What do you believe?

#1

I have a dream, of a thread where people can enunciate their beliefs about life and religion, without the possibility of degeneration into pointless back-and-forth arguing. Well maybe not a dream, but it seems like it might be a good idea :slight_smile: And maybe not, but worth a shot perhaps.

Such arguing accomplishes little in the end, and usually isn’t much fun either.

A compendium of beliefs could be an interesting thing to read though, if enough people contribute. And so anyone is invited to share their own beliefs here. However, this is a place where criticism of others’ beliefs–valid or otherwise–is not welcome.

I know that sounds constraining, and normally I would say good-faith criticism of a point of view, religious or otherwise, should certainly not be discouraged. However when it comes to this topic, on this forum, it often seems to be more of a detriment than a benefit. It’s impossible to pick out the pearls of wisdom from the muck on a lot of threads.

The way to criticize someone’s beliefs in this thread is to respond with your own beliefs. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Your beliefs can contradict or mesh with other beliefs, fair is fair, but direct responses to others’ beliefs belong somewhere else. This is a big website, and there is plenty of room for the back-and-forth in other threads. Having a thread without it could just be a good thing.

Mod note: I’m signalling my intention right at the beginning of this thread that I will just summarily dump any trashy posts, so keep it respectful and all will be well. Tally-ho!

So here’s a belief of mine:

If we insist a creator God made everything, we are left with the question of where the creator God came from. Who created God? There’s no good way I have ever heard to answer that question. I think we have to recognize that we really know nothing about why we’re here or where the universe came from. That could change someday as mankind’s knowledge expands, but not likely in the near future in my opinion. I acknowledge my ignorance when it comes to this question, and am just happy to be here.

#2

I believe in keeping an open mind and trying to discern reality from fantasy. I believe that nobody really knows why we are here and how we got here.

#3

Sign me up and love me Jesus. :pray:

Excellent OP, by the way.

#4

Right now, I believe that MOS Burger Japanese fried chicken is some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Double-loves for the woman who works there at night who speaks awesome English and who, when it’s not busy, is happy to try to teach me the Chinese words for the things I’m ordering, since I’d like to know. No other stranger has been so kind to me here, so even though fried chicken and fries are bad for me, I’ve eaten it three or four times now in 12 days. LOL

My parents and the nuns tried to make me a Catholic, but it didn’t take. Even at age 4 and 5, I couldn’t believe all those fairy tales, and nobody had answers to my (good) questions, like “where did god come from if he made everything?” and “if god is merciful, why are there starving people?” and “if god can see everything that’s going to happen, why did he make an apple to get adam and eve in trouble?”

As you can see, I was a pain in the ass as a kid. To my mother’s never-ending embarrassment, the Catholic school asked that my parents not send me back after my first year there. Academically, I was way ahead of my peers, but I wouldn’t shut up, and I called them devil-worshipers for beating me for writing with my left hand. They won that battle… I am right-handed for writing… but they lost the war.

As a teenager, I flirted with the Unitarian-Universalists; there’s a lot to like there but it was too churchy for me in the end. I like the Quakers and their silence; once they start talking about god, they lose me, but I like their peaceful nature and the way they lead their lives.

Ultimately, though, I’m an atheist. I just don’t buy any of it. I think religion is entirely a human construct, brought about by our lack of understanding of the fearsome things that go on around us every day, and trying to make some order, sense, and meaning out of it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more tolerant… everyone needs their comforts, and while i think organized religion is a poor comfort, since it’s directly harmed so many people, I know it works for many. I see the Bible and other ‘holy’ books as interesting works of historical fiction.

I do love the Flying Spaghetti Monster though. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages, and I laugh every time I read that stuff. rAMEN

#5

I believe I’ll have another beer. :beer:

#6

Why does there always have to be a ‘why’?

#7

Thats a good question, I think sometimes the why is really hard to express…but I think we like to ask why just because we want to know what a person is thinking…sometimes the why really lets us into the person’s real thoughts on the subject. With religions, its easy to have the set, established “I believe in this, this and this” (heck there are even creeds out there that make it easy!) but the why is so personal…it brings it all down to the individual! I think the “why” can be simple though, maybe a person doesnt totally know why…thats okay.

