What do we lose when we believe?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#1  Postby Whitedragon » October 17th, 2017, 11:15 am

Many and almost most atheists are good and decent people, some of them live better lives than many Christians, so what would really change if they believed? If you are an atheist, you don't commit murder, engage in rape, steal, etc; what do you have to lose by adopting this faith? Sure there is a lot of things in the Bible that could make a case against itself, but we know from experience the Bible is not all instruction, but rather an opportunity to learn from how not to go about life or worshiping God. Many Christians also know that they have to take responsibility for themselves and that God isn't there to do everything for them; hence they are self-sufficient and do not expect some group of fairies to wave a magic wand and make life happen.

No body is perfect, Christian or atheist; often it is a real struggle to live responsibly, but certainly God understands that there are somethings in life we can't avoid and many Christians know this too. So if you're a good person, treating your fellow man fair and trying to take care of yourself and others, not to live recklessly, endangering your life or other's; what do you have to lose by becoming a Christian or to believe in God. What do we actually lose when we are already doing everything right - do we lose anything at all by believing? How does believing detract from your life if you are already a good person? No one can prove God's existence, but hey, if he's there, what do you have to lose?

I hate the god the world showed me and it took a long time for me to build a relationship with God, the real God, the way I think we aught to see him. Now that I have sifted through the BS and have found my own path, I can't but help to wonder; what do we have to lose?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
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What do we lose when we believe?



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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#2  Postby Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 12:23 pm

Whitedragon wrote: what do you have to lose by becoming a Christian or to believe in God

It's not quite as simple as that. I mean how do you go about believing something you find unbelievable and what's the incentive to make the effort?
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#3  Postby Whitedragon » October 17th, 2017, 1:29 pm

Albert Tatlock wrote:
Whitedragon wrote: what do you have to lose by becoming a Christian or to believe in God

It's not quite as simple as that. I mean how do you go about believing something you find unbelievable and what's the incentive to make the effort?


That's why it's called faith, because you have to believe. You say it's not that simple, why not? We indulge in many things in life, that are far less meaningful, but it entertains our whims and yet the only thing it satisfy is our fancy. The incentive is, what if it's true? What does believing take away from you? and if it's true, there is so much to gain. If we have room for fantasy movies with fans that buy the costumes and live out that fantasy, (probably a bad comparison); what is wrong with beginning to accept at least the teaching and getting into it gradually? You have to admit that you don't lose anything from believing if you're already a good person, will believing in God short circuit something in our brains all of a sudden, or would it just be something harmless, with not other intention, but providing you with a means to expand on your good life and possibly, (if there is an afterlife {whatever that means}), allow you to "cash in" on the good decisions you've been making all your life? Again, what do you lose, nothing; it may be inconceivable to believe in something you struggle with, but it's even more inconceivable to gable with that, if it could be true and it doesn't harm you or ask you to change the life you're already living.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#4  Postby Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 2:04 pm

Whitedragon wrote:
That's why it's called faith,

In order to have faith in something you need to be convinced of it. I can only think of two reasons why one would become convinced of something. Either the evidence for it is overwhelming or the desire for it to be true is. Without at least one of those criteria being there, then neither will faith be. I know that if you believe in God it's a big deal, but if you don't, it's not even an issue.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#5  Postby Whitedragon » October 17th, 2017, 2:45 pm

Albert Tatlock wrote:
Whitedragon wrote:
That's why it's called faith,

In order to have faith in something you need to be convinced of it. I can only think of two reasons why one would become convinced of something. Either the evidence for it is overwhelming or the desire for it to be true is. Without at least one of those criteria being there, then neither will faith be. I know that if you believe in God it's a big deal, but if you don't, it's not even an issue.


Do we need evidence? Again, what do you lose by taking a change? Personally, what would you lose? Can you name one thing that you would lose?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#6  Postby Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 3:00 pm

Whitedragon wrote:
Albert Tatlock wrote:(Nested quote removed.)


You've made a case for the why but you haven't suggested a way to go about the how. How on Earth do you make yourself believe something you don't? It's not quite the same as making yourself do your weekly shopping even though you don't feel like doing it. You can make yourself do something in spite of not wanting to but you can't make yourself believe something in spite of not believing it.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#7  Postby Whitedragon » October 17th, 2017, 3:14 pm

Albert Tatlock wrote:
Whitedragon wrote:(Nested quote removed.)


You've made a case for the why but you haven't suggested a way to go about the how. How on Earth do you make yourself believe something you don't? It's not quite the same as making yourself do your weekly shopping even though you don't feel like doing it. You can make yourself do something in spite of not wanting to but you can't make yourself believe something in spite of not believing it.


I'm sure if you open yourself to it, it would change. Perhaps we don't believe, is because we don't try, (note I don't say never try). Some of us have tried and have had a soar taste in our mouths, mostly because of people or bad preachers; I had bad experiences too, but I just realized in the end, it's about me, not about how well the Bible explains itself, or how good others make me feel. I always say the important things in the Bible are easy too understand.

Like I say, I'm quite sure once you open yourself to it, you will eventually believe. Belief has a lot to do with how we feel and experience things, and again, in this world, we more often than not have to re-discover things, because the way others represented it to us was bad.

