I believe in God - I do not need religion
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Debate Rounds (4)
I believe that God is truly omnipotent, an ultimate force, not a being or entity, not good, loving, vengeful or evil, but all-encompassing. So much so that It is an unfathomably immense, incomprehensible Thing (not in a negative/grotesque sense but in an unknown sense).
I would therefore never assume to
(i) understand It's nature (such as thinking of It as "He" or "She"),
(ii) speak for It,
(iii) have the abilty to directly communicate with It, or
(iv) believe that I am doing It's bidding.
Likewise, I would never assume that I am going to a Heaven or a Hell when I die.
I just don't know. This is how I attempt to be humble before the magnitude of God.
I appreciate, respect and fear (ie. I am in awe of) God in the myriad of aspects that I am able to recognize. I strive to be a decent person and to treat others with the same appreciation, respect (and fear) because I feel it is necessary to do so for all aspects of Creation/God.
My belief is personal. I do not wish to place myself under the label of any "ism" and I do not feel it necessary to practice any sort of religion to find salvation. Though I appreciate the age-old wisdom that religion provides, it seems to be alot like a police-force or government, necessary, yes, but not for everyone, especially when there are other institutions in society providing a very similiar service/message.
Do not murder, rape, cheat, steal, lie. Treat your neighbours with respect and dignity. Even people in the most remote areas of the world seem to understand and practice this (obviously not always successfully but often more so than so-called civilized nations), which leads me to believe that morality is perhaps an instinctive communal mechanism rather than instructions from a superior governing entity. I do believe morality needs to be "enforced" to some degree but I believe that everyone should be free to ascertain the worthiness of the source of that education, and where to place their faith.
I feel that I understand the concept of Faith, how powerful it is as a motivator, a relaxant, and as a narcotic. How it is so crucial for a religion (and other instiutions) to function. I also see how it is strongly linked to hope.
I believe that God exists, is anywhere, everywhere, everything, and anything, but my hope lies with humanity, that one day we can all live together in some degree of harmony with ourselves and the world around us, and with myself, that I might one day find salvation and enlightment. Perhaps it will be the same salvation as others, perhaps even via the wisdom of religion, but I don't believe I could ever join a religion because I do not have faith in a large portion of their beliefs.
This said, I am also very willing to learn. It is not my aim to insult or undermine the beliefs of others, but to see if I can defend my own. If anyone can enlighten me on how I'm wrong, mislead, or on a path of folly, please do. I look forward to the discussion.
-Because I'm new to formal debate, the only rule I'm placing is the age-limit of 16. No offence to under sixteens, I'm sure many of you could enlighten me on a thing or two, just trying to be as fair and open as possible while also trying to find an opponent with at least a moderately developed sense/view of their beliefs. Perhaps I should take away the age restriction or make it higher, my own age or older? Higher rank? I'm not sure. I've seen how others structure their debates on this website and have been wondering how necessary it is. Please leave a comment if you have any advice on setting rules and/or format/structure of the debate. I'd appreciate it.
I'm a Muslim and I've been practicing Islam for 7 months now. I've studied theology in my free time for almost 2 years now and I'm sure of my faith. We believe in one Allah and we believe that he sent messengers throughout time, such as Jesus and Moses may peace be upon them. Allah is the One who created me, hence I put my head on the ground 5 times a day, multiple times time during those 5 time for the One who created me. There is no such thing as a trinity or the existence of multiple gods, there is one.
I will be arguing that if you believe in a god you'll need to follow a religion.
Hello, peace be upon you, and thank you for accepting this challenge/discussion.
Ok great, that's a good angle. You seem confident, respectful and intelligent. I couldn't ask for more.
Just to be clear, I'm aware that there are alot of "semantics" involved here, but you may approach and argue in any way/angle you see fit and I will attempt to only justify my beliefs (and their accuracy) according to my title and original statement. Perhaps this will be a simple task for you, I will not assume to know, though I look forward to it.
So since I've already done my opening statement, I will (with great anticipation) forego this round and allow you to state your argument.
Let me start by saying that I respect your right to believe and have a view of whatever you want to do. I have no problem with that.
I would say that your perception mostly comes from an unfair source and I would argue that for most people, most of their information that they derive about religion also comes from the media. The media doesn't help you because at one point they're saying that Hitler is burning in hell and then they're saying that we evolved from this organism. What's going on here?
