There is a basic weakness underlying their certainty., and the concrete and only response is agnosticism, which completely undermines anything they say.

I have to conclude that the power of belonging, family, community, and the fear of the possibility of a disinterested universe with the totality of death and mortality is too much to contemplate.
Belonging, a base human instinct ought not to be dismissed; many a young man of Pakistani descent can so easily become enamoured of an attractive and radical Islamicism, just as boys can crop their hair and follow Hitler.
You've only to look at the childish jingoism on this thread concerning the various merits of the US vs Europe (whatever that is). What makes a youth sign up for terrorist training?

Then there is the Realm of easy answers. Religion has them all. They form all the questions and list all the answers, and make all the promises - eternal life, love of god, oneness with the universe, re-incarnation, justification for moral codes from marriage to birth to death; controlling every aspect of your life AND AFTERLIFE so you never have to think.
People would rather die than think.

Gee
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:22 am
Location: Michigan, US

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Gee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:28 am

chaz wyman wrote:People would rather die than think.
You gave me a good chuckle with this line, and it is true, but I don't think that we can blame lack of thinking entirely on religion.
reasonvemotion wrote:Does it depend upon what we were taught as children? Or do we acquire a belief as we mature. Some people believe until something catastrophic happens, like a death, serious illness and then feel betrayed and turn their backs on God. Then there are those that don't believe in "fairies" and are atheists. Why do some believe and others laugh at believers.
There are also people who were raised without the benefit of belief, but turn to it later in life--often because of "something catastrophic". I suspect that whether or not someone believes depends upon their individual make-up and experiences.

In another forum, I was discussing instincts with an animal behaviorist, and we concluded that newborn humans don't have much in the way of survival instincts. (I personally know a woman who drank gasoline when she was two years old. She remembers that it tasted bad and burned her throat, but she was thirsty.) We do have one very strong survival instinct, bonding, so as soon as we are born, we work very hard to charm our caretaker. This bonding is how we survive, so yes, that would make a child very susceptible to parental beliefs.

But we do not lose the need to bond upon reaching our majority, so this bonding continues within our cultures and societies. Freud explained that our emotions and beliefs are very closely interlocked, so people who bond predominantly through emotion turn to religious beliefs. People who bond intellectually are usually referred to as. . . what is that word? Oh yes, intellectuals are arrogant. :shock: I am not religious myself, and so guilty.

There is a lot of opinion around that religion is unnecessary, but I have not yet noted a society or culture that has managed to form without it, so I disagree. I don't think that it matters how we bond, just that we do--as this is how we survive.

Gee

Mike Strand
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:54 am
Location: USA

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Mike Strand » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:51 pm

May also depend on how you define "God".

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:02 pm

Mike Strand wrote:May also depend on how you define "God".
The real difficulty is that some try to define God, and by defining, limit God.

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:29 pm

Gee wrote: There is a lot of opinion around that religion is unnecessary, but I have not yet noted a society or culture that has managed to form without it, so I disagree. I don't think that it matters how we bond, just that we do--as this is how we survive.

Gee
When a society forms there are questions of where it came from and what happened before. Mythology is an attempt to provide some answers where there is no written history. Mythology also provides explinations of natural events where there is no science to do so. Religion grows out of Mythology, but over time is, unfortunately, much corrupted by the 'wants' of its leaders and members. The rituals and practices that grow from Mythology also help to bond the individual to the group and incorporate them into that group.

Gee
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:22 am
Location: Michigan, US

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Gee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:38 pm

thedoc wrote:When a society forms there are questions of where it came from and what happened before. Mythology is an attempt to provide some answers where there is no written history. Mythology also provides explinations of natural events where there is no science to do so. Religion grows out of Mythology, but over time is, unfortunately, much corrupted by the 'wants' of its leaders and members. The rituals and practices that grow from Mythology also help to bond the individual to the group and incorporate them into that group.
I agree with this, but wonder if you are implying that religion is no longer necessary. Do you imply that science will replace religion? Because I don't believe that it is possible.