I’m converting to Judaism, I’m basically reform but I’m learning about it all through some pretty orthodox sources, I think its cool though and its really showing me the full spectrum of the religion.

I believe in G-d, one G-d. The Jewish people entered into a covenant with G-d to accept His Torah (teachings) and part of that teaching is to make this world a better place, heal the world, help people, respect the environment, make the earth a good place for everyone. I like its unsureness about the afterlife and its focus on this life now - enjoying it and elevating it to something heavenly. I like its attitudes toward life, family, happiness, and how the relationship with G-d is viewed and works.

Basically, I found a place where I feel like I really fit in. It all seems really natural, I always felt this way and I finally found people who echo what I felt deep down. I remember reading my first “about Judaism” book and being like, “Ah! Thats what I always would say/think!”

I don’t agree with everything all the time that people do, trust me, but in terms of the Torah and the mitzvahs, all the core stuff…its really right for me. I’m pretty happy so far!

I like this thread, thank you! I appreciate it. :slight_smile:

#8

Well done, TG. Let’s hope this thread doesn’t disintegrate into shouting like so many of the religion threads.

On the “Where does God from?” question, I have no answer. I don’t believe in a white-bearded personage living on another plane now, but when I was growing up I did. It was very comforting to think that way, but I eventually realized that a lot of things didn’t make sense. The main issue for me was the idea that, if there really were a God, he would be as vengeful and petulant as the one portrayed by the religion I belonged to (Mormonism).

What I do know is that spiritual matter and power exists. I can feel it, any time I want to. I think this spiritual power is very much under the surface for most people. It is accessible, but we’re usually too hungry, too tired, too busy, too worried, too angry, or too skeptical to access it. I don’t really know where it comes from, but I know it exists. I don’t use it to do faith healings or prophecies or other things like that. I use it to understand things that happen in life and advise people who ask me for advice.

I don’t belong to a church, though I’d like to because church communities can be wonderful things. I just don’t really feel an affinity for organized religion. But I like to meditate and access the spiritual side of life, when there isn’t too much going on or too much noise in my life.

#9

Good point!

#10

I newer believed in anything, but I have accepted that there is people that do and when I fist came to Taiwan I went to the temples and all that stuff with my wifes family, but in recent years I have taken the step to totally reject anything religious.
A friend of me felt bad about himself for having some fun with girls and where sure he was going to hell and the people here talk about this luck all the time witch they buy in the temples so my conclusion is that religion is evil stuff that make people suffer. I’m a atheist and I will raise my children to be so as-well

#11

I believe in situational ethics, and that beliefs should be malleable, and not imparted by any rigid hierarchy.

#12

Because.

#13

My beliefs?

Allowing the freedom of belief is the only sacrosanct thing.

For me: religion is a crutch like alcohol and any other addiction. I will respect others crutches as far as they respect mine, and as long as crutch-users don’t try and circumscribe others’ beliefs.

I, like almost everyone else, wish there were an afterlife, but I don’t have high hopes and have never come across a psychic or evangelist that garnered enough points for me to follow.

Being open to proof and new evidence – as I feel religiosos are not – I could be converted if Jesus or Mohamed appeared before me. Nothing supernatural, however, has happened to me in all of my years of searching.

So my belief: There is almost certainly no God and if there – by some small chance – is, she is so big that he would forgive me for not believing in her for lack of evidence. Actually, there is no reason to talk about forgiveness - I’d be rewarded for paying attention to the lack of evidence.

Just my two cents. If she exists, he is too cool for damning people. If he doesn’t, the best we can do is love people. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world. She would approve.