So either Hitler is burning in hell and the afterlife exists or we evolved from this creature. Which is it? So the problem is that they confuse you and then when you go through life the society knocks it out of you, society would tell you that religious people are nutjobs because religious people believe in something that can't be proven. Whereas atheists and evolutionists believe that they're holding onto something tangible and scientific while the reality is that I'm more scientific than most atheists. I'm not a believer in God because of some emotional incident in my life, but because of intellectual investigation. Atheists are atheist because of some emotional incident in their lives and they blame God for it and so they cling to this notion that God doesn't exist and once you cling to that notion you need to create a platform for God not to exist because otherwise you can't explain why we exist. Now you cling to evolution and the problem with evolution is that there's no proof for it either. Through their own admission it happens during such a long period of time because it can't be observed. That's why I can't prove God exists as an atheist can't prove that evolution happened, the difference is that they think they have facts and reality is they don't. I used to disbelieve in God, but then I believed in a god because and I admitted that the world did not create itself. I still didn't follow a religion though. I came to where you are now. I didn't think I had to follow a religion, but what I did do is look at every main religion of the world and I didn't look at the teachings of that religion, but looked at the sources of that religion. I would dismiss them one by one. I rejected Christianity because the texts come from unreliable sources and there are many other reasons of course. I rejected Judaism because you can't even become a Jew. I rejected Hinduism because of its contradictions and inconsistency. I rejected Buddhism because it shouldn't be a religion, it's a philosophy.
The difference between you and religious people (especially Muslims and Orthodox Jews) is that you don't have a guide and we do. For example, you just bought a Galaxy S7 and I just bought a Galaxy S7 and I get a manual with mine and you don't. Who's going to operate that galaxy S7 better, realistically? Probably me because I know the phone and its functions better, you're just going to press some buttons to see what happens. I recognize that I don't know everything and that there are things that can cause me harm, for example, alcohol, drugs, gambling, interest dealings and sexual immorality. If you set your own parameters it's flawed, because you can still get into debt and you can still become an alcoholic this way. So this is not the way we should set our moral standards. People would argue that we can do these things in moderation, but that's impossible and dumb. Go to an alcoholic and tell him to drink just one can of beer a day, it doesn't work. That's why I say that men will not tell other men what to do.
If God labels himself as such and such and belittles you and others in scripture it should be at least fair for you to look at that as well and make your own decision as to whether that's valid or not. If you don't do that your predisposition is that all of those scriptures despite looking at them or studying them or applying your logic and reasoning to them to come to a logical conclusion based upon a reasoning, you'd rather shut them all and declare them false. So I would say that you should at least look at the other argument and analyze it through reasoning and intellect. Now intellect and reasoning can be flawed because it is subjective, but I think it's still better than not looking at the evidence and not investigating at all.
The devil doesn't want you to worship God, however the devil accepts the existence of God. So what's the point of believing in God, but not worshipping him? God does not communicate with us by whispering in our ears, that's what satan does. How has God communicated with us in history? He communicates with humans through messengers, but these messengers are mocked by the people the messengers are sent to. So what do the messengers do? They perform miracles and wonders to prove that they're sent by the One that sent them. When they do things that defy the reality, the people are convinced that the messengers are who they are.
What was the message of every prophet? Worship God, not just believe. Coming to that conclusion we realise that people who believe in God and don't worship God are worse than atheists. You ignore God, atheists are ignorant of God. God is beyond comprehension and so you can't make these fallacies, so we look at the source known as scripture.
Allah says that if you speak the truth you should also provide your evidence and so I ask you to do just that.
Hi. Okay, you've made some interesting points.
My perception comes from various sources but mainly from my own life experience and many years of thinking very deeply on this subject.
I agree, the media does confuse things. I don't rely on or particularly trust it, though I believe it has it uses. I think alot of the confusion lies with the rapid progression of society in this day and age. Ideas are changing and when new ideas pop up, the media and various institutions (including religions) hastily (often fearfully) pounce on them, distort their meaning and try and use them to manipulate people (ie. try and make us believe in certain "truths").
In my mind there is very little that is "set in stone" (absolute/unarguable) because truths can change. I see the theory of evolution as, currently, the most viable explanation for our existence on this planet but I fully expect it to change as, in time, our knowledge of nature and the universe develops. I won't outrightly deny creationism though. Evolution currently just makes more sense to me.
They way I see it there are two ways that people commonly utilize science. 1) As a means to better understanding reality, and 2) as a replacement for religion to explain reality. While I have no problem with the first, I think the second is like trying to fit a "square peg into a round hole".
I don't particularly understand athiesm. I won't try to explain or defend that line of thinking except to say that there are probably many various reasons that lead people to thinking that way. Like religion, however, I see (hardline) athiesm as a little too assuming.
Now assumption is at very core of what I'm trying to put forth. I believe that people, in general, should be very careful not to get carried away with it.