I'm well aware you can't switch faith on and off like a light, but just like anything else we wish to have in life, like education and skill, we also have to work at faith. We certainly can't just decide we believe and it's certainly not something we can learn. I guess, it's a lot like the good attributes we acquire, compassion, empathy, love - we do have to work at that. Faith is more something you feel; the more time you spend searching for it the more you'll find yourself in tune with it and the more you'll find it inviting you in.

So no, you can't just flip a switch. I guess what I'm saying is, in light of the OP question: if you have nothing to lose, are you at least willing to open yourself to it and see if your emotions will convince you in time?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#8  Postby Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 3:38 pm

Whitedragon wrote:are you at least willing to open yourself to it and see if your emotions will convince you in time?

You're making me feel awfully mean for not giving it a shot but, honestly, I don't have it in me. Besides, if I started to believe in God at my age he would have serious doubts about my motives. I certainly don't think it's a bad thing that you find so much of value in having faith and it's to your credit that you want to share it with others.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#9  Postby Scribbler60 » October 17th, 2017, 5:50 pm

As one who spent a number of years wrapped in the cloak of Christianity, I can only tell you what I gained after I lost my faith.

I gained a new respect for life. I gained a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world that I had previously put up to a divine superintelligence. I gained a deep appreciation for how tenuous, fragile and chaotic life is. I gained a new respect for those of different faith traditions and even skin tones.

For me, to go backwards into faith again - especially given that there's exactly zero evidence for the reality if any god, of whatever stripe - would be to repudiate all those things that I gained once I released myself from the shackles of faith.

So, what would I have to lose by becoming a man of faith again?

Everything.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#10  Postby Dark Matter » October 17th, 2017, 6:39 pm

Scribbler60 wrote:As one who spent a number of years wrapped in the cloak of Christianity, I can only tell you what I gained after I lost my faith.

I gained a new respect for life. I gained a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world that I had previously put up to a divine superintelligence. I gained a deep appreciation for how tenuous, fragile and chaotic life is. I gained a new respect for those of different faith traditions and even skin tones.

For me, to go backwards into faith again - especially given that there's exactly zero evidence for the reality if any god, of whatever stripe - would be to repudiate all those things that I gained once I released myself from the shackles of faith.

So, what would I have to lose by becoming a man of faith again?

Everything.

Wow. We have polar opposite ideas of what constitutes "faith."
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#11  Postby Alias » October 17th, 2017, 6:42 pm

Whitedragon wrote:
Do we need evidence?

Some don't; some do. The route to whatever convictions one ends up with depends on the sort of mind one began with.
You can't wish or will yourself to be other than you are. For many people, that is the central and final failure of the Judeo-Christian tradition: its central deity forbids people to be honest about their true nature. He is said to have made man in His own image, and yet punishes people for following their inclinations and using their attributes.

Again, what do you lose by taking a change?

Not sure whether you mean "change" literally, or it's a typo for "chance".
Personally, what would you lose? Can you name one thing that you would lose?

In the first case, my self; my autonomy; my right to exercise rational thought and decision.
In the second, perhaps my sanity - I would have to throw something vital away, and risk it not being replaces by anything of value.

Given that i have a satisfactory life, balanced thought-process and no empty hole in the middle of my psyche, and in the face of such a risk,
what do I stand to gain by the effort to believe?
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#12  Postby Atreyu » October 17th, 2017, 6:44 pm

When one "believes", one loses common sense, rationality, good judgement, objectivity, etc., assuming, of course, that one has those attributes in the first place. If, however, one does not, then no, one would not lose anything....
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#13  Postby Dark Matter » October 17th, 2017, 6:45 pm

I have faith because I have a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world; I have faith because I have a deep appreciation for how tenuous, fragile and chaotic life is. I have respect for those of different faith traditions and even skin tones because I have faith. If I needed evidence of God's existence, then I would have an inadequate concept of God.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#14  Postby Scribbler60 » October 17th, 2017, 7:34 pm

Dark Matter wrote:I have faith because I have a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world; I have faith because I have a deep appreciation for how tenuous, fragile and chaotic life is. I have respect for those of different faith traditions and even skin tones because I have faith. If I needed evidence of God's existence, then I would have an inadequate concept of God.

Well, that's interesting, because I have all that and more and at the same time I'm not saddled with the belief in a divine superintelligence for which there is zero evidence.

But, hey, if your faith helps get you through the night, by all means, knock yourself out. Just don't suffer the delusion that those who have released themselves from the belief in things unseen and unsee-able have no sense of awe and wonder, because that's simply untrue.
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Re: What do we lose when we believe?

Post Number:#15  Postby Alias » October 17th, 2017, 8:05 pm

It's not a Yes/No choice, is it?
Dark matter doesn't have to make any effort or take a risk: his just faith comes as a freebie.
For those who don't "have faith", it would cost something. And there many possible outcomes.

You make the effort - you can succeed or fail.
If you succeed, you may gain something you value, or not; lose something you value, or not.
If you fail, you may gain something or lose something.
You don't make the effort, you may gain something or lose something.
And those are just the variations before we even consider the subject matter of the belief -
what, exactly, you are attempting to belie/believe in.
Beyond that are the further variations on the truth of whatever it is you're trying to believe.
And beyond that are the variations of what effect the truth - whichever it turns out to be, whether or not you discover it -
has on your belief or disbelief of it or in it.

The odds are too fraught to calculate,
but I've taken the salient factors into account before arriving at my present position on the issue.
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