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Belief In God Because Fear of Death

GeoLaureate8
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12/3/2010 1:54:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I always hear from critics of religion that people believe in God because they fear death. In fact, even the believers themselves would agree that with God comes the afterlife.

But if people wish to believe things that console them, why don't they just believe the consoling part? The afterlife with no God. In fact, why do they wish to believe all the other things that are quite the opposite of consoling, yet find consolation in these horrifying beliefs?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Ogan
Posts: 407
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12/3/2010 2:09:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 1:54:09 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I always hear from critics of religion that people believe in God because they fear death. In fact, even the believers themselves would agree that with God comes the afterlife.

But if people wish to believe things that console them, why don't they just believe the consoling part? The afterlife with no God. In fact, why do they wish to believe all the other things that are quite the opposite of consoling, yet find consolation in these horrifying beliefs?

Interesting. What school of Buddhism do you follow/study? I know there are different branches. I also know most if not all Buddhists don't believe in a ‘God', is that correct? Do they believe in an afterlife?
GeoLaureate8
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12/3/2010 3:23:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 2:09:50 PM, Ogan wrote:
Interesting. What school of Buddhism do you follow/study?

None, but if I had to choose, I'd say Zen. I say this because I go based on both the Theravada scriptures (Tipitaka) and the Mahayana scriptures (The Sutras), but I don't agree with the added sectarian beliefs and practices (i.e. the bodhisatva praising, etc.)

I also know most if not all Buddhists don't believe in a ‘God', is that correct?

Well, actually there are some Buddhists that do believe in God and many others that pray to deities (these beings aren't supposed to be deified), however I'm more concerned with what Buddhist doctrine teaches so the official Buddhist doctrine is Atheistic. Even the Dalai Lama himself is an Atheist.

Here's some examples from scripture:

the Buddha: "Others think that God is free creator of all things; clinging to these foolish notions, there is no awakening." [Lankavatara Sutra]

the Buddha : "All such notions [of a] ...personal soul, Supreme Spirit, Sovereign God, Creator, are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of mind." [Lankavatara Sutra]

the Buddha: "Let us, then, surrender the heresies of worshiping God and praying to him; let us not lose ourselves in vain speculations of profitless subtleties." [Culla Vagga 6:2]

Do they believe in an afterlife?

This is a complex issue in Buddhism, but no, there's no afterlife.

the Buddha: "Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the dream that their souls are separate and self-existent entities."

the Buddha: "Since, then, O bhikkhus, there is no self, there can not be any afterlife of a self. Therefore abandon all thought of self."
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Ogan
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12/3/2010 4:09:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Thanks for that GeoLaureate8. Although I am on a different Path, I have a lot of respect for Buddhists, who never seem to get involved in any negative or caustic ‘Preaching', unlike some I could mention.

I will have a good think about what you have said and quoted and reply most likely tomorrow. I have some interesting quotes from Buddha that you may or may not agree with, but at least you will know it comes from one who advances it with all due respect.
GeoLaureate8
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12/3/2010 4:27:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 4:09:28 PM, Ogan wrote:
Thanks for that GeoLaureate8. Although I am on a different Path,

Which path is that?

I have a lot of respect for Buddhists, who never seem to get involved in any negative or caustic ‘Preaching', unlike some I could mention.

What's wrong with preaching? If you believe you have the truth, there's nothing wrong with spreading your ideas. It's not preaching that is the problem, but the content of the preaching, especially within the evangelist circles.

I will have a good think about what you have said and quoted and reply most likely tomorrow. I have some interesting quotes from Buddha that you may or may not agree with, but at least you will know it comes from one who advances it with all due respect.

Ok, sounds good.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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12/3/2010 4:50:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 1:54:09 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I always hear from critics of religion that people believe in God because they fear death. In fact, even the believers themselves would agree that with God comes the afterlife.

But if people wish to believe things that console them, why don't they just believe the consoling part? The afterlife with no God. In fact, why do they wish to believe all the other things that are quite the opposite of consoling, yet find consolation in these horrifying beliefs?

I always lol when I hear those types of arguments; they are so terrifyingly bad it surprises me that people think they have weight as a general explanation of religious belief or non-belief.

Like me for example: I certainly have religious beliefs that at sometimes I wish aren't true. Just like I have religious beliefs that I wish are true. I don't see how one could make the argument that it's JUST the beliefs I do want to be true that make me religious and still be intellectually honest at the same time.

You hit on it in the second part, belief (or non-belief) is a complex issue and it's certainly isn't reducible to one psychological factor or even a couple of psychological factors which certainly throws a wrinkle in the plans of people who like psychologizing each other.

