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Miscellaneous Discussion of non-Trek topics.

View Poll Results: Which of the following, closely matches your personal beliefs?
Christianity 28 31.82%
Judaism 1 1.14%
Islam 1 1.14%
Hinduism 0 0%
Buddhism 0 0%
Sikhism 0 0%
General Spirituality 1 1.14%
Athiest 41 46.59%
Agnostic 13 14.77%
Other 3 3.41%
Voters: 88. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 23 2012, 07:24 PM   #1
Mr Silver
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Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

I'd like to try and tackle this from a philosophical perspective, however, please forgive me if it goes astray.

It seems that there are a lot of members of this board, that publicly identify themselves as athiest or agnostic. I count myself among them, although it's not always black and white, and I'm sure that goes for everyone too.

I know I'm not the only person that thinks this, but I've always had that idea in the back of my head. This idea being, that things such as faith, spirituality, and religion, were invented, so people would be happier to accept the fact that really shitty things happen, and that they are going to die some day.

There are some people out there, who don't believe in the existence of an afterlife, that are perfectly content with the knowledge that one day, they will die. To put that into perspective, one day a person will cease to exist, and they will never be again. I think deep down, most of us accept this fact, but a great deal of us (me included) fear such an event, or at least believe it to be unnecessary and unjustified, and hope to find a way to avoid it in some manner or another (I guess you could call me a transhumanist). I do envy the people who are content with the idea of "ceasing to be", because they've obviously discovered a level of inner peace.

Religion fuels that inner peace, but at the same time, I feel that many religions promote self-denial. How often have you heard the adage from religious communities, that prayer can help you?

Exactly how different is prayer to an invisible and silent figure, to creating an imaginary friend? I perceive the fundamentals of prayer to be nothing but a corruption of the teachings of self belief. It gets worse, particularly with areas such as Christian Science, in which people lose their lives, because they refuse treatment in favour of the power of prayer. A person CANNOT will themselves out of a serious illness or injury, without any treatment.

I'd like to point out, that in the early years of my life, I was raised "light-Christian". What that means is, that I attended church on Sunday and learned the various Christian fundamentals, along with the undeniable truth, that "God and Jesus exist!!".

I suspect I've always disputed those ideals, as I have a scientifically geared mind. Nonetheless, the idea of there being a God, was still with me until I was around 16/17 years old. Nowadays I don't personally believe there is a God, based upon the evidence, however I'm an open-minded person, so I'm not going to say something is completely impossible, especially when there is so little that we truly understand about the Universe.

In the last few years, I've steadily seen some people, that were very close to me, die. I've also seen some pretty horrible things happen, as have we all. But as a result of this, I've opened my mind to the world around me and seen the miracles of humanity itself. What took me so long to just accept the likelyhood that there is no God, was that someone I loved dearly, was very religious and died when I was a child. I guess maybe I felt I would be betraying their memory by embracing the nagging atheism, in the back of my head. Don't get me wrong, this person wasn't a zealot, or somebody who preached and tried to distort other people's beliefs. Rather, they were a person who lived their life by the morals, specified in the bible. A person with a strong belief in Christianity, who had a lot of faith - to the point that they accepted their terminal illness in a way, that even the church vicar had never seen before!

I take comfort in the idea that there is a "part of every person I've lost" in me and all the other people that they've touched throughout their lives. That's an element of faith I suppose. Maybe religion was once a good idea, perhaps those people who are interpreted as prophets, were actually hoping to do some good, and not create a system in which to influence and control. And that's what it comes down to, the fact that there is religious concern about a variety of things, from stem cell research to space exploration. The fact that the biggest world religions, are so influential, that humanity itself, is held back from progressing.

I'm happy to let the various religions go with the answers they've received through faith and spirituality, so why can't they be happy to let me seek my answers through science and humanity?

Does anybody else here, believe that there is an element to denial with faith and spirituality? And where does everybody else stand on these matters?

Last edited by Mr Silver; September 23 2012 at 07:52 PM.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:37 PM   #2
Kelthaz
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

...What?

I read this a couple of times now and I have no idea what you're trying to say or ask.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:42 PM   #3
Count Zero
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

I'm not sure, either.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:50 PM   #4
Mr Silver
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

Kelthaz wrote: View Post
I read this a couple of times now and I have no idea what you're trying to say or ask.
Yeah I know, I went a bit crazy. It's more of a vent really, but I suppose I was just stating my beliefs and seeing if other people will as well.

I guess I'm also looking for people to agree or disagree with the idea that certain aspects about faith, encourage self-denial.

