How exactly does "theism" exist?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by wynn, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Can a person be a theist, without belonging to a particular theistic religion?

    Can a person be a theist, without also being a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu etc.?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,189
    Of course and there are many theists who do not follow a specific mainstream religion. We have had many such people here over the years.

    A theistic belief is only a fantasy and anyone is entirely free to create their own theistic fantasy, and they do.

    It is estimated that there are some 20,000 different sects and cults that form Christianity. In essence, a base concept is adopted and then the adherents add their own imaginative interpretations.

    This easy to do when there is no requirement for an evidential basis.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,412
    Faith doesn't require evidence, but what happens when you TRULY believed in something before science said anything?

    Faith is based off a lot of things like logic, reason, and science. If you don't have faith then even science, and knowledge are irrelevant. Imagine moving completely in faith.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    Obviously. Theism just means believing in a god or gods.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    How can a person possibly believe in God (or gods) outside of a traditional theistic religion?

    If all the information that humans can possibly have about God necessarily comes via other people (as a common theistic reasoning goes), and these people need to be part of a theistic tradition for that information to be valid, then those outside of that tradition are cut off from knowledge about God.


    Those within a theistic tradition may or may not be imagining and inventing things.

    But those outside of a theistic tradition are necessarily merely imagining and inventing things.*


    And this isn't a condemnation of those self-styled theists. It's just that at some point, a self-styled theist (*unless he or she has personal divine revelation, that is), realizes that without a solid connection to a traditional theistic religion, they have nothing to go by but their own imagination. And at some point, they become aware that this is ... not a reliable basis for living life.
     
  9. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    Wait, you're changing the game now. Before you asked if someone could be a theist without belonging to a sect, but now it seems you're arguing against someone having a conception of a deity that does not derive from the theisms they know. These are two entirely different points. My answer to the original question stands: one can absolutely believe in a god or gods without adhering to any particular religious philosophy. My mother, for example, believes in God, but she's what you'd call a lapsed Catholic, because she doesn't attend Mass or really follow any of the mandates of the Church.

    To the question of whether or not someone can be a theist without convention, the answer again is yes.

    But if a particular theistic tradition is correct, then everyone who doesn't belong to that sect--including those of other traditions--is also inventing and imagining things. And those outside of tradition are only imagining and inventing if a particular tradition is correct. Otherwise, no one has any more claim to being right than anyone else, traditional or no.

    And since we have no evidence of a god or gods whatsoever, it's impossible say that traditional theistic religions are somehow "more correct" or have a better chance at being correct than people who hold personal gods or believe in non-traditional interpretations.

    Well, you just debunked your own argument! Anyone can claim divine revelation. The difference between traditional religions and the non-religious theist is simply the amount of people who believe them.
     
  10. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    This also applies to science. You start with education where you learn the basics and the standard theories. Many will stick to the party line. Others, based on the pieces of the many puzzles, you try to assemble them into alternate theories. This is how science progresses. The same is true of religion.

    In Christianity, Christ left behind the comforter or the spirit of truth. He abides in you and will be in you. This is a living spirit. It the creative flux that keeps Christianity fresh. This is also the innovative spirit that keeps science fresh. Often it has to fight the dogma of the day.
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    It would be ideal if theists would participate here ...


    But the question is whether that kind of supposed theism, actually is theism - or is it theism only in name, but not in actuality. Perhaps such theism is merely an empty shell, a puppet.


    That doesn't mean they have it.


    Sure.

    The point here is, though, as noted earlier:

    If all the information that humans can possibly have about God necessarily comes via other people (as a common theistic reasoning goes), and these people need to be part of a theistic tradition for that information to be valid, then those outside of that tradition are cut off from knowledge about God.


    I'll put it this way:

    Imagine trying to be a theist on your own, without adherence to any particular theistic tradition.
    Unless you get very fortunate and God blesses you with divine revelation, you will be left to ecclecticism and your own imagination. And unless you are extremely comfortable with idiosyncrasies, your own deliberate eccelcticism and making stuff up are going to start to bother you, and you will also notice that being alone in your beliefs is alienating to the point of making you dysfunctional.


    Being a member of and drawing on a traditional religion, you have a referential community in relation to which your theism can meaningfully function and be communicated. Even if currently you aren't a member of a particular church, you have a sense that you belong somewhere, on principle.