#14

I am my own god which can die. I do believe in myself as the maker of my own destiny. Karma is a constant as I make my choices good, bad, or neutral and it is through those choices my own personal universe evolves; granted the occasional unforeseeable anomaly which presses on my universe by another. I believe in good but not evil as the good struggle with a higher ethical code that permeates their being derived from pity. Sometimes we fall, the good, but it is our choice to continue the struggle or be consumed by pettiness. Religion can be righteous providing it is benign. The only religions I would endorse are those that are passive and promote unconditional peace. :2cents:

#15

You and I aren’t so far apart after all…

My beliefs? Well, I grew up in a pretty mainstream Russian Mennonite family, went to church every Sunday, went to a Mennonite high school, and one year in a Mennonite college. My beliefs are a paradox - I have a consistent skepticism in the institutions of man (like the Church), but a strong faith that there is a higher power/truth out there (God). I choose to express the spiritual elements of my personality within the framework of Christianity, as flawed as it is, just because it’s the one most familiar to me. It would be like a Chinese person choosing the erhu over the violin, just because it was the most accessible way to practice and refine musicality.

I don’t believe in a lot of the key tenets of Christianity, which makes me a bit of what some Christians refer to contemptuously as a “cafeteria Christian” - that is, I pick and choose what I like, and ignore the rest. I think that hell, if it exists at all, must be a personal thing, some kind of karmic retribution, in the sense that one will know the kind of sins one has committed. If you stole a fiver from your grandpa, your hell will be a lot more comfortable than someone who has raped or murdered. I also believe that we are on a path, a path that eventually leads to fulfillment with God, a point in the future where want and fear and doubt have all been left behind and there is only peace and love. I’ve come to these beliefs after studying Christianity in depth and other religions in a much more superficial way. It seems to me that they’re all pointing in the same general direction.

What screws things up for me are the institutions of man. No matter how good our intentions, we are flawed, and this is reflected in our words, thoughts, deeds, and institutions. This is also what makes me highly skeptical of people when they speak of absolute truths, or the “word” of God. We already know from biblical scholars that so much of the Bible is factually wrong, or translations are highly interpretive. (eg. Thou shalt not kill, vs. Thou shalt not murder)

Because my faith is founded on a gut feeling, and the knowledge that most people have a spiritual side, this makes me think that I am not wrong to believe. But looking at the many foolish ways man has expressed his faith, I’m pretty sure I’m wrong at least partly in what I believe. Still, some expression of spirituality is better than none, and Christianity is the instrument that I’m most familiar with. I’ll keep practicing, and in the meantime, try to do what God and Threadkiller say I should do: Love people.

#16

This is what I grew up professing to be my faith every Sunday at Catholic mass. My belief is somewhat different now but by no means a total departure from the Apostle’s Creed. Most Catholics have this memorized, by the way.

The Apostle’s Creed:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended in heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

#17

Like someone put it before:

  • If you dont believe in God what do you believe then?
  • I believe that if you want a better world, you have to get up off your ass and make it better.

I also believe we have the responsibility of asking ‘why’ as much as we can in order to understand our surrounding and make it better.
The more we ask, the more information we get.

#18

[quote=“janooChen”]Like someone put it before:

  • If you dont believe in God what do you believe then?[/quote]
    There are plenty of things that are not god that one may believe in.

…like Crystal Light.

[quote]- I believe that if you want a better world, you have to get up off your ass and make it better.

I also believe we have the responsibility of asking ‘why’ as much as we can in order to understand our surrounding and make it better.
The more we ask, the more information we get.[/quote]
Agreed.

#19

I believe that God exists, and that the universe is the product of intelligent design which evolutionary processes are insufficient to explain or account for. Furthermore, I believe that this life is not the only one that there is and in fact that it pales in comparison to the one that is yet to come.

#20

I don’t believe it matters what I believe. The truth is the truth whether I believe it or not. I don’t feel the need to argue about whatever my limited view of these big questions is. I don’t believe for a second that I will ever be able to express the truth about these big questions. It doesn’t matter what I say-the truth remains the same and doesn’t give a shit if anyone is defending it or not.

Having said that, I love this:

[quote]God is all, both invisible and visible.
One Presence, One Mind, One Power is all.
This One that is all is perfect life, perfect love, and perfect substance.
I am an individualized expression of God and am forever one with this
perfect life, perfect love, and perfect substance.[/quote]