I've edited the post to reflect that, I seemed to get a bit carried away, to which the original point was lost.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:55 PM   #5
Kestra
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

He's wondering if religion and faith encourage denial and lying to ourselves in order to skip the hard questions about life and death.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:57 PM   #6
beamMe
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

Well, don't know what to say.
Except that atheism isn't a belief.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:58 PM   #7
Mr Silver
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

beamMe wrote: View Post
Well, don't know what to say.
Except that atheism isn't a belief.
Um... It is a belief, in that an individual believes that a God or supreme being, doesn't exist. It is not however, a faith or religion.
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Old September 23 2012, 07:59 PM   #8
RoJoHen
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

I'm fairly certain that there is no such thing as an Afterlife, but I kind of hope that I'm wrong.
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Old September 23 2012, 08:00 PM   #9
JarodRussell
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

I don't believe in any sort of supernatural stuff, but strangely enough I find myself talking to a god now and then. But I guess that's natural when you were raised with everyone around you talking about God and shit.

I like the "imaginary friend" analogy, because that's what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.


I have major problems with the whole idea of faith. Why would a sensible human being decide to lose control of a situation? Instead, they fall into a obedient, submissive demeanor and just go "Oh Almighty power, do whatever you want with me."

And the whole worship. The relationship to God is: he is the master, and you must obey. And everything he does is wonderful. And you must pray to him, otherwise you are a bad person and will rot in hell. And if there is a catastrophe that kills thousands of people, a single surviving cat is a heavenly miracle for which the Almighty must be even more appreciated. If someone dies under horrible circumstances, people gather together and pray to God and thank him for taking care of him in the afterlife. I don't get it.

Also Christian faith... Original Sin, are you kidding me? Why should I be responsible for something I didn't do?

And the Bible is full of descriptions of horrible power abuse by God, and horrible judgment, and horrible decisions. And yet he is to be unconditionally loved.

And fundamentalists... oh the fundamentalists. Insult their all powerful God, and they get PERSONALLY insulted. I love that, it's hilarious. Just how insecure must a person be? It's the exact same thing as talking to an obsessed Trek fan saying "Kirk sucks", and he blows up into your face as if you just killed his grandma.


And the irony. So MANY different religions exists, and each of those claims to be the right one. How can anyone see that, with open eyes, and still think that their own faith and interpretations of things MUST be the correct one?
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Old September 23 2012, 08:01 PM   #10
M'Sharak
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

Poll wrote:
Athiest
A- ("without") + the- ( fr. Gk theos "a god") + -ist


M' - agnostic, pedant, etymology enthusiast
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Old September 23 2012, 08:08 PM   #11
Mr Silver
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
Poll wrote:
Athiest
A- ("without") + the- ( fr. Gk theos "a god") + -ist


M' - agnostic, pedant, etymology enthusiast
So I made a typo. Don't tell me you didn't make any mistakes today?
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Old September 23 2012, 08:13 PM   #12
beamMe
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

Admiral M wrote: View Post
beamMe wrote: View Post
Well, don't know what to say.
Except that atheism isn't a belief.
Um... It is a belief, in that an individual believes that a God or supreme being, doesn't exist.
No, sorry, wrong.
Try again.
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Old September 23 2012, 08:14 PM   #13
Mr Silver
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

beamMe wrote: View Post
Admiral M wrote: View Post
beamMe wrote: View Post
Well, don't know what to say.
Except that atheism isn't a belief.
Um... It is a belief, in that an individual believes that a God or supreme being, doesn't exist.
No, sorry, wrong.
Try again.
Well, it's the rejection of any religious beliefs. But I still argue, that it's a belief (although not a religious one) within itself. A person who calls themselves an atheist, has their own set of beliefs. One of those beliefs, is the belief that there are no deities. A belief that is hypothetical in nature, sure, but a belief regardless.
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Old September 23 2012, 08:16 PM   #14
RoJoHen
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

beamMe wrote: View Post
Admiral M wrote: View Post
beamMe wrote: View Post
Well, don't know what to say.
Except that atheism isn't a belief.
Um... It is a belief, in that an individual believes that a God or supreme being, doesn't exist.
No, sorry, wrong.
Try again.
Or you could just explain what you think Atheism is instead of being douchey about it.
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Old September 23 2012, 08:19 PM   #15
horatio83
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Re: Faith/Religion/Spirituality - Self-Denial? And Philosophy

I don't believe in God but I know that it is impossible as human being to exist without the notion of God. Sure, we know that our body is immortal but we are aliens in our bodies, our consciousness imagines to live forever. So even the most die-hard cynic secretly has to believe to some degree that there is some deeper sense to everything. It is a form of double-believe, you literally believe at the same time that you are just an animal who will perish one day and that you are an immortal soul.
It is impossible to evade this most basic paradox of being human and its implications upon our culture and language. God can never be killed, because he doesn't exist and because we cannot do without this word.
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