    On your own, you don't have that, and your theism is more like a mere dead accessoire that you drag around with you. On your own, you know that you don't belong to any church, that you are alien to all other people who call themselves "theists."
     
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    In religions, this is also considered sectarianism or schismatism.
    In some Hindu schools, this is called "ritvikism."
     
  13. KilljoyKlown Whatever Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,493
    And in the U.S. the number of theist is down 15% from 2007 in those under 30 crowd.

     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Note that if such polls tend to be made by people who declare themselves as atheists or agnostics, the questions on those polls are biased in favor of atheism.

    I wonder how a theist would formulate a question inquiring about a person's stance on God.
     
  15. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    It doesn't take a theist to answer this question.

    How so? Theism is simply the belief in god, so if she believes in god, she is a theist.

    You could say the same about anyone, including the founders of major organized religions.

    But that's not an accurate statement, because information about God purportedly comes from God himself. That's what revelation is, and all the major monotheisms rely heavily on it. It often is disseminated by people, but that's clearly not the only place from which the faithful claim to get their information. Each person holding their own, independent interpretation of God could very well claim to have gotten that concept from God himself. (Or "the gods," should they be polytheistic)

    Except that's not what happens. Most people who claim to believe in God without all the church business don't tend to be overly pious or even stringent, precisely because there is no dogma to follow. This is why I say modern Christianity has become more of a spiritualism than a dogmatic religion; churches are closing their doors because nobody's showing up, but we still have millions and millions of self-identifying Christians in the country.

    The people who do break off from organized religion, and sort of cook up a dogma on their own, end up founding splinter sects. Christianity itself is just a weird Jewish cult, and under its umbrella are a bunch of other weird splinter factions, such as the Mormons or the Evangelicals.

    There are certainly benefits to being in a group, and no doubt that belief in something is strengthened when you're surrounded by a bunch of like-minded individuals. I would not say, however, that the lack of these luxuries inhibits belief. We see too many examples of people who believe in a version of God that suits them to say that the absence of a church or a faction lessens that. I just don't see it.

    You know, I'm sure people do feel that way. I'm sure there are people who truly believe but feel like something's missing. That said, I don't think not having a church or a particular denomination matters all that much to most people. Nor would I say that not having one makes you alien to people who do. I mean, I'm an atheist, and I'm no social pariah. My believing friends--even my religious friends--don't feel a disconnect with me, nor I with them. (I will say, though, that the more pious one is, the less likely I am to suffer them, but I'd like to think I'd feel this way even if I was a believer; I'd be the Pope rolling his eyes while people dropped to their hands and knees in front of me.)

    But really, even if it were true that people felt this way, it still wouldn't make them any less of a theist than someone who goes to Temple every Friday.
     
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    That's an irresponsible accusation. Give me an example of one such "biased" question, and then actually go do your homework and find the poll in question and tell me what you think of it.

    You can't just go around saying crap like that.
     
  17. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,412
    God has nothing to do with ancient text other than some people must have put down something useful in regards to God in these "Holy" books.
     
  18. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,515
    This is a false and unsupported assumption. Logic dictates that if "all the information that humans can possibly have about God necessarily comes via other people" then some person or people would have necessarily originated this information. Otherwise there could be no such information available. As such, any human is equally capable of originating such information.
     
  19. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Aha! Well done. THis should be interesting.
     
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,515
  21. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,412

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Or are people getting stupider?
     
  22. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    You didnt really push it. You have get on her back and keep pestering her until the troll in that discussion is revealed or [rarely] the point is clarified. Her thread on religious violence is an excellent example.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Surely you are familiar with the usual pattern in theistic religion:

    "In the past, God gave a special man information about Himself. Ever since then, everyone who wants to know about God has to depend on that man and his followers."

    So nowadays, everyone who is not that special man to whom God revealed Himself, is in the group of those who have to depend on that special man.

    "All the information that humans can possibly have about God necessarily comes via other people" is true for all those people who don't have first-hand information and who have to depend on that special man (and his followers).
    Which, nowadays, in some religions, means that everyone has only such second-hand or third-hand information about God.


    And even in those religions that teach that one only needs to "look within to find God": even in such an instance, one would still be trusting others that that which one finds within, is indeed about God; one still wouldn't have first-hand knowledge of God.
     

Share This Page