I haven't studied theology as you have (and I respect the fact that you are probably better informed in that area) but this leads to a point that I feel is relevant to my beliefs and this discussion. Theology is the study of the nature of God, and religion.
I don't see anything wrong with studying such things, however, as I stated at the beginnning of this discussion, I don't want to assume to know what God is, or says, or wants, because I think God is most likely too great (immense) to see in anything but tiny aspects, doesn't speak (in the human understanding of the word) and doesn't actually want (or need) anything of us. I think we (via religions - and general over-thinking) very much assume these things about God's nature.
I think you and I, and anyone who thinks deeply on these matters (and are willing to discuss them) are are slightly better off, but nevertheless, assumption can be a very dangerous thing. Scientists are just as much in peril if they believe their notions to be immutable.
A specific example of assumption about God that has bugged me most of my life growing up in a Christian society, is when people refer to God as Him, He, and our Father in Heaven. This specifically implies that the one and only God (of Christianity) somehow has a gender. It doesn't make any sense to me at all. In fact, it seems made up. I've read that this might not apply to Islam (apparently your word for "Him" doesn't imply gender, and English just doesn't have a suitable translation), but it's just one example of the many assumptions/contradictions that are common in religion.
Likewise, I would be far more willing to believe in creationism if it didn't come with stories like the seven day creation of the world, Adam and Eve, and Noah's Ark, that we are expected to believe were real, factual events in our history.
I also don't understand why "the devil" is so often made out to be God's opposite. It seems to be an outright manipulation by religion (Christanity at the very least) to fit the universal notion of duality, ie. good and evil.
Most of all, I don't understand the idea that I am damned to horrific eternal torture in Hell simply for not believing in the religious version of God and following their earthly practices and rituals, even though I am a decent person, not perfectly decent obviously, but enough so that if I were to stand before judgement, I believe that the nature of what is in my heart would be clear.
I don't know alot about about Hindism, and I agree with what you say about Buddhism, but when it comes to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the above are some examples of the things I find difficult to accept, and prevent me from joining these religions. Basically what I mean by all this is that I cannot place faith in and dedicate myself to something that doesn't make sense to me.
This said, I understand what you say about having a "manual" to life. I think that you, as a religious person, have an advantage there in that the great prophets and authors of the holy scriptures have spent accumulated lifetimes thinking about and laying out guidelines for the benefit of humanity as a whole. I have had to struggle (and will most likely continue to struggle) to formulate/solidify my own personal view of morality from various sources, some that are not always as "clear cut" as religion, but they're there and available none-the-less and I feel that the effort has strengthened me. Society needs morality in order to function just as a family does, however a father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister, do not necessarily need to be told to love and respect each other. Some do, yes, but not me, and not my family. Some need to be taught, yes, but teaching is not always about supplying new ideas to a student, sometimes it is about strengthening/nurturing what is already there.
I believe that, if the devil exists, it exists in the hearts of us, a manifestation of all the negative aspects of humanity and, like an exorcism, it can be expelled by knowing it's true name and it's nature. So, if we are the devil inasmuch as we choose to be, or not to be, in our behaviour towards each other or otherwise, we can battle evil by better understanding ourselves.
These words are the only evidence I can provide for my beliefs. I don't know if I can explain it any better than this.
Our perceptions are not trustworthy sources.
Our senses are limited and induction is limited.
A Christian could say that he personally spoke to Jesus PBUH and a pantheist would say that he is able to speak with his own dead ancestors.
We both know that's nonsense.
You can think deeply about this topic your entire life any way you like, but if you don't look at the evidence and facts you will never get to the reality. When I'm making an exam I haven't studied for I can stare at the question as long as I like, but I'm not getting anywhere.
I agree that the theory of evolution makes sense and it is a valid thing to believe in if you're not religious and I myself believe it, excluding human evolution.
The story of Adam and Eve is a shared belief among Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The story of Noah's Ark is a shared belief among Jews, Christians and Muslims (whether this flood was global or local is not known in Islam). The Qur'an and the Bible mention that the universe was created in 6 days, but this is not talking about our typical 24-hour day.
@TheThinker01 made a point that I wanted to make myself.
If you do believe in God and you don't worship Him, you are practically telling God "I know you exist, but I'm going to do what I want".
It's like you are asking for eternal torture.
Now you also said that you wouldn't attribute "He" to God because he would have gender. In Arabic all words have gender, but this doesn't mean that Allah has a gender. The Creator is not like his creation. We use the male pronoun out of respect for Allah, not because Allah has gender. In the Qur'an, Allah uses the royal "we" as well. Satan is not the opposite of God, Allah is not like his creation and thus cannot be compared with his creation.