I couldn't say this any better than C.S. Lewis:

"There are of course people in our own day to whom the whole situation seems altered by the doctrine of the concealed wish. They will admit that men, otherwise apparently rational, have been deceived by the arguments for religion. But they will say that they have been deceived first by their own desires and produced the arguments afterwards as a rationalization: that these arguments have never been intrinsically even plausible, but have seemed so because they were secretly weighted by our wishes.

Now I do not doubt that this sort of thing happens in thinking about religion as in thinking about other things; but as a general explanation of religious assent it seems to me quite useless. On that issue our wishes may favour either side or both. The assumption that every man would be pleased, and nothing but pleased, if only he could conclude that Christianity is true, appears to me to be simply preposterous.

If Freud is right about the Oedipus complex, the universal pressure of the wish that God should not exist must be enormous, and atheism must be an admirable gratification to one of our strongest suppressed impulses. This argument, in fact, could be used on the theistic side. But I have no intention of so using it. It will not really help either party. It is fatally ambivalent. Men wish on both sides: and again, there is fear-fulfilment as well as wish-fulfilment, and hypochondriac temperaments will always tend to think true what they most wish to be false.

Thus instead of the one predicament on which our opponents sometimes concentrate there are in fact four. A man may be a Christian because he wants Christianity to be true. He may be an atheist because he wants atheism to be true. He may be an atheist be-cause he wants Christianity to be true. He may be a Christian because he Wants atheism to be true. Surely these possibilities cancel one another out? They may be of some use in analysing a particular instance of belief or disbelief, where we know the case history, but as a general explanation of either they will not help us. I do not think they overthrow the view that there is evidence both for and against the Christian propositions which fully rational minds, working honestly, can assess differently."
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Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/3/2010 4:52:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 3:31:51 PM, THE_OPINIONATOR wrote:
I do not fear death or practice my religion to console myself because of it.

Same. I can't speak for sure, but if I were an Atheist I wouldn't even care. Worrying wouldn't get me anywhere.
kfc
GeoLaureate8
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12/3/2010 5:01:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 3:31:51 PM, THE_OPINIONATOR wrote:
I do not fear death or practice my religion to console myself because of it.

I never claimed you did. I'm just saying to those who do have religious beliefs, why do you believe in God if all you want is eternal life.

One of my main points is that "God exists, therefore there is an afterlife" is a false notion.

However, I'm also inquiring about the idea that people believe in religions for consolation despite the fact that believing the whole package involves both consoling beliefs and unsettling beliefs.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/3/2010 5:03:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:01:07 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 3:31:51 PM, THE_OPINIONATOR wrote:
I do not fear death or practice my religion to console myself because of it.

I never claimed you did. I'm just saying to those who do have religious beliefs, why do you believe in God if all you want is eternal life.

Do you really beleive that?
kfc
Koopin
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12/3/2010 5:13:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If God were not in heaven then there would be no point. That is where I lose the Jehovah Witnesses. When they say that they are going to live on earth forever while God is in heaven with the "really good ones". Yeah, hell has fire in it, but that is not the part I'd be worried about. Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell.
kfc
GeoLaureate8
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12/3/2010 5:23:41 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:13:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
If God were not in heaven then there would be no point.

It sounds to me like the Jains are doing just fine with a Heaven without God.

"[In Jainism] When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss." -- http://en.wikipedia.org...
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Koopin
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12/3/2010 5:30:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:23:41 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:13:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
If God were not in heaven then there would be no point.

It sounds to me like the Jains are doing just fine with a Heaven without God.

"[In Jainism] When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss." -- http://en.wikipedia.org...

Yeah well... I'm not a Jainist.
kfc
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:30:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
Yeah well... I'm not a Jainist.

Yeah, but the point is, why do you need God to enjoy or appreciate the afterlife?

I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/3/2010 6:15:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:

I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God?

Simple. Heaven is great and all with the streets of gold, fellowship, no more dying, ect... But what does that all mean? Nihilism in heaven. God is all loving, powerful, he is the only thing that is truly good. He is perfect, and I want to be with perfect. Say you were gonna get married to this woman you love. This woman happens to have a house. Would you be just as in love/happy if you got a letter in the mail that says you can have the house, but no woman?

I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.

God still has a presents on this earth, although he is not the owner. Even though there is all this pain in suffering, his spirit is still here. We can chose to deny that and not give it a second thought like you have done. Though in the end is when those who have not chosen God will release what it is like to really be alone. I can't even think of beginning to describe how it will feel to no longer have God in your presence. To know that whatever you do, whatever you say or think, you have no one. No God for all of eternity. Only pain and suffering.
kfc
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
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12/3/2010 6:33:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:30:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
Yeah well... I'm not a Jainist.