Gee

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:29 pm

Gee wrote:
thedoc wrote:When a society forms there are questions of where it came from and what happened before. Mythology is an attempt to provide some answers where there is no written history. Mythology also provides explinations of natural events where there is no science to do so. Religion grows out of Mythology, but over time is, unfortunately, much corrupted by the 'wants' of its leaders and members. The rituals and practices that grow from Mythology also help to bond the individual to the group and incorporate them into that group.
I agree with this, but wonder if you are implying that religion is no longer necessary. Do you imply that science will replace religion? Because I don't believe that it is possible.

Gee
No, but I will say that the accepted Mythology, that is recognized as such, is not fulfilling it's necessary role for society. That which is recognized as Myth is outdated, and the new Mythology is seen as entertainment, with little or no meaning to society. Early Myth was related by story telling, and was entertaining, but was understood as containing meaning and lessons in relating to the world. The existant Mythology was largly created for 'Hunter Gatherer' and early 'Farming' societies and no longer speak to modern societies. The symbols and metaphores in these Myths have no common experience for modern society. How could someone living in New York City possibly understand what life was like in the wilderness when there were no large cities and only a few small villages, there is no common experience. There are possibly still primitive societies that still can relate to their Mythology, but as contact is made, those Myths will loose their meaning.

For some science will replace religion just as money has replace God for some people. I used to Joke that many went to the bank to worship their money. However in science it is acknowledged that there are some things that cannot be known and some scientists will admidt that to know these unknowns is to know God. While that might sound like a contradiction it should be noted that Religion is based on an unknown, a Mystery.

Just as Myth is no longer meeting the needs of modern people, Religion is also failing to meet the religious needs of the people. Religion should be a means for individuals to have a religious experience, but instead it is codified, dogmatized, and concreteized everything that was part of the religious experience, and made it into a dry and lifeless thing. There is a book "Thou art That" by Joseph Campbell, edited by Eugene Kennedy that says it much better than I can and is much more detail.

Mike Strand
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:54 am
Location: USA

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Mike Strand » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:15 am

theodoc, you wrote:
The real difficulty is that some try to define God, and by defining, limit God.
I guess definition is only needed if I'm actually trying to find God or show God "exists"-- so that I'll know God when I run across Him/Her/It, or so that I have a clue of where and how to look for God.

Here's a definition that is "unlimited": God is everything that ever has been, is, or will be. I think some branches of the Gnostic faith tradition characterize God this way. If I believe there are things that exist, then by this definition, I would believe in God.

To say God is anything else than the above gnostic idea would be limiting, I think. So where does that leave me?

I could say God exists as an idea I can believe in, like "Love". Well, ideas exist in a sense, so there are all kinds of attractive metaphors like this which would lead me to a "belief" in God. As another example: God is the symbol of what is best in human beings.

Here's a "God" that some believe in and some do not: God is the Supreme Being who (1) created everything, including human beings, (2) loves humanity, and (3) has tremendous knowledge and power. This is a fair definition of God in major faith traditions. I think this is the God that is the subject of popular, endless controversy, and relative to which many people call themselves theists/believers and atheists/non-believers.

thedoc
Posts: 6473
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by thedoc » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:07 am

Mike Strand wrote:theodoc, you wrote:
The real difficulty is that some try to define God, and by defining, limit God.
I guess definition is only needed if I'm actually trying to find God or show God "exists"-- so that I'll know God when I run across Him/Her/It, or so that I have a clue of where and how to look for God.

Here's a definition that is "unlimited": God is everything that ever has been, is, or will be. I think some branches of the Gnostic faith tradition characterize God this way. If I believe there are things that exist, then by this definition, I would believe in God.

To say God is anything else than the above gnostic idea would be limiting, I think. So where does that leave me?

I could say God exists as an idea I can believe in, like "Love". Well, ideas exist in a sense, so there are all kinds of attractive metaphors like this which would lead me to a "belief" in God. As another example: God is the symbol of what is best in human beings.