Satan in the Qur'an: http://submission.org...
Allah knows exactly what motivates people. The things that motivate us are reward and punishment and so God gives us the choice between the most severe punishment (hellfire) and the best reward (paradise).
Now I want to be completely honest with you from an Islamic perspective. If someone has heard of Islam and what it stands for and that person rejects the religion then this person will go to the hellfire. If someone hasn't, they'll be tested on the day of Judgement. Now hellfire is a place of the most extreme suffering torment and the Qur'an and the hadith emphasize this in various gruesome ways. I can lie to you to make you all fuzzy and warm inside, but this is what I accept as the truth.
You're saying that if the devil exist, you'll believe XY and Z that is not presented in scripture. This is delusion. I can't believe that Gadaffi died for my sins, can I? I can't believe that God is a horse, can I? I can't believe that angels are naked caucasian women and men as presented in movies, can I?
I also got the attention that you believe that this creator doesn't have a relationship with his creation or at least not with humans. You're pretty much playing with words and if that's the case, Lawrence Krauss believe the same thing. He just calls this "creator" nothing.
I agree that our perceptions can be untrustworthy, especially when ruled by emotion and fear rather than rational, objective thought. I also accept the fact that my own perceptions are flawed and limited, which is why I seek to learn and expand my knowledge and understanding.
Human beings are a combination of both emotion and intellect (in varying amounts). We all rely on our own judgment, to certain degrees, on a daily basis as we would't be able to function otherwise. We can at least "trust" ourselves that much. I agree its limited as we human beings are limited, but I see this as a part of life, we work with what we have, and at the same time, we also seek to improve ourselves in order to better achieve our goals.
Evidence and fact, like this discussion, these words, and life in general, seems to be highly interpretable. Some would argue that its not (interpretable), some of it is physically evident, some isn't (eg theory - though scientists would argue that their definition of theory is - facts supported by evidence). Either way, people can have endless discussions on this subject if they feel that their interpretations of the evidence is justified. Be it through conviction or stubborness, one can choose what makes the most sense and so the "Truth" changes according to each individual. This is why I don't call for evidence, the evidence is largely here, all around us, in nature, people, books, scriptures. We just interpret it differently.
"I know you exist, but I'm going to do what I want".
This not what I am saying at all. At the very beginning I stated;
"I appreciate, respect and fear (ie. I am in awe of) God in the myriad of aspects that I am able to recognize. I strive to be a decent person and to treat others with the same appreciation, respect (and fear) because I feel it is necessary to do so for all aspects of Creation/God."
I promise you I did not say (or imply) this in an off-hand manner. Though my perception/interpretation of God is different, not once in this discussion have I suggested that I ignore God (as TheThinker01 stated - it seems without reading further than the title), or that I have a right to simply do what I want. I have mentioned my belief in decency and the importance of morality a number of times. I have also stated that I don't think decency and morality comes from (is taught) soley by religion.
I understand this line of reasoning - religion first taught me about God, therefore religion has significant importance/credit.
I even understand this to an extent - you can't believe in God without religion (though I don't think its true).
This however, I do not understand - you can't believe in God without being religious. This is saying that religion (which is run by man - if not made by man) not only defines what God is but is is also as important as God which i would say is rather incorrect (& blasphemous).
Like the concept of hell as punishment, eternal paradise/heaven as a reward for following religion is something that I'm finding harder and harder to accept and understand. Firstly, I can not begin to imagine what it would be like to actually experience eternal bliss and happiness or paradise, or torture. We only have this reality from which to base our expectations, and in this world things like pleasure and pain only exist in relation to each other (and basically "eternal" is inconcievable). Then also, everyones idea of heaven/paradise, and hell, is naturally different. Does everyone gets the same reward/punishment or is everyone catered for individually?
As you say, "motivatation" through reward and punishment. Besides the ultimate threat and reward, religions also have very "earthly" ones, such as safety and peace of mind in a community of like minded people, and the threat of being rejected/shamed by that community. A basis for social/community structure. These are far more immediate and, I believe, far more effective as daily motivators.
What I meant in my reference to the devil at the end of my last post, is basically for humanity to take resposiblility for our wrong-doing rather than blame it on an outside evil force like the devil. The devil seems like a scape-goat for us to avoid responsibility.
I haven't read about Lawrence Krauss yet, but I will. Sounds a bit "zen" (glass half empty/half full).
Well, that's all I have to say (that I can think of). Thank you for your time and for this opportunity. Peace be with you.
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