Yeah, but the point is, why do you need God to enjoy or appreciate the afterlife?

I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.


Contradiction
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/3/2010 6:38:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 6:33:35 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:30:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
Yeah well... I'm not a Jainist.

Yeah, but the point is, why do you need God to enjoy or appreciate the afterlife?

I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.


Contradiction

He was quoting me.
kfc
vardas0antras
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12/3/2010 6:52:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 6:38:40 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:33:35 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:30:03 PM, Koopin wrote:
Yeah well... I'm not a Jainist.

Yeah, but the point is, why do you need God to enjoy or appreciate the afterlife?

I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.


Contradiction

He was quoting me.

It still is a contradiction.
At first he concedes your explanation but then he says "I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness." which contradicts what he just accepted as an adequate explanation.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/3/2010 7:07:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 6:52:46 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:38:40 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:33:35 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.


Contradiction

He was quoting me.

It still is a contradiction.
At first he concedes your explanation but then he says "I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness." which contradicts what he just accepted as an adequate explanation.

NO, I did NOT accept it as an adequate explanation, I was directly challenging it.

It's a contradiction because that's what counter-arguments do. Duh.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
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12/3/2010 7:47:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 7:07:10 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:52:46 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:38:40 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/3/2010 6:33:35 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 12/3/2010 5:37:48 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I know you explained that "Eternal separation from God is the real punishment of Hell," but why is it so treacherous to be separated from God? I know that I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness.


Contradiction

He was quoting me.

It still is a contradiction.
At first he concedes your explanation but then he says "I am nowhere near any so-called God, yet I am still able achieve happiness." which contradicts what he just accepted as an adequate explanation.

NO, I did NOT accept it as an adequate explanation, I was directly challenging it.

It's a contradiction because that's what counter-arguments do. Duh.

Doh
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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12/4/2010 9:07:43 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/3/2010 1:54:09 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I always hear from critics of religion that people believe in God because they fear death. In fact, even the believers themselves would agree that with God comes the afterlife.

But if people wish to believe things that console them, why don't they just believe the consoling part? The afterlife with no God. In fact, why do they wish to believe all the other things that are quite the opposite of consoling, yet find consolation in these horrifying beliefs?

My faith has far more to do with my life than my death. I don't share the same concrete belief in what happens after my death as my fellow Christians. I do believe in more, but it's fairly insignificant to my faith now. I have said before that when i was an agnostic for 15 years i didn't fear death then either. To me death has always been a natural conclusion of life. I'm certainly in no hurry to die, but i am not going to spend much of my living time worrying about death.

I don't think i have any horrifying beliefs. There a both paradoxes and symmetry in my faith, but i don't know of 'horrifying beliefs" that i find consolation in.
innomen
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12/4/2010 12:12:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/4/2010 12:06:34 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/4/2010 10:47:29 AM, the-good-teacher wrote:
Faith has never been a fruit of fear, nor can it be,

Wrong.

TGT actually wrote something i find provocative. I'm inclined to agree with you koopin, but it's probably not a good faith. Good in what it will accomplish to the individual.
SuperRobotWars
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12/4/2010 12:15:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Lets just use technology to achieve immortality instead of dying and then becoming immortal . . .
Minister Of Trolling
: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/4/2010 12:16:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/4/2010 12:15:45 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
Lets just use technology to achieve immortality instead of dying and then becoming immortal . . .

Who would want to live on earth forever?
kfc
SuperRobotWars
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12/4/2010 12:26:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/4/2010 12:16:44 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/4/2010 12:15:45 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
Lets just use technology to achieve immortality instead of dying and then becoming immortal . . .

Who would want to live on earth forever?

I would! Who wouldn't want to live forever?
Minister Of Trolling
: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
Koopin
Posts: 12,090
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12/4/2010 3:31:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/4/2010 12:26:14 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
At 12/4/2010 12:16:44 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/4/2010 12:15:45 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
Lets just use technology to achieve immortality instead of dying and then becoming immortal . . .

Who would want to live on earth forever?

I would! Who wouldn't want to live forever?

Me.
kfc
the-good-teacher
Posts: 444
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12/7/2010 2:38:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/4/2010 12:06:34 PM, Koopin wrote:
At 12/4/2010 10:47:29 AM, the-good-teacher wrote:
Faith has never been a fruit of fear, nor can it be,

Wrong.

Faith is God given, "For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, (Eph 2:8)
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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12/7/2010 2:47:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Wellie well.

I agree with TGT on this one.

Religion is definitely a way to establish fear. But, the nature of faith is some sort of reliance--trust that a person will have your back in a given situation. Thus, faith, separate of religion, but also when it has everything to do with it, is actually a means to alleviate fear.