Here's a "God" that some believe in and some do not: God is the Supreme Being who (1) created everything, including human beings, (2) loves humanity, and (3) has tremendous knowledge and power. This is a fair definition of God in major faith traditions. I think this is the God that is the subject of popular, endless controversy, and relative to which many people call themselves theists/believers and atheists/non-believers.

On another forum I was accused of having a concept of God so broad that it could include 'Invisible Pink Unicorns', and I thought 'OK I don't know that invisible Pink Unicorns don't exist, do I'. The controversy would only arise when some try to set limits and others set different limits. In addition to God creating the Universe, it could also be acceptable to say that God is the universe, along with all the ideas like Love, compassion and Humor. "God, in his wisdom, created the Fly, and then forgot to tell us why", does not illustrate God's shortcomings, but Man's.

Gee
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:22 am
Location: Michigan, US

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Gee » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:46 am

I agree with Mike and thedoc that "God" is most of the things that you stated, but I also agree that we limit "God" when we define Him. And I think that we must for at least three reasons.

The first reason is focus. Consider that when we look out our front room window, we do not see (consciously) all that is there. Science has proven repeatedly that although we can see everything, we can not consciously know everything, as we will focus on somethings and completely miss others. How much less would we see if we looked at a mountain? Consider that "God" is all things, all times, and all possibilities, and so to focus on the reality of "God" is not really possible; therefore we must limit our knowledge and understanding of Him to our focus of Him.

The second reason is that all people are not made alike, but all are under the domain of "God". Sometimes I think that we forget this, so in explanation, I have copied the following post that I wrote to a young man who was asking about "Truth in Religion".

For your review:

It is true that truth is seen through many windows, but I think there is a little more to it than that. When I was young, 5th grade, my teacher had a plaque on the wall that said, "Complex minds think about ideas, Average minds think about events, Simpler minds think about people". I have found that this is "truth". (Bear in mind that complex minds also think about people, but it is not what they consider for understanding. Simpler minds also have good ideas.)

Let us pretend that we are taking each of these minds to a ball game and consider their truths. The complex mind will consider "ideas" like the structure of the dome/arena, or maybe the social issues that attract people to that kind of event, or maybe the history of how events of that kind bring a society together. The average mind will consider "events" and know exactly where the team is in the play-offs, or the strengths and weakness of both opposing teams, or will be considering buying season tickets. The simpler mind will consider "people" and have all of the details, even personal, of some of the players, or will note whether or not the guy selling hot dogs has made a pass close enough to buy one, or will note the people sitting close by and can probably tell you who is together with whom. These are their truths. The ultimate truth in this scenario is that all of them will enjoy the ball game.

If we bring this idea to religion, we find: The complex minds will need to understand the concepts of the religion; the average minds will need rituals and events like church on Sunday, socials, etc.; the simpler minds will need images of a persona to identify with. These are their truths. The ultimate truth in this scenario is that all people need a spiritual understanding, so religion tries to provide for all people in the spreading of their "truth".

Considering that over half of the population is average, a lot of rituals must accompany any religion in order for it to survive. Some kind of persona must also accompany any religion for the simpler minds and for the teaching of children. So although, I personally, need to understand and accept the abstract ideas that accompany any religion, I am not the world.

The third reason is culture shock. We can not reasonably expect any people to accept that "God" is personal, while "God" is reflecting the look and feel of another culture. There is nothing personal about that, so it would be difficult to cultivate any kind of belief.

Thedoc: I looked up Joseph Campbell in Wiki, and would like to thank you for that reference. His explanation of the "Masks" of God is a prime example of the kind of culture shock that I am considering.

What do you think?

Gee

Mike Strand
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:54 am
Location: USA

Re: Why do some of us believe in God and others do not

Post by Mike Strand » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:49 pm

Thanks, Gee!

If I had a concept of God, believed in it, and was happy because of it, I might want to share it with other people. I might write a book or talk to people. I would want to reach as many as I could. This would entail attempting to characterize the God I believed in, in a way to appeal to a wide audience. It may even involve admitting there are aspects of my God that I don't know about or can't explain.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